On October 3, three regional agencies and the Virginia
Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) on behalf of the
Commonwealth of Virginia officially launched Vanpool Alliance, a landmark
program that will bring additional federal funding to a region extending from
Arlington to Caroline County.
The Vanpool Alliance launch ceremony was highlighted by
keynote remarks from Thelma Drake, director of the Department of Rail and
Public Transportation (DRPT).
Vanpool operators who participate in the program will
compile data about their vehicles, ridership, trip-making patterns, and other
vanpool-related information for inclusion in the Federal Transit Administration's
(FTA) National Transit Database, which the FTA uses to distribute federal
funds. The submission of this data will
earn the region additional federal funding.
"Vanpool Alliance is a forward-thinking initiative that will
capitalize on the popularity of vanpooling in our region. Already one of the largest vanpool markets in
the nation, this program promises to induce even greater vanpool usage and, by
simply collecting data about those commutes and submitting it to the Federal
Transit Administration, we will be able to bring more federal dollars to our
area; federal dollars that can be used to make additional regional
transportation investments," Director Drake said.
Within three years, this innovative program is expected to
generate sufficient federal funding to pay for itself and for more transportation
Vanpool Alliance is a unique regional public-private
Washington Regional Commission;
Virginia Transportation Commission; and
and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, which will administer the program.
Most of the program's start-up funding was provided by the
Commonwealth of Virginia on the recommendation of DRPT. Virginia provided a grant of more than $3
million to start the program because there is a minimum two year lag time between
data submission and the awarding of federal funds.
Existing vanpools that meet specific criteria are now being
recruited to participate in the program.
Vanpool data will begin to be collected in November 2013, and operators
will receive a small stipend to compensate them for their time and effort
collecting the data.
Vanpool Alliance will not only boost the number of vanpools
in the area, but will also provide some of the first quantifiable statistics
about the significance of vanpooling as a commuting option in our region.
To ensure full accessibility for the program, a new 2013
Ford Econoline 350 van featuring a lift that meets all requirements of the
Americans with Disabilities Act is available for lease as necessary.
Visit VanpoolAlliance.org for more information.