2021 Annual Conference logo

Join Us LIVE!

October 24-27, 2021 | Daytona Beach, Florida

Schedule – last updated 10/21/21

This schedule is considered draft. The final/accurate schedule will be loaded into our event app, as well as provided as a printed pocket-sized schedule on-site.
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Sunday, October 24, 2021

10:00am – 5:00pm | Registration Open

Check in to receive your entry badge and registration bag. You can also purchase extra meal tickets here, and ask questions.

12:00pm – 4:30pm | FPTA Golf Tournament (SOLD OUT)

Off-site at LPGA International; Votran shuttle will leave the North lobby at 10:30 AM. Be sure to check in and receive your conference registration badge at 10:00 AM in Ballroom C of the Ocean Center.

2:00pm – 4:00pm | FPTA Volleyball Tournament

First come, first serve for T-shirts; Sand volleyball court is located behind the Hilton at the South end of the hotel.

6:00pm – 7:15pm | Welcome Reception

Enjoy some hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while networking with your transit peers. Golf and Volleyball winners will be announced.

7:30pm – 10:00pm | FPTA GM Dinner (INVITE ONLY/Not open to Exhibitor/Sponsor)

General Managers of all FPTA-member systems are invited to attend, with their spouses/significant others.

Monday, October 25, 2021

8:00am – 5:00pm | Registration Open

Check in to receive your entry badge and registration bag. You can also purchase extra tickets here and ask questions.

8:30am – 9:45am | General Session: Celebration Breakfast

Join us at the Opening Celebration Breakfast where you will be welcomed to the local area and get an update from Votran. We will also be giving out both our Marketing Awards and the FPTA Hall of Fame. In addition, we will be recognizing the Florida Transit Leadership Program Alumni and Certified Transit Technical Program graduates.

10:00am – 11:00am | Breakout Sessions

Lessons Learned from AV Shuttle Deployments

Presenters: Ben Walker PE, HNTB; Michael Feldman, JTA; Jacob Labutka, AICP, PSTA; Dan Rodriguez, HART
Automated Vehicle (AV) shuttles have the potential to serve important first and last mile connections for transit users. Recent AV deployments in Florida and across the US offer an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned from these plans and deployments for other agencies considering integration of AV components into their systems. The presentations by Dan Rodriguez (HART), Michael Feldman (JTA) and Ben Walker (HNTB) will detail best practices and lessons learned from the recent AV shuttle deployment in Tampa and Jacksonville as well as other deployments or planned deployments across the US. 

Innovative Mobility-On-Demand (MOD) Services and Creative Jurisdictional Transit Stops and Customer Amenities | FLORIDA TRANSIT PLANNING NETWORK

Presenters: Rob Gregg, Madrid CPWG; Jonathan Roberson, Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT); Michael Hetrick, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)
This session will feature a discussion and presentation on the MCAT MOD ConneXion Shuttle to explore the challenges and opportunities a small to medium size transit agency faces in implementing such flexible service, including weighing the use of emerging technologies, maximizing operating efficiencies, developing local/community partnerships, and identifying sustainable funding.
To complement the discussion and address access to mobility services, PSTA will provide an overview of the unique partnerships being forged with municipalities and developers to fund, design, construct and maintain passenger amenities.
A panel discussion including Dr. Victoria Perk, CUTR, and Martin Catala, CUTR, will be facilitated to discuss recent innovations in Mobility-on-Demand (MOD) service implementation, experiences in developing and integrating community transit accessibility infrastructure, and funding opportunities from innovative federal, state, and local programs.

Transit Staffing and Retention

Presenters: Stephanie Lewis, CUTR and James Egbert, MCAT
The current workforce recruitment and retention environment has been challenging and demanding as the nation works through a global pandemic. Please join us for an interactive session that will focus on employee retention and attracting new employees. The facilitators will present ideas, tips and best practices that support attracting and retaining employees in these challenging times.

