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CASE STUDIES COAST COLFAX, WASHINGTON ABOUT COAST ston, Pullman, and Moscow-- stresses the importance of the each the location of a grant uni- paradigm--building community COAST is a part of the Council versity. COAST receives a vari- resources--with a philosophy on Aging and Human Services ety of funding, including Fed- that it does not matter which (CoA&HS) based in Colfax, eral Transit Administration agency operates the service, as Washington, about 60 miles (FTA) funds (Sections 5310 long as there is a safe effective south of Spokane. CoA&HS was and 5311 and JARC) distrib- service for persons in need. formed in 1976 as a not-for- uted through the two states. Consequently, COAST is in- profit corporation, to provide Other major funding sources volved in a number of non- services to persons over age 60. include Medicaid and the Older traditional, innovative efforts. It has expanded its goals twice Americans Act. Local funding since its inception to serve other is also available to COAST. Within COAST's 9-county ser- groups of people with needs. vice area, 24 communities are CoA&HS provides a wide range COAST provides transit ser- served at least 1 day each of services, including nutrition vices for the general public and month, with service into 1 of programs, information and refer- human service agencies in its the 4 small cities and to Spo- ral services, commodity food two-state service area. In fact, kane on a regular schedule. Ad- distribution, home care, advo- one of the innovative features vance reservations are usually cacy, and transportation. of COAST is the variety of required. In addition, 5-day-per- transit services it provides, only week, demand-response service CoA&HS's transportation pro- some of which are directly op- is available in one of the small gram, known as COAST, serves erated with the agency's own cities--Moscow--where four counties in Washington 14-vehicle fleet. Some of the COAST also operates a general state, including CoA&HS's service is provided by other lo- public service. COAST spon- home county of Whitman, and cal agencies using COAST ve- sors an extensive volunteer five counties of Idaho. The very hicles, and some is provided transportation program and large service area includes four through contracts with private serves as a broker for a variety small cities--Lewiston, Clark- and public providers. COAST of services, including Medicaid trips. Through its directly oper- ated, contracted, and volunteer service, COAST provided 90,000 one-way trips in 2002, covering 1,000,000 miles. Core Values and Mission One of the factors that drive innovation at COAST is the parent agency's deeply held core values and goals that have been accepted by the board, management, staff, and con- stituents. COAST, as part of CoA&HS, has a strong mission statement and goals that guide the system. The agency motto is "Enhancing Lives and Strength- ening Communities." Most of the work done by COAST is geared to building community resources rather than simply 11

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CASE STUDIES COAST COLFAX, WASHINGTON providing transit directly. In many cases, innovation centers on COAST, which is finding new ways to build these commu- nity resources. CoA&HS's motto is included on most of its literature, in reports, and in the office for all staff and visitors to see. In addition to the parent agency's mission state- ment and goals, there are goals for COAST as well. Staff is well aware of these goals and values, which guide them as well as management and the board. The agency's core values and mis- sion are clearly understood by all in the organization. The goals and objectives are reviewed an- nually by the board and used as a basis for the board's evaluation of the executive director. How Is COAST Different? mobility is too important, and COAST is part of a multi- Out of necessity, COAST has a this philosophy pervades much function agency and is very very unconventional approach of what COAST does. closely in tune with community toward transportation. The needs because of the activities agency's executive director be- COAST is a most unusual rural of its other departments. lieves that mobility is the foun- transit system, eschewing the COAST has a decidedly altruis- dation for participation in a free standard operating mode of pro- tic mission statement, where society. He states that viding service directly. In some service is first and worrying cases, it operates service di- about paying for it is second. For COAST, it is not a ques- rectly. In some cases, it con- This model has worked suc- tion of whether or not we will tracts with other entities, such cessfully for many years in this choose to provide service. The as the postal bus. In a particu- unique environment. question is whether or not we larly innovative arrangement have the will to find a way to that is a major part of the para- The Progression from the provide the service. Working digm--building resources-- Previous Role at COAST is not about saying COAST has agreements with no. Instead, it is about finding human service agencies where Like many of the older