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Putting It Together: Annual Meeting & EXPO Highlights

As the date nears for the 2014 APTA Annual Meeting & EXPO, Oct. 12-15 in Houston, final details of the event are falling into place. Register and learn more by clicking here.

Before the Meeting Begins
There’s plenty to do at the Annual Meeting & EXPO even before the events officially begin. Meeting participants who arrive early can participate in two special activities on Friday, Oct. 10.

APTA is organizing a volunteer effort at the Houston Food Bank, one of the nation’s largest, on Friday morning. Activities will range from creating food boxes for older citizens to building bags for the food bank’s Backpack Buddy program, which provides weekend meals for children who rely on free or reduced-price lunches during the school year. Space is limited, so sign up now by clicking here.

In the afternoon, the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) is hosting a golf tournament to benefit the APTF scholarship fund. The event is open to Annual Meeting & EXPO attendees and their guests, and it includes lunch, a dinner buffet, and prizes for the participants. More information is available here.

Transportation for both events will be provided by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), host system for the meeting and EXPO.

Also, APTA will conduct the election of officers and members for the association’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors at noon Saturday, Oct. 11, just prior to the beginning of the board meeting. APTA members are encouraged to participate in the election. Members can designate a voting representative or assign a proxy to vote in their stead by submitting a form available at the website.

General Session: Meet with Mayors
Mayors from cities throughout the U.S. will participate in a roundtable session, “Preparing for a Future of Transit-Oriented Communities,” the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 14. Incoming APTA Chair Phillip Washington will preside at the session, which will address topics including mobility trends, economic opportunity questions, and quality of life issues that will shape American society and individuals’ lifestyles in the years ahead. The mayors will describe their experiences with infrastructure renewal, urban growth and development, regentrification, complete streets, sustainability, transportation rebalancing, and the interrelationship among the federal, regional, and local governments.

Public Safety Awards Centennial
What innovation introduced in the past 100 years has had the most profound impact on public transit safety? Come to the APTA Center on the EXPO floor and vote for your choice!

APTA continues to celebrate the centennial year of its public transit safety awards program with an interactive timeline display based on an online timeline to which many APTA members have contributed during the year. So far, APTA members have submitted approximately 150 nominations for safety innovations to appear on the timeline.

The interactive timeline at the APTA Center will present 100 safety innovations selected from among the nominees. Visitors can scroll to see the innovations according to the year they were implemented or they can zoom in and explore individual items via a large touchscreen display. They can then vote on which of those safety innovations included on the timeline has made the most profound impact on public transit safety.

APTA is continuing to gather and post safety innovations to the online timeline to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the public transit safety awards program, currently known as the Bus and Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards. To submit an entry, click here.

The Annual Meeting schedule also includes two sessions devoted to safety issues: A roundtable session Tuesday morning, Oct. 14, features representatives of FTA’s new Office of Transit Safety and Oversight, in partnership with the APTA Safety Coordinating, Bus Safety, and Rail Safety committees, and a concurrent session, “Top Actions To Mitigate Distracted Driving,” Wednesday morning, Oct. 15.

APTA is joining with the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) to present an Oct. 14 session titled “APTA-COMTO DBE Assembly: Good News About Good Faith Efforts!” This is the third year the two organizations have hosted an Annual Meeting joint session devoted to Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs).

The session brings together representatives of public transit agencies and businesses to discuss innovative approaches to support the inclusion of DBE firms in public transit projects as both primes and subcontractors, ensuring fairness and opportunity, and building sustainable small minority- and women-owned businesses.

Shuttles to Convention Center
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), host system for the Annual Meeting & EXPO will provide shuttle service to the George R. Brown Convention Center, from downtown hotels as well as those in the Galleria area, from Saturday, Oct. 11, through Wednesday, Oct. 15.

The downtown shuttles, Greenlink and METROLink, will serve all APTA-designated hotels in the area. The Greenlink Shuttle is an existing weekday service provided by the Houston Downtown District and METRO, with extended weekday hours and the addition of weekend service during the meeting. METROLink is a modified version of the Greenlink Convention route, which ordinarily operates only on weekends during major events. An additional shuttle specifically for EXPO exhibitors will operate between the Doubletree Suites and the convention center on Thursday, Oct. 9; Friday, Oct. 10; and Thursday, Oct. 16.

Route schedules will be accessible through an app METRO is creating. Details will be available on site. Hard copies of the route information will be available at hotels, the Host Booth in the convention center, and on board the buses.

Safety Management Session
Following the conclusion of the Annual Meeting & EXPO, APTA will host a session on safety management Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 15. This workshop, led by representatives of the Transportation Safety Institute, has no additional registration fee and it does not require attendees to preregister.

The session, “Safety Management Systems (SMS) & MAP-21,” will review MAP-21 legislative changes, new policies, and safety performance standards and focus on SMS’s four key pillars: safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion.

APTA Goes Green
Annual Meeting & EXPO attendees can now find all the information they need about the events at their fingertips—­literally—by downloading the app APTA created for both meetings.

The app features program information, comprehensive agendas and schedules, floor maps, exhibitor profiles, links to social media, and more, all organized by day, with an option enabling users to bookmark sessions and create customized schedules. Before the Annual Meeting & EXPO begins, all registrants will receive an email inviting them to download the app.

Attendees who wish to use a printed program instead must go to the EXPO website and download and print a pdf. The program will not be available on-site as a pre-printed document.

Finally, if attendees plan to purchase extra tickets for the Welcome Reception on Sunday, Oct. 12, they must do so here by Saturday, Oct. 11. Tickets will not be available at the reception.
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