Implementing your PTASP/SMS

Presenters: Paul Goyette, CUTR and Jafari Bowden, LYNX
Now that you have your Public Transit Agency Safety Plan in place, it’s time for implementing and executing your plan through a daily Safety Management System approach. This session will discuss implementation plans by interacting with the audience and providing tips on how to maintain a holistic approach to safety, identifying and mitigating risk, review employee reporting, tracking hazards and developing corrective actions to mitigate potential and existing safety events down to the lowest particle level. Join us for this interactive session!

11:30am – 1:00pm | General Session/Lunch: Some Positives Weren’t Negative During the Pandemic

Speakers: FPTA Chairman, Clinton B. Forbes, Palm Tran; Brad Miller, PSTA; Tom Phillips, Citrus Connection
Join us for a lunch general session to hear several presentations on the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic. There were indeed some positives that weren’t negative about the pandemic! Three (3) General Manager’s will discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and what they are going to keep after we emerge from this national health emergency. In addition, there will be a tribute to transit employees lost to the Covid-19 virus over the last year and a half.

1:15pm – 2:15pm | Breakout Sessions

Miami-Dade Transit Leverages Intelligent Software to Cut Labor Costs And Provide Ability To Change Destination Sign Content in Real-time.

Presenters: Harry White, Luminator Technology Group; Robert McClellan and Elias “Javier” Salazar, Miami-Dade Transit
To communicate effectively with riders, public transportation operators must have an economical and easy-to-use method for updating destination signs. A Luminator Technology Group (Luminator) customer for over 30 years, Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) leverages Luminator’s intelligent and unified software to wirelessly update destination display messages throughout its fleet.
By incorporating this technology, MDT will save thousands of hours in labor costs. Software updates that would previously take an average of 15 minutes per bus across its fleet of nearly 1,000 fixed route vehicles, will be completed through a fleet-wide automatic wireless update.
The transit industry is leveraging new technologies to ensure an informed, efficient and safe journey for riders while controlling labor costs. Wireless updating of destination displays has become an invaluable tool for transit agencies to be both proactive and fiscally responsible.
Together, Luminator technology experts and MDT managers will present data on the importance and need for integrated technology solutions that help transit agencies reduce labor costs and ensure transit riders have the most up to date information.

Exploring Opportunities to Enhance Transit Planning Initiatives Through Multi-Agency Collaboration | FLORIDA TRANSIT PLANNING NETWORK

Presenters: Gabe Matthews, Florida Department of Transportation; Richard Dreyer, Tindale Oliver and Associates; Mary Ross and Michelle Peronto, Florida Department of Transportation
Entities involved in local and regional transit planning activities including transit agencies, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged must comply with legislative mandates applicable to the planning documents each is required to prepare. These include Transit Development Plans, Transportation Disadvantaged Service Plans and Long Range Transportation Plans.
Current Federal and State legislation stipulates submittal due dates, update requirements and planning horizons that are not always in alignment. As a result, there is growing interest in evaluating opportunities for developing a more holistic approach to transit planning to enhance the efficiency and efficacy of plan preparation.
This session will feature presentations and an interactive discussion with panelists Brandy Otero, Collier County MPO and Michelle Arnold, Collier Area Transit about best practices and recent examples of collaborative inter-agency initiatives to integrate and streamline the transit planning process.


Presenters: Alexander Kolpakov, CUTR; Richard Wolsfeld, AECOM; Jennifer Foote, BEEP; Alan Danaher, WSP; and Doug Jamison, LYNX
While more and more transit providers continue testing and demonstrating passenger vehicles with high levels of automation, these technologies still face challenges with ensuring adequate safety in all operating conditions, achieving public acceptance, standardization of automation technologies and communication protocols, regulatory obstacles, and other issues. Transportation professionals continue debating when transit automation technologies will see widespread market adoption and what impact they will have on transportation costs, urban planning and overall travel behavior. This session will cover the latest developments in automated transit in Florida and the U.S., including the review of implementation models, financial considerations, best practices and lessons learned from recent deployments, as well as update on coordinated efforts for procuring, testing and certification of AV transit vehicles.

Florida Firm Sets Record Setting Public Engagement Levels Within Southeast Region

Presenters: Kelly Robertson and Molly Collins, BowStern Marketing Communications
The Charlotte metro and surrounding regions are growing every day. The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization wanted to launch a study designed to help address this growth and create long-term transportation solutions on and around the I-77 corridor that would ultimately improve commutes. This 70-mile stretch of interstate was a hot topic within the community, and it was critical that the public would be engaged throughout to offer opinions and participate in being part of the solution.

