Contributed by Judy Shanley
This year’s South West Transit Association (SWTA) Annual Conference provided a venue for transit professionals representing eight southwestern states to address the most pressing issues facing public transportation providers and riders today. ESPA was there, sharing strategies with transit professionals related to creating partnerships across education and transportation sectors. The diversity of session formats and the opportunities for attendee interaction with each other and with prominent transportation officials, such as FTA Administrator, Peter Rogoff, and APTA President and CEO, Michael Melaniphy, enabled information sharing and problem solving around key topics, including veterans transportation and workforce development. Sessions described innovative partnerships, offered strategies to leverage scarce resources, and provided state, regional, and local examples around capacity building and systems change. The conference also offered attendees to jump onboard the latest transit vehicles, including the MV-1, the first vehicle to be assembled from the ground up for people with disabilities.
As ESPA continues to build its services to support accessible transportation, especially related to its work to strengthen student engagement and transit-education partnerships, we are fortunate to have the support and opportunities provided by SWTA.