Regional Models of Cooperation - Regional Transit

Webinar Transcript

Webinar Date: October, 2015

Speakers/Presenters:
Volpe Center: Kevin McCoy
FTA: Dwayne Weeks
FHWA: Ken Petty, Cecilia Ho, Jody McCullough
Atlanta Regional Commission: John Orr
Maricopa Association of Government: Eric Anderson
Chicago Regional Transportation Authority: Mark Pitstick

Kevin McCoy: Thank you. Good afternoon and welcome to today’s webinar on regional models of cooperation and regional transit planning. As he just told you, I’m Kevin McCoy from the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center and I’ll be your moderator for today’s webinar. Dwayne Weeks, the chief of the FTA Office of Planning, and Antonia Holland also of the Office of Planning will be your hosts today.

Today’s events will feature an introduction on regional models of cooperation as well as presentations from three MPOs and regional transit agencies working on regional transit planning. But before we get started, we would appreciate it if you could answer a few quick poll questions to give us a little bit more information about who is participating in the event today. The polls should appear on your screen now. We’ll give you a few moments to answer and review the results as they come in. So we can see here already for the majority of our participants you’re participating by yourself although we do have some small groups participating as well. And we see that many of the participants today are from MPOs or that we also have public transit agency representatives on the line and state DOTs. We have some USDOT participants as well. And then some consultants and folks representing local governments and other agencies. And we also see that for those of us that are participating we see that many of us are primarily in the planning and programming functional area although we do have some program managers or executives with us, some researcher, educators, some consultants and others with us as well. So thank you for telling us a little bit more about yourself.

In a moment we’ll introduce Dwayne Weeks your host for today’s event. But first, a few things to keep in mind. At any time during today’s webinar please enter any questions you have in the Q&A pod. Questions will be answered at the end of the webinar. If your question is for a specific presenter please note that when you submit the question. Today’s presentation is being recorded. The recording will be available on the Federal Highway Administration Office of Planning website within two weeks. If you would like a copy of the slides you will be able to download them from the download pod when we get to the Q&A portion of today’s event. Contacts and links for the regional models of cooperation initiative will be provided at the end as well. And now without further delay I’d like to hand it over to Dwayne Weeks to get us started.

Dwayne Weeks: Good afternoon everybody on the East Coast, and good morning everybody on the West Coast. Thank you all for joining on this our webinar about regional models of cooperation. My name is Dwayne Weeks. I’m the director of the Office of Planning within the Federal Transit Administration’s Office of Planning and Environment. And before we get started I want to tout a few recent accomplishments around here. We’ve been working hard to implement the “Moving America Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century.” And we’ve recently published several notices of proposed rulemakings and policy guidance, documents, and other things that I want to inform you about. On Wednesday August 5, 2015, Federal Transit Administration published our final policy guidance for the capital investment grant program which complements FTA’s regulations that govern the capital investment grant program. In addition, on August 14, 2015, we published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Public Transportation Safety Program. This is one of the performance measures for safety and the regulations for how public transit operators should develop safety management systems and the safety management system framework within their respective transit agencies. Now, there is the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Transit Asset Management program. This was published on September 30, 2015. And it’s to establish our National Transit Asset Management System and provides guidelines and directions for how public transit agencies have set up their Transit Asset Management plans, identify reporting, and what the requirements are. And that’s open for public comment and that public comment period closes on November 30. We’re also involved in a lot of other activities on the transition performance based planning and programming, working jointly with Federal Highway Administration on the newest proposed rulemaking for metropolitan and statewide planning, as well as advancing other emphasis areas. So keep your eye out on the Federal Register, review the notice of proposed rulemaking, and please submit your comments to the docket.

Now, to get on to the core of this presentation today. The regional models of cooperation is a joint Federal Transit Administration/Federal Highway Administration effort to encourage regional planning on a broader scale. We have a lot of metropolitan planning areas that encompass multiple states. Sometimes there’s more than one MPO in the transportation management area and in just about every urbanized area you’ve got multiple city and county governments, multiple jurisdictions, several transit operators, and one or maybe more regional governmental entities. What we’re encouraging here is cross-border coordination. We all know that transportation problems don’t begin and end at a city-county boundary. Air quality problems, congestion problems, generally cross broader regional areas. With this recognition Federal Highway Administration Acting Administrator Miguel and Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Therese McMillan issued our planning emphasis areas letter which discussed three core areas and beginning performance-based planning and programming, the regional models of cooperation, and ladders of opportunity. We’re embarking on this webinar series to try to bring about best practices and to show people how they can advance the state of the practice in their local area. So why is enhanced coordination needed? The goal of metropolitan transportation planning is to produce a seamless, coordinated multimodal transportation system that meets the needs of a diverse population. Most of our commute boundaries are far beyond municipal boundaries. Most of our travel sheds and economic areas are way beyond just the MPO boundary line or the metropolitan planning area. So what we want to talk about here is how areas with multiple governmental jurisdictions can work together to improve coordinated regional planning. A lot of our urban areas have grown in the last 20 years. People commute farther than they used to. They’re often pursuing housing in lower cost areas far outside jurisdictional boundaries. There’s street movement that encompasses large urban areas also and many transit riders use multiple transit systems to reach a given origin or destination. So we want to encourage everybody to look at what their neighbors are doing, to work in the broader metropolitan area to coordinate and work together to address regional transportation problems. And our presenters today are going to provide some excellent examples of how they tackled regional transit planning and implementation in their respective regions. We’ve been doing a lot of activities, a lot of outreach. We’ve had our webinar series, peer exchange, workshops. We’re currently working on a handbook to show some best practices. We’ve done a ton of outreach. We have a lot more planned. As shown, this is our third webinar this year talking about regional transit planning. Our next webinar will be on safety planning in December. And we’re looking at congestion management in February 2016, rate planning in April 2016, data sharing in June, and other joint planning products in August. So we're going to continue doing outreach. We want to hear from you about good examples in your area so we can share them with the rest of the industry. Again, this is all about improving the work that we already do and being stronger in terms of advancing regional planning. Today’s speakers include myself; John Orr, the manager of transportation planning access in the mobility division at the Atlanta Regional Commission; Eric Anderson, the transportation director for the Maricopa Association of Governments in Phoenix, Arizona; and Mark Pitstick, the technical advisor for the regional transportation authority in Chicago. That’s pretty much all I had to say. I’m going to turn it back over to Kevin.

Kevin McCoy: Thank you, Dwayne. And without any further ado I’d like to introduce our first speaker, John Orr, from the Atlanta Regional Commission. Go ahead, John.