To drive awareness and get the public’s involvement and feedback, the team deployed a fully integrated campaign, utilizing a campaign website, online surveys, public relations, social media, and advertising.

In just 16 weeks, the Beyond 77 effort garnered:
– 25,000+ surveys completed
– 119,000+ social media engagements
– 108,000+ website sessions
– 37M+ earned media impressions

The record-setting campaign has exceeded all stated goals and continues to garner national attention in the industry.

2:00pm – 5:00pm | CTD Business Meeting

2:15pm – 2:45pm | Networking Break

2:45pm – 3:45pm | Breakout Sessions

Bus on Shoulder Pilot Program

Presenter: Abhishek Dayal, Pinellas Suncoast Transportation Authority (PSTA) and Craig Fox, Florida Department of Transportation
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) District 7 recently launched the “Bus on Shoulder” concept to Pinellas County. This is the first interstate-based bus operation of its kind in the State. FDOT identified a five-mile segment of the I-275 corridor to run the pilot program. The primary goal of this I-275 BOS project is to increase connectivity and improve travel time reliability to and from the City of Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. PSTA has extended route 100X service further south to downtown St. Petersburg as part of this effort. In addition, the project includes technology for buses to communicate with the ramp signals on I-275 to control the flow of traffic and providing clearance for the buses driving on the shoulder. This effort involved coordination with FDOT, State Highway Patrol and SunGuide for providing safety messages on the dynamic message signs. This presentation will give an overview of the project as well as the partnership between PSTA and FDOT.

Fare Free Transit

Presenters: Murriah Dekle, Treasure Coast Connector/St. Lucie County BoCC and Peter Haliburton, Principal, Cambridge Systematics
In September 2017, St. Lucie County began offering fare-free service as part of a pilot program aimed at improving transportation access for all in the County in line with the mission of the Board of County Commissioners. This presentation reports on the ridership and fiscal impacts of the pilot, and the potential long-term benefit to the community.


Presenters: Victoria Perk, Ph.D., CUTR; Adolfo Covelli, St. Lucie County Transit Division; Allie Merzer Fleming, StarMetro; and Bonnie Epstein, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
This session is chock full of information on shared mobility services in the state of Florida. What lessons have agencies learned from partnering with community transportation coordinators (CTCs), TNCs, county governments, and call centers to provide TD services across county lines? How can integrating mobile fare payments within trip-planning apps help bring riders back to transit? Finally, can the integration of TNCs, wheelchair accessible vehicles, and taxi companies give riders more flexibility while saving transit agencies money? If you want answers to these and other shared mobility questions, this session is a must!

Florida Transit Safety and Operations Network

Moderators: Tony Brandin, FDOT; Jim Egbert, MCAT; Jafari Bowden, LYNX; and Paul Goyette, CUTR
Please join us for an interactive session of the Florida Transit Safety and Operations Network (FTSON). This session promises to be interactive while discussing current transit challenges, new mobility initiatives, State rule updates, as well as general discussions related to transit issues. Please join us for this important meeting of the FTSON!

3:00pm – 3:45pm | FPTA Business Member Meeting

All FPTA Business Members are encouraged to attend the Annual Business Member Meeting in the Exhibit Hall. We will discuss several items and vote for a new voting Business Member on the FPTA Board.

4:00pm – 5:30pm | Transit Leadership Program Graduates’ Happy Hour (invite only)

This event is invitation ONLY. Florida Transit Leadership Program attendees are invited to attend and celebrate their graduation.

6:00pm – 7:00pm | FPTA Awards Reception

To be held outside of the banquet hall.

7:00pm – 9:00pm | FPTA Awards Banquet & Dinner

The Awards Banquet highlights the amazing accomplishments of our transit systems and employees!

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

8:00am – 5:00pm | Registration Open

Check in to receive your entry badge and registration bag. You can also purchase extra tickets here and ask questions.

