2011 Awards

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Each year, VTA recognizes outstanding leadership and contributions by individuals who are working to advance public transportation in their community; VTA also recognizes innovative, effective programs by our public transportation providers.

The Virginia Transit Association presented the following awards at its 2011 Awards Luncheon to recognize outstanding service by individuals and exceptional transit programs, and to advance and expand public transportation in the Commonwealth.

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

 green dot Public Service Award: Tom Whipple
 green dot Distinguished Service Award: Richard Drumwright
 green dot Public Official of the Year Award: The Honorable Catherine M. Hudgins
 green dot Lifetime Achievement Award: Senator Mary Margaret Whipple

OUTSTANDING PROGRAM AWARDS

 green dot Large System Winner: Hampton Roads Transit
 green dot Small System Winner: Blacksburg Transit
 green dot Honorable Mention: Loudoun County Transit
 green dot Honorable Mention: Arlington Transit (ART)

OUTSTANDING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION MARKETING AWARDS

 green dot Award Winner: Arlington Transit (ART)
 green dot Honorable Mention: Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC)
 green dot Honorable Mention: Virginia Railway Express (VRE)

 

 

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

 

Public Service AwardPhoto of Tom Whipple

For the past 15 years, Tom Whipple rose every morning before dawn to assemble and edit the VA News, colloquially known as “the Whipple Report” which he distributed to a list of 3,000 emails across the state. VA News links readers to daily press articles and editorials from newspapers on Virginia issues and politics. His massive volunteer effort has informed, educated and connected Virginians interested in state policy and politics. Tom is also a big public transportation supporter: so many of the articles in the state press about public transportation also find their way into his report. Tom retired from his volunteer job this month but has transferred VA News to the Virginia Public Access Project so that it will continue.

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Distinguished Service Award

Richard Drumwright receiving awardMr. Richard Drumwright joined the staff of James City County as Transit Supervisor in 1979 and in 1998 was promoted to Transit Administrator of the newly formed James City County Transit Division of the Community Services Department. At that time, James City County Transit operated a fleet of four buses and ran approximately 48,000 trips a year. Today, WATA’s passenger trips, which include those of Colonial Williamsburg, total more than three million annually.

Richard assumed the position of Director of Planning and Development in March 2006 following the formation of WATA.  He then took on the role of Transportation Coordinator for America’s 400th Anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown held in 2007, managing local transportation throughout the commemoration activities.  In addition, Richard chaired the Technical Transportation Advisory Committee (TTAC) of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, the first time anyone from public transit had held this prestigious position. Richard was recently recognized by TTAC for the “wisdom and insight in his invaluable provision of multi-modal transportation services to the communities of Hampton Roads.”

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Public Official of the Year AwardHonorable Catherine M. Hudgins

The Honorable Catherine M. Hudgins is a champion for transit service in Northern Virginia.  As a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors since 1999, she is a passionate advocate for transit in Northern Virginia and throughout the greater Washington region.

Supervisor Hudgins has served on the Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) since 2004, and in January 2011 was elected Chair of the WMATA Board.
In 2010, she served as chairman of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) and is a member of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.  She is a member of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Transportation Planning Board (TPB) and chaired that board in 2007.  She is also 1st Vice Chair of the Virginia Association of Counties (VACO).

She is a lifelong rider and a regular on Fairfax Connector and Metrorail.  She’s successfully worked to improve bus service in her district, and as a smart growth and TOD advocate, Cathy has worked for mixed-use development along the Dulles Corridor.  She also helped create the Reston Access Management Group, which is working to improve bike and pedestrian access to Reston Metrorail stations.

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Lifetime Achievement Award

Senator Mary Margaret WhippleSenator Mary Margaret Whipple is the recipient of the Virginia Transit Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Expanding access to high quality public transportation has been one of her priorities over the course of her 35-year career in public life.  Senator Whipple has been the strongest possible champion for public transportation and her success is evident in transit improvements at the local, regional and state level. Over her career she has advanced public transportation in her roles as a board member and chair of the Arlington County Board, as chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, as chair of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority’s Board and through service on other regional transportation boards. She served as VTA President for two years. As a state senator for 15 years, she has been a creative and steadfast leader in the struggle to maintain and increase statewide funding for public transportation. She has been a role model for women in public office and is stepping away from public life with an enduring legacy of thriving public transit systems throughout Virginia.

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OUTSTANDING PROGRAM AWARDS

 

Large Transit System – Winner

HRT receiving awardIn August 2010, Hampton Roads Transit launched its Light Rail Safety Starts with You! campaign in order to educate the public on how to safely interact with The Tide, Virginia’s first light rail system, set to open later this year. The campaign consists of a myriad of strategies, but a major component of the campaign includes outreach to places of employment, civic leagues, and elementary, middle and high schools in Norfolk. Brochures, posters, videos, activity books and other giveaways have helped drive home the message. The Light Rail Safety Starts with You! campaign also has a strong web and television presence using two edgy public service announcements.

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Small Transit System – WinnerBlacksburg Transit receiving award

The Blacksburg Transit Bus Stop Database program is a query driven program that allows staff at BT to access important information about any of the 239 bus stops in the system. Information contained in the database for each stop includes bus stop location, photo of the actual stop with identifying landmarks, historical ridership data for the stop, BT routes serving that stop, condition of the BT sign, stop amenities and pedestrian amenities. The BT Bus Stop Database program makes information about each stop easily accessible to staff for multiple purposes from customer relations to maintenance to route planning to bus stop amenities. Better information leads to better decisions that ultimately lead to better service for the rider.

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Honorable Mention

Loudoun County receiving awardLoudoun County Transit began operating express bus service to Tysons in June 2010.  Buses originate from the Leesburg and Broadlands South park and ride lots and drop passengers at 18 bus stop locations in Tysons Corner. To better understand where and when people wanted to travel to Tysons Corner, staff held two public meetings to gather input from potential Tysons Express riders.  Residents also completed an on-line survey.  Staff received over 250 completed surveys with 190 indicating a strong interest in riding the bus.

The service operates Monday through Friday with seven morning and afternoon trips.  In September shuttle service from the Tysons Westpark Transit Station was added to serve the employment sites on the east side of Tysons Corner.

Average daily passenger trips grew from 144 per day in July 2010 to 255 per day in February 2011.  The highest one day total is 337 passenger trips.

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Honorable MentionART receiving award

In 2010, Arlington Transit (ART) began a concerted effort to address the issue of increased need to transit—and consequently, increased ridership—while remaining efficient, inclusive, environmentally aware, and safe.  In response to a steady increase in ridership, ART introduced a total change of fleet, adjusted and added routes, launched a campaign to educate citizens on how to ride the bus safely and efficiently (focusing on SmarTrip cards), and began an aggressive customer complaint reduction program, to keep our operators and riders safe and satisfied as bus loads rapidly increased.  Results included a 54.5% decrease in complaints in one year, a 39.3% ridership increase in one year, and 100% of educational workshop participants reporting they will use SmarTrip in the future.

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OUTSTANDING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION MARKETING AWARDS

 

Award Winner

ART receiving awardArlington Transit’s (ART) Car-Free Diet is a lifestyle that encourages people who drive alone to try going car free or car light by exploring alternative transportation options such as riding Arlington Transit – ART, Metrobus or Metrorail, biking, bike sharing, walking, carpooling, vanpooling, car sharing, and teleworking – so they can save money, improve their health and clean up the environment. The campaign is promoted through brochures, web site, posters, social media such as Facebook, Twitter and a blog, Street Team events, retail partnerships and a 30-day Skeptics Challenge. Recent research indicates that one-third of Arlington County residents are aware of the Car-Free Diet campaign. For those who are aware of the campaign, 41% said they have changed their transportation behaviors, and 28% say they would not have changed without having been aware of the campaign.

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Honorable MentionGLTC receiving award

In FY10, GLTC adopted the ‘Go Green! Ride Blue! With GLTC” slogan for all marketing efforts. GLTC was able to establish a relationship with Lynchburg College (LC) by offering the Universal Access Pass Program. The program began on a trial basis in fall 2010. The promotion was successful and the contract was extended through May, 2011. Ridership for the college is over 1,000 students per month.

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Honorable Mention

VRE posterWith security on transit systems becoming more and more important, Virginia Railway Express has implemented a new public awareness security campaign entitled, “Security is No Accident.” The program was funded through a Homeland Security grant and consists of a series of posters at the stations and on the trains, a luggage tag, a die-cut bookmark used as a seat drop, and cling decals for the windows inside the trains. The campaign began in the fall of 2010 and is still being used today.  The message is simple and clear, “If you see suspicious objects or behavior, at the station or in the parking lots, call 911. If you’re on the train, inform the conductor immediately.”

Although there is no correlation between this campaign and ridership, our ridership has increased 7.5% over the same time period last year.  The unmistakable results of the campaign are that passengers have increased the use of luggage tags to identify their carry-on items and they are actively reporting any suspicious activity to the conductors or calling 911.

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