Executive Spotlight: David Green, Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority
Category: Member Spotlight
The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, TBARTA, is committed to creating a world class transit network for the Tampa Bay region. By identifying and developing transit opportunities and building partnerships, we serve as a catalyst to grow economic opportunities and improve overall quality of life. Our rapidly growing West Central Florida region includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
What are you and your organization seeking to achieve?
We’re working to connect people and places, move goods and services, and offer transportation options that are safe, sustainable, affordable, and efficient. We see a bright economic future for our Florida Gulf Coast region, with potential that can be fully realized when everyone has access to time-efficient and cost-effective transportation. Regardless of whether it’s for work or pleasure, we want to make sure everyone can go wherever and whenever they want within the Tampa Bay region.
How did you get to where you are today?
I always try to position myself to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves and received a lot of support and encouragement throughout my career. Nobody gets anything on their own. You have to work hard, constantly learn, and dedicate yourself, but you also need help from others along the way. I’m very fortunate to have worked with some great mentors and built some wonderful relationships over the years, and I do my best to succeed when given the chance.
How have you seen the TDM industry change?
We’re increasingly looking at multiple ways to address growing and diversifying priorities. It’s no longer enough to propose a single, sometimes cost prohibitive solution, and expect it to meet most every need. Like everywhere, people in Tampa Bay travel for work, school and pleasure. They are increasingly looking for diverse transportation options, whether its rail, BRT [bus rapid transit], vanpooling, or something else. Regional transit authorities not only have to prove how each option is cost effective, we also need to demonstrate how they will be safe, efficient and sustainable.
Where do you see the industry going in the next 10 years?
Emerging technology will increasingly influence how we plan and act. More than ever, our constituents are requiring transportation options to be environmentally friendly and for those options to include more mode choices. Moving forward over the next decade, a big challenge for TDM leaders is planning for future transportation technologies that are not yet available. We can see them on the horizon but are not sure when they will arrive with capabilities and efficiencies needed to meet the demands of commuters.
What keeps you motivated?
Knowing how much there is to do. Transportation is the #1 issue in Tampa Bay and people are ready for progress. We have a lot of support throughout the community and there is now an opportunity to create something that will forever benefit the region. That’s a really exciting situation to be in.
What has been the most fulfilling moment in your career?
Implementing the Pulse BRT service in Richmond. Transportation projects are very complex, and they never go smoothly. It took several years to design and construct that project and I was able to work with a lot of very bright and talented people. BRT was also a completely unknown concept to people in Richmond. It was fun teaching them its value and benefits and then delivering the final product. That was pretty special.
What is a great piece of advice you have received? Have you put it to use?
It never ceases to amaze me how political transportation is. A local government administrator once told me to stay out of the way of politics. You can do everything in your power to manage things in the best interest of a project but on those occasions when politics rise up and begin to take over, you have to step aside and let them run their course. I’ve had to use that advice many times.
Any additional thoughts to share?
I have only been in the Tampa Bay area for a few months, but the region’s economic potential has already become very clear. Our population is projected to increase by more than a million people over the next 20 years. Our cost of living is currently 10 percent below the national average. Add in Florida’s fun and sun and you have a region that is growing not just in popularity, but also prosperity. As much as in any other part of the country, I see regional transportation as the key to unleashing an economic powerhouse. I welcome both the challenge and the opportunity to work with public and private leaders in Tampa Bay to develop a world class regional transit system.