8:30am – 10:00am | General Session: State & Federal Updates Breakfast

FTA, FDOT, APTA, and CTAA will discuss important updates and information regarding transit here in Florida and around the nation.

10:30am – 11:30am | Breakout Sessions

Florida Electric Transit Bus Procurement Update + State of the Industry

Presenters: Jared Schnader, CALSTART; Alvin Burns, Henry Lukasik, and Edith Randle, Pinellas Suncoast Transportation Authority (PSTA)
Overview of the current zero-emission bus technologies, growth sectors, and new developments being seen across the US. To provide an update and discuss the lessons learned on the Florida Electric Transit Bus Procurement.

Preparing for the Future of Mobility

Presenters: Brad Thoburn, Florida Department of Transportation; Karen Deigl, Senior Resource Association and member, Florida Transportation Plan/Strategic Intermodal System Implementation Committee; Shawn Mitchell, Big Bend Transit; Cassandra Borchers AICP, PSTA
Imagine a transportation system with zero fatalities, reliable travel times, seamless mobility, and universal accessibility for people of all ages and abilities.
That’s the vision for transportation in Florida in the year 2045, as described in the Florida Transportation Plan.
The Florida of Transportation is working with partners to achieve this vision- including working with providers of public transportation, transportation disadvantaged services, and shared mobility services to provide more safe, accessible, and interconnected choices for how people travel in the future.
Come participate in a discussion with leaders from the Florida Department of Transportation and transit providers about the future of mobility in Florida – and how we can evolve our plans, programs, and partnerships to support this vision.

Trends in Public Transit Suicides and Attempted Suicides and Potential Mitigation Measures

Presenters: Jodi Godfrey, CUTR and Jim Egbert, MCAT
The national increasing trend in suicides/attempted suicides in public transit is a challenge that is not unique to any one specific geography, therefore it is important that agencies share the strategies they are employing to address them, and the lessons learned. This session will begin with a data presentation followed by a report of best/model practices, and then presentations from a peer transit agency who has focused efforts on working with their local mental health agencies.

Florida Transit Maintenance Consortium Meeting

Presenters: Todd Parsons, CUTR; Joe Cheney, PSTA; and Elvis Dovales, LYNX
The Florida Transit Maintenance Consortium (FTMC) is a collection of transit maintenance professionals from around the state and includes representatives from many public transportation agencies’ maintenance departments.  This maintenance consortium will allow for the exchange of information related to current issues, trends and programs affecting transit agencies across the state. 
Please join the FTMC Quarterly meeting to discuss maintenance training, the status and direction of the Certified Transit Technician program, and transit ASE testing.  Do not miss this very informative meeting and your opportunity to ask questions.  

12:00pm – 3:00pm | Grand Opening of EXPO & Lunch

Join FPTA Business members in the EXPO Hall to see their latest products and services. We will have lunch ready, and you will have plenty of time to visit each booth and vehicle display.

2:00pm – 5:00pm | FPTA Annual Board Meeting

ALL FPTA Transit System Members are encouraged to attend. We will be electing our new FPTA Board of Directors for the upcoming year. Don’t miss your chance to represent your agency on the Board!

3:15pm – 4:15pm | Breakout Sessions

Selling Public Transit to Both Sides of the Aisle

Presenters: Mark Kruse, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney; and Ivan Rodriguez, The Routing Company
Discussion/role playing on transit agency strategies when seeking information/assistance in-person from relevant transit state and local transit agencies, and/or the Governor’s office, and the Legislature.

Building an All-Inclusive Experience for Employees and Customers with Disabilities

Presenter: Nicole Fincham-Shehan, Palm Tran and Lou Ferri, Palm Tran
This presentation will be conducted by an employee of Palm Tran and a user of Public Transportation – in addition, I am Blind. The goal is to discuss the importance of clearly communicating with not only fellow employees who are disabled, but the public we serve. I have a unique perception of how the workplace and public transportation in general is perceived by those with disabilities. We will discuss how and what are appropriate questions to ask, how to properly set up a diverse, all-inclusive work environment and transportation system and how to handle employee and rider reasonable accommodations. Attendees will also learn various ways to communicate and offer assistance with individuals with disabilities that are not offensive and condescending.