John Orr: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be with you today. And I want to share, of course, some of our experiences in the metropolitan Atlanta region as we’ve dealt with cooperation, and regional models of cooperation. First of all, to share with you the challenge that we have had in our region is that ultimately we have over 5½ million people covering parts of all or parts of 20 counties in our MPO, including over 100 cities and a variety of transit operators. And as I will share with you in just a moment, we have gone through a tremendous amount of evolution over the last 10 years addressing how we can best coordinate among ourselves, federal issues, and even with MAP-21—as Dwayne previously noted it has explicit coordination requirements for all regions in the country. Of course, we have challenges with services coordination as well as fare policy, and even identifying and discussing and coming to consensus on regional planning priorities. The way that we have organized our coordination with the Atlanta Regional Commission has been through a special group, which is part of our MPO and overall board structure called the Regional Transit Committee. And this is truly the forum to address coordination issues. It also reports directly to the MPO policy board and is composed of elected officials and leadership for transit agencies that can help us all collectively address regional transit coordination issues. This map really displays the challenge that we’re faced [with] within our region, a region of over 20 counties, and as I indicated over 100 cities and a variety of transit operators. I think many folks around the nation may be familiar with our large center transit system which is MARTA, which does compose the bulk of the service within our region. However, there’s a variety of local bus operators in suburban areas, also express bus providers through the state of Georgia with the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and other types of rural and other types of operators. And this over time created a tremendous challenge for the consumer or the customer for transit services; specifically, there was confusion about options that were available. And actually how do you transfer or connect between systems? And so that was one of the earliest efforts we began work on. To share with you a little bit of the institutional history for our regional models of cooperation for transit in our region the bulk of the work started around 2005 and 2006, with the establishment of a transit planning board. And its core mission was first of all how can we coordinate among bus routes, other types of transit service, and also developing a regional vision for the region which we refer to here within Atlanta as Concept 3. This work continued over the past six years into the Regional Transit Committee, the RTC. And as is indicated by the graphic the focus has shifted more towards how can service providers work together on fares? How can we coordinate bus stop signage? And overall information to the consumer even though we may have separate systems within our region. Some of the priority work task based on our model of regional cooperation within our region really revolves around a couple of key areas. Now, I’ll give you a little bit more information on it in just one moment. First of all, bus stop signage is a huge issue in our region specifically in our key activity centers specifically with all of the variety of operators within our region. Also route planning and fare collection coordination are major issues as well because ultimately it’s our goal to have one type of fare structure in media that other operators can all share and where, for instance, there’s only one card that you can use for a variety of operators. And then finally and I will not be able to get in these today but regional transit marketing strategy is another issue we’re working on as well as MPO coordination. And one point that I did not bring up on the regional map is the issue that we have in our region that there are multiple MPOs that share our overall urbanized area that abut our planning area. And that is in the Gainesville Hall County MPO plus the Carterville Bartow County MPO as well. So this requires not only coordination among operators, but also multiple MPOs. A challenge that we have in our region, I think, is that the graphic tells the entire story. Specifically, there are multiple stops within our region with multiple operators providing a variety of transit services. This has been very confusing to the customer. And in some of our surveys and conversations with transit operators this was identified as a major need that we needed to address as part of the regional planning process. So ARC began a project working in close cooperation with our regional transit operators and the RTC to identify how can we make the signage more clear within our region and lead to better outcomes for our customers? This ultimately led to an urban or unified bus stop signage project that is redesigning the signage within the region as illustrated in the graphic. This we know will be much more clear to consumers and transit patrons, and [will] help address some of the challenges that we’ve had transferring between systems as well as we hope will increase ridership. And to share a little bit more insight on this project, after the study was completed, ARC has been able to fund approximately $3 million of STP urban funds that will be flexed from FHWA to FTA to implement this project. So I think that this has been a major victory for regional cooperation at least within our region. Also I want to shift gears for just a moment on route planning. With the variety of service operators in our region there was no central location where a person in the region could bring up all of the variety of bus routes and then plan their trip including understanding how that they can purchase meet tickets or for what we have in our region - it’s referred to as the Breeze card system to load trips. So the goal in coordination with our operators was to go in and ultimately develop a user-friendly website that will allow this to be done. And this is just a screen shot that illustrates the route planning software where trips can be entered and then ultimately the origin, and the destination and the day and time that will allow a person to go in and ultimately identify the routes including transfers that they can take within the regional transit system. Supporting this overall effort has been a one-click system that I want to thank our federal partners at FTA and the Veteran’s Administration for helping us fund. This project, one of the primary goals was to help identify options for the support overall of regional route planning and trip planning to lead to better outcomes for our partners. This has led to a website which allows the user to also enter the various types of limitations they may have, and if they have access to personal vehicles or not. And ultimately options that they have for their trip planning. Also related to this as part of the overall system it allows the information to be graphically displayed with the various options for each trip, including the price and the time it would take for each trip. And I think many regions around the country have similar challenges to what we do within the Atlanta region, which is ultimately how do we best provide demand transit trips as well as demand response trips. Also, in closing, there are two other items I want to share with you, one of which is a very important project that relates to our models’ regional cooperation in regional fare collection coordination. Over time, we began with each operator having different types of fare collection mechanisms. And ultimately we moved to a central card system with the Breeze system to help coordinate transfers between systems. One of the items as we’ve continued this effort is identifying areas to improve the efficiency of fare collection. And we currently are in the process of a major fare study that is looking at what will be the next generation of fare collection technology. And with all of the variety of operators one challenge has been how do we equitably assign costs and revenues between the various operators specifically as it relates to cost-sharing methodology? An area that with their goal is ultimately to have procedures over the long run to continue to audit the program and understand what are the best mechanisms to assign revenues and cost for the overall system between operators. And so this is an area that we feel like we’ve had great success within the Atlanta region although we're certainly not there yet. And that covers the presentation. We are very excited about our partnerships here both within the region, within our partner MPOs that work with us very well closely as well as their operators and local governments and their FTA partnership and that’s allowed us to have some of the victories certainly that we’ve had over the past couple of years. So that covers the representation and I’ll be glad to take any questions at the appropriate time.

