Job Posting: TMACC Seeks Manager of Public Engagement

TMACC seeks an energetic, creative, and results oriented Manager of Public Engagement for their public outreach and association advancement. The Manager of Public Engagement will be responsible for developing and marketing TMACC’s creative content (print to digital) to the general public, business community, stakeholder groups and elected officials in order to increase support for TMACC programs and awareness of initiatives.

To view the full job description and how to apply, click here.

 

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Seniors Will Now Be Able to Ride SEPTA Regional Rail FOR FREE Beginning Sept. 1

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SEPTA Key Representatives at Thorndale Regional Rail Train Station

SEPTA made an announcement yesterday, August 2, 2018 that beginning September 1st Seniors will be able to ride Regional Rail within Pennsylvania for free, the $1 fee or discounted .86 cent ten-trip ticket will no longer be necessary.

This move is in conjunction with the elimination of the use of SEPTA Senior ID Cards beginning September 1st.  Anyone that is riding SEPTA will have to have the new SEPTA Senior Key Cards in order to travel.

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New Senior Fare Card from SEPTA

Customers holding unused pre-purchased discounted Senior Ten Trip Tickets can obtain a refund by mailing the original tickets (no photocopies) along with their mailing address to SEPTA at:

SEPTA SENIOR TICKET REFUNDS
PO BOX 58609
PHILADELPHIA PA 19102-8609

If you’re looking to get a new SEPTA Senior Key Card you will have to come in to a designated Senior ID processing location to do so with a proper form of ID.  TMACC is able to process new Senior IDs upon appointment and so are select state representative’s offices.

Schedule your appointment today with TMACC!

TMACC Announces Transportation Oriented Development Summit for Chester County

East Whiteland, PA – The Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC) announced in an email today that they will host a Transit Oriented Development Summit in September.

The Summit will feature various speakers and breakout sessions focused on the trending topic of Transit Oriented Developments (TOD).  TOD is the creation of pedestrian and cycling -oriented, mixed-use communities centered around a public transportation network.

With both Amtrak and SEPTA access in over 15 municipalities and DVRPC identified five “classic towns”, Chester County is ripe for multimodal redevelopment.  Last Spring, with the announcement of Downingtown’s Transit Oriented Development, TMACC hosted an event introducing transit oriented development strategies to the public.  Due to the attendee’s positive response and additional questions from community leaders, the non-profit planned this in-depth, educational summit for the Fall.

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Executive Director of TMACC, Tim Phelps

“Leaders at PennDOT, as well as our regional and local planning commissions know multi-modal options are key drivers for the future,” said TMACC Executive Director, Tim Phelps.  “There is a resurgence of town center activities and interaction within the community.  TOD brings those ideas into reality.  This summit will help local officials and community leaders expand the vision of TOD in Chester County and educate them on TOD land planning issues as well as integrating safe connections to transportation that are accessible to all users.”

The Summit will be on Thursday, September 6th at The Desmond Malvern.  Ticket reservations will be available August 1st at www.tmacc.org.

The mission of TMACC is to activate, foster and facilitate cooperation between the public and private sectors of Chester County to identify, evaluate, and analyze significant transportation issues and to recommend solutions that reduce congestion and improve air quality.

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Media Contact: Amanda Lozinak, Manager of Public Engagement, alozinak@tmacc.org | 610-993-0911

TMACC
7 Great Valley Parkway, Suite 144
Malvern, PA 19355
610-993-0911 | http://www.tmacc.org

What is a Code Orange Day and How Does it Affect My Health?

Air QualityToday the Air Quality Partnership of Philadelphia declared a Code Orange for Air Quality.  Although it looks like a beautiful, sunny day outside, the air we’re breathing is actually carrying heavy amounts of particle pollution that can make even the easiest of tasks seem hard.

our_airq_idx_hAccording to the American Lung Association, a Code Orange Day is declared when air pollution levels are anywhere between 101 to 150 (the scale goes from 0 to 500).  The index tracks ozone (or “smog”) and particle pollution (tiny particles from ash, power plants and factories, vehicle exhaust, soil dust, pollen, and other pollution).

When a Code Orange Day is declared, your local air quality organizations will suggest staying inside and avoiding strenuous activity.  Code Orange days are especially harmful to “sensitive individuals”, which include children, the elderly, people with heart and lung diseases and adults who exercise, work or spend time outdoors.

When an individual is outside during a Code Orange Day, they come in contact with and breathe in unsafe levels of pollution.  These high levels of pollution can cause shortness of breath, eye, nose and throat irritations and can even effect your heart and cardiovascular system.