rural a way after we have already it turns over its used vehicles to systems, COAST was formed to said yes. these entities, places these vehi- primarily serve seniors and per- cles on COAST's insurance sons with disabilities in support This philosophy means that pool, and trains the drivers. of the agency's other programs. COAST undertakes a number of These agencies in turn support Over the years, COAST saw the different, often innovative ser- and provide local funds for wisdom of expanding and coor- vices. Some of these have been COAST's Section 5310 appli- dinating its services and then difficult to implement, and other cations for new vehicles. Man- entering the general public transit agencies would likely agement has designed these field. Most of its change has balk at doing some of the ser- unique arrangements to stretch been evolutionary. The area has vices. But COAST believes that resources. experienced slow growth, so 12

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CASE STUDIES COAST COLFAX, WASHINGTON there is little need to make major ADAPTING TO NEW some very innovative changes based on demographics. PARADIGMS approaches to building local Management and staff continue resources. Most unique is that to make changes to meet the With its unique approach to- COAST provides service di- needs of the residents of the ser- ward the provision of transit rectly with only 14 vehicles, but vice area. service, COAST has adapted is responsible in some manner well to many of the paradigms for the operation of another 26 New opportunities exist with and has pursued opportunities in its service area (for a total of COAST's community van pro- that the paradigms present. The 40 vehicles). This is an illustra- gram, which has just recently focus for COAST is on the fol- tion of its philosophy of build- begun. In this program, a spon- lowing. ing transportation resources in sor (a town, the 4H club, a rural the community. This resource- hospital district, or a Chamber of Serving as Community building effort began with Commerce, for example) will be Agents of Change COAST's involvement with the given a van to operate for its Washington state Medicaid bro- use. The sponsor supplies the The board, management, and kerage program, with require- volunteer drivers who must be staff are all active in the com- ments that a broker find and/or fully screened and trained by munity. The board encourages develop resources that can pro- COAST. A local operating com- such involvement by COAST vide transportation as part of mittee is formed to determine management and staff. The ex- the brokerage. COAST has how the vehicle is used, and the ecutive director is involved been operating a Medicaid bro- riders pay for operating ex- with various community activi- kerage in its Washington state penses. Typical uses are for ties, believing that one of the service area for 17 years. sports outings, senior shopping, best ways to gauge the needs of medical transportation (the vehi- the community is to be involved COAST is able to increase its cles can also be used for in it. All of the senior manage- vehicle fleet through innovative COAST's Medicaid program), ment staff serve in elected posi- approaches to building re- 4H club outings, and a variety of tions on local, regional, and sources. COAST provides well- other programs. COAST moni- state boards and commissions. maintained used vehicles to tors the vehicle's use and may This gives the system a sense of smaller agencies in its region, assign it to another organization the issues the community is ad- with the agencies providing the when the vehicle is not being dressing. Since this agency is 20% match to COAST to obtain otherwise used. multi-purpose, it is looking for new vehicles through the fed- needs and opportunities in a eral Section 5310 program. Why Has COAST Changed? number of areas, not just trans- COAST also builds resources portation. through its insurance pool and For COAST, change is routine driver training program for the and has been for many years. The organization is proactive in smaller agencies in the region Certainly, COAST adapts as the the community. The board is (see TCRP Report 70). needs change, but it also especially active and guides changes to provide better service change in many instances. The COAST management also as new ideas are recognized and organization is recognized and worked closely with one for- implemented. COAST recog- respected by community lead- profit company for over 5 nizes its very limited resources ers, and the board and the ex- years, through the development and the energy necessary to seek ecutive director are considered of an innovative postal bus ser- funding from and adhere to the community leaders. vice, where the private provider regulations of two states. It is carried passengers in addition constantly changing as opportu- Optimizing Rural to the packages and mail that nities arise. Resources were transported under contract to the U.S. Postal Service on a Building resources in the com- rural intercity route. COAST munity is one of COAST's saw an opportunity to use the guiding principles. COAST has private provider's vehicles to 13

