Bus Rapid Transit in Pennsylvania

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Federal Transit Administration (FTA)/Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
Bus Testing and Procurement Workshop


June 20-21, 2002
The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel
215 Innovation Blvd.
State College, PA 16803

The purpose of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Testing Workshop held on June 20-21, 2002 at State College, PA was to gather industry commentary on the issues of testing the new technology vehicles likely to be used in BRT systems.

During the workshop, the issues of the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) waivers on testing high technology vehicles, possible new testing requirements, possible new service life categories, and on-site testing programs were addressed. Several proposals were discussed with the goal of easing the time and cost impacts on the transit authorities and bus manufacturers during the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute (PTI) testing procedures.

After two days of open discussion with industry and FTA representatives, it was generally determined that the existing Altoona test procedures were sufficient for testing the anticipated new technology vehicles that would be utilized in BRT systems. The program was found to have the flexibility to accommodate different vehicle types and technologies and was supported by the majority of the manufacturers and transit operators. Suggestions to reduce the time required to complete the testing of a vehicle were made and supported by PTI, FTA, and industry representatives.

Additionally, several proposals were voiced by the industry representatives to accelerate the adoption of new technology vehicles. To relieve the implementation schedule impact, industry suggested that the FTA grant progress payments during the period that the vehicles are undergoing PTI testing on a case-by-case basis. To reduce the cost burden on the industry, it was proposed that the FTA (also on a case-by-case basis) purchase an additional vehicle on a transit authority’s procurement to be used for PTI testing and subsequently returned to the transit authority for its use.

The meeting ended with a summation of the consensus on the opinions and positions stated by the industry representatives. The FTA representatives then brought this information to the Administrator to determine the implementation of the industry suggestions with the goal of accelerating the implementation of the new technology BRT vehicles.

For more information contact: Marcel Belanger

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