A Code Orange Day can be a scary thing, however, individuals can help to improve the air quality we breathe everyday with simple changes to their lifestyle.  Below are a few transportation actions to take to help reduce the amount of Code Orange Days that are declared.

  • Carpooling to work. Find a friend or coworker who has a similar commute as you and ride together.
  • Take public transit. Investigate the options of buses and trains that are in the area before taking that long trip.
  • Bike or walk. Going a short distance? Consider walking to the destination or riding your bike.
  • Maintain your vehicle. Keeping up to date with oil and filter changes, tire pressure and wheel alignment can all help improve the efficiency of your vehicle.

To know when there are bad air quality days, sign up for air quality alerts to be sent to your phone or email through Air Quality Partnership.

PennDOT’s New Traffic Light: The Flashing Yellow Arrow

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This new traffic light is causing some major buzz with drivers.  In April 2016, PennDOT announced that they will slowly replace all of the five-section signals (pictured above) in Pennsylvania with the new Flashing Yellow Arrow (also pictured above).

flashing-yellow-arrowThe Flashing Yellow Arrow will be in between the Yellow Arrow and Green Arrow on a Left Turn Signal at an intersection.  In comparison to the Solid Yellow Arrow, which alerts drivers that are turning left to prepare to stop, the Flashing Yellow Arrow tells drivers turning left that they can turn left, but should yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

Does it sound redundant? Maybe, but states (including Florida, Oregon and Minnesota) who have these see as much as a 20% reduction in left turn crashes after installing them.  They also improve efficiency by offering motorists more opportunities to make left turns.

Chester County is expected to have it’s first Flashing Yellow Arrow in the next two weeks at the Route 52 and Pocopson Road intersection.  We will announce more installations of the signals as they are announced.

For more information on the Flashing Yellow Arrow, visit PennDOT’s Traffic Signal Portal.

“My Rural Life Without A Car”: Shannon’s Alternative Commute Challenge Part 1 of 5

This 5 part blog series is about TMACC’s Manager of Member Services, Shannon Maria Jones, navigating through the next 4 weeks car free.

No one likes a hypocrite, and yet I’m here to tell you that I am one.  I realize that this could apply to many things, but what I mean specifically (this is a TMACC Blog after all) is that I drive my single-occupancy vehicle every day.

For the past 14 months, I’ve used every opportunity I could to tell people that alternative transportation is easy to navigate. Not just for “everyone else.” But it WAS for everyone else for me.

Until now.

The Challenge:
For the next 30 days, I’m going to practice what I preach.  I’m going to live my life without my car.  Work, errands, doctor visits, meeting friends. Anything I need to do I will do using public transit or getting a ride with someone.

Why Now?
Truly, part of it is because I need to do it before I lose my nerve.  But I also know me… I don’t like the cold. I prefer when the mornings have light.  The summer is the right time for me to be navigating this. in case I’m waiting at bus stops forever or when I ride my bike in the rain to the train station.  I also know that commuter rates are lower during summer months, so I’m hoping more seats are available on trains and buses.

Shannon's Electric Bike

My pedal-assisted bicycle that I’ll be using to get to and from the train station.

Acceptable Modes:
Bus, train, bicycle, walking, carpooling, share-a-ride, gondola, trolley, subway. ANYTHING that isn’t me sitting in my car getting frustrated by traffic and killing the planet with my emissions.
Also worth noting, TMACC advocates strongly for flexible work environments- allow your employees to commute at off-peak hours to avoid idling. Encourage them to work remotely.  As part of this, I will be implementing one work from home day per week.

Obstacles:
I live in West Sadsbury 1 ½ miles from the Amtrak station and ~ ½ mile from the nearest bus stop- CHESCOBUS’s Coatesville  LINK route.  Unfortunately, due to recent funding cuts, the LINK only runs Monday to Friday now, so this will require me to get creative with errands and weekend plans.  I’m also not in great shape and have bad knees- so though I feel that biking is a viable option for my day-to-day, I’m concerned that my body might not support that goal.

Goals:
1. Reduce stress by not sitting in traffic.  My commute is approximately 26 miles one way and takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes depending on traffic conditions.

  1. Reduce emissions. I drive a LOT for work and pleasure. In 2011, the average car in the US was driven 11,300 miles. I average 30,000 miles per year. If there’s someone that should find ways to cut back- it’s me. Since 17.68 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gasoline is released into the ozone that means I have the ability to save over 1200 pounds of carbon dioxide if I skip just six tanks of gas in 30 days.
  2. Understand public transit in Chester County and hopefully inspire other people to use it not because they have to, but because they WANT to!