Kevin McCoy: Great, thank you, John. Yes, it’s very exciting to hear about what’s going on in the Atlanta region and what you’re accomplishing with your partners and what you’re working on. Thank you for sharing that information with us today. I do want to remind all of our participants that we’re saving questions to the end but you can submit questions at any time to the Q&A pod and a few have come in so far already so thank you. Please don’t hesitate to put your thoughts in there as they come up. We’re going to shift in a moment to the next presentation but I did also want to just remind folks that because some of the presentations include some detailed graphics and things like that you do have the option of making the presentation pod full screen. And that way if you’d like to do that you can do that in the upper right-hand corner of that pod. It’s the graphic that has four arrows pointing in opposite directions. Okay. And so now we’re going to shift to our next presenter and I’ll introduce Eric Anderson. He’s the transportation director of the Maricopa Association of Governments in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Eric Anderson: Thank you very much. I’d like to share with the group today a little bit different orientation than John’s presentation. What I’m going to speak about is give you an overview of the geography that we're dealing with here in the Phoenix metro area. And then discuss some of the major efforts we’ve done within the region to make sure that the different transit operators as well as our relationship with the state DOT are all understood and documented. And then at the end I’m going to talk about some of the efforts we’ve done on cooperating across regions within Arizona. So first of all, this is the general map of the CAAGs and MPOs within Arizona. Based on the 2010 census there were three additional MPOs added to the state which——and it also included an expansion of the MAG planning area that we serve. Prior to the 2010 census our planning area pretty much was the entire Maricopa County area which is where Phoenix is located based on the 2010 census our planning areas were expanded. You see on this map the brown areas there are actually in our neighboring county, Pinal County. Those brown areas are now part of the MAG planning area. The yellow area is one of the new MPOs in Arizona. It’s called the Sun Corridor MPO centered around the city of Casa Grande, and it includes Casa Grande, Coolidge, and Eloy. A little bit better representation you can see that as the MAG planning areas had expanded into Pinal County we picked up an unincorporated area called the San Tan Valley area. The San Tan Valley is kind of interesting. It’s a major unincorporated area in Pinal County with about 85,000 people in it. We also picked up the town of Florence there you can see on the map. And then on the western side of this map you’ll see some more brown area. That’s the city of Maricopa which chose to join MAG as part of these re-determinations of our planning areas. So you see clearly that the MAG planning areas and the Sun Corridor planning areas are adjacent to one another and to further complicate things there are two nonattainment areas that are covered in this same area in Pinal County, one for PM 2.5 and one for PM 10. And so the need to cooperate from a transportation planning and air quality perspective is paramount to say the least. So just to give you a further overview, here are the major transit operators that serve this region. Valley Metro is the regional transit operator, it provides regional bus operations, local and express bus service. Interestingly, they also have an organization in charge of light rail project development and light rail operations. That entity is actually a separate legal entity from Valley Metro forum through an intergovernmental agreement but it’s basically managed by Valley Metro. The other big operator we have in the region is the city of Phoenix. The city of Phoenix is one of the largest operators in the region. It’s also——the city of Phoenix is also the designated recipient for FTA funds. They provide local and rapid bus service, paratransit service, and interestingly they also have a dedicated city sales tax for transit service. And then down in Pinal County the area that we just expanded into is served by the central Arizona regional transit group that’s centered in Coolidge, when Coolidge is actually in the Sun Corridor MPO but provide service to both Casa Grande and Florence. And so their service area actually covers both of the MPO areas in Pinal County. In terms of transit funding we really enjoy regional funding for transportation in this region. We passed our first half-cent sales tax back in ’85. That was renewed in 2004 in a proposition we call Proposition 400. That regional sales tax in fiscal year 2015 generated a little over $380 million. A third of that money goes into the transit program and that’s divided between light rail capital and bus capital and operations. In MAG’s role not only are we the MPO but in state statute we also provide oversight on the Proposition 400 program. Then we have some cities that had dedicated local funds and the first one there the city of Phoenix passed their sales tax dedicated to transit back in 2000. That was a four-tenths of a cent sales tax. Just last month or actually in August they had another ballot measure to increase that sales tax 0.7 percent and extend it to 2050. So that’s a great benefit to the region and certainly to the city of Phoenix. And you’ll see there that in fiscal year 2015 the fourth-tenths of a cent generated about $133 million. And then if you look at what it would have collected under a seven-tenths of a percent sales tax, a little over $230 million. So a significant amount of funding is going into transit. The new transit tax in the city of Phoenix, there’s a small portion of that is going to go into the street program but almost all of that predominantly is going to go into the city of Phoenix transit program including light rail——additional funds for light rail development and operations. The city of Tempe has a dedicated half-cent sales tax and Glendale also does, both of those taxes are perpetual which is very nice. And then obviously many of our jurisdictions provide local general funds for transit too. Because Proposition 400 is a major factor in our transportation program this is basically how the program is structured. We have three what we call lifecycle programs —what that means is that we’ve identified the use of all of those funds over the entire 20-year tax, period of the tax for the freeway program, the arterial lifecycle program and the transit program. So ADOT, the state DOT is responsible for implementing the freeway components. MAG is actually responsible for implementation of the arterial program. And then the transit program is under the auspices of the RPTA, or Valley Metro as they’re also known as. So as we passed Proposition 400, one of the challenges we had was to really make sure that we all knew what our roles and responsibilities were. And when you all of a sudden have a major infusion of new revenue as we did when we were successful in Proposition 400 we did a fairly detailed effort in defining our roles and responsibilities. This is what we affectionately call our fruit salad chart because of the colors on the chart than anything else. But here’s a little bit better version of this. And so across the top you see the different entities that we were trying to sort out, the roles and responsibilities for the Phoenix public transportation department; once again, they’re the designated recipient and major transit operator. The RPTA which is on this chart had to do with the bus element of the program. Metro and that’s this entity that was set to implement light rail and operate light rail in the region. And then MAG as the MPO. And so you’ll see that we looked at a lot of different categories down the left-hand side, the categories we were focusing on had to do with programming, system planning, projecting planning, which includes the project development work for the rail projects, support planning which includes from TDM to TOD strategies, those sorts of things. And then other miscellaneous areas were also included in this chart. And based on that, we developed some memorandum of understanding among all of the parties. And once again this was to memorialize what we had just discovered on our roles and responsibilities. Unfortunately, I just lost my screen. The Q&A——I think I need some help here, the Q&A just came up all of a sudden.

Kevin McCoy: We’ll minimize that, one moment please.

