APRIL 2017

Ontario Community Transportation Network (OCTN) NEWSLETTER

It looks like Spring has finally arrived to many parts of of the province! As the snow disappears and the rivers start to run, a variety of modes of transportation begin to roll again... See below for what OCTN members have been up to lately and gain information on a variety of topics that relate to Community Transportation (CT) here in Ontario and elsewhere.

In this issue you will find

  • Events, News & Announcements - OPTA Conference, CTAA Conference, Uber partners with small town, etc.
  • Resources - Website & Summary Report on CT in the USA, and a How-To Manual
  • Current Blogs - Working with School Bus Operators & Making the Business Case for CT Forum & Webinar
  • CT Service Spotlight - Rural and small town transit in the USA

It is our intent that this newsletter help inform your work, so please let us know what you think! Also, if you are interested in contributing to the content of the newsletter by sharing news, announcements, notices about upcoming events, resources or information on a local CT initiative, please email us at:

Finally, we encourage you to regularly check the OCTN website for updates and to learn more about community transportation around the province and beyond…

Thanks for joining us!
Lisa Tolentino, Facilitator, Ontario Community Transportation Network

Events, News & Announcements

This newsletter’s events, news and announcements are listed below and posted on our website at:  If you have an event, news or announcement related to community transportation that you would like to share, please email us at:


Small group discussions at the “Making the Business Case for Community Transportation” Forum: Minesing, ON March 9/17

Upcoming Events:

1) Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE): April 9-12th, 2017Toronto, ON
This conference and trade show is a joint annual event organized by three partnering associations – the Ontario Motor Coach Association (OMCA), the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) and the Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA). The conference and trade show provide access to people in the bus industry and offers solutions, services and products that can improve competitiveness and customer service. Participants are a combination of buyers and sellers from the entire bus transportation industry.

On the morning of April 12th, the OCTN Facilitator will be moderating a session that will provide an update on four of the MTO funded Community Transportation Pilot Projects and will include participation by the following:
  • Blair Allen, Supervisor Transit Development, Region of Waterloo (Waterloo Region)
  • Lancia Choisilme, Manager, Client Services at Canes Community Care (Peel Region)
  • Jennifer Diaz, Transportation Resource Coordinator, Region of Peel – TransHelp (Peel Region)
  • Alice Grenon, Manager of Community Support Services, Carefor (Prescott-Russell)
  • Dianne Kuipers, Capacity Developer, Community Support Coalition – Eastern Counties & Area (Prescott-Russell)
  • Erin Straughan, Transit Policy and Accessible Services Planner, York Region Transit (York Region)
To view the full program visit:

2) CTAA EXPO 2017 - Mobility Rising: June 11-15th, 2017 – Detroit, Michigan

The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) is hosting its annual event just across the border from Ontario this year! This five-day conference and trade show offers intensive sessions, mini-conferences and workshops that cover transit planning, mobility management, communications, technology and operations for delivering transportation services for your community. Training sessions and networking events provide the latest in data, analysis, perspectives, insights and opportunities for and about mobility. Participate in timely discussions and meet trendsetters and others at the forefront of the industry in the USA.

To view details as they emerge, visit:

3) Ontario-Wide Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Meeting:
Tues. Apr. 11, 2017, 9am-12noon – Toronto, ON

This learning and networking opportunity may be of interest to those of you who are already working in the TDM field and/or located in urban or suburban areas and focused on local transportation issues. Transportation demand management, traffic demand management or travel demand management (all TDM) is the application of strategies and policies to reduce or redistribute travel demand in urban and suburban areas.

To learn more and register, click here



Membership Update: The OCTN now has over 140 members!
  • Member Directory – Last month we sent our Member Directory out to those of you who indicated that you would like to be a part of it. If you did not receive it, please check your spam folders. For those of you who did not chose to share your contact information when you joined, but would like to be included next time, please send us an email (with your request and providing your permission) to:
  • Discussion Forum – We also launched our online forum a couple of months ago. This is a great place for you to pose questions, share information and create dialogue with others about community transportation issues! We encourage you to use this tool when you have information to share on a CT topic. If you have not yet joined the group, you can request to do so by clicking here.


Two more resources have been added to the OCTN website. They are both related to the recent in-person forum and our last webinar on Making the Business Case for Community Transportation.

As Facilitator of the OCTN, as well as being involved in a project on the ground, I am recommending a user-friendly resource that was also newly added to the website.

