Mass Transit - 14

Reshaping Mobility
tial manufacturing jobs, so more
members of the community have
the option to walk to work. To
support this new mobility and
provide light, air and open green
space, the local government permanently opened 50 percent of
its streets to non-vehicle use and
created a network of dedicated
bus lanes throughout the other
50 percent. The " Open Streets "
program provides more opportunities for walking, biking and
physical distancing; safe trips to
local retail, schools and community facilities; and swift bus
service that is no longer subject
to vehicle congestion.

Funding the
Future of Transit

These changed priorities and
new ways of serving customers
are funded by the Federal-Aid
Health and Transit Act of 2021.
Like the landmark Federal-Aid
Highway Act of 1956, the 2021
bill demonstrates a huge federal commitment to investing in
national mobility and it passed
both houses of Congress with
bipartisan support. The key to
its passage was legislators' collective recognition that public
transit is a utility-much like
water and power-that is essential to protecting public health
and national security.
The Transit Act of 2021 makes
permanent the change started by
the CARES Act of 2020, which
broke a longstanding precedent
by enabling the Federal Transit
Administration (FTA) to fund
transit operations. Prompted by
the public health emergency, the
change in the FTA's traditional
funding role created a strong rationale for the Transit Act of 2021.
Both the 2020 and 2021 legislation
now equip transit providers with
the resources to run service at a
frequency, flexibility and capacity that serves the diverse needs of
their communities.
Recognizing that the pandemic had decimated cultural

14 |

institutions' revenue, Congress
included in the law a new national
" transit arts " program. It requires
agencies to allocate one percent
of their new federal funding to
programs that increase public
transit travel to museums, zoos,
botanical gardens and other cultural destinations.
" Rosa was so happy when
her favorite museum in the city
reopened after the first wave of
the pandemic, " Enrique says.
" What's cool is that we can use
our transit app to pay our fares,
check for a non-crowded bus into
the city and also get a break on
our museum admission. "
As a result, Cecilia, Enrique
and their children have become
regular sources of new weekend
revenue for the transit agency, as
well as for their expanding " must
do " list of attractions.

What Have
We Learned?

Putting ourselves in the role of
public transit professionals in
2021, what have we learned by
looking at the lives of our customers like Cecilia, Enrique, Rosa,
Miguel and Maria?
To best serve their most transit-dependent customers, agencies in 2021 deploy equipment
and staff for 24/7 schedules to
accommodate the needs of those
working beyond formerly typical
" commute " times. This all-day,
all-week service has benefited vast
numbers of lower-income people,
whose jobs and educational opportunities never followed the
nine-to-five peak.
Employers and employees in
2021 have embraced working
from home, further enabling transit agencies to break free from the
constraints that traditional nineto-five peak-hour service placed
on their ability to offer more
service at other times. Where
working from home is not possible, employers and employees
have migrated to decentralized
workplaces. Recognizing this,

Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | DECEMBER 2020/JANUARY 2021

Scott Szarapka/Unsplash

AERIAL VIEW of
Market Street in
San Francisco.
Opening
streets for
walking, biking
and scooting
strengthens
communities.

" What's

cool is that we
can use our
transit app to
pay our fares,
check for a
non-crowded
bus into the
city and also
get a break on
our museum
admission. "
-ENRIQUE,
a public
transit rider

more transit agencies have supplemented their hub-and-spoke
routes with service patterned on
a spider web of interconnected
nodes and modes.
Agencies have also seen that
" demand destruction " for office-tower rentals, home-sharing
services and other industry sectors
presented both a challenge and an
opportunity to create and meet
new demands for mobility. For instance, as center-city office-tower
property owners began to convert
under-performing, stranded-asset
office space into residential units,
agencies adapted service to support the resulting shift in transit
supply and demand.
Transit agencies have also
realized that many of their own
office workers could, and should,
work from home. They have discovered that embracing remote
work enabled them to access a
broader pool of talented people
that enhanced their ability to relate
to their customers. They are supporting all employees-those that
could work from home, and those
on the frontlines of service-with
financial incentives such as subsidized day care. They have updated
code-of-conduct policies to embody a mentally healthy work-life
balance and avoid succumbing to
the notion that employees working
from home are always " on call. "
Recognizing that customers follow
leadership, transit agency leaders


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Mass Transit

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mass Transit

Editor's Notebook: Recap of the Year in Two Parts
Q&A with FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams
People & Places
Imagine How COVID-19 Could Shape Mobility for People who Rely on Transit
A Gateway to a Quality Life
Rail Contractors: Skills Honed to Help
Transit Supplier Directory - Company Listings A-Z
Transit Supplier Directory - Product Category Listings
Products
Mass Transit - 1
Mass Transit - 2
Mass Transit - 3
Mass Transit - 4
Mass Transit - 5
Mass Transit - Editor's Notebook: Recap of the Year in Two Parts
Mass Transit - 7
Mass Transit - Q&A with FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams
Mass Transit - 9
Mass Transit - People & Places
Mass Transit - 11
Mass Transit - Imagine How COVID-19 Could Shape Mobility for People who Rely on Transit
Mass Transit - 13
Mass Transit - 14
Mass Transit - 15
Mass Transit - A Gateway to a Quality Life
Mass Transit - 17
Mass Transit - 18
Mass Transit - 19
Mass Transit - Rail Contractors: Skills Honed to Help
Mass Transit - 21
Mass Transit - 22
Mass Transit - 23
Mass Transit - Transit Supplier Directory - Company Listings A-Z
Mass Transit - 25
Mass Transit - 26
Mass Transit - 27
Mass Transit - 28
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Mass Transit - Transit Supplier Directory - Product Category Listings
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Mass Transit - Products
Mass Transit - 51
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