Media Advisory



Mantill Williams
Page Content
The 2016 Rail Conference and International Rail Rodeo will take place June 19-22 in Phoenix, AZ. Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), this conference is North America’s largest and most comprehensive conference for the passenger rail industry.  
Conference sessions will encompass all facets of the rail industry including: safety, security & emergency preparedness; planning, finance & sustainability; capital programs; policy, management & workforce development; and operations and technical forums.  Rail professionals from throughout the industry will share best practices, lessons learned, and effective and timely solutions.  Participants will hear from industry leaders, as well as Mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton; U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ); and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator, Carolyn Flowers.
In addition, this marks the 24th year for the International Rail Rodeo Competition, which highlights the best rail operators and maintenance teams from across North America.  Competitors, selected from local and state competitions, will compete to be crowned champion.
What: 2016 Rail Conference What: International Rail Rodeo Committee
Where: Sheradone Grand Phoenix Where: Valley Metro Rail Operations and Maintenance Center
When: June 19-22 When: June 18
Time: 6 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

*** Registration for the media is FREE and available onsite!  Be sure to bring your media credentials. ***
Events:  Some conference events are highlighted below.


Monday, June 20
9:45 – 10:30 a.m.
Valley of the Sun Ballroom
Second Level




-Valarie J. McCall, Chair, APTA; Member, Board of Trustees, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Cleveland, OH

Sponsor Recognition:

-Thomas R. Waldron, Global Transit Market Sector Director, HDR, New York, NY

Host Welcome:

-Greg Stanton, Mayor, City of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ

-Rep. Ruben Gallego, (D-AZ), Member, U.S. House of Representatives, Phoenix, AZ

-Scott Smith, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ


10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Second Level

HOST FORUM: Development Soars along Valley Metro Rail
Join conference host Valley Metro to hear this region’s story of successful Transit Oriented Development (TOD) with more than $8.8 billion in adjacent public and private sector development along the Valley Metro Rail line. These investments have attracted events of national and economic significance to the metro Phoenix region.


12 – 3 p.m.
Grand Ballroom
First Floor

Rail Products and Services Showcase
This session will showcase new rail products and services in the world of rail equipment. Information relating to the products will be on display for registrants to view.


2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Valley of the Sun Ballroom
Second Level

GENERAL SESSION: U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Update
The USDOT’s senior leadership team will talk about how the Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are preparing to meet the challenges of the next 30 years, dealing with aging infrastructure and growing demand, investing in workforce development and new technologies, and the FTA’s safety role.


3:45 – 5:15 p.m.
Second Level

Implementing Title VI/Environmental Justice Requirements
Federal regulations, through requirements in Title VI and Environmental Justice implementation, aim to prohibit discrimination and adverse human health and environmental impacts on the basis of race, color, national origin, and income. Understanding the best ways to comply with these regulations, however, can pose challenges and opportunities to transit agencies that receive federal funding. Hear from the speakers as they discuss these challenges and successes in implementing circulars from the Federal Transit Administration on both Title VI and Environmental Justice, engaging diverse communities in the public involvement process, and conducting fare and equity analyses.


Tuesday, June 21
8:30 – 10 a.m.
Second Level

Great Stations, Great Places
Successful mega transit facilities create value for transit agencies as well as surrounding property owners. They can transform neighborhoods, communities, and the region. Most importantly with coordinated intermodal services, great stations can provide a superior passenger experience. Hear perspectives on Union Stations, the transformative outcomes as a result of great planning, design, and partnerships.


10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Second Level

Station Area Planning
With growing transit ridership and interest in multi-modal connectivity, increasing access to and from transit stations through first-last mile solutions, robust bicycle and pedestrian connections, and ADA compliance enhances the rider experience and increases ridership in an immediate timeframe. Hear from speakers as they discuss their experiences in improving transit station access, from projects that creatively used financial incentives for multi-modal integration to those that discovered how ADA accessibility upgrades provide benefits to all users of their system.


10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Encanto B
Second Level

Streetcars with a Different Twist
Hear presenters cover four different streetcar systems, each a bit different from the “norm” – in terms of either technology, function, or organization. Listen to the Dallas presenter talk about their off-wire technology. Also learn about the Seattle First Hill Streetcar System that uses off-wire to go downhill and OCS coming back uphill. And last, hear from New Orleans (the grandfather of them all) about how they are quietly expanding their system.


12 – 2:15 p.m.
Valley of the Sun Ballroom
Second Level

GENERAL LUNCHEON: Nearing the Breaking Point – Investment Needs at America’s Rail Systems
Public transit agencies have long struggled with the revenue gaps that result when identified investment requirements outpace available funding. The cumulative effect is a quantified state-of-good repair backlog exceeding $86 billion, and becoming greater each year. A panel of transit system leaders will speak to the urgent need for federal and other investments in the rehabilitation and maintenance of America’s urban transit and passenger rail systems, and the vital need to keep these systems reliable, efficient, safe, and secure.


2:30 – 3:45 p.m.
Paradise Valley
Second Level

Emergency Management and Special Events Planning
Mass transit agencies need to address the multifaceted challenges related to enhancing security, and effectively communicating with passengers and stakeholders pre and post events. This session will examine the various aspects of emergency management, particularly the various coordination when planning a special event and recovering from a natural disaster


2:30 – 3:45 p.m.
Second Level

State of Good Repair and Transit Asset Management
In 2013, the Federal Transit Administration estimated that more than 40 percent of buses and 25 percent of rail transit assets were in marginal or poor condition. Estimates from the National State of Good Repair Assessment identified an $86 billion backlog in deferred maintenance and replacement needs, a backlog that continues to grow. Hear from speakers as they discuss the challenges associated with bringing systems into a state of good repair and with meeting Federal requirements.


Wednesday, June 22
8:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Deer Valley
Second Level

Core Capacity
While the growing demand for transit across the country is a boon for the industry, increased ridership can mean crowded platforms, trains, and possible missed connections if the system does not expand its capacity to carry more passengers. Hear from speakers as they discuss their challenges and solutions for addressing core capacity, ranging from technical improvements in train control and station enhancements, to analytic methods that help identify additional improvements and impacts to program success.


9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Second Level

Transit-Oriented Development and Transit Oriented Communities
Agencies around the country have often sought to foster transit-oriented development (TOD) efforts that aim to concentrate housing and jobs around high-capacity transit stations. Recent initiatives, however, are beginning to focus on TOD as a method for community-building through the concept of transit-oriented communities. Topics of discussion will involve FTA’s Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program, the partnerships and coordination necessary to plan for TOD, and other challenges associated with ensuring a TOD’s success starting at day one.

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Valley of the Sun Ballroom A-C
Second Level


CLOSING GENERAL SESSION: On Track for the Future
While concerns grow about infrastructure, funding, and state of good repair, our keynote speaker will offer practical steps managers can take to achieve their visions, such as improving customer satisfaction, productivity, or operations Join this session to hear more about the industry’s future opportunities and moving towards them now.


#   #   #

 The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email