October 23, 2016
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MTD Gaining Ground on Environmental Promise

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The 1600-series buses were lined up for the October 11 event!

Last Tuesday, October 11, MTD hosted an event to celebrate our twelve new 2016 diesel electric hybrid buses. But MTD, you may be asking, since you had hybrid buses since 2009 what’s the big deal about these ones? Great question, dear reader.

Continue Advancements in Hybrid Technology

MTD’s mission is “leading the way to greater mobility” and one of our seven goals is to “deliver high quality traditional and innovative transportation services that are safe, reliable, environmentally responsible, and user friendly.”

Our continual investment in hybrid buses is one way MTD is making good on its promise to become an environmental leader in the community. With the addition of twelve newly acquired 40-foot hybrid buses, MTD’s fleet is now 60% hybrid. The new buses operate with a propulsion system that is fully electric with environmental savings of approximately 15,600 gallons of gas and 325 tons of CO2 annually.

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MTD’s Managing Director Karl Gnadt spoke to a group of local media, elected officials, and MTD Board of Trustee Members.

“We made the commitment to improve our environmental impact and with the addition of these new buses, MTD is now 60% hybrid,” said Karl Gnadt, Managing Director of MTD. “As our ridership continues to be around 13 million, our fuel consumption has decreased and we anticipate that progress of heavy ridership and less fuel to continue well into the future.”

MTD’s event was attended by several outside visitors including representatives from BAE Systems. The new buses have BAE Systems’ HybridDrive® Series, and the new bus additions produce near-zero emissions while also significantly reducing noise pollution.

Local Energy Engineer with SC-B Consulting, Todd Rusk said, “MTD’s Environmental and Sustainable Management System has significantly improved its impact on the community, and these new buses make a giant step toward MTD being a community environmental leader.”

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Representative Carol Ammons speaks with employees from Clifford Jacobs Forging.

Champaign County Proud

Adding to the benefits to the Champaign-Urbana community, Clifford-Jacobs Forging, located in Champaign, was among the supply chain working with BAE to manufacture the buses. This increases both the environmental and economic impact on the community.

Additional amenities on the buses include USB charging ports, a front bike rack, low floor with easy ramp access, and more. “Our vision for the future is to continue to make a positive impact on the Champaign-Urbana community,” says Karl Gnadt, “that includes both environmentally and in the number of riders we serve.”

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Congressman Rodney Davis spoke at the event about the importance of continued infrastructure and transit investment.

To learn more about the buses and the event, read this News Gazette article. And of course, we’d love to hear what you think of buses 1601 through 1613! Let us know in the comments or give us a shout on Facebook and Twitter.

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Voices for Public Transit

We’re dedicating this week’s blog post to the national advocacy campaign, Voices for Public Transit. All text from this post is found on the campaign’s website.

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1.1 millions jobs are created or sustained by robust investment in public transportation.

Public Transportation is essential to the growth of communities nationwide. The American Public Transportation Association is dedicated to supporting a multi-modal lifestyle that allows mobility to all Americans. On publictransportation.org you can find details on leading a car-free lifestyle and facts and figures on how riding transit can save you money. Try their Fuel Savings Calculator and Carbon Savings Calculator to get the wheels turning.

Through Voices for Public Transportation you can become a part of a nationwide movement to expand public transportation by using social media to spread the message and contacting your local elected officials.

Communities Grow with Transit

  • For every dollar communities invest in public transportation, approximately $4 is generated in economic returns.
  • 1.1 million jobs are created or sustained annually.
  • 50,000 jobs result from the productivity gains of $1 billion in federal investment.
  • $66 billion in business sales are generated each year.
  • Every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales.
  • From 2006-2011, residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service.
  • Public transportation is a $57 billion industry that puts people to work – directly employing nearly 400,000 people and creating hundreds of thousands of private-sector jobs.
  • $9.5 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenue are generated each year.
"APTA" "voices for transit" "sales"

Robust funding in public transportation leads to $66 billion in business sales per year.