Attracting and Retaining Bus Operators and Mechanics

Presenters: Robert T. Babbitt, Robert Babbitt PLLC and Ken Fischer, SBLB LLC
The presentation identifies the problems before, during and after the pandemic. It explains how the trucking and school bus and transit markets are adapting to the pressures. It explores how the growth in Uber, Lyft, Amazon and others has exacerbated the challenge. It demonstrates new ideas on reaching candidates and making our careers attractive.


Presenters: Todd Parsons, CUTR; John Hatch, BYD; Bill Fay, Gillig; and Michael E. Hennessy, Proterra
The Florida Transit Maintenance Consortium (FTMC) is a collection of transit maintenance professionals from around the state and includes representatives from many public transportation agencies’ maintenance departments.  This maintenance consortium will allow for the exchange of information related to current issues, trends and programs affecting transit agencies across the state. 
Please join us while the FTMC host three Battery Electric Bus (BEB) vendors; BYD, Gillig and Proterra to discuss their BEB battery technology, design, warranty and BEB battery safety, followed by a question-and-answer session.

5:30pm – 7:30pm | EXPO Reception & Costume Party

This year’s annual costume party (2020 you are ignored) will be themed ‘Halloween.’ All attendees are encouraged to dress to impress for the chance to win prizes. The evening begins at 5:30 PM with plenty of food and drinks, followed by a live band and dessert at the after party beginning at 7:30 pm. Costume winners and best exhibitor booth will be announced during the after party, along with prize giveaways.

7:30pm – 9:30pm | After Party & Desserts

The fun won’t stop with our live band and dessert at the after party. Costume winners and best exhibitor booth will be announced, along with prize giveaways.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

8:00am – 1:00pm | Registration Open

Check in to receive your entry badge and registration bag. You can also purchase extra tickets here and ask questions.

8:30am – 10:00am | General Session/Breakfast: The Future of the Coordinated Transportation Disadvantaged System

David Darm, Executive Director of the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, will discuss initiatives and goals for the TD Program for the upcoming year.

8:30am – 12:00pm | FDOT District Meeting

10:30am – 11:30am | Breakout Sessions

Reimagining Community Transportation

Presenters: Benjamin Pearl, Sarasota County Area Transit; Jerry Stickney, Hillsborough County Sunshine Line; Billie Jo Sikes, Votran; Jonathan Register, iEnable, Inc.
Over the last few years, the State of Florida has experienced unique challenges in delivering human service transportation. Despite these difficult times, transportation providers are employing new and creative ways to meet the evolving mobility needs of their community. This session will explore some of these initiatives, including partnerships, safety, mobility on demand and more.

How Effective is Your Nonprofit’s Financial Management?

Presenters: Alisha Linton, Director of Training and Advocacy, The Arc of Florida; Deborah Linton, Former CEO of The Arc of Florida

All nonprofits need good financial oversight. In this session, we will examine and discuss your governance, policies, and practices. Join us as we explore the roles your nonprofit board members, management, and funding partners play in running a financially healthy organization.

Transit Providers and Riders With Dementia

Presenters: Kiarra Krulikowski, Alzheimer’s Association; Greg Fraser, Community Educator Volunteer, Alzheimer’s Association; PRE-RECORDED SESSION: Nicolette Castagna, MPH, RMHCI, CDP Florida State University College of Medicine Department of Geriatrics
Alzheimer’s and other dementias cause memory, thinking, and behavior changes that interfere with daily living. Learn about common warning signs of Alzheimer’s and what symptoms to look for in yourself and others, as well as tips to approach someone who is experiencing changes in their memory, the benefit of early detection and diagnosis, and more. We will also provide specific tips and strategies that can help transit and paratransit drivers learn how to better interact with passengers experiencing memory loss or other symptoms of dementia. A transit driver tip card with this information will also be made available to attendees and their organizations.

12:00pm – 1:30pm

General Session Lunch: Recruiting in 2021 – Where is Everyone?

