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Table 6: HOW TO GENERATE PROVIDER/PROGRAM COST SAVINGS Possible Typical Percent Change in this of Total Category's Cost Category System Cost Probable Effect of Coordination Percent Cost Drivers' salaries 35 Reduces total number of drivers -20 Drivers drive more hours, are more +10 to 25 skilled, and earn higher wages Less input from volunteer drivers +10 to 20 Administrative 15 Frees agency heads from transportation -10 salaries hours Requires hiring a professional +20? transportation director Dispatcher and 6 Reduces total number of dispatchers and -25 bookkