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January 7, 2020

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) is conducting a research project for the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). This research project, TCRP Synthesis SH-20: Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small- to Mid-Sized Agencies, will document innovative practices for solving transit planning challenges faced by small and mid-sized transit agencies (i.e., agencies providing less than 10 million annual trips). They anticipate that the results of their research will be very useful to small and mid-sized transit agencies that are trying to figure out how to address transit planning challenges.

They are conducting a survey to identify (1) the types of transit planning challenges that should be included in the research and (2) potential case studies focusing on solutions to those challenges. They would like to reach a large number of transit agencies with their survey so that they can identify a diverse set of transit planning challenges and solutions. Your assistance would be very helpful in ensuring they receive input from as many transit operators as possible.

Survey Link:
Survey deadline: February 7, 2019

If you have questions about the survey or the research, please contact Kelly Blume, PE at 512-407-1170 or

December 10, 2019

The new Oregon State Price Agreement (SPA) for ADA Certified Transit Vehicles is now available. There are five vendors on the new SPA, although at this time only four of the five vendors have signed agreements.

This iteration of the SPA contains complete vehicle specifications. If you have additional requirements for your vehicles, different than the SPA specifications, those should be noted in the Request for Quote.

Visit the Buy a Vehicle webpage for more information on how to buy a vehicle using the SPA. A Vehicle Purchase Checklist is also available on the Public Transit website.

The Vendor Contact List is available on the Public Transit website. This document includes the category of vehicles each vendor provides and their Oregon State Price Agreement number.

Additional information on the Oregon State Price Agreement for ADA Certified Transit Vehicles can be found on the Oregon Procurement Information Network (ORPIN).

November 25, 2019

FTA announced today that $423 million in grants are being awarded nationwide to revitalize America's bus infrastructure. ODOT Rail and Public Transit Division will receive $1.6 million of those competitively awarded funds on behalf of four agencies.

  • Yamhill County Transit will receive $999,968 for a bus replacement and expansion project.
  • The City of Woodburn will receive $300,000 to replace the oldest bus in their fleet with a new heavy-duty transit bus.
  • Mid-Columbia Economic Development District will receive $150,126 to replace 2 LINK buses.
  • The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians will receive $110,500 to purchase a bus for a new rural public transportation bus route between the communities of Eugene and Florence, Oregon.

August 12, 2019

Please join us for the TransportationCamp Oregon 2019 on Sunday, September 15, 2019!

TransportationCamp is an open, forward-thinking event that replaces a traditional conference format in favor of participant-driven discussions about transportation issues and innovations. This is being held in conjunction with the 4th National Rural & Tribal Technical Assistance Conference.

TransportationCamp Oregon 2019 welcomes all facets of the transportation world - planners, software developers, engineers, students, transportation professionals, community members, policy makers, and anyone passionate about transit mobility to participate in this “unconference.”

We encourage sessions on:

  • Transit data standards
    • GTFS, GTFS-flex, GTFS-ride, GTFS-realtime, etc.
  • Transit model of personal transportation (MaaS)
    • Impacts on transit providers
    • Role of system managers/roadway owners
    • Need for future data "standards" supporting management of MaaS
  • Large Scale Transit Networks (regional, statewide, multi-state)
    • Understanding
    • Managing
    • Improving
  • Rural Transit
    • Technology adoption
    • Coordination
    • Impacts of MaaS

Bring your experiences, ideas, questions and dreams to TransportationCamp and be prepared to engage, teach and learn from a community of transit thinkers.

For more information including the schedule for the day, please visit the TransportationCamp Oregon 2019 web page.

Register Here

August 5, 2019

Grant management training materials have now been posted to the Rail and Public Transit Division website. The Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund, or STIF, materials including slides and webinar recordings can be found on the STIF training resources page. The OPTIS slides and reference materials from the training can be found on the OPTIS page.

July 26, 2019

FTA today announced $84.9 million in grant selections through the Low- or No-Emission (Low-No) Grant program, which funds the deployment of transit buses and infrastructure that use advanced propulsion technologies. Thirty-eight projects in 38 states will each receive funding through the program. One Oregon project was awarded to TriMet, totaling $2,088,579. The funds will be used to purchase zero-emission battery electric buses in lieu of purchasing replacement diesel buses.

Eligible projects include the purchase or lease of buses powered by modern, efficient technologies. These include hydrogen fuel cells, battery electric engines, and related infrastructure investments such as charging stations.

June 14, 2019

In coordination with ODOT and Cascades East Transit (CET), the Bend MPO will be providing a training session on the Transit Boardings Estimation and Simulation Tool (TBEST) Transit Planning software developed by the Florida DOT. The Bend MPO has supported the implementation of TBEST for use in regional public transportation planning including the current CET Master Plan. TBEST supports multiple transit planning activities including Ridership Forecasting, Market Assessment, Operational Analysis, as well as Equity, Accessibility and Jurisdictional analysis and reporting.