Active Transit

  • The latest census revealed that the population of walkable urban and suburban areas grew much faster than the country’s growth rate over the last ten years– 12.1% versus 9.7%.
  • To get around, Millennials are increasingly becoming multi-modal and moving to communities that provide robust public transportation options.
  • From 2001 to 2009, the number of passenger-miles traveled per capita by 16 to 34 year-olds on public transit increased by 40%.
  • 62% of people ages 18-29 said they would prefer to live in an area described as having a mix of single family houses, apartments and condominiums, with stores, restaurants, libraries, schools and access to public transportation nearby, than in a sprawl-style neighborhood.
  • In 2013, Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation, the highest annual ridership number in 57 years.
  • From 1995 through 2013, public transportation ridership increased by 37.2%—a growth rate higher than the 22.7% increase in U.S. population and higher than the 20.3% growth in the use of the nation’s highways over the same period.
  • Across the country, public support for public transportation investment and expansion is strong. Over the last five years, voters have approved over 77 percent of ballot initiatives that included funding for public transportation.
  • Americans living in areas served by public transportation save 865 million hours in travel time and 450 million gallons of fuel annually, according to the most recent Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) report.
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For every $1 communities invest in public transportation, approximately $4 is generated in economic returns.

Why Should We Care?

There is a dire need for consistent investment in American infrastructure. Public transportation systems nationwide are in dire need of investment to support increased ridership.

A study by the Economic Development Research Corporation projects that 480,000 new jobs representing $32 billion per year in income will be at risk due to congestion by 2040.

After years of neglect, the infrastructure that American communities and businesses rely on to grow and prosper is crumbling. In giving America’s infrastructure a grade of D+, the American Society of Civil Engineers found that deteriorating public transportation infrastructure cost the U.S. economy $90 billion in 2010.

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APTA’s plan for investment in public transportation contributes an additional $81 billion in GDP every year. That ranks higher than the GDP of over countries.

Ready to Help?

Visit Voices for Public Transit’s Action Center. Join the movement, sign a petition, and learn about ways you can advocate for accessible transit with options for all.

You can read stories from other transit advocates and share your story about how public transit impacts the lives of you and those you care about.

And of course, what advocacy campaign would be complete without a social media presence? Link up with Voices for Transit on Facebook and Twitter, too!

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Green Light: Progress on MCORE Project

It’s been two years since the Champaign-Urbana community was awarded $15.7 million from the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) to redesign and rebuild segments of Green Street, Wright Street, Armory Avenue, and White Street. Great progress on the multimodal project has been made, but not without collaboration, cooperation, and commitment. The Multimodal Corridor Enhancement (MCORE) Project partners have hosted public input meetings, worked together to make big decisions, and overcome a few obstacles.

"MCORE" "TIGER" "GRANT" "University of Illinois" "CUMTD" "MTD" "City of Champaign" "City of Urbana"

This map displays all five project zones of the MCORE Project.

Strong Partnership

In the time since the September 2014 announcement of Federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funding, staff at the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, City of Champaign, City of Urbana, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been running full speed ahead. The partner agencies hired a well-rounded design team led by Clark Dietz and Hanson Professional Services in association with TYLin International, Millennia Professional Services, Site Design Group, Third Coast Design Studio, and Engineering & Research International.

With guidance from the design team, the partner agencies have completed plans for Project 1 (Green St. in Urbana), Project 2 (Green St. in Champaign), and Project 3 (White Street) which will safely accommodate all roadway users including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, and vehicles.

Karl Gnadt, MTD Managing Director, describes the importance of working together for the good of the community:

“MCORE really represents a scenario that the citizens of Champaign-Urbana should be quite proud of. Four of their public agencies have pooled their resources in an unprecedented way and come together for the betterment of the community as a whole – not just their respective constituencies. It’s been so gratifying to see the project partners embrace that ideal and solve every difficulty that has been encountered in an unselfish, unbiased, uncanny way.”