“For those of you who are starting out, you may find the resource, Coordinating Transportation Services: Local Collaboration and Decision-Making - A "How-To Manual for Planning and Implementation, to be of help. This is great for community organizations who are trying to tackle local transportation issues but don’t know where to start. As a how-to manual it offers concrete actions and simple steps to take in order to kick-start discussions with local stakeholders. I have personally found it quite useful”

You can also access this resource by going to the Resources tab on the OCTN website and looking under Reports – USA.

Current Blogs

Since the last newsletter, two more blogs have been posted to the OCTN website. You can check them out here:

CT Service Spotlight

In each newsletter we highlight a community transportation service as a way of providing you with up-to-date information about CT initiatives within the province, nationally or even internationally.

In this newsletter, we shine the spotlight on a handful of communities in the USA that have lessons for Ontario about why doing a cost-benefit analysis is useful. It is taken directly from the presentation that Chris Zeilinger, from the Community Transportation Association of America, provided at the Making the Business Case for Community Transportation Forum in Minesing on March 9th.

Salmon, Idaho

The population of Frankfort, Kentucky is 25,527. The city operated a small fixed-route bus system. Construction of a new state office building complex compelled them to take a look at their bus service and routes, and some necessary adjustments were identified. These included changes to the three existing routes, creation of a fourth bus route, and reducing cash fares by 50% so as to increase ridership. Research and projections showed that these adjustments would cost Frankfort Transit $285,000 to implement, but they would yield economic benefits of $860,000.

Salmon, Idaho has a population of 3,112, and the nearest city is 140 miles away. Among the state’s municipalities, Salmon has one of the highest concentrations of poverty, and has the highest percentage of adults over 65. Community leaders sensed some increased amount of transit was needed, but were unsure about how to proceed. The obvious thought was that the focus would be on seniors and those with low-incomes. However, the four-bus rural transit program that was launched in 2016 now connects a dozen previously unemployed individuals with employment, and the presence of this service helped to lure a major retailer to the community, both having an important impact on the local economy.

Kearney, Nebraska is a city of 30,787. It has a state university campus, heavy industry, regionally significant health care facilities, and a growing economy. A demand-response service was being provided in and around Kearney, primarily serving children, adults with disabilities, and seniors. But local officials were concerned about growing mobility gaps. It was recommended that they expand to provide a “family of services” including regional commuter vanpools to meet local workforce needs, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements to take some of the demand off of the already stretched transit.

Lowndes County is located in southern Georgia and has a population of 112,865. The core urbanized area, Valdosta, has a population of 76,150, but no public transit. There is a minimal amount of transit available to the county’s 33,083 rural residents, but both city and county leaders have been reluctant to consider providing transit service in and around Valdosta. Discussions focused on the numbers of, and challenges facing, rural zero-car households. It was determined that the costs associated with living without a car free in rural Lowndes County were largely offset by an increased level of transit service.

Madison, Indiana

Other examples include Madison, Indiana and Nevada, Missouri. Madison, Indiana has a population of 12,033, with an unemployment rate of 11.0%, and a poverty rate of 5.5%. The percentage of the population in zero-car households is 10.1% and the percentage of workers who walked or biked to work was 2.4%. Nevada, Missouri has a population of 8,386. The poverty rate is 26.0%. The share of population that is younger than 18 is 25.5%. The rate of working-age adults with one or more disabilities is 21.5%, and the number of jobs within Nevada’s city limits was 5,668, while the number of jobs held by persons commuting from outside Nevada was 4,080. In both these cases, the metrics showed that the solutions that were needed had to meet the circumstances and needs of the demographics, as well as other factors. For instance, those solutions included worker carpools, specialized transit and/or active transportation infrastructure (e.g., sidewalks and bike lanes).

What do these stories tell us?
  • Transit, along with non-motorized transportation, makes a difference in the economy of rural communities.
  • Every rural community is unique, and transit’s economic contribution to every rural community is unique.
  • Metrics matter, whether looking at demographics, automobile ownership, poverty & unemployment, commuting patterns, or other key indicators.
  • In working with local leaders to build support for transit and other automobile alternatives, pick the metrics that fit the community, and match them with the personal stories that leaders will recognize.
  • Don’t get caught up what transportation “mode” to provide (e.g., we need to put a bus on the road) as much as focus on what is appropriate for the community and its desired outcomes.
For more information on the above examples and the role that the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) played in assisting these communities to address their needs, please contact: Chris Zeilinger, Assistant Director - Email:, Twitter: @ChrisZeilinger, CTAA website:
If you are interested in contributing to the content of the OCTN newsletter, such as sharing: news/announcements; notices about upcoming events; resources; new/updated information on a CT initiative; etc., please email us at: Also, if you would like to have the OCTN newsletter sent directly to your email inbox, please let us know by emailing us at:
Visit the OCTN Website
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