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CASE STUDIES COAST COLFAX, WASHINGTON also provide passenger transpor- matching funds for new vehi- Focus on the Mission-- tation and realized this would be cles. Again, this diversity en- COAST's board, manage- a more cost-effective strategy sures that the system can sur- ment, and staff have a very than trying to provide the service vive in difficult economic times strong identification with itself. COAST also made its because it will not have to rely COAST's mission. The driver training available to this solely on one or two funding executive director uses the private provider. sources. mission statement to guide all of COAST's actions. Maintaining Multiple How Did Change The agency's mission is Functions and Fiscal Happen? embedded in the agency's Diversity culture. As with the other case studies, COAST maintains a wide vari- COAST has adapted to change. Dynamic Leadership-- ety of functions: procuring and From the board, to manage- The current executive di- dispensing vehicles, contracting ment, to staff, change is ex- rector is a dynamic, risk- for service, operating service pected and anticipated. This taking manager with a fo- directly, training drivers, provid- system was highlighted in cus on the agency's mis- ing insurance for other agencies, TCRP Report 70, and further sion and core values. He and providing a wide range of details can be found there. A believes that innovation transportation services in two summary of the elements of and change are 90% per- states. COAST management be- innovation demonstrates how sistence and dismisses the lieves that this diversity of ac- change is able to happen: standard barriers to change tivities ensures that more needs and innovation. COAST's are met. Quality Service--Because executive director has been of the type of services pro- with the organization for COAST, by its nature, has diver- vided, customers may not 18 years and is very active sified funding in that it serves even know that the service in the communities served. two states and receives federal is provided or supported by Section 5311 and 5310 funding COAST. Therefore, the Organizational from those two states as well as quality may not always be Support--COAST's board state funding from Washington. evident. However, with strongly supports the COAST also takes advantage of COAST's emphasis on agency's mission and trusts human service funding, receiv- safety and training, quality the executive director to ing Title III Older Americans is ingrained in the system. carry out that mission. The Act funds. Local human service director describes his board agencies assist by supplying as having vision and tenac- ity. A number of the board members are community activists, and one is the chair of a United Nations commission on children. Many of the members serve on other local boards and committees, spreading COAST's vision through- out the community. Community Involvement and Communication--As discussed previously, man- agement considers this ele- ment essential to identify- ing needs and opportunities 14

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CASE STUDIES COAST COLFAX, WASHINGTON for change. The board, man- van program is just another in- agement, and staff are all novation designed to provide actively involved in the service in very isolated commu- community. nities. Recently, the system has procured and implemented a Staff Development and modest paratransit software Motivation--COAST's product to help in the reserva- staff is experienced, with an tions, scheduling, dispatch, and average tenure of 18 years recordkeeping functions. The for senior staff, and dedi- executive director and the board cated to the agency and its continue to work with the state mission. Management en- agencies and the legislatures to sures numerous opportuni- influence regulations or legisla- ties for training and atten- tion. Management places a dance at state, regional, and strong emphasis on working at national conferences. the state level to make it easier for transit to operate and be Building Resources-- flexible to needs. COAST will Building resources is also continue to provide these grass- one of the hallmarks of this root types of services because system. COAST has devel- that is the environment of Idaho oped some very innovative and eastern Washington. approaches to building its resources and has managed to maintain a diversity of CONTACT resources. INFORMATION Seizing the Opportunity Council on Aging and Human and Serendipity-- Services Sometimes opportunities P.O. Box 107 just arise. The key is to 210 South Main identify them and then act Colfax, WA 99111 on them. This is something that COAST is able to do Karl Johanson, through the trust and respect Executive Director it has earned in the commu- Tel: (509) 397-4611 nity. Fax: (509)397-2917 Email: What Is the Result? The result of COAST's innova- tions and addressing of new paradigms is a system whose importance is measured by more than its own ridership numbers. In fact, due to its unique ap- proaches, ridership numbers tell only part of the story. Future Efforts COAST continues to adapt and change. The new community 15