Bumps in the Road

The first challenge that the partner agencies and design team faced was the tight project schedule, defined by the federal funding requirements. The TIGER Grant stipulates that all federal funding must be obligated before September 2016 and expended before September 2021. This gave the team a fraction of the amount of time that would normally be allocated to a project of this scale. Of course, all parties found a way to meet the deadlines and make the project happen.

In line with these deadlines, the partners went out to bid for Projects 1, 2, and 3 at the July 29, 2016 Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) bid letting. At the letting, the bids that were submitted were over the engineer’s cost estimates by more than 10%. Based on those amounts, the bids were rejected. Because the funding was in fact obligated by the September deadline, the federal funds were not threatened by the bid rejection. The team put their heads back together, made some changes that are believed to cut costs, and the projects are back on the street for bid acceptance. Bids will be opened at the November 2016 IDOT letting. Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2017.

Multimodal Improvements Coming Soon

The MCORE Project is in line with community goals surrounding accessibility and sustainability. Improvements based on “Complete Streets” concepts will provide access for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and vehicles. The MCORE team is committed to transforming the project corridors into safe and appealing areas for active modes of transportation. The project also promotes development that is designed to be compact and contiguous to existing development and have limited impact on the environment.

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An artist’s rendering of planned improvements on Green Street in front of the Illini Union (MCORE Project 1).

Pedestrian improvements will include all pedestrian “scramble” walk phase at stoplights, pedestrian refuge islands, high visibility pavement markings, and leading pedestrian intervals at stoplights. Bicyclists can look forward to improvements including protected and raised bike lanes, green pavement markings, bike turn boxes at intersections, and leading bicycle intervals at stoplights. Transit improvements will include boarding islands, improved shelters, near-level bus boarding, and bus stop consolidation.


These images show different designs for pedestrian improvements. The four presented are “All Way” Pedestrian Crossing, High Visibility Crosswalk, Corner Bump-Out, and Pedestrian Refuge Island.

As we move towards the rebid of the first three projects, the team has begun work on Project 4 (Armory Avenue) and Project 5 (the remainder of Green Street in Urbana). Stay informed via Facebook, Twitter (@MCOREproject), and by subscribing to email updates.

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BikeMoves Illinois is Live

This blog post was written by Gabe Lewis, Transportation Planner for the Champaign-Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study (CUUATS), which is a program of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC).

Champaign-Urbana’s newest bicycle app, BikeMoves Illinois, is now publicly available as a free download in the Google Play Store and iOS App Store!  You may recall that the BikeMoves team introduced the app to the Inside Lane in June, but in case you missed it, BikeMoves Illinois is a free mobile bike app allowing users to log their rides.

While there are similar apps on the market, this is the first app specifically designed for bicyclists in Champaign County.  The app provides a valuable data collection opportunity for local transportation planners to improve bike safety and connectivity.  MTD planners will also be able to analyze this data to learn if cyclists are biking to and from bus stops and how many cyclists are using public transit.

Additionally, BikeMoves includes the locations of existing bikeways (tap the colored lines on the map) and bike parking, as well as the ability to report issues on your ride (e.g. potholes, low tree branches) to local officials. Also included are the locations of bike repair stations and bike shops to help service your bicycle.

That’s No Shower Cap

Is your bike seat soggy from this summer’s rainstorms?  Does your bicycle need a pop of color for the fall riding season?  If so, we’ve got just thing for you.  It’s not a shower cap; it’s a BikeMoves bike seat cover!

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It’s not a shower cap; it’s a BikeMoves bike seat cover!

The BikeMoves team has distributed hundreds of these bike seat covers at Light the Night, Quad Day, and other local events this fall.  If you received one, be sure to download the app, and head to our website to sign up for our newsletter!  If you haven’t yet received one, contact the BikeMoves team.  Who knows – a seat cover may find its way to your bike this week!

Gift Card Raffle, You Say?

That’s right!  Everyone signed up for the BikeMoves newsletter by 11:59 PM on Thursday, September 29th will be eligible to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards!  Simply enter your email address on the BikeMoves homepage, and we promise not to email you more than once a week, nor share your information with anyone.  Think of what you could do with free money on Amazon!

