A workshop that will help Idaho’s rural public transportation providers learn about available technology and accessing federal funds to incorporate that technology is planned next week in Boise.
Most of the state’s small urban and rural public transportation providers are expected to participate in the Advanced Public Transportation Systems Technology Workshop Tuesday and Wednesday at the Red Lion Inn, 1800 Fairview Ave.
The workshop will include representatives from Iowa and North Carolina, both of which introduced technology into their public transportation systems, and vendors who provide technology solutions to public transit.
“It’s very important that public transportation providers in rural Idaho know what technology is available and have an opportunity to explore how they might use technology on their unique systems,” explains John Krause, Intelligent Transportation Systems coordinator for ITD’s Division of Public Transportation.
“This workshop will help them determine which technologies would be most appropriate for their unique operation. Because Iowa and North Carolina recently went through similar process, input from their representatives will be very valuable.”
The Division of Public Transportation received a $1.6 million federal grant through Congressional earmarks to incorporate new technology in public transportation systems. A 20 percent match from ITD will make $2 million available over the next four years.
The first part of the grant project is to inform transit providers about Advanced Public Transportation Technologies, a process that begins with the two-day workshop.
“We hope to use this workshop as an educational tool, particularly for the 15 public transit providers, about what’s available to help them operate their systems more efficiently,” said Marty Montgomery, grants contract officer for the Public Transportation Division.
Transit providers also will have an opportunity at the workshop to identify and discuss their technology needs. They will be asked to help set parameters that will define their operations as small, medium or large, based on the number of vehicles they operate and the number of clients served.
In the next few months, representatives of the Division of Public Transportation and Iteris, Inc. will conduct on-site reviews with each of the providers to begin developing a strategy for incorporating technology.
Nearly two-dozens options are available, Krause said, but the most likely candidates for use in Idaho include:
“We know that we can’t give everybody the same technology, nor would we want to,” Krause said. “Instead, we want to provide the solutions that are most relevant for their specific operations. We will begin developing priorities at the workshop and then will explore their potential when we meet with transit providers individually.”
The two-day workshop also will include a number of key public transit clients and interested parties, such as representatives from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho’s Information Technology Resource Management Council (ITRMC), Valley Regional Transit, the University of Idaho’s National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology, Ada County Highway District’s Commuteride, the City of Pocatello, Parsons Brinkerhof and the Idaho National Laboratory.
Members of the Public Transportation Advisory Council and representatives of ITD’s Division of Public Transportation also will participate.
Eleven private vendors will demonstrate new and emerging technologies and explain potential applications to Idaho’s transit providers.