The session will include a high-level overview of TBEST software features and applications followed by a more in-depth discussion about the model (e.g., data requirements and scenario development). The schedule is below:

Date: June 19
Location: video-conference (details to follow)
9:00 am - 10:30 am: High-level overview of TBEST software features and applications
10:30 am - 10:45 am: Break
10:45 am - 11:45 am: Modeling discussion (data requirements, scenario development)

For those wanting more detailed hands-on learning, the training will continue the afternoon of June 19 and all-day June 20. The training will provide a more in-depth discussion of the TBEST ridership estimation model components and forecasting methodologies including model variable sensitivity, equations, validation, and file structures. It will also provide a hands-on review of model integration with the overall TBEST software analysis and reporting engines. This training must be attended in-person in Bend

June 19 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Hands-on training to provide instruction and guidance on utilizing the TBEST tool.

June 20 9:00 am – 4:30 pm: Continuation of hands-on training, including scenario building.

If you’d like to participate, please email Tyler Deke.

May 30, 2019

ODOT Invests in GTFS-flex

Oregon Transit Provider,

Over the past decade, ODOT and Oregon transit providers have invested in the creation and maintenance of General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data. This investment has benefited the traveling public, transit agencies, transit planners, map makers, transportation modelers, software vendors, and ODOT. One shortcoming of GTFS is that is that it only represents fixed route transit service, so its benefits do not extend to the demand response portion of Oregon’s transit network.

GTFS-flex is an extension of GTFS that can be used to describe demand response service. ODOT has decided to begin investing in the creation and maintenance of GTFS-flex data for Oregon. ODOT contractor Trillium will begin reaching out soon to Oregon transit providers on behalf of ODOT. Trillium will first assemble available information about each agency, then schedule an interview with each agency. They will likely seek data on service areas, service hours, service capacity, rider eligibility requirements, and reservation policies. Over the longer term, ODOT hopes to have all of Oregon’s demand response services represented with up-to-date GTFS-flex data.

The development of GTFS-flex data for Oregon will be a first step toward the development of GTFS-flex-based products and software. Maps depicting demand response services will likely be the first tangible benefit of GTFS-flex data. Over time, GTFS-flex will become the foundation of an improved directory of transit providers, GTFS-flex based reporting and analysis tools, and door-to-door trip planning that includes demand response options.

H.A. (Hal) Gard
Rail and Public Transit Division Administrator

May 22, 2019

Today, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced project selections totaling approximately $9.6 million to 37 projects led by transit agencies, governmental authorities and nonprofit organizations to support innovative transportation solutions to expand access to health care. One Oregon project was awarded to Ride Connection, Inc., totaling $96,921. The project will increase access to healthcare services by providing mobility management services focused on two hospitals and local social services, offering individual travel options, counseling and clinic support to integrate transportation referrals.

FTA’s Access and Mobility Partnership Grants focus on transportation and technology solutions to reach medical appointments, access healthy food and improve paratransit services. The program emphasizes better coordination between health care providers and transit agencies, as well as technology improvements such as mobility-on-demand shared transportation services and smart phone apps for booking services.

The selected projects reduce barriers to critical healthcare in rural America, increase access to substance abuse treatment in response to the opioid crisis and add new technologies to increase paratransit program efficiencies, among other solutions.

May 15, 2019

Cherriots Receives Community Partnership Award for Transit Host Program

Garten Services presented Cherriots with an award for Community Partnership at its Community Jobs Luncheon in March. The annual luncheon celebrates community businesses and organizations and the people with disabilities they employ. Cherriots was recognized for its Transit Host program.

The Transit Host program, which is grant funded, is part of the Cherriots Customer Service Department in the Communication Division. Transit hosts are stationed at the Downtown Transit Center from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Rain or shine, Transit Hosts Daniel Kiener and Rachael Beem assist riders to get to the right bays and buses. They provide schedules, give directions, and help customers with transfers and connections. We're proud of the amazing job they do welcoming new riders to Cherriots and helping them find the best way to get to where they want to go!

April 29, 2019

ODOT Rail and Public Transit Division (RPTD) has partnered with Full Path Transit Technology and Trillium Solutions, Inc. to implement a technology-support pilot project. Agencies around the state have expressed interest in getting better access to technology expertise to help them navigate the evolving field of transit technology. It is RPTD’s goal through this pilot to help agencies make better informed technological choices that contribute to a more coherent and useful statewide transit network.

The division expects to work with Basin Transit Service, Cascades West Council of Governments, Community Connection of Northeast Oregon, Coos County Area Transit District, Grant County Transportation District, Lake County, and Morrow County during the pilot project. At the end of the pilot, ODOT will decide whether or not to expand the program to support other agencies.

The consultant team will conduct organizational assessments of agencies in the pilot, identifying opportunities for streamlining agency operations and coordinating multi-agency technology efforts. The pilot includes pre-procurement education, help with developing requests for proposals, and technology project implementation.