Eric Anderson: Thank you. There we go. Thank you very much. As part of this effort, before we could actually implement or execute this memorandum of understanding we actually went into—we had to get some statutory changes made to make sure that state statutes reflected our agreed-upon roles and responsibilities and once we had the statutory changes we went ahead and drafted the MOU and executed it. So it’s been a very useful document. We actually re-did this document recently to reflect the new provisions in MAP-21 to make sure that we had all of the bases covered, if you will, in terms of planning, programming, and system support for the transit program here in the region. In terms of project coordination, we have a project, light rail project in the plan to extend light rail from downtown Phoenix through our state capital complex. And then following Interstate 10 to an existing park-and-ride lot out in the west part of our region. And this is a project because it follows the interstate corridor, it was very important that we had a fairly high level of cooperation with the Arizona Department of Transportation. Not only were there improvements planned for Interstate 10 itself but will also have a new freeway that will hopefully be under construction next year called the South Mount Freeway which connects at 59th Avenue and Interstate 10. And so which is pretty close to the same construction schedule for the I-10 West project. Actually, I-10 West is a little bit behind that. But obviously you want to make sure that the different construction activities planning and construction activities in this corridor are highly coordinated. So we, again, went the MOU route and we developed an MOU between Valley Metro Rail. Once again, that’s the legal entity that’s responsible for rail implementation and operations. There is the Department of Transportation, MAG, and the city of Phoenix. And the city of Phoenix was an important player in this MOU because this light rail extension is all within the city of Phoenix. And the city of Phoenix is also a major funding partner for the project. Another project, the DOT coordination related there’s another proposed light rail corridor that runs from downtown Phoenix down to Central Avenue to baseline road. This is in the environmental assessment phase right now, I believe. But one of the issues that we identified just recently was where that red circle is an underpass that goes under Interstate 17. So that Central Avenue actually goes underneath I-17. The bridge structure there is of substandard height and it presents some problems for the rail project which has—I think most people understand the catenary for the rail would be attached to the bottom of that structure. Well, without sufficient clearance there’s a number of other things that have to be done to allow that to provide enough clearance like maybe lowering Central Avenue which involves changing Frontage Road and some other things. So because the structure was substandard anyway we’ve been working with the DOT to see if there’s a way that we can get that structure rebuilt here and have it be ready by the time the light rail construction goes through that area, perhaps in 2020. Obviously, what we’re trying to avoid is having to mitigate some of the other work that would have to be done if the structure is not replaced. And I think most importantly that if the structure had to be replaced 10 or 15 years down the road with the rail construction already completed it would present some major disruption for the rail project, for the rail operations. So once again, we’re working with ADOT on this to find a solution. Once again, I think this is a great example of interdepartmental—or inter-cooperation with the state DOT. From a regional perspective one of the—the central part of Phoenix is one of the megaregions that’s been identified by a number of groups across the country. And in Arizona, the three counties in central Arizona Maricopa County, Pinal County and then Pima County, Pima County is the home of the Tucson metro area those three counties represent well over 85 percent of the population of the state. So it’s a very important region economically for the state. It’s the economic engine. And obviously a good transportation system is key. And so back in 2009 we decided that we needed to improve our relationships with our neighboring counties because, once again, all of our futures were linked together. And so we developed a concept called the joint planning advisory council and it was the three entities at the time MAG, PAG which is the Pima Association of Governments, and the Central Arizona Association of Governments, that's the CAAG that served the Pinal County area, formed this joint planning advisor council (JPAC). And the major objective of JPAC, was to improve relationships and start a multicounty discussion about regional issues. And so there have been a number of meetings over the years and we really are gaining momentum. We’re doing coordinated freight planning now as an example. ADOT has just completed an inner city rail environmental—Tier 1 environmental assessment between Phoenix and Tucson. And so a lot of issues are coming to the forefront here that really involve regional cooperation. And just the fact that we have our elected officials and senior staffs from the organizations sitting down and talking has been a tremendous improvement, I think, in terms how we get things done here. So it’s something that is not in the state statute. It’s nothing we had to do but we really thought it was important to improve relationships to improve the communications. The last agreement that we still have under development now and this is in response to the creation of the Sun Corridor MPO and the requirement to have a working agreement among adjacent MPOs whether this was a requirement in MAP-21 or not I think we still would have done this because I think it’s really important to make sure that we have a clear understanding, once again, about who is doing what. In this case it was really important because we share PM 10 and PM 2.5 nonattainment areas. And so coordination of TIP and plan updates and amendments are extremely important. We also provide our travel demand model, and air quality modeling to the Sun Corridor MPO too. And so we’re all on the same platform, which is a big advantage in terms of really understanding what needs to happen both from a transportation perspective and air quality perspective. And the parties to this agreement, once again, this is under development right now, will be MAG, the Sun Corridor MPO as well as the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will also be parties to the agreement. So, once again, this is under development now. I think we’re probably two to three months away from having this executed. But I think even the draft, I think, has a number of provisions that really provide a good template for how MPOs can cooperate with one another. So that completes my presentation. We’ll be happy to answer questions at the end of the webinar. Thank you very much.

Kevin McCoy: Thank you, Eric. Thanks for sharing all of the great work that you’re doing in the Phoenix metropolitan area and some of those specifics as well. And I just want to mention for our participants that some of those examples that Eric just mentioned in terms of the agreements will be available for download in the download pod at the end of the event. And speaking of our pods we had a momentary technical issue there in terms of our Q&A pod. And if you’ll give me just a moment we’re going to try to resolve that. The Q&A pod was maximized by mistake at some point during Eric’s presentation. So we minimized for a moment there and I’m going to just give—if you can just give me just a moment we’re just going to try to resolve that and if we’re not able to then we’re just going to move back to using a chat pod instead for submitting questions. I apologize for the delay.

<fixing chat pod. Transcription resumes at 0:42:37>

Kevin McCoy: Okay. And so I think I’m not going to be able to fix that problem on the fly here. So we’re just going to go ahead and add a chat pod to our webinar here. And so you can just submit questions in that chat pod going forward. I apologize for the delay. And now I’d like to introduce our third and final speaker Mark Pitstick from the regional transportation agency in the Chicago metropolitan area. Sorry, Mark, I think I messed it up. Can you please repeat that for me?

