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MTA commission to study future of transportation services

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is creating a new commission to monitor and recommend improvements to existing transportation services.

The 22-member Transportation Reinvention Commission, led by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and former Federal Aviation Administrator Jane Garvey, will hold its first meeting Wednesday.

One potential topic of discussion is the changing nature of travel in New York, said William Henderson, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

"It's not all suburbanites coming into Manhattan to go to work anymore," Henderson said of the changing train-rider demographic.

He said commuters are increasingly traveling between boroughs in the city and between communities on Long Island.

"We have a system that assumes that everyone wants to go into Manhattan, and that's not the case," Henderson said.Connections between different modes of transportation represent another issue for the commission, Henderson said. "For a lot of folks, the problem isn't so much to get from one point to another on the railroad, it's getting the last mile or two," he said.

Commission members include Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogota, Colombia, and a champion of bus rapid transit. Other international members are Andy Byford, Toronto's transit commission chief, and Isabel Dedring, London's deputy mayor for transport.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last month called for the commission to be established, saying in a letter to MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast that climate change, population growth and demographic shifts pose new challenges to the public transit network.

The commission is to hold three meetings before submitting a report to Cuomo in September with the findings being considered in the MTA's 2015-2019 capital plan.

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