Preparations:
I’m starting Wednesday, July 15.  Right now to prepare I bought a 10 trip ticket for the Amtrak Train from Parkesburg to Paoli.  Once in Paoli I’ll board the SEPTA 206 bus to get to my office so I’ve also bought tokens.  I’m prepared with a 10-trip ticket on the LINK as well, and I’ve stocked up on the most current copies of schedules.  I’ve also started to plan my work meetings at times of day that work with the transit schedule (the 206 bus only operates during peak commute times) or scheduling meetings with a friend who can drive.  I’ve also downloaded the SEPTA and AMTRAK apps so I can check service delays and times.

What You Can Do:
Follow me here, on Twitter @ChesCoCommuter and on Facebook (ChesCoTMA) to hear my story.  I’ll blog once a week but the social media updates can come at all times.  And of course… consider trying it yourself!

Shannon Maria JonesShannon Maria Jones is TMACC’s Manager of Member Services. She’s a resident of West Sadsbury Township, Chester County where she lives with her husband Jasen and their rescued dog, Sadie. An avid traveler, Shannon navigates public transit when overseas or in urban areas, but has rarely used public transportation as part of her daily commute. Slightly obsessed with “Super Size Me” and Morgan Spurlock’s series “30 Days” she is perhaps too excited about what this challenge will bring in terms of personal growth.

“What do you do?”-5 Roles of a TMA

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If you don’t work for one of the 128 TMAs in the United States, then you may have not encountered the term before.  Working in the industry, we see many eyes glaze over when we say we work at a “Transportation Management Association”.  However, TMA’s play a very important role in the regions they serve, and if you aren’t working with one, you should start.

So what is a Transportation Management Association?

Before explaining the roles of a TMA,  you need to know what one is.  According to the leading advocate for commuter transportation, the Association for Commuter Transportation, a Transportation Management Association (or TMA) is…“an organized group applying carefully selected approaches to facilitating the movement of people and goods within an area.”  Those “carefully selected approaches” are normally defined as transportation demand management strategies, which are strategies or policies to reduce the amount of traffic demand or redistribute the demand in space or time.  The goals of a TMA can vary from location to location, but the main goal of TMAs is to reduce traffic congestion and increase mobility.

Within that goal are major roles TMAs play in order to accomplish their overarching agenda.  There are, in fact, 5 major roles all TMAs play in the world of transportation:

#1) TMAs are Consultants

Many TMAs act as consultants to provide transportation advice and support to individual businesses. Member businesses contact TMAs to help with a variety of services like: vanpool programs, discounted transit passes, rideshare options, shuttle services, trip planning, and alternative transportation options in their area.  TMAs also assist with public entities, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and SEPTA, in coordinating construction projects and outreach.

#2) TMAs are Informers

Due to the wide array of entities TMAs work with, they have a wealth of information for businesses and the public  about important transportation issues in their service area. Because of the close collaborations with public entities like PennDOT and SEPTA, TMACC receives updates on road projects like, US 202 and Route 100 and then distributes information to the public. Want to know why a road was closed on your commute? Call you local TMA, and they’ll be able to tell you why.

#3) TMAs are Educators

TMAs can serve as educators to benefit employers, developers, public agencies, and customers about transportation problems and issues that exist in their service area, and solutions and strategies that can be employed to address them.  For example, Pittsburgh has a large population of commuters who walk and bike.  To educate the newest residents on best travel behaviors, Oakland TMA, hosted a traffic safety course for the students of Oakland college.

#4) TMAs are Advocates

It is not uncommon to find staff members of a TMA participating in local planning and economic development committees.  Many TMAs have developed credibility with local governments, planning commissions, and chambers of commerce to promote better long-term transportation and land use planning.  Working with a TMA can work in your favor.  If you’re having trouble contacting the right people to make a change in your city’s transportation network, connecting with your local TMA is the first step in the right direction.

#5) TMAs are Transit Providers (sometimes)

In some instances, like with TMACC or Ride-On TMA, TMAs will provide public transportation services or shuttle services to their area.  TMACC operates a public transportation service in Southern Chester County and Coatesville.  Other TMAs, like GVFTMA, will operate shuttle services that are not on a timed schedule, but help to fulfill the need to move people, especially when other options are not available.

TMAs are important to your community in advancing mobility and enhancing infrastructure.  Contact your local TMA today to see what role they can play for you. Or if you live in Chester County, contact us!