Mark Pitstick: Sure, thank you, Kevin. That’s the Regional Transportation Authority. Hello, everybody. I’d like to spend just a few minutes describing the environment in which we conduct transit planning in the Chicago region with a few words about the transit system and the agencies that are involved. And then I’ll spend most of my time talking about some of the programs that are most pertinent to the topic about regional models of cooperation. Then I’ll conclude with a few lessons learned. So first a few words about the RTA transit system. We’re the second or third largest transit system in the U.S., depending on which measure is used providing about 2 million trips per day. About half of that ridership is on bus routes operated by the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace Suburban Bus. And the other half is on rail lines operated by the CTA and by Metra, our commuter rail operator. The transit system provides bus and rail service throughout the six county region of northeastern Illinois and that includes the city of Chicago and the six-county metro area. The region has about 9 million residents and about a third of those live in the city of Chicago, a third live in suburban Cook County, and about a third live in the other five counties combined and we call those the collar counties. Unlike the previous two speakers who work for MPOs, I work for the RTA, the Regional Transportation Authority, so my perspective is a little bit different. We’re sort of in between an MPO and the transit operators. The RTA is charged with providing regional funding, financial oversight, and planning for the transit system. We don’t operate the buses or trains, nor do we own the vehicles or the facilities, but we do provide some customer services. So a little bit of background: the RTA was created in the 1970s to stabilize funding for transit which we do through a regional sales tax. And to take over the operation of commuter rail and suburban bus services, which were being abandoned by private railroads and bus operators at that time. In the 1980s, Metra and Pace were created to provide those functions with commuter rail and suburban bus. Now, we have those separate agencies which are similar to the CTA and the CTA was actually created in the 1940s taking over from private operators at that time for transit in the city. So now all of the buses and trains along with the associated facility are owned and operated by three transit agencies which are the CTA, Metra and Pace and we refer to these as the service boards because they provide the service and because they’re governed by their own boards of directors, separate from the RTA board of directors. This provides some challenges for regional transit planning and perhaps this is the reason why we’ve become so adept at regional miles of cooperation. The MPO for the region is CMAP, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. They’re responsible for comprehensive regional planning including transportation, land use, economic development, housing and natural resources. And, of course, we have Departments of Transportation that represent various levels of government. I just mentioned that CMAP is our MPO but technically the MPO is the MPO policy committee which includes representatives from each of the transportation agencies that I have mentioned on the previous slide plus some others. CMAP is actually an agency with a staff that is governed by an appointed board of directors and that’s the CMAP board and they have balanced representation for the city of Chicago, suburban Cook County and the collar counties much like the RTA board. Thus the CMAP board is yet another policy level body for matters related to transportation and funding and transit. In addition to the RTA board, the CTA board, the Metra board, the Pace board and the policy committee. So these policy level bodies often agree on matters related to transit and transportation but not always and that’s where things get interesting. Below these policy-level boards I represent the RTA on several working level CMAP committees, including the transportation committee, the CMAP project selection committee, and the unified work program committee. One of the major products of all of this planning and coordination is the regional comprehensive plan which we call GO TO 2040. And we're just starting to work on the next regional comprehensive plan for 2050. One of the pieces that feeds into the regional comprehensive plan is the regional transit strategic plan which the RTA board most recently approved in 2013. We developed a 2013 plan cooperatively with the service board CTA, Metra, and Pace, and we’re all jointly responsible for implementing the plan. We annually prepare our progress report which we just presented to the RTA board and that’s to remind us all that we have such a plan and that we’re following it. At this time, we’re just starting to work on the next transit strategic plan which we intend to complete in time to positively influence the regional comprehensive plan, and both of those are expected to be improved in 2018. So stepping down a bit now from the regional level planning, we also do a lot of cooperative planning at the local or subregional planning level. We also do a lot of cooperative planning at the local or sub regional level through what we call our community planning program. Through this program we partner with municipalities and other agencies to develop plans for transit-oriented development, improving access to transit and improving transit services in local areas or along corridors. So once a year we issue a joint call for projects with CMAP in conjunction with their technical assistance program. And projects are then selected by the RTA in consultation with the service boards. And then we initiate those projects with a mix of federal, regional, and local funding. We’ve completed a lot of these plans, more than 170 plans over the 17 years since we started the program, and we’re just about to approve 10 new projects for 2016. So what do we do with all of those plans?  Well, we try to get them implemented in a variety of ways and one of those ways is our new access to transit program. We started this a few years ago by encouraging municipalities to complete the design work on various access improvements that were identified in the plans we helped them create through our community planning program. These improvements include things like sidewalks, crosswalks, shelters, and bicycle parking because people can’t ride transit if they can’t get to the buses or the trains. So once the designs are completed by the municipalities we bundle up those projects from several communities and submit the entire packets to CMAP, the MPO, and [make] application for CMAC funds. And we commit to providing the local share subject to RTA board approval. If we’re successful in obtaining the funds then the Illinois Department of Transportation actually issues contracts for the construction of those improvements overall involved in those projects. We have four pilot projects now underway with 11 more pending approval of funding. Once people have access to our transit system they need help navigating through the system especially at transfer locations where more than one transit operator provides service. So starting more than 10 years ago we embarked on our interagency signage program where we develop and install way-finding signs, service information, and maps that keep transfer locations throughout the region. So this is very similar to the program that John Orr mentioned earlier for the Atlanta region. Again, we do this in partnership with the service boards and the municipalities because remember the RTA doesn’t own any of the facilities. So we need approvals and permissions from whoever owns the building or the right of way if we want to install something. In this program, the RTA contracts for designing the products using standards that we develop jointly with the service boards, and then other RTA contractors install and maintain the products. Again, all of this is CMAC funded with the RTA providing the local match. We completed implementation at four pilot locations a few years ago and we’re now designing new products for nineteen additional transfer locations throughout the region. As I mentioned at the beginning of my presentation about half of the region’s transit ridership happens on busses. So we are partnering with the CTA, Pace, and various DOTs throughout the region on our regional transit signal priority implementation program. The goal of this program is to use transit signal priority to improve bus performance on arterial corridors with high bus ridership. And to do so in a way that it’s interoperable. And by interoperable I mean that a CTA bus should be able to communicate with a traffic signal in the suburbs and a Pace bus should also be able to communicate with a traffic signal in the city should they happen to be operating there. We’re accomplishing all of this through a TSP working group that includes all of the appropriate transit agencies and the local DOTs. This work is guided through a set of regional TSP standards and implementation guidelines that we developed jointly through our TSP working group. The RTA is managing this program—overall program but the CTM Pace are implementing the TSP in conjunction with the DOTs. And, again, this program is CMAC funded with RTA providing the local match. So I hope you’re noticing a pattern here. The transit strategic plan that I mentioned earlier identified a need for a robust commuter consumer marketing campaign that engages a broad regional audience, not just regular transit commuters. So earlier this year in conjunction with the CTA, Metra, and Pace we launched the Ride On regional marketing campaign to increase awareness of transit as an attractive mode and to increase ridership on CTA Metra Pace. It’s a multiyear campaign being managed by the RTA and it’s focused on promoting the overall benefits of riding transit regardless of agency or mode. These ads have been shown on websites, cable, TV, radio, social media, and digital billboards throughout the region and on transit vehicles and transit stations. Unlike the previous three programs that I mentioned this one is not CMAC funded. We’re paying for this with regional funds. So by now you’re probably wondering how we keep track of all of these programs and projects. So about 15 years ago we started developing our regional data warehouse which we call RTAMS and RTAMS stands for Regional Transportation Authority Mapping and Statistics. This data warehouse contains data sets and maps and interactive maps. And, in addition, it includes reports on most of the programs and projects that I’ve mentioned today. It’s available at RTAMS.org. And if you can’t find it something that I mentioned on RTAMS.org you can probably find it on our website at RTAChicago.org. One of the things that you can find on our website is some information on the last program that I want to mention which is performance measures. We developed these cooperatively over the last few years with the CTA, Metra, and Pace through a performance measures taskforce. Unlike the other programs I mentioned I wasn’t directly in this program but I understand from the people involved that there were some spirited discussions about how best to measure performance and which data to use. In the end, after good debates the taskforce agreed on a broad set of measures covering the categories listed on this slide. And they agreed to use data from the National Transit Database because of its consistency and availability. You can find all of these reports, again, on the RTA website.