For more information, please email Mel Hanna or call 503-986-3264.

March 19, 2019

We are pleased to announce several staffing changes in the ODOT Rail and Public Transit Division:

Effective March 25, 2019, Sarah Hackett will join ODOT Rail and Public Transit as the new Transit Network Analyst. Sarah has over ten years of experience with the State of Oregon, including time at DHS, DCBS and, most recently, as Mediation and Election Coordinator with the Employment Relations Board, as well as policy and regulatory experience at the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission and the League of Oregon Cities. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government from Beloit College in Wisconsin, as well as Master’s degree studies in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. Sarah will be located at 555 13th Street NE in Salem, and her phone number will be 503-986-6579.

Effective March 25, 2019, Valerie Egon will join ODOT Rail and Public Transit as the Columbia Gorge Express Program Manager, replacing Jake Warr, who’s last day with Rail and Public Transit will be March 31, 2019. Valerie comes to us from the Westside Transportation Alliance in Beaverton, where she worked to educate and engage Washington County's business community and workforce on transportation options by creating, delivering, and evaluating TDM programs. Prior to that, she was the Manager of Research at World Business Chicago. Valerie holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of Wisconsin, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from DePaul University in Chicago, and a Project Management certificate from Northwestern University. Valerie will be located at 123 NW Flanders, in Portland, and can be reached at 503-731-8253.

And, effective April 1, 2019, Kathy Holmes, from the Rail Operations Unit, has accepted a position as the Transit Section’s Capital Program Coordinator. Kathy has been with the Rail Section for nearly 12 years, and has been the Passenger Rail Program Coordinator for the past seven years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Western Oregon University, and brings a wealth of experience in contract administration, stakeholder outreach and data and analysis skills. Kathy will still be located at 555 13th St NE, but will relocate to the Transit Section and can be reached on 503-986-3410. Kathy will replace Christine West, who accepted a rotation position, starting March 5, 2019, with ODOT Central Services. Until Kathy joins us, please continue to forward capital or special transportation inquiries to Naomi Zwerdling.

March 7, 2019

The Federal Transit Administration, or FTA, today announced projects to be awarded for the 5339(b) Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program. These funds will provide financial assistance to states and eligible public agencies to replace, rehabilitate, purchase, or lease buses, vans, and related equipment, and for capital projects to rehabilitate, purchase, construct, or lease bus-related facilities. FTA received 339 project proposals from 51 states and territories requesting approximately $2 billion in federal funds. Project proposals were evaluated based on each applicant's responsiveness to the program evaluation criteria outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

FTA selected 107 projects for a total of $366,162,440. ODOT Rail and Public Transit Division applied on behalf of Oregon transit agencies; and the following agencies received grant awards: Yamhill County Transit, Benton County, Canby Area Transit, and Mid-Columbia Economic Development District.

February 13, 2019

FTA today announced project selections totaling $5 million to American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments under FTA’s Tribal Transit Program. The Fiscal Year 2018 grants will support 36 projects in 14 states. The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde were awarded a discretionary Tribal Transit grant from this solicitation to initiate a new transit route that will expand service to new communities.

The Tribal Transit Program makes funds available to federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities to support capital projects, operating costs and planning activities for public transportation services on and around tribal lands. Tribal Transit grants connect tribal residents with jobs, school, healthcare, and other community services.

February 12, 2019

Our colleague Hal Gard, Rail and Public Transit Division Administrator, recently shared his decision to retire from ODOT in June after twenty-five years of steadfast service at ODOT. Hal plans to explore new personal pursuits as he writes the next chapter in his journey.

Hal has been with ODOT for 25 years, joining the department as our first archaeologist. Hal came on to establish much-needed relationships with the tribes, and his hard work and dedication laid the foundation for the successful partnerships we experience today with the tribes. In fact, ODOT’s tribal relations program is held up as a model for other states and jurisdictions.

From there, Hal worked on environmental streamlining for the OTIA III Bridge program. His work helped shift our environmental permitting from a process-based approach to an outcome-based one, which served to take environmental permitting off the critical project delivery timeline.

Hal then took the lead position in the Geo-environmental Section and worked on numerous initiatives including sustainability, culvert replacement, fish passage, environmental justice, Portland harbor cleanup and others.

In 2012, Hal was asked to take over the Rail Division, and shortly after to pick up the Transit Division. He has helped the new combined division overcome some of its biggest challenges, from a Monumental increase in oil shipments by rail to a multimodal move by the agency as a whole that places a higher value on public transit options than ever before.

After these accomplishments and many more, Hal is looking forward to spending more time with his family and exploring the state he loves.

Jerri Bohard, Transportation Development Division Administrator, will be leading the process for hiring a new administrator, and we’ll keep you up-to-date on the process and timeline.

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