Baltimore Bike Share Wins WTS Innovative Transportation Solutions Award

For Immediate Release

WTS 2017 Transportation Award Winners to be Recognized at Conference

May 9, 2017—(Washington, DC) WTS International, the association for the professional advancement of women in transportation, has selected the winners of its annual recognition awards for 2017. Each of the six awards will be presented at an awards ceremony on May 18 during the 2017 WTS Annual Conference in Brooklyn, NY. The recognition award winners are:

·         WTS Woman of the Year – The Honorable Susan M. Collins, United States Senator for Maine

·         WTS Member of the Year – Fay Simer, Pedestrian Safety Coordinator, City of Saint Paul

·         WTS Honorable Ray LaHood Award – Philip Schaffner, Policy Planning Director, Minnesota Department of Transportation

·         WTS Employer of the Year – Los Angeles World Airports

·         WTS Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award – Catalina Alvarado, Senior Public Information Officer, Metropolitan Transportation Commission

·         WTS Innovative Transportation Solutions Award – Baltimore Bike Share

The 2017 WTS Woman of the Year, Susan Collins, has a reputation as a highly-motivated leader who has achieved important goals that have moved the transportation system forward in the United States. As the Chairman of the Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, she is known for her ability to work with her fellow members of Congress, regardless of their political affiliations, to effect positive change. Among her many accomplishments, Senator Collins scored a major legislative victory in 2011when Congress passed legislation allowing trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to operate on her state’s modern interstate highways, rather than forcing them onto secondary roads and downtown streets. She convinced her colleagues in both the House and Senate to support higher truck weights on federal highways in Maine and Vermont, accomplishing something that had eluded Maine policymakers for 30 years. As a result, Maine’s streets are safer, the air is cleaner, and businesses are more competitive.

The leadership of 2017 WTS Member of the Year, Fay Simer, as had a profound impact on the WTS Minnesota Chapter that will last for years to come. Thanks to her hard work and dedication, WTS Minnesota has experienced an increase in membership and an increase in corporate partnership dollars, which lead to the addition of two more scholarships awarded by the chapter in 2016, as well as increased networking opportunities to help connect and advance women in the industry and improve women’s careers into the future.

The WTS Honorable Ray LaHood Award Winner, Philip Schaffner, has made significant contributions to the advancement of women and minorities in transportation by creating opportunities for and contributing to the reputation and credibility of women in the industry. Philip has a solid reputation of being a consistent and persistent supporter of women in all aspects of his work – hiring and supporting his own staff, amplifying the voices of women in decision-making, modeling behavior and attitudes for other managers and ensuring diverse representation in programs and products.

The 2017 WTS Employer of the Year, Los Angeles World Airports, is committed to hiring a diverse and thriving workforce that delivers gold-standard airports and exceptional guest experiences to millions of travelers. Women currently serve in over 50 percent of LAWA leadership positions, from departmental managerial roles to the executive level.  LAWA also provides a variety of programs that encourage women to pursue careers in transportation, including its Gender Equity Program, which strives to foster a work environment that promotes equal participation of women in leadership positions at all levels, especially in historically under-represented STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas. College and high school students can also find opportunities with LAWA through its Gateways Internship Program and HIRE LA’s Youth Program, respectively.

2017 WTS Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award winner, Catalina Alvarado, a senior public information officer with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), has dedicated her 30-plus-year career to making the transportation policymaking arena more accessible to the public, especially for those who traditionally do not have a say in decisions that affect them. During her tenure at MTC, Catalina served as the staff liaison to MTC’s Minority Citizens’ Advisory Committee and helped build this advisory group into a prestigious sounding-board. She shepherded a high-profile process by this committee to develop pioneering Environmental Justice Principles that ultimately were adopted by MTC. In addition, Catalina launched MTC’s High School Internship Program which encouraged recruitment and selection of high-school-age students to work during the summer in paid internships with transportation agencies throughout the nine Bay Area counties.

The WTS Innovative Transportation Solutions Award is awarded to a project led by women that make a difference in the lives of a community and its users. Launched in October 2016, Baltimore Bike Share is the largest electric bike share fleet in the Western Hemisphere, with women leaders at the helm of the effort. Implementing this innovative system was a boost to Baltimore’s transportation network, economic development, and has further advanced the city’s position as a city of choice. The Baltimore Bike Share system is powered by industry-leading IT solutions, including a robust mobile app that allows users to wirelessly unlock a bike. Equipped with real-time GPS for ride and mileage tracking, the app provides the Baltimore DOT with aggregate route data for targeted bike infrastructure improvements. Noteworthy are the bikes’ electric motors that assist in moving the bike as you pedal, lowering the barriers to biking for those who may be less mobile. The program has partnered with Baltimore Station to serve as a workforce development tool for recovering veterans in the City. The program is expected to bring 80 jobs to Baltimore when it reaches full maturity in a few years.

The Awards Ceremony will be held during the 2017 WTS Annual Conference, being held in Brooklyn, NY, May 17 – 19. As WTS International’s flagship event, it attracts hundreds of corporate and governmental industry leaders worldwide, including executives, CEOs, government administrators, and leading engineering authorities. For more information about the conference and about the 2017 Recognition Awards winners, visit www.WTSinternational.org and https://www.wtsinternational.org/about-wts/2017-recognition-award-winners/

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WTS International, headquartered in Washington, DC, seeks to attract, retain, and advance women in transportation. As the industry's premier multi-modal association, WTS boasts a network of more than 6,500 transportation professionals—women and men from across the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Every transportation mode is represented, as is every service within the industry. From federal leaders to engineers and planners, the WTS membership base represents nearly 1,500 companies and 400 agencies in more than 90 cities. More information can be found at www.WTSinternational.org.

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