APTA has selected the winners of the 2013 Awards. Honorees will be recognized at a Oct. 1 luncheon during the APTA Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Outstanding Public Transportation Manager: During his 14 years as general manager and chief executive officer of Denver’s Regional Transportation District, Phillip A. Washington has overseen an unprecedented number of innovative, cost-effective, and customer-focused initiatives. For example, FasTracks is the largest voter-approved public transit expansion in the nation—a project incorporating the Eagle Public-Private Partnership and redevelopment of Denver Union Station.
Washington serves on the APTA Executive Committee and has been named a White House Innovators Champion of Change.
Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member: Randall D. Chrisman has served 11 years on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Board of Directors, including terms as chair and vice chair. During his tenure, DART completed the longest rail expansion in North America, spurring extensive development along the rail lines. He is also secretary of the Transit Board Members Committee and co-chair of the Authorization Task Force, among other APTA volunteer positions.
Local Distinguished Service Award: The late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) supported public transit in Hawaii throughout his career and, for more than 40 years, was a champion of rail transit for Honolulu. With Inouye’s help, the city received a $1.55 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Honolulu Rail Transit project, which will be the first driverless light rail system in the U.S. when it enters service.
Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member: Charles R. (Chuck) Wochele has served on the Business Member Board of Governors since 1999, including two-year terms as chair, first vice chair, and second vice chair. He served on the Standards Development Oversight Committee since its inception in 2003.
Wochele has worked to keep business member companies engaged in APTA and bring their message to Capitol Hill.
Two public transportation professionals are being named this year to the APTA Hall of Fame. Richard J. Simonetta, APTA chair in 1994-1995, is a 42-year industry veteran who has promoted diversity and supported his employees while holding top executive positions at agencies in Harrisburg, PA; Denver; Ann Arbor, MI; Columbus, OH; Atlanta (transporting more than 25 million passengers during the 1996 Olympic Games); and Phoenix. In the private sector, he worked for Prima Facie, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and his current employer, The Burns Group.
William W. Millar served as APTA president for 15 years, beginning in 1996, as part of a 40-year career in public transportation. He has worked to expand public transit access for rural communities, small urban areas, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.
Millar helped create the Transit Cooperative Research Program and, as chief executive officer of the Port Authority of Allegheny County for 19 years, led the development of an integrated paratransit system. He was a member of the APTA Board of Directors for 13 years.
APTA will present the Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award in three size categories: agencies that provide fewer than four million annual passenger trips, those that provide more than four million but fewer than 20 million annual passenger trips, and those that provide more than 20 million annual passenger trips.
The winner in the first category, the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority, Flagstaff, operates Mountain Line fixed route service and Mountain Lift paratransit. The agency has worked to enhance its customer service, developing Facebook and Twitter presences, while introducing hybrid-electric vehicles to service, installing Intelligent Transportation Systems on board, and implementing driver training to help improve safety.
APTA will honor the Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid), Grand Rapids, MI, in the second category. In working toward its goal of continuous improvement, the agency has opened two LEED-certified facilities and introduced real-time information and trip planning on its website—while dealing with a 50 percent increase in vehicle revenue miles since the agency entered service in 2000.
The agency is nearing the end of its 20-year Transit Master Plan, which served as the foundation for a service enhancement package approved by voters in 2011.
GO Transit, Toronto, won the third category. The agency operates all Tier 2 locomotives, the newest fleet in North America—including commuter and freight rail. Other innovations include an electronic service guarantee that credits the passenger’s farecard if a train is delayed more than 15 minutes, and implementation of technologies to enhance safe rail operations while expanding bus operations, including Bus Rapid Transit. The agency introduced green technologies such as photovoltaic panels, a green roof, and water recycling in its newest bus maintenance facility.
The 17-member APTA Awards Committee met earlier this year to review nominations and select recipients.