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Light the Night attendees signed up for BikeMoves as they waited in line for their free bike lights on September 22.

iOS Geolocation Permissions

One of the questions we’ve received from users regards the geolocation permissions on iOS.  BikeMoves Illinois only tracks your location while you are recording a trip, but the current version requires the always allow permission for geolocation.  Check out our latest blog post to learn more about this and our privacy policy.

Open Source

BikeMoves Illinois is open source software created by developers at the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission and students at the University of Illinois. The code is freely available for anyone to inspect and improve. Interested in contributing code or documentation? Drop us a line at bikemoves@cuuats.org!

Don’t Delay – USE it Today!

Many people may have downloaded BikeMoves Illinois to their device, but now we want to make sure you are using it!  The fall weather we have been waiting for has finally arrived this week.  So use BikeMoves during your next bike ride, and feel free to shoot us an email at bikemoves@cuuats.org to let us know how it went!

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Redesigned Web Schedules

Earlier this month, MTD published an updated redesign of our web schedules. These are timetables designed and displayed for every route and every daytype. Riders are encouraged to reference a schedule, either paper or digital, before riding.

Schedules are structured by timepoints, the vertical columns. Operators cannot leave timepoints early. This helps to ensure schedule congruence for those who are boarding at stops in between timepoints. Departure times for non-timepoints are estimates and Operators may leave them “early.”

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Along with a new general design aesthetic, this image displays two new features. One, highlighted timepoint columns, and two clickable footnotes with closely displayed text.

What’s Better?

Users familiar with our previous web schedules, will likely first notice a change with the enlarged font. The text at the top is also center aligned. The times are now left aligned while the footnotes are right aligned. The idea behind this was to give more space and improve readability.

We also added horizontal row striping, much like you would see in Excel, to improve the user experience.

As you move your mouse around the new schedules, you’ll notice a highlight bar appears to assist in your schedule reading. The bar colors the timepoint column your mouse is hovering over. These features make a big difference especially when you’re scrolling into the afternoon and early evening times.

Footnotes are now clickable and display the corresponding information at the spot of the  schedule time. No longer are you directed to the bottom of the web schedule to read a time’s deviation details. You can simply click and read the information alongside the time and timepoint you desire.

The remaining two improvements are a bit “under the hood,” but we know some of our readers enjoy the gritty details. The print style sheets were revisited to optimize readability and information clarity. One example is if you print a web schedule that features Hoppers. The printed schedule will now display the word “hopper” under each corresponding time in case you are not printing in color.

The web schedules are no longer loading in iFrame, a nested browsing context. This improves the user experience as it standardizes the schedule’s display across browsers.

What’s the Inspiration?

Our Software Developer, Ryan Blackman, said all of these changes came to be because of one idea.

“Recently, we partnered with Pixo to do website usability testing with our customers,” Blackman said. “As I watched our users, I came up with the idea to provide a column highlighter to help them navigate.”

As Blackman sat down to add this feature, he found himself updating and tweaking the entire CSS (cascading style sheet). “It kind of snowballed and I was coming up with all these other things to redo.”

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All web schedules feature a reroute banner, which displays reroutes in effect for the route you are viewing. All timepoints are also clickable to direct you to up-to-the-minute departure times.

Anything Else?

While we have you, we want to direct you to three already existing features of the web schedules that you may not know about.

Did you know the timepoints, the columns that structure the schedule, are linked to Bus Stop Lookup? So as you check your scheduled departure times, you can click over to see how the bus is performing in real-time.

Next, we want to direct you to the red reroute banner at the top. This banner scrolls through the titles of any reroutes currently in effect for the route you are riding. You can click on the banner to view complete reroute information including streets affected and the alternate service path.

Finally, each timepoint box on the schedule has a unique corresponding color. These colors correspond to the circles of the same color displayed on the route’s map.  This is especially useful as you estimate the times for stops in between timepoints.