So now I’d like to conclude with some lessons learned regarding cooperative transit planning in the Chicago region. First, I hope that my presentation didn’t give you the impression that coordination is easy because it’s not. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. Second, I’ve learned that providing money, at least a share of it, sometimes helps foster cooperation. And third, it can take a long time. The example programs that I’ve mentioned all took several years at a minimum to get up running, and some of them took even longer. The image on this slide is a photo of downtown Evanston where all of the components of the RTA system come together. There’s a Metra station, a commuter rail station, there’s a CTA rapid transit station. There’s also bus boarding areas for CTA buses and for Pace buses. We use this as a test location for our interagency signage program that I mentioned earlier. It wasn’t easy. We had to pay for it and it took a long time. But eventually we were able to install our signs and people are making good use of them today. So I think I’ll end my presentation there with those words of wisdom for you to consider and my contact information is provided on this last slide. And remember, you can find any other additional details on either RTAMS.org or RTAChicago.org. Thank you.

Kevin McCoy: Thanks, Mark. Thank you for sharing all of the hard work that you’ve done in the Chicago Metropolitan Area to coordinate between the different agencies and try to achieve a more effective transit planning system. And I want to thank all of our presenters thus far, John, Eric, and Mark, as well as Dwayne for sharing their examples and talking about the importance of regional cooperation and transit planning. And we know that there’s a lot of questions out there. We received some in the Q&A pod. And, again, I apologize for the technical difficulties. We’re receiving additional questions in the chat pod already and we can continue to submit additional questions there as we proceed. I’m going to switch us to a slightly different layout here and we’re going to see the Q&A pod first but I’m going to add the chat pod in as well. And I’m just going to resize our window so that we can see both of those. So as a reminder, we’re going to start by addressing the questions that came in the Q&A pod but everyone can continue to add additional questions in the chat pod and we will get to those as well. Okay. So I think our first question, our first set of questions were for John and I think we’ll start with those and then move down the line. The first one was from Carly and that question was, “Was it difficult to encourage cooperation between providers?”

John Orr: That’s a very good question. I think for everyone that starts out in a new process there’s always going to be some initial challenges. But ultimately at the end of the day very quickly our stakeholders understood that there were mutual benefits from cooperation. And so we absolutely did have some challenges at first. And specifically a lot of it dealt with building trust among operators and adjacent MPOs and ourselves here at ARC local governments. But as we began to get into the process certainly the primary issue was that it’s clear that the benefits of working together certainly outweigh any of the challenges.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Thanks, John. We have a couple of questions from Robin Philips [ph?]. Her first question is regarding the trip planning software. She’s asking, “Who is doing the trip planning for you?” And she had questions about whether or not you looked at kind of some of the other options out there like Google Transit.

John Orr: Yes, and I can answer a couple of these questions on a relatively high level. First of all, like ARC and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and all of our partners initially developed the trip planning software through a contract with a consulting team. And our goal at the very beginning was to use open source data. And that was ultimately where we ended up going and we, of course, did incorporate and work closely with making sure that the software is utilizing the Google Transit feeds. And because this is becoming certainly a universal standard. But as it relates to the specific software name I will need to follow up on that.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Thanks, John. We have a question for you from Louis Grimm [ph?]. His question is, “What options are available for the provision of service and fare information to those without easy computer access or limited literacy levels?”

John Orr: Oh, that’s a great question. And one of the items is that this allows the software capabilities of someone to register and provide information where they could have either a private sector service provider or either a provider like a medical professional help them with that. But it does require registration and also allows people to have what we call a buddy to help them with this.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Thanks. And I think we have one more for you John before we switch to some of the other presenters. This one is from Paul Haven. His question is—well, he was just wondering if you can talk a little bit more about how decisions are made about representation on the regional committees and how that’s working out.

John Orr: Yes, with our experience we initially started out with, of course, the MPOs policy board includes representation from all of our counties and also has direct citizen representation as well as city representation and transit operators as well along with the designated transit operator. The representation is that it is primarily based on a memorandum of understanding that we have that details committees. And that is the way it’s primarily been historically dealt with here in metropolitan Atlanta. And we do have a relatively large policy board here for ARC that includes about 37 individuals.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Thanks, John. Eric, we have a question here for you from Vicky. I think you addressed some of this in your presentation already but maybe you could talk in a little bit more detail. Her question was about the Proposition 400 regional sales tax and whether or not it's applicable to all of the jurisdictions that are part of MAG or part of the greater region and, I guess, kind of who is involved and how are the funds distributed?

