Industry briefs: FTA; TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program; NRC; Rays The Mark Foundation and more

June 20, 2023
Information on requests for input from two federal institutions, scholarship opportunities, foundation fundraising and a new transit cookbook.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will host a listening session on June 22 to gather feedback to guide the future design of buses, including redesigning bus compartments, the Bus Compartment Redesign Program and Bus of the Future initiatives. This listening session will help FTA gather broad stakeholder input on key issues, including operator safety, passenger safety, accessibility, bus component safety, reduction of bus customization and emerging technologies related to transit vehicles.

FTA will discuss the results of projects awarded grants through the Bus Operator Compartment (BCP) Program and is requesting stakeholder participation as it continues to develop strategies for designing the bus of the future.

While the meeting is open to all, a maximum of 250 participants will be allowed. Registration is required through FTA’s website.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Transit Cooperative Research Program is accepting problem statements that will direct the program’s 2024 research on public transportation. Research is conducted in all areas of public transportation, including operations, policy, planning, service configuration, engineering of vehicles and facilities, maintenance, human resources and administration. Problem statements outline objectives, proposed research, urgency/payoff potential and other related information should be submitted by June 30 through TRB’s portal.

The National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) has opened its 2023 scholarship program. The association will continue to recognize three undergraduate scholarship winners who are employees, children or grandchildren of NRC member companies with a first-place $12,000 award, second-place $6,000 award and a third-place $3,000 award. New in 2023 is the addition of a scholarship for trade school students, where one honoree will be awarded a $3,500 scholarship. More information, along with a scholarship application, is available at NRC’s website. Applications for all scholarships are due Aug. 31, 2023.

Rays The Mark Foundation will hold its annual 2023 Golf Fundraising Event in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 7 to coincide with the American Public Transportation Association’s annual conference. The foundation will be raising money this year for transit professional, zero-emission bus enthusiast and Mass Transit 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Lauren Cochran Scoville. Her career has centered on transit innovation across roles at mass transit agencies, strategic research agencies and technology manufacturing companies. Scoville was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2022. Fighting the disease is a challenge she's accepted with incredible courage and stamina. She is undergoing treatment at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, a process that includes a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and potentially radiation.

As the foundation’s website states, “Despite the physical and financial impacts of her treatment, Lauren's incredible personality and positive outlook shines through. She remains committed to advancing public transit innovation and ZEB technology, all while remaining a source of inspiration and positive energy those in her life.”

More information on the event, along with how to donate, can be found at the foundation’s website.

A new cookbook highlighting recipes from transit professionals from around the world has been released. Comfort Food was produced by author and transit evangelist Paul Comfort as a cookbook that “allows readers [to] break bread with transit industry CEOs and influencers.” The cookbook provides an inside look at transit professionals beyond their day jobs as they share their favorite recipes alongside heart-warming stories from their families and homelands. The book is available in hardcover or e-book through Amazon.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.