Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 9


FTA Panelists Discuss Priorities and the Future
Fernandez and three FTA staff members
participated on a panel discussing the
Biden-Harris Administration's priorities
to improve safety, promote equity, help
combat climate change, support economic recovery and how the agency is
supporting these efforts.
Subash Iyer, chief counsel, said he
previously worked as risk counsel at the
New York MTA, so he has seen firsthand
how " essential transit is, especially in a
crisis like the one we have seen for the
past year. " At FTA, his focus is on com-

bating climate change and advancing
equity. " We need to plan our communities in a way that makes space for new
technologies like e-scooters, and also
for better options for people who bike
and walk. Looking at transportation
with a broader lens will improve access
to public transit systems and open the
doors of possibility, " he explained.
Henrika Buchanan, chief safety
officer, spoke about FTA's efforts to
promote the federal mask requirement
for transit. " We need to keep our transit
workers and passengers safe, and the

mask requirement will help us do that, "
she said.
FTA has hosted listening sessions
on the mask requirement, held panel
discussions and stakeholder calls and
has posted FAQs on its website that
provide more information about enforcement, applicability and implementation.
Buchanan encouraged public transit
systems to reach out to FTA with comments and questions and to use FTA as
a partner and resource as they implement the mask requirement.
Selene Dalton-Kumins, associate
administrator for civil rights, reinforced
FTA's commitment to promote mobility
throughout the nation's transportation
network. " Equitable, accessible public
transit is a foundation for breaking down

systemic barriers and giving individuals
and communities the fair chance to participate fully in everything our country
offers, " she said. " Transit is key to creating a level playing field, taking people
to jobs to schools to social activities,
regardless of whether they own a car
or can drive. " But for this to happen,
she emphasized, equity and accessibility principles need to be interwoven
with transportation decision-making,
from the earliest planning stages and
throughout operations.
While the pandemic has brought
challenges, Dalton-Kumins added, " it's
important to work together to ensure
that communities of color and low-income populations do not bear the brunt
of these changes. "

Emerging Ideas and
he noted that the " pandemic forced
changes on us that we knew were coming, . . . but instead of having years to
prepare, they are here now. We had to
learn to be flexible, more innovative and
efficient. We prioritized and made tough
choices. Our customers' personal and
work lives have been upended, resulting
in changing needs that must be met. "
Building a stronger and more
dynamic future for public transportation,
Nelson said, " will require us to embrace
and serve a different world. In some
ways, the pandemic has given us a kind
of Rosetta Stone for the future we need
to build. "
Banks discussed racial
equity and said that, in the
past year, " we have seen
an increase of attention by
organizations to understand
racism not only externally
but also internally. " She cited
as an example the financial
institution Blackrock and
Warner Media as two large
institutions who, in the wake
of the death of George Floyd
and others, are not just
talking about what is happening externally, regarding racial
equity, but also internally.
Banks explained what it
means to use a " racial equity
lens, " saying that:
*	We need to illuminate racism to
eliminate racism.
*	When we are not consciously
addressing racial equity, we are
often subconsciously replicating

*	We need to challenge racism
(anti-racism) and advocate for
equitable alternatives (advancing
*	It is not enough to be reactive;
we need to be proactive.
*	We need to address racism
-explicitly, but not necessarily
Fernandez, who opened the second day of the conference, thanked
Congress and the Administration for
passage of the American Rescue Plan
Act. She thanked the transit industry
employees who ensured
essential workers were safely
taken to their destinations
during the pandemic, saying their commitment was
" remarkable. " She also noted
that safety is a hallmark of
the current Administration,
which is also " focusing on
prioritizing equity, combating
climate change and supporting economic recovery.
We need to work together
on these priorities, " she told
attendees. " This is transit's
moment. I know you all will
join me in supporting the
Administration's goals to
promote safety and equity,
while we do what we do best: provide
transportation options that contribute to
the nation's economic recovery and, in
the long run, help alleviate the climate
crisis. "

provided new opportunities for public
transit systems to integrate the digital,
physical and operational elements of
mobility services. While ridership has
declined overall during the pandemic,
many bus routes have retained ridership levels and have been the primary
mode of transportation for essential
workers over the last year and bicycle
usage has increased exponentially.
-Mobility-as-a-Service trends both during
the pandemic and looking forward was
the topic of discussion at a panel during
APTA's Mobility Conference.
Adelee Le Grand, CEO, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority,
Tampa, FL, served as moderator. Bill
Nesper, executive director, League of
American Bicyclists; Katherine Kortum,
senior program officer, Transportation Research Board; and Sharmila
-Mukherjee, executive vice president-
planning and development at the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
(CapMetro), Austin, TX, were panelists.
Kortum discussed TRB Report 337:
The Role of Transit, Shared Modes, and
Public Policy in the New Mobility Land-

scape. Because of fragmented governance, she said, regions lack common
goals and shared strategies to facilitate
multi-modal services that cross jurisdictional boundaries. There are, however, opportunities to overcome these
barriers by collaboration among cities,
-public transit agencies and shared
mobility providers, she explained.
Mukherjee talked about emerging
trends, saying that at CapMetro the
agency had seen 18 straight months of
ridership growth before the pandemic
struck. Collaboration with partners is
key, she said, during this time. The
agency is expanding its bicycle fleet
with e-bikes and scooters, which helps
the agency's first- and last-mile solutions and offers a personal mobility
option that allows for early collaboration with the community and integration which, she said, is the recipe to
success. She described an ambitious
system expansion plan called Project
Connect, which she said was unanimously approved in November and will


MARCH 26, 2021 |



Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6

Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 1
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 2
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 3
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 4
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 5
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 6
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 7
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 8
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 9
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 10
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 11
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 12
Passenger Transport March 2021 Vol 79 No 6 - 13