Eric Anderson: Sure. Well, Prop 400 is limited to Maricopa County. It was a county-specific vote back in 2004 as the prior vote was too. And so the Prop 400 monies can only be spent within Maricopa County. And one of the challenges that we’ve had obviously, with the expansion of our planning area into Pinal County is now we have jurisdictions that just aren’t eligible for that source of funding. And so we’ve been working with them on how they can access other funding sources we have that might be able to provide those kinds of services. So I think the challenge we have moving forward is we’re already having internal discussions on extending the tax again which obviously involves a lot of policy discussion but it will bring to the forefront this issue about we have jurisdictions some that have the half-cent sales tax and some that don’t. One of the concepts that we’ve talked about and it would require a very high level of inter-regional cooperation is doing a unified plan for central Arizona from a transportation perspective and then taking that to the voters in central Arizona on a multicounty vote. Obviously, the logistics of that get a lot more complicated. But that’s one way that we might be able to deal with this challenge of the haves and the have nots. One of the other challenges we have when talking about sales tax is that about 67 to 70 percent of the sales tax in Arizona is generated in Maricopa County. And so kind of however you cut the pie up if you have a multicounty vote it’s likely that there’s going to have to be some donations, if you will, from Maricopa County into some of these other counties because the tax base just isn’t there yet. So once again, really knotty political policy issues to deal with but that’s what we’re all about those kind of challenges.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Great. Thank you. We have another question for you, Eric. This one is from the Memphis MPO. And they’re asking can you clarify—you mentioned that CART is a partnership funded transit agency. But can you clarify whether or not that means a partnership between cities or whether there are other funding sources involved?

Eric Anderson: It’s primarily among the cities in that region. So they rely on obviously federal funds that might be available over time but they’re largely funded by their member agencies in central Pinal County.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Great, thanks. And I do want to remind everyone that now that we’re in this different layout we do have a download pod there in the lower left hand corner. You can download the presentation slides from today as well as some of the specific MOAs or agreements that were included in Eric’s presentation. We also have some web links there to the Federal Highways and FTA websites. We have a few more questions. A few of these are kind of more general questions that could apply to any of the speakers and I’ll start with Pete Stephanos’ [ph?] question asking, “If any of the presenters can discuss how you’ve coordinated across organizations or agencies in the collection and sharing of data critical to transportation planning and investment decision-making?” Would anyone like to take that?

Eric Anderson: I can weigh in on this. This is Eric Anderson from MAG. We do a lot of data sharing with both our transit agency as well as the DOT. We’re getting almost real time data from the sensor data on the freeway system so that feeds right into our performance database. And then we have—we get similar ridership data and performance data from the transit agencies. And so we kind of provide the comprehensive look at how our overall system is performing. So we have not had any issues with data exchange at all. And so we’re more than happy to either help our sister agencies with technical issues and some of these large data sets. Or we provide data back to them and kind of format it for them too. And so those relationships actually work pretty well. And, once again, I think because we’re so linked together in our funding sources now that we all have kind of a common objective here to cooperate.

Mark Pitstick: Yeah, this is Mark Pitstick. I think I addressed that a little bit. If you don’t mind, I’ll go back a slide or two and talk about our regional transportation asset management system and that was really developed intentionally to address just this issue. And we developed that internally for the most part with some assistance through the University of Illinois Chicago and it took a lot of time to sort of integrate those pieces of information together and maybe a little bit of reluctance at the beginning to share some of that information. But I think we’ve gotten well beyond that. And I think our partners, our transit operators and other agencies are some of the most frequent users of this data warehouse. The other effort that we’ve made it on performance measures and that uses, as I mentioned, Section 15 data or NTD data. So that’s not currently on our RTAMS system but we’re working on integrating that with our RTAMS system.

Kevin McCoy: Great. And John, do you have anything you’d like to say?

John Orr: Very similar to what the other presenters mentioned except I will give one example of where we have to share data very closely in our region among a variety of operators is that with our Breeze card fare collection system is that ultimately a lot of the burden for the processing of the fares falls upon our central operator MARTA. So one thing that MARTA has been a very good partner on is sharing internal information as it relates to the costs that are involved and then allocating these across the various systems. So that’s been an area that we’ve focused on very extensively in the last few years as it relates to sharing data.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Great. Thank you. Our next question is from Jocelyn Jones [ph?] and she says this is primarily for the first two speakers so that’s John and Eric and her question is, “How transit planning get coordinated with your public involvement and environmental justice activities including environmental justice analysis.”

John Orr: Well, that’s a very good and critical important question for everyone. Within our region, of course, and it’s not only federal planning requirement but it’s the right thing to do, of course, is that we look to develop truly a comprehensive regional transportation plan that coordinates the transit with regional land use and as well as other types of modal planning. And environmental justice and equity issues are central to that. When we develop a TIP or even conduct a special planning study at the corridor level. So there’s many cases where the local or regional transit operators are literally shoulder to shoulder with us in community engagement techniques and involvement including specialized and focused outreach to environmental justice communities. So we have a very close partnership with our transit providers and operators within our region. And so that’s a very important item to us.

Eric Anderson: Yeah, we do a similar thing. We coordinate all of our public involvement activities here at MAG with the transit operators and so we can kind of have a united front. We don’t typically get involved in project specific outreach that’s being done as part of the project development process, for example, rail projects. But in terms of our planning activities we also do a lot of joint projects, planning studies, and we just completed one for the southeast part of our planning area that was jointly managed by Valley Metro and MAG. And as part of the polling involvement activity obviously we were presented as the—as co-managers of the project, too. And so because there was an operational component to it in terms of current transit as well as future transit and so the two entities, MAG as the long range planning entity and Valley Metro as the major operator provided that unified front to the public.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. And I know Jocelyn said that was primarily for the first two speakers, but Mark if you have anything to add, please feel free to do so.

Mark Pitstick: Yeah, I’ll just add sort of from the other side of that equation, we’re sort of in between the transit operators and the MPO. And our public participation process weaves all of those pieces together. The CTM, Metra, and Pace develop capital programs in consultation with us. And we package—part of our requirement is to package those capital programs together and then submit that to the MPO and the MPO includes that then in the TIP. And the public participation really happens throughout the process. And we’ve been trying to do a better job of making it transparent of how those steps happen and who does what. And all of the agencies are heavily involved in MPO process. So there’s a lot of coordination there. We also have our public hearings for the next year’s budget are coming up and we do those public hearings jointly with Metra and they’re coordinated with the hearings for Pace and CTA. So that’s probably about all I need to say on that.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Thanks, Mark. We have another question for you here from Zack. His question is, “How are you tracking impacts of the transit marketing project? And did you develop the materials in house or contract them?  And if you did develop in house what were the useful resources in doing that?”

