CTAI Blog

"God Created Transit"

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This wonderful video by Next City spoke to us! This lovely commercial really captures the complete value of a system than serves our communities in so many ways. What do you think?

Ride-Sharing meets Public Transportation

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The European Union, despite battling different cultural approaches to 'timeliness', boasts a strong movement towards ride-sharing. Perhaps due to the extremely high costs of car ownership, European ride-sharing services have grown to the hundreds of thousands in membership, with the largest service, www.CarPooling.com, boasting 1 Million members. (By contrast, the largest ride-sharing platforms in the US book approximately 20,000 rides per month.)

The greatest challenge in providing ride-sharing services, as we've seen demonstrated time and again in the US, tends to be lack of available rides to destinations that members actually plan to travel to. These large European networks have solved this dillemma and even won over those users who may have been dubious by implementing intricate user profiles as well as member reviews, creating strong trust in forming and utilizing the ride-sharing network.

What's more, CarPooling.com- based in Munich- and it's French runner up, BlaBlaCar, claim to be inter-modal methods of booking transportation. Currently, although it's possible to book bus, train, and plane tickets in addition to setting up ride-shares, these networks allow users to book only one format of travel at a time. Both sites are working to overcome this. As reported by TriplePundit.com, Odile Beniflah, a Senior Product Manager at Carpooling, says that hasn’t stopped motivated users from manually creating complex multi-modal itineraries, one leg at a time. Read the full article here.

Here in the States, we can only hope to see Ridesharing grow to the degree where interacting with Trains, Buses, and Airplanes becomes a challenge. Start small by carpooling to work, and see how your efforts pay off to save you time and money. Know also that all of your ride-sharing efforts are helping ease congestion and pollution!

Tax Breaks for Mass Transit Users

Sunday, March 03, 2013

 In 2013, users of mass transit can expect their tax returns to be a little easier to stomach. That's because users of public transportation will be allowed the same benefits as those who commute to work by car. In 2012, taxpayers who drove to work were allowed $240 monthly to help alleviate parking costs, but users of mass transit were only able to set aside $125 per month for travel costs. This year, as part of a provision that was tucked inside the legislation which helped keep Congress from falling off the fiscal cliff, those who commute by transit will receive identical benefits to those who drive to work-- $245 to set aside each month.

“Someone in the highest federal tax bracket – 30 to 39.6 percent – could save about $570 a year. Someone in the 15 percent tax bracket could save about $260 a year,” explained Lisa Greene-Lewis, lead CPA at the American Tax and Financial Center at TurboTax. Obviously, this is great news for anyone who commutes by bus or rail! As reported by Bloomberg News, that's 2.7 million families. Further, Congress decided to make this change retroactive for 2012 as well, so the benefits this year may even pay off double for some. Get the full details from Today.com.

The current provision will only be in effect for tax year 2013; to support mass transit and foster healthier attitudes toward ridesharing in our communities, this change must be made permanent. Whether for the same or different dollar amount, parity in benefits with commuters who drive is crucial to encouraging people to commute responsibly!

How much time do you waste on your Commute?

Friday, February 22, 2013

By the year 2020, you can expect your commute to eat up another 7 hours per year and to burn through 6 more gallons of gas annually. 

A new report on America's congestion was developed by Texas A & M drawing from data compiled by Inrix, the leading traffic information and driver services hub. This report clearly indicates that our traffic situation, already bad, is only going to get worse. 

Increasing traffic numbers are not necessarily a direct result of population growth, Robert Miles, the region 2 traffic operations engineer at the Utah Department of Transportation says. “Each one of us travels more vehicle miles per year. People are just driving more every day... It’s not always as simple as add more lanes, add more lanes,” Miles said. “We have to be more creative and smarter than that.”

The A & M Report shows that cities whose travel times ranked lowest can attribute their successes to several factors including: Carpool Lanes, Public Transit lines, and even metered freeway on-ramps. Clearing crashes quickly and efficiently, and diverting traffic cleverly in the case of construction are crucial efforts as well, but the truest benefits can be seen in communities who responsibly plan for and encourage mass transit, alternative forms of transportation like walking or biking, and ridesharing.


Transportation Reauthorization Extended...Again.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Community Transportation Association of Idaho commends Congress for extending the nation's surface transportation at current funding levels.

"The six-month extension of federal highway and transit programs approved by Congress this week ensures the continuation of critical services and thousands of job-creating infrastructure projects across the nation," said Heather Wheeler, CTAI executive director. "We congratulate the leadership on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate for their hard work to bring about this extension. We encourage Congress and the Administration to develop and pass a robust, multi-year surface reauthorization bill over the next six months. CTAI is prepared to work with the Idaho Congressional Delegation with the development of this bill."

Watch the APTA video...