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TCSP Grant Workshop Washington, D.C.

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Plenary Session: Perspectives of the TCSP Program from Partner Organizations

William Millar, President, American Public Transportation Association

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) shares the goals of the TCSP program. William Millar, speaking on behalf of APTA, discussed common goals for public transit and livable communities and described some of APTA's resources that may be valuable for achieving these goals. APTA has organized the Transportation and Livable Communities Consortium, developed an information center, sponsored research, and hosted conferences focusing on transportation, land use, and livable communities. Mr. Millar believes "there is a nexus between what APTA members are doing and what's possible under TCSP."

Mr. Millar sees TCSP as one of the "neat things" that happened in TEA-21, as important as anything else in the bill. By itself, TCSP is a small budget item; but this small amount of money will lead to an incredible multiplier affect over time. TCSP will help projects move faster by bringing folks together, resulting in a synergy of ideas and outcomes greater than the sum of the parts. These projects and ideas resulting from the TCSP program are now finding their way into other projects.

An even more exciting aspect of TCSP is that it gives us a chance to shape the future in ways that are not still fully known. TCSP is a place to experiment with new ideas for conducting transportation and community planning, and to replace old models of doing business with new models. Right now we have a general vision of the future, but are not sure exactly what it will look like when we get there. "We are all pioneers," said Mr. Millar. "None of us know where this journey is taking us."

Many TCSP projects are oriented toward communities already served by public transit. TCSP projects will help to better utilize and enhance what's already there and will allow cities, transit agencies, and private sector developers to experiment with new ideas. Mr. Millar highlighted three projects that demonstrate this. In Seattle, TCSP is funding the coordination of intermodal activities - bringing people together to "get the bumblebee to fly." A project in San Francisco's Mission Street Corridor will improve commercial activity, housing, and transit service in a historically strong transit and walking city. Grantees in Providence, Rhode Island are focusing on reconnecting a neighborhood to other parts of the city. Every city has a neighborhood that may not be well linked due to natural barriers, railroads, or highways. The outcome of this project will help other cities find ways to link communities together.

APTA has resources that may be of value to these efforts. The first is the Transportation and Livable Communities Consortium, as discussed by Janet Oakley. The premise of this consortium is that we can get more done if we work together. The second resource is the APTA information center, which is collecting information about projects from across the country. Third, APTA is a partner with the Transportation Research Board and FTA in developing the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), a federally-funded effort to identify and address the needs faced by transit agencies. Some funds in this program have been invested in research into livable communities, what it means, and best practices. Finally, APTA hosts a series of conferences throughout the year. In the past two years, sessions have focused on transportation, land use, and livable communities.

APTA is pleased with what they see in the TCSP program. Their Passenger Transport newsletter will feature activities of TCSP grantees.

Updated: 8/1/2013
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