Mark Pitstick: Yeah, we are contracting for those services. Our primary contractor is Downtown Partners, the Chicago office for that. We’ve done a lot of work on performance, on measuring the effectiveness of that program. I’m not going to go into it too much because I’m not directly involved and I don’t want to say the wrong thing. But there’s different measures. There’s measures of are the ads and things getting placed? Are they getting viewed? Are the webpages being clicked on? So there’s those direct measures of are the marketing pieces getting noticed and out there. And then our broader goal is to ideally increase ridership on CTA, Metra and Pace the system and that’s harder to do. Even a regional marketing program like this which is fairly expensive it’s hard to see that kind of —you know, if we move the needle a little bit it’s within a bigger context of lots of other economic forces that are happening. So we can’t attribute a ridership increase or decrease due just to our marketing program. So what we’ve really done is tried to contact people and gage whether people know about the marketing and whether they’ve adjusted their behavior somewhat in response to that. And I think our initial results are that they have. We did just do a presentation to our board on this particular topic within the last few months. If you look on our website you should be able to find the recording of that presentation. If not, you can send me an email and I’ll be glad to put you in touch with our marketing folks because they’ve done a lot of work on this effort.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Great. Thanks. And I think our next question and the last one we have in the pod at the moment, so please feel free to add additional questions if there’s anything else on your mind. This question is from Jim Schulz [ph?] and it’s regarding funding and it was, “How easy was it to pass a regional sales tax for transportation or transit agencies from both the general public as well as devising a formula to share the money. And so I presume that’s primarily dedicated—pointed towards Eric. So Eric, would you like to give that a shot?

Eric Anderson: Yeah. It was an interesting process we had to go through. We had to go to the legislature to get the first enabling legislation to actually hold the vote. And rather than giving us the option to hold the vote they first said, “Well, we want to see your plan first.” And so they gave us a year to develop the plan and luckily we had already done a lot of the background work. And so we embarked on a policy process to put the plan together. We created what we call our transportation policy committee which was charged with developing the final plan to go to the voters. We got the plan together in a year and did the necessary quality conformity and all of those. Took that to the legislature and the first response from many people in the legislature was, “Well, we like your plan but we don’t like all of this transit in here. We don’t like the rail. And we had just coincidently we had had an opinion from the legislative council that basically said, “No, MAG is in charge of doing the plan and the legislature has no authority to change it,” which was very interesting because of the air quality concerns. And so that gave us some leverage with the legislature and, in fact, we actually came out of our transportation policy committee and regional council with a unanimous vote. We also had a unanimous vote of the Maricopa County board of supervisors and the state transportation board. And so we launched our lobbying effort with our inter govs, inter-governmental representative from member agencies and basically invaded the legislature in January. And we were the first bill out of the legislature that authorized the vote for November of 2004. And so it was a challenge but one of the aspects and just kind of a final part of the transportation policy committee we actually added six business people on to the transportation policy committee. And what the business representatives did was to level out some of the political discussion. And, in fact, in the final days of the balancing the program both from a modal and regional perspective the private representatives on the committee actually were instrumental in gaining consensus among the group. And they were kind of the voice of reason, if you will, from the business community that really put the final touches on it. So it was really a team effort both from all of our member agencies, the business community, everybody was on board. It was a really interesting process we went through. It’s not easy, though. It’s not easy at all.

Kevin McCoy: Thanks. And I think we actually have kind of a relevant follow-on here from Zack. His question is for all of the speakers but maybe Eric you could take this first if you’ve comfortable, in what ways are you engaging not just other governmental bodies to support collaborative planning but growing your capacity through other partnerships. I thought you just talked about one example.

Eric Anderson: Right. Well, it’s very key. I mean obviously the groups like the associated general contractors, the natural partners are always there but we motivated the chamber membership, did a number of presentations to those kinds of groups and really I think the testament to good collaborative process is when you finish it everybody thinks they own the plan. And so our elected officials certainly felt it was their plan. The business community felt it was their plan and that’s just a win-win situation. And everybody came together and there were parts of the plan that some people didn’t like but all in all when you put together a comprehensive plan there’s going to be components that someone says, “Wow, I really don’t like that one but I’m willing to go for it.”  So it really galvanized the community around transportation. And, once again, our issue now in terms of maintaining support for additional transportation funding is we’ve done a pretty good job in getting new infrastructure on the ground and our mobility is actually in pretty good shape right now. And so people have a fairly good level of satisfaction. So, you know, it’s easier to convince people there’s a problem when they can actually experience the problem on a daily basis. And so sure, we still have congestion but I think relative to many metro areas I think we’re in pretty good shape.

Kevin McCoy: Great. Thanks. Mark or John, do you have anything to add on that?

John Orr: Well, this is John. I’ll just—even though we weren’t able to get into it as part of the presentation is that one thing I should note is that ultimately partnerships are absolutely very critical. And one example of where that has made a difference in the Atlanta region was this year the state of Georgia during the legislative session enacted significant transportation funding reform that will ultimately double the amount of state resources going statewide to transportation. And one of the key factors that led to that success was truly what the question is getting at is that ultimately it was a partnership between chambers of commerce, the business sector, as well as other types of nonprofit bodies in the state such as service providers. Ultimately, it was that partnership that led to the successes for funding that we had over the last year.

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Great. Mark, do you have anything to add on that?

Mark Pitstick: Not really. I think I’ll pass on that.

Kevin McCoy:  No problem. And so then John we have one last question for you and I think this will be our last question. John, was the focus of the regional fare collection study primarily aimed at efficiency of fare collection and sharing costs? Or did it get into broader integration of fares across operators and jurisdictional boundaries?

John Orr: Yes, it was certainly the former and ultimately over the long run we want to get to the latter part of the question. It was based on efficiencies and including how can we improve the customer experience for riders who may be riding on multiple systems. But ultimately we know that there are some challenging fare policy questions about that that we want to tackle in the future about how can we get to common—hopefully common fare structures across systems?

Kevin McCoy: Okay. Great. Well, thanks to all of our presenters and for everyone for your questions. I think that’s really all of the time that we have for today. So I’m going to turn things back over to FTA Office of Planning now to close things out.

Dwayne Weeks: Well, that was a great discussion. I really want to thank Mark and basically Eric and John for each delivering an excellent presentation. And I want to thank all of the contributors who sent in really great questions and the follow up discussion. I learned a lot from this. Regional cooperation is difficult but it yields a lot of fruit. You get a lot of positive benefits, a lot of positive outcomes but you really have to put the time into it to develop those memorandum of agreements, work with your local elected officials or business community or citizen groups, pull everything you’ve got into it and you get some great results. And that’s what I’ve learned from these presentation. So, again, I want to thank everybody for dedicating your Friday afternoon or your later Friday morning to this effort. Thank you so much.