Do you have any ideas for how to further improve our web schedules or our website? Let us know in the comments.

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Light the Night 2016

"light the night" "champaign" "urbana" "bike project" "planet bike" "safety" "university of illinois"

The industrious process of pre-installing batteries in each light set was done by the Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign!

As fall quickly approaches, daylight hours are dwindling. To increase safety, MTD, City of Champaign, City of Urbana, and University of Illinois have partnered to purchase bike light sets for the 9th annual ‘Light the Night’ Bike Light Distribution Campaign. RSVP to the Facebook Event!

Pedal your two-wheeled chariot to campus on Thursday, September 22 from 4 – 7 pm to receive a free light set. Volunteers will install until the lights run out or the clock strikes 7 pm!

Please visit one of two locations:

  • Wright & Green near the Alma Mater Statue
  • Lincoln & Illinois near Illinois Street Residence Hall

Teams of volunteers including law enforcement will install 2,180 bicycle lights, 1,090 sets, and educate bicyclists about laws that require bikes to have lights at night. Information will be provided on safe riding during both daylight and nighttime hours.

Bicyclists operating bikes without lights will be encouraged to have a light installed at these locations. Bicycles will be equipped with a set of front and rear lights by teams of volunteers at each location. Lights will only be installed on bicycles without lights; lights will not be given to individuals.

Bus Bike Rack Demonstrations

MTD will have a bus at the Illinois & Lincoln install site for cyclists to practice loading and unloading their bikes in the rack. MTD Staff will be on hand to walk you through the process step-by-step.

About Those Volunteers…

Thanks volunteers! A group of 16 volunteers, many from the Prairie Cycle Club and The Bike Project, recently gathered to install batteries in all the lights in advance.

But volunteers are still needed! Please visit The Bike Project for information on volunteering and to sign up. sign-up is here

Beyond Free Lights

The purpose of the campaign is to improve the visibility of bicyclists at night while educating riders about the safety benefits of a bicycle light. The requirement for a front light and rear reflector are specified in Illinois law for operation of bicycles at night. The Illinois rules state that every bicycle, when in use at nighttime, must be equipped with a lamp on the front able to emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet, and with at least a red reflector on the rear visible from 100-600 feet. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

With daylight hours shrinking, and Daylight Savings Time fast approaching, the organizers think this is an ideal time to remind bicyclists of the need for front and rear bike lights in low light conditions. Drivers should also be reminded to be alert for bicycle traffic at all times of day and night, and to remember that bicycles travel on the same roads, must obey the same rules, and have the same rights as automobiles.

Representatives of the MTD, City of Urbana, City of Champaign, and the University of Illinois as well as other organizations including the Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign, Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study (CUUATS), Champaign County Bikes, and the Campus Bike Shop make this annual event possible.

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Green Light: MTD’s Environmental System Passes Audit and Review Progress

MTD staff successfully completed the fourth audit of its ISO 14001-certified Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS). In July, staff participated in a three-day third-party audit based on the ISO 14001:2004 Standard. In August, staff conducted a quarterly review of the environmental system with upper management and representatives of the Board of Trustees.

Audit Results

There were no major non-conformities and one minor non-conformity identified against the Standard during this visit. There were no observations for corrections and five observations for improvement offered. A minor non-conformity is something small that needs to be corrected by staff within a few months. Observations for improvement are even smaller suggestions from the auditor that could potentially help the system run better. This might include adding certain language to a procedure or conducting additional training.

“The system continues to operate well, helping the organization achieve its environmental performance targets, support policy, and deliver continual improvement. Overall, the ESMS continues to address the requirements of the Standard and to enable responsible persons to effectively understand and manage environmental risks for activities conducted at the facility.”

From MTD’s ISO 14001:2004 Audit Report in July

Management Review

In August MTD staff put the ESMS to the test once again, though this time internally with a Management Review. The ESMS Team includes six MTD Staff who meet weekly to work on the District’s environmental efforts. This group hosts four Management Reviews a year, after the completion of each quarter. At these review meetings the ESMS Team present progress to MTD’s Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, and two members of the Board of Trustees.

