Center Update

Career Pathways Grant Strengthens Summer Youth Program by Training SEPTA Employees to be Mentors  

On June 25, students and their families attended the SEPTA TWU Summer Youth Program Orientation Night hosted at the Transport Workers Union Local 234 Hall.  Representatives for Philadelphia Academies recruited the students from four Philadelphia Career and Technical Schools, Mastbaum, Swenson, South Philadelphia and The Workshop School. At the orientation, participants received the student manual from TWU Local 234 Apprenticeship Coordinator John Johnson, Jr. and filled out employment forms.  The participants and their parents also signed agreements to document their commitment for their participation, support, and dress code.   

During the course of this program, which started on Monday June 30, the participants will work will keep a journal of their learning and work closely with mentors.  These thirteen mentors are Transport Workers Union Local 234 members who attended train-the-trainer classes provided by Keystone Development Partnership and subsidized by a Career Pathways grant managed by the Transportation Learning Center.  SEPTA provided the facilities and time for the mentors designated by TWU.  The sessions included:
*    Background information on the SEPTA TWU Summer Youth Program
*    Information on the application process for the high school students
*    An introduction to learning styles
*    An introduction teaching techniques for the mentors.

The mentors participated in exercises and role playing scenarios to help them improve their mentoring skills.  The hundreds of years combined work experience of the mentors provides the foundation for the students interested in pursuing careers in public transit.  Some mentors recently graduated from the TWU SEPTA Apprenticeship and said that they volunteered to be mentors so that they could "give back" to the training program.   Students who attended the Summer Youth Program in previous years expressed their appreciation for the mentors and how they learned from these qualified role models.
Public Transportation
City Lab - July 8, 2014
The report that Michael Schwartz sets down on the table is truly enormous. It looks like it has eaten several smaller reports and laughed as they tried to run away screaming. The document is some 700-pages long and several inches thick; that's not counting the second volume or the thousands of pages of technical supplements.
The Washington Post - July 7, 2014
I keep stumbling across a great transportation visualization project from the Social Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab, most recently in this Washington City Paper post. In a series of interactive maps, covering a dozen cities, the Media Lab has mapped the most efficient mode of transportation - by car, bike, foot or transit - between any two points in a city.
Total Rail - July 8, 2014
This train journey connects the two major mountain resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps, covering a total of 180 miles in eight hours.  An 8 hour journey upon what some have labeled the 'slowest train in the world', would normally hinder a passenger's rail experience. However, the Glacier Express is an exception to that rule. 
International Transportation News
Smart Rail World - July 8, 2014
"South Korea has really seen benefits on a number of levels from the development of high-speed rail and increasingly other nations are too."  The post-war economic development of South Korea (known popularly as Miracle on the Han River) saw rapid and significant export-fuelled economic growth leading to democratization, industrialization, technological innovation, an education boom, a large rise in living standards, successful hosting of Olympics and FIFA World Cup and emergence of multinational conglomerates such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai-Kia.  
Transit System/Partners
Saporta Report - July 5, 2014
The finances of the planned expansion of MARTA service in Clayton County gained clarity after Clayton's Board of Commissioners voted Saturday to put a proposed 1 percent transit tax on the November ballot. That's because the 1 percent tax rate activates a feasibility study by MARTA, which envisioned only the 1 percent tax rate and not the 0.5 percent rate the board initially approved this week.  
Boston Globe - July 4, 2014
Ever find yourself waiting ten, fifteen, maybe twenty minutes for the T, all the while wondering whether or not it would be faster to ditch the often unreliable MBTA and walk to your destination? You're not alone.    
Railway Gazette - July 1, 2014
Keolis Commuter Services took over from Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co as operator of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's 14 Boston commuter rail services with effect from July 1, saying it would improve punctuality, safety, cleanliness and customer service on the fifth largest commuter network in the USA, and the largest to be put out to tender.  
USA Today - July 7, 2014
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has fired a conductors after allegations someone got a copy of a Metro-North Railroad safety test and passed it around.  "We were alerted about two weeks ago," said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan on Wednesday. "We're conducting a full investigation and take this very seriously, which is why we have disbanded a class."
SEPTA - June 26, 2014
SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. "Pat" Deon Sr. has been named the winner of a prestigious national award that honors exceptional service by public transportation board members.  The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has named Deon as its selection for the 2014 Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member Award, officials announced today.   
Progressive Railroading - July 3, 2014
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) plans to increase the number of eight-car trains on the Blue Line in preparation for the July 26 opening of the Silver Line.  The additional cars will provide capacity for riders on the Blue Line, where two trains per hour will be converted from Blue to Yellow trains to accommodate the Silver Line, WMATA officials said in a press release.   
Progressive Railroading - July 8, 2014
July 1 marked the 45th anniversary of the creation of the Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Denver. Colorado's 47th General Assembly formed RTD to "develop, maintain, and operate a mass transportation system for the benefit of the inhabitants of the district," according to an RTD prepared statement.   In 1973, voters approved RTD funding through a sales tax to create an integrated regional public transportation system. During the next few years, the agency acquired several of the suburban bus services.   

Star Ledger - July 7, 2014
It was 85 degrees and humid in front of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and Darnell McCoy was wearing jeans, heavy black boots and a down jacket zippered all the way up. McCoy, a 39-year-old Brooklyn native who said he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, is homeless and tends to wear most of the clothes he owns, regardless of the temperature.  "I get by, I get by," McCoy said in a hushed voice barely audible above the taxi cab horns and pedestrian traffic outside the world's busiest bus station. "But it's very challenging."
Building Transportation Infrastructure
Progressive Railroading - July 7, 2014
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) has now signed a contract with a Skanska USA Civil/Traylor Brothers Inc. joint venture to construct the Regional Connector in downtown Los Angeles.  The total contract value for the joint venture firm - known as Regional Connector Constructors - is $918 million.
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