Presenters: Rabi Sami, Senior Recruiter, CareerSource Palm Beach County
Having difficulty finding workers? You’re not alone. Almost every industry is desperate to hire! So, where are all the workers? Our workshop takes an in-depth look at the generational and environmental makeup of the workforce over the next 10 years. We then divulge our best recruiting practices for attracting & retaining candidates and boosting attendance at hiring events. Find the answers you’re looking for- and the talent!

2:00pm – 3:15pm | Breakout Sessions

Helping Vulnerable Populations Find Transportation: On-line Information and Referral Resources to Reduce Mobility Barriers

Presenters: Sandra Winter, PhD, OTR/L, University of Florida, Dept of Occupational Therapy, College of Public Health and Health Professions; Liz Peak, Regional Mobility Group LLC; Marybeth Soderstrom, Heartland Regional TPO
Florida’s Safe Mobility for Life Coalition and its partners support safe mobility for older adults, persons transitioning from driving, persons who are disabled, and those who are transportation disadvantaged. This panel presentation underscores the importance of mobility for these vulnerable populations and how each agency works to remove mobility barriers. The presentation highlights three different programs – each designed to break down barriers for riders in Florida by identifying transportation options. Panelists will discuss system features, future directions for on-line information and referral resources, the importance of accurate data and how the CTCs can help in maintaining that data. Online information can include trip planners that interface with Web-enabled devices such as computers, tablets, and smart phones. Referral resources are also offered online, often with live support, to help people identify the best transportation option to meet their needs. After this presentation, participants will be able to identify and promote resources that can be used by riders to help identify appropriate transportation options; identify the costs and benefits of incorporating on-line information and referral systems to website for regional transit; and understand how a trip planner can break down transportation barriers by assisting residents in moving across county lines.

TD 101 –  Overview of the Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) Program

Presenter: David Darm, Executive Director, Florida Commission of the Transportation Disadvantaged
If you are new to TD or if you just want to refresh your knowledge, this session is for you! Participants will receive a comprehensive overview of the Transportation Disadvantaged Program.

Becoming a Successful E-Learner: I’ve Signed Up – Now What?

Presenter: Stephanie Lewis, CUTR
COVID-19 has dramatically altered the world of education and training.  There has been a shift from traditional instructor led training to e-Learning. This session will provide tips and strategies an e-Learner can use to get the most from an online training course.

3:30pm – 4:45pm | Breakout Sessions

Small and Rural Transit Agency Roundtable Discussion

Moderators: Stephanie Lewis and Bill Mayer, CUTR
This session will be offered in a roundtable format to discuss a variety of challenges and successes met by small and rural transit agencies. Topics will include lessons learned from the last 18 months, service changes, and the Florida Transit Managers Toolkit (currently under development). Attendees are encouraged to bring their questions and issues to share with the moderators and their peers.

TD Planners Session

Presenters: CTD Staff
Welcome Back! We are so excited to see all of you and to provide this “networking” opportunity again.  The last couple of years have presented some challenges in accomplishing planning tasks required for the TD program.  Please join us as we review and discuss the planning grant requirements and deliverables for each task.  We encourage you to share the challenges you have experienced and how your agency addressed some of these challenges.  The sharing of ideas and information is key to determining the best solution for your agency. 

Innovative Practices in the Paratransit Service Arena

Presenters: Murriah Dekle, St. Lucie County BOCC; Steve Holmes, UZURV Holdings, Inc.; Martin Catala and Jennifer Flynn, CUTR
As Florida continues to grow and become more interconnected, the transportation service industry is challenged with finding new and innovative ways of meeting the evolving needs of the state’s TD population. This session explores some of the promising practices and lessons learned under the CTD’s Innovation & Service Development Grant program. This discussion will provide insights into how stakeholders of the coordinated system can explore and develop innovative projects within their community. Panelists will discuss strategies on how to: develop proposals that meet grant funding objectives; gather evidence to support new services; identify and collaborate with key partners; and build sustainable service models.

6:30pm – 7:00pm | CTD Awards Reception

To be held outside of the banquet hall.

7:00pm – 9:00pm | CTD Awards Banquet & Dinner

The Awards Banquet highlights the amazing accomplishments of our Community Transportation Systems, employees, and volunteers!

To review SAFETY INFORMATION, please visit ourMeeting Safely page.