The meeting opened with a status update in which the team followed up on suggestions from previous Management Reviews. Suggestions included incorporating the Administrative and Operations Facility into the ISO 14001 certification, working on reducing paper consumption, including financial figures in progress reports, and monitoring energy consumption.

The team then discussed changing circumstances which include potential changes to the audit schedule, transitioning from ISO 14001:2004 to ISO 14001:2015, and integration with the District’s upcoming ISO 9001:2015 certification.

Measures of Success

The ESMS Team reported on the District’s environmental objectives. Progress in Fiscal Year 2016 includes:

  • 55 fewer gallons of non-burnable oil
  • Replacement of about 460 single-use batteries with 61 rechargeable batteries
  • Replacement of 20% of the Maintenance Facility’s electricity with solar energy, saving $20,700
  • Addition of 48 recycling bins at Illinois Terminal

The ESMS Team reported on environmental performance including utility consumption. When comparing April, May, and June of this year to the same period last year, the District reduced consumption overall of all three utilities: electricity, natural gas, and water. The biggest “losers” of the quarter include:

  • Maintenance Facility which consumed 30 percent less water this quarter.
  • Illinois Terminal which consumed 11 percent less electricity this quarter.
  • Administration and Operations facility which consumed 18 percent less natural gas and 13 percent less water this quarter.
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MTD’s Maintenance Facility consumes 30% less water in 2016 Q4 as compared to 2015 Q4.

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MTD’s Illinois Terminal consumed 11% less electricity in 2016 Q4 as compared to 2015 Q4.

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MTD’s Administration & Operations Facility consumed 18% less natural in 2016 Q4 as compared to 2015 Q4.

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MTD’s Administration & Operations Facility consumed 13% less water in 2016 Q4 as compared to 2015 Q4.

The team solicited additional suggestions from upper management and received feedback on opportunities to improve. The next ESMS Management Review will be held in October, following the first quarter of the District’s Fiscal Year 2017.

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Bus Evacuation Training

With the start of a new school year, comes one of MTD’s many annual traditions. Staff and Operators are scheduled at local middle and high schools for bus evacuation training. Since MTD provides the transportation for many of these students, we want to make sure they know what to expect and how to respond should an emergency occur.

You, dear reader, can also benefit from this overview. So we’ll give you a shortened version in this post.

"Control Center" "MTD" "CUMTD"

MTD’s Control Center is an elaborate monitoring system that insures quality service and fast response to emergencies.

What is an Emergency?

Emergencies that could necessitate a bus evacuation include fire, accident, security threat, or violence on board. Our Operators are trained in appropriate responses and have multiple ways to communicate with the Dispatchers in MTD’s Control Center.

MTD’s Control Center has access to location information and emergency resources, which enables our Operators to maintain their focus on the situation at hand and the passengers on board.

How to Exit

Please listen to the Operator. Again, they are trained professionals who will know the state of the vehicle and the most efficient way to exit. To speed up evacuation, please leave your belongings on board.

There are four ways to exit the bus. The first is through the front door. The second is through the rear door. In order to exit out the rear door, the Operator must initiate the interlock brake. When this is done, the light overhead will turn on and shine green for go! Press lightly on the vertical silver handles to engage the doors and they will open.

"butterfly valve" "air brakes" "bus" "rear door" "safety"

The butterfly valve, located next to the back door and in a red box for this picture, can be used in emergencies to manually open the back doors.

If the bus is unable to open its doors, there is a small box above the back door. This contains what is called a butterfly valve. Once turned, this valve enables the doors to be opened by hand.

The third way to exit is through the emergency windows. Bet you didn’t know those opened, huh? In a 40-foot bus, the most common vehicle in MTD’s fleet, there are three emergency windows on the driver’s side and two on the curb side. You can tell which windows can be opened by the red emergency handles. Once pulled, the windows swing out thanks to a hinge at the top. These are heavy and passengers exiting from the windows will have to jump down from a fairly high height. It is recommended that passengers do this with the assistance of others.

