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TRANSIT SYSTEM NEWS
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), AT&T, Transit Wireless, the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), and Challenge Post announced the opening of App Quest 3.0, the third annual challenge seeking to generate the best transportation-related apps for New Yorkers using MTA data. App developers will be able to compete for a total of $50,000 in prize money being contributed by AT&T. To increase MTA transparency and to give developers new forms of data to work with, the MTA is releasing four new sets of raw data. App developers will be able to use the new data and merge it with existing data to create apps that have never been seen before.
Mass transit commuters should get the same tax break as people who drive to work, Sen. Charles Schumer said Tuesday. The New York Democrat said he has high hopes for a measure that would allow bus, subway and commuter rail riders to deduct up to $250 a month from their taxable income next year. Currently, the figure is $130. Before this year it had been as high as $245, Schumer said, matching the amount drivers are permitted to deduct from income for parking expenses. But the figure for mass transit commuters was reduced for 2014, although the drivers' break was extended.
Reactivating train service along the now-abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Railroad could result in half a million daily subway trips, according to a report released this week. The plan to reactivate train service is one that many Rockaway residents have lauded, as it would significantly decrease travel time into the mainland of Queens, as well as into the other boroughs. In August, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said reactivation would be a good investment. “Restoring service on the Rockaway Beach Branch would be a less costly way to speed commutes between South Queens and Manhattan, improve travel within the borough, and promote economic growth,” he said.
As the smoke cleared on a new political reality last week, transportation was a bit of an afterthought in the “what will the election mean for” discussion, which focused mostly on immigration, health care, trade agreements and tax reform. Roads, bridges and transit got a fleeting nod as “infrastructure,” the more elegant-sounding category to which they belong. But if Congress and the White House are to agree on anything next year, there is a good argument that it should be on how to pay the nation’s transportation bills.
In joining the country in commemorating Veterans Day, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) thanked the country's veterans for their service and the contributions they have made and urged returning veterans to consider public transportation as a career choice where many of their military skills are transferrable. "We are proud of our country's
veterans and the contributions they gave our nation and are now giving in the public transportation industry," said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. "Public transportation offers a great career path for veterans looking for civilian jobs that will use their military skills."
OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST
Washington, DC -- Nationwide, the percentage of workers who commute by car declined from 88 percent in 2000 to 86 percent in 2010-2013, according to a Stateline analysis of census numbers. Car commuting percentages were down dramatically in some urban areas, but also in smaller Western towns that are making a focused effort to promote alternatives. “The time has come for cities and states to shift their
transportation priorities away from investments in expensive, unnecessary new highways, and toward the maintenance and repair of our existing infrastructure and the development of new transportation choices for Americans,” the study concluded.
DURHAM, N.C. -- Until now mass transit has planned and deployed service without a means to understand how people use it and where they want to travel. The introduction of TransLoc Traveler creates a feedback loop, showing transit agencies for the first time ever how people move to, through and from mass transit. TransLoc Traveler will be released in late Q4 and equips transit
agencies with a larger, ongoing view of how their service is utilized and how their riders move today. This does more than just expose gaps and redundancies; for the first time transit agencies will have the ability to plan service around where and when people actually want to travel.
Support for transit in metro Atlanta is strong and getting stronger – plus that support exists in each of the Atlanta Regional Commission's 10 metro counties. When asked about the importance of public transit to the region's future, 92 percent of the respondents said it was either very important (70 percent) or somewhat important (22 percent); compared to a total of 88 percent in the 2013 poll.
St. Louis, MO -- Citizens for Modern Transit director Kim Cella suggests it’s time to get creative, because the basic message from Jefferson City is the cupboard is bare, “We have next to nothing in statewide funding for public transit right now. We have a transit agency in the St. Louis area that has a $250 million plus budget, and they receive a little over $400,000 from the state of Missouri.” That’s why Cella’s group is launching a six-month-long study of “potential funding strategies” that will examine best practices used by other cities to cover the cost of expansion.
NYPTA TRAINING AND EVENTS
Mark your calendars for NYPTA’s 2015 Transit Awareness Day. Plan to join us in Albany February 3 at the Capital as we bring lawmakers a unified message on the critical role public transit plays in our state’s economy. New York needs to make a continually strong investment in public transit across the state, and your voice can help make it happen.
More details to come.