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Awards recognize human trafficking intervention, agency marketing campaign, bus operations, and more

June 29, 2023

In May, EMBARK was honored with several awards from the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) and the Oklahoma Transit Association (OKTA) during the 2023 CTAA Expo, which was held May 21-25 in Oklahoma City. The five-day expo was attended by 1,100 transit professionals and featured training and information-sharing sessions, networking events, updates from federal transit officials, a trade show, tours of the local transit system, and bus driving competitions.  

EMBARK was named Large System of the Year by CTAA at its annual awards banquet honoring transit agency achievements nationwide. This award is given to a public transit system that serves an urban area of more than 50,000 in population and demonstrates a host of characteristics, including innovation, creativity, responsiveness, collaboration, and accessibility.      

Two EMBARK transit professionals, Kirk Rayner and Laura Figueroa, were each honored with CTAAFrontline Hero Award for their intervention in a human trafficking incident in downtown Oklahoma City in 2021.The Frontline Heroes Award recognizes unsung transit employees who go the extra mile and encapsulate the spirit and professionalism of the workplace and the community transportation industry. 

EMBARKs employee-driven transformation plan, The Road Map, was recognized as OKTAs Marketing Campaign of the Year. The campaign, which began in 2020, includes employee, customer, and community-focused initiatives aimed at making EMBARK a world-class transportation organization.  

EMBARK’s Jennifer Smith won first place in the Oklahoma State Roadeo, an annual competition hosted by OKTA that tests bus operators’ skills on a closed course. Smith will travel to Florida in 2024 to compete in the National Community Transportation Roadeo hosted by CTAA. 


EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City. EMBARK's vision is to be world-class transportation that is accessible to all, and all want to access it. EMBARK's mission is to be a self-sustaining transportation network that removes barriers of location and socioeconomic status, while elevating the status and use of public transportation so all of central Oklahoma can safely and quickly reach their destination.  


About Community Transportation Association of America 

The CTAA and its members believe that mobility is a basic human right. From work and education to life-sustaining health care and human services programs to shopping and visiting with family and friends, mobility directly impacts quality of life.CTAA members are in the business of moving people – efficiently and cost-effectively. CTAA staff, board and state/tribal delegates are dedicated to ensuring that all Americans, regardless of age, ability, geography or income, have access to safe, affordable and reliable transportation. Our priority is our members and the communities and passengers they serve. The CTAA is based in Washington, D.C. 


About Oklahoma Transit Association 

The OKTA was founded in 1983 and is the state’s voice for public transit. Our membership is comprised of the 37 urban, small urban, suburban, rural, and tribal transit agencies in the state who share the common priority of providing and improving mobility and access for all Oklahomans. We are supported by industry vendors who share that visionand our community partners who collaborate with us to move transit forward. 

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