The final way to exit is utilized in emergencies where the bus has tipped onto its side. Know what it is? You got it, the roof hatch. There are two roof hatches in a 40-foot bus.

Once you’ve exited, it is recommended that everyone gather as a group at a distance of approximately 100 feet from the bus is recommended.

Stay out of the danger zones of a bus. These are the blind spots of a vehicle where the operator cannot see you. Surrounding traffic may also be unable to see you. These areas are immediately in front of the bus, just behind the front windows and doors, and, of course, directly behind the bus.

What if the Operator is Injured?

If the Operator is unable to assist in the emergency, please follow these two steps.

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If the Operator is injured, someone should secure the vehicle. The best way to secure a bus is to pull the emergency parking brake – that yellow square. While you’re there, it’s also a good idea to flip on the hazard light flashers with that red switch.

First, secure the bus. You can do this by pulling the emergency parking brake which is located on the driver’s left side dashboard. It is yellow and shaped like a square.

Second, contact the Control Center. Use the Operator’s CoPilot screen to do so by pressing the red button with the letters “PRTT.” This stands for Priority Request to Talk. This sends a message to our Control Center. They’ll call your vehicle directly and you can use the black phone attached to the farebox to talk. This phone acts like a walkie-talkie with a button you release to listen and press to talk. It is located in the handle of the phone.

Confirm with the Dispatcher the bus number, which is displayed above the driver, your location, and the city.

We sincerely hope you are never in a situation where an emergency evacuation is needed. But as they say, safety doesn’t happen by accident. So we intend for this post to increase your awareness and confidence in the event of an emergency.

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What You Missed at Quad Day

"university of illinois" "quad day" "henry administration building" "cumtd" "mtd" "bus"

We were perky and rarin’ to go at 10:30 am for Quad Day 2016! Thanks to the thousands (yes, thousands) of students who visited our tables.

Did you miss Quad Day? Read this post to learn our top six suggestions to be an easy MTD rider.

1. Get an App

There are several different apps available across multiple device platforms. Visit our App Garage, peruse the offerings, download a few, and see which one you like best! We recommend apps that have a trip planning feature. This enables you to put in a starting and ending points for specific trip information.

Did you know that all of these apps are powered by MTD’s data? We released an API (Application Programming Interface) in 2011 and are thrilled so many local developers have designed functional tools for all to use. Want to be the next bus app developer?

"cumtd" "mtd" "hexagon" "orange" "i" "istop"

This is our iStop logo. When you see this for an MTD bus stop it means our Operators are not looking for an iCard or fare payment. Just board and go!

2. University of Illinois Students Ride Fare Free

Show your iCard and go! The semesterly fees you pay cover your transportation all day, every day. Whether you’re riding on campus or heading up to north Prospect for shopping and a movie, your iCard has you covered.

If you see the iStop symbol (pictured left), you do not need to show your iCard. You can hop on the front or back door. Six routes that serve campus (1/100 Yellow/YELLOWhopper, 10 Gold/GOLDhopper, 12/120 Teal, 13/130 Silver and Silver Limited, 21 Raven, 22/220 Illini and Illini Limited) offer iStops. These expedite the boarding process so MTD can keep moving through campus and get you to your destination more quickly.

3. Get to Know the Streets

Understanding which streets run north/south versus east/west is valuable knowledge for navigating both the buses and campus itself. The order of these streets will also be helpful as you learn our bus routing. Don’t be intimidated, be informed!

4. Our Trip Planner Knows Campus

Our Trip Planner, which powers the apps, can take addresses, intersections, and landmarks. That means you can enter a campus building, like Lincoln Hall, and the Trip Planner will point you to the closest bus stop.

"21 raven" "bus" "30-foot" "quad"

The 21 Raven now serves PAR/FAR! The circulator route runs all around the Quad plus goes to Vet-Med.

