University News

Rural Transit Assistance Center to Hold Spring Conference

March 2, 2005

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MACOMB, IL – Rural transportation will be the focus of a conference sponsored by the Rural Transit Assistance Center (RTAC) at Western Illinois University April 13-14 at the Northfield Conference Center in Springfield.

The 16th Annual RTAC spring conference provides training for transit managers and others involved in rural transportation. According to Ed Heflin, RTAC manager, this year’s event is notable because RTAC has completed its 15th year of service to the residents of rural Illinois. This milestone will be celebrated at a reception from
5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 in conjunction with the conference. RTAC, a unit of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western, provides training, technical assistance and research for rural transit agencies, operating through an interagency agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) Division of Public and Intermodal Transportation.

“Rural residents of Illinois can find it difficult to find transportation to jobs, medical care and shopping,” Heflin said. “Lack of reliable and affordable public transportation can isolate those without access to dependable vehicles, especially low-income and elderly residents.”

Conference sessions for rural public transit providers will include computer dispatching, insurance, safety and security training, regulatory updates from IDOT and an update on the Capital Needs Assessment (a long-range planning tool which RTAC maintains for IDOT and the Illinois Public Transportation Association). On April 14, Norman Walzer, IIRA director, will moderate an operations roundtable that will address issues currently faced by rural transit agencies.

This year’s conference will also feature a pre-conference prep session and exam for transit managers wishing to sit for the Certified Community Transit Manager (CCTM) exam. Those seeking this professional certification must meet experience and education requirements before taking the exam, and must pass all five sections of the exam. The CCTM prep session and exam, which will be monitored by Heflin, will be April 12 at Springfield Mass Transit District.

For more information or to register for the conference, call RTAC at 800/526-9943 or e-mail There is no cost to attend the conference; however, pre-registration is required.

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Relations