2016 Awards

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, business partners, and governmental leaders.

The Virginia Transit Association presented the following awards at its 2016 Awards Luncheon to recognize outstanding service by individuals and exceptional transit programs, and to advance and expand public transportation in the Commonwealth.  

Click here for the presentation


The Helen Poore Transit Professional Distinguished Service Award is given to transit professionals who have made outstanding contributions to advance transit in their region and who have been actively involved in VTA. Al Harf is retiring from long and distinguished transit career.

Kelley MacKinnon-- Arlington County Dept. of Environmental Services ---Executive Director of Potomac Rappahanock Regional Transit Company (PRTC) 1998-2015

As the Transit Operations Coordinator for Arlington Transit (ART), Kelley MacKinnon has been instrumental in building the base infrastructure for ART and helping to manage the local bus system’s explosive growth. She procured software and support equipment and coached the County’s bus service contractor as ART grew from one route, providing 105,000 rides in 1996, to 16 routes Countywide providing about three million rides this fiscal year. Her efforts also created ART’s fleet of entirely lowfloor vehicles powered by clean-burning compressed natural gas. During her tenure in Arlington, Kelley brought ART into the regional SmarTrip system. This involved negotiating with other jurisdictions on the procedures for sharing fare revenue and training ART bus operators and trainers in use of the fare system. She also procured an accurate and relatively inexpensive bus tracking system. As a result, ART has better than 95 percent on-time performance.

The Honorable Ron Rordam—Mayor Blacksburg, Virginia

Ron Rordam, the Mayor of Blacksburg since 2006, has a long history of public service to the local community. His involvement in local civic service began when he moved to town in 1976 and continues today. However, Ron’s contributions outside of Blacksburg are equally representative of his commitment to public service. He has demonstrated a commitment to policies that support transit. Through his commitment to local, regional, and national organizations, Ron has successfully worked to increase access to public transportation for all citizens. Ron served as VTA president in 2012 and 2013 and is currently the President of the Virginia Municipal League. 

Outstanding Contribution by a Business Award

Winner: Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning, Inc.

Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning, Inc. has been helping transit agencies and local governments in Virginia advance public transit for nearly ten years. The woman-owned, DBE-certified business has a passion for providing implementable yet innovative solutions for transit. Foursquare ITP’s approach to transit planning leverages both a data-driven, objective approach along with the empowerment of a broad range of stakeholders through extensive engagement. This results in a truly integrated planning process for results with long-term viability that help the Commonwealth realize the goals of the livability, sustainability, and economic vitality.

Honorable Mention: Southeastern Institute of Research, Inc. (SIR)

The Southeastern Institute of Research, Inc. (SIR) is formulation a long-term communications plan to help reposition transit in the Greater Richmond area from an under-appreciated public bus operation that serves the region’s transit-dependent population to a valued component of metro Richmond’s longterm economic development efforts. In the initial phase of this multi-year project, SIR conducted surveys across five stakeholder audiences— getting on board with current GRTC Transit riders, talking to prospective riders in jurisdictions across RVA, hearing from area business leaders, taking with businesses along current GRTC routes, and having conversations with almost every elected official from localities served by GRTC. Additionally, SIR investigated eight peer cites to learn about their specific transit journeys, particularly as they relate to long-term planning and funding. The work from this completed phase is now inspiring the project’s second phase—the creation of a long-term, community-wide advocacy and communications plan.

Marketing Award

Large System GRTC-- Choose The Pass That’s Right For You!

On November 15, 2015, GRTC launched new unlimited ride fare passes, providing more choices for riders to pay for and ride transit. GRTC serves transit needs across multiple jurisdictions, each with their own service needs and fare structures and needed to create a pass system that that could meet all the various unique needs while remaining revenue- neutral t GRTC and cost-neutral to the customer. GRTC was able to accomplish both goals without raising fares while also providing added value to customers. The more frequently they ride, the more money they now save!

Small System: Charlottesville Area Transit—“City as a Canvas”

This campaign spotlighted the importance of art in the local community while using unconventional methods to promote transit and creativity. The initiative was a collaboration between CAT and the Tom Tom Founder’s Festival that used a combination of bus shelters and a soon-to- be-retired bus to display works completed by local artists and authors. The campaign ran two months last spring where the graffiti-covered bus provided over 28.000 passenger trips and increased ridership 21%.

Outstanding Program Award:

DASH—Plan Ahead…Pay It Forward Campaign

This campaign made DASH the first system in the region to take the process of adding value to the SmartTrip off of the bus. By eliminating the add value function on the bus, riders now enjoy a more convenient ride on DASH with more ease of boarding and reliable departures and arrivals. It has resulted in improved overall on-time performance on all routes. The initiative included a comprehensive marketing and education campaign that focused on transitioning riders as seamlessly as possible by educating them as to the many add-value locations found off of the bus. DASH riders have been extremely pleased with the resulting benefits.

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