5. Additional Service to PAR/FAR

The 21 Raven now serves College Court. Every 30 minutes, residents of Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall (PAR) and Florida Avenue Residence Hall (FAR) can hope on this circulator route, which runs a complete loop around the Quad. The 21 Raven also serves Veterinary Medicine on Lincoln.

6. No Service to Chicago or Chicago Suburbs

People ask us all the time if MTD provides transportation to downtown Chicago or the suburbs. We’re sorry but no, we do not. There are, however, several providers that do and many of them pull out of our multimodal facility called Illinois Terminal. These include Amtrak, Burlington Trailways, Greyhound, and Peoria Charter. If you picked up a copy of our Maps & Schedules Book, the back cover features the latest bus schedule for Peoria Charter.

What did we miss? Share your tips in the comments below.

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Back to School, But First Outdoor Fun

MTD’s new service year began Sunday, August 14! As we ring in the new year, we’ll also enjoy the final days of summer with several community outreach events. Please visit us and grab a copy of the new Maps & Schedules Book, take some FUNctional giveaways, and let us know your thoughts on MTD’s services.

Events on UI Campus

Last week and this week, MTD staffed and will staff information tables to get students, faculty, and staff oriented to our service. Affiliates of the University of Illinois ride fare free all day and every day. Simply show your iCard (at non-iStops) and go!

This week you can find us on campus at:

  • Illinois New Faculty Orientation (INFO) Resource Fair at the iHotel on August 16
  • International Incoming Student Orientation Fair at Newman Hall on August 17
  • MSBA & MSTM Advance Track Student Resource Fair at the Business Instruction Facility on August 17
  • Engineering GradFest at Engineering Hall on August 18
  • Move-In Safety Fest at the Ikenberry Quad and at CRCE/Allen Hall on August 18
  • New Student Sessions at David Kinley Hall on August 20
  • Quad Day on the Quad on August 21
"bus" "mtd" "cumtd" "corny" "urbana sweetcorn festival"

The Urbana Sweetcorn Festival’s mascot, Corny, is a big fan of MTD.

Community Events

Two big annual festivals return this weekend and next! MTD will be out for the entirety of both and hope to C-U there!

  • Taste of Champaign-Urbana at West Side Park on August 19 and 20
  • Urbana Sweetcorn Festival in downtown Urbana on August 26 and 27
    • MTD will reroute around the Festival, so please look for the associated reroutes! The main Lincoln Square stops will be moved to Illinois Street between Broadway and Vine.

Campus Move In

University of Illinois Students have begun moving back to our community, but the official start of University Housing move in is Thursday, August 18. MTD will have a few minor reroutes in effect that day to keep our buses moving through campus. We suggest avoiding the area if possible!

Summer service reductions will lift on Friday, August 19. At the start of that service day, MTD will be back to regular service including the full 22/220 Illini route and 10 minute frequencies on the 12 Teal and 13 Silver. This Friday will also be the first night of late night (trips after midnight) and 335 SafeRides.

Happy New School Year

This week, local schools also start a new academic year. Urbana and Champaign middle and high school students who have been determined to be eligible can ride MTD to school. We enjoyed meeting many of you at your school’s registration!

Families are encouraged to call (217.384.8188) or visit our website if you have questions about your transportation. Eligibility of MTD transportation is determined by the school and administrators will add stickers to student IDs. All school trips are open to the public.

"cumtd" "mtd" "bus stop" "sign" "illinois" "dodson" "urbana"

MTD created and installed nearly 100 bus stop signs to mark every designated stop across all Green routes.

Designated Stops on 5/50 Green/GREENhopper/Green Express

We summarized all the changes to the 2016-2017 service year last week, but while we’ve got you…

If you’re riding the Green or Green Express during any daytype, MTD instituted designated stops across the entire route. Simply look for a bus stop sign to know if you’re at a valid stop. You can also reference this complete list. We recommend typing “Control + F” to search for a bus stop by name.

As always, share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. We hope you enjoy the tweaks to the service as well as the last few weeks of summer!

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Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
1101 East University Avenue
Urbana, IL 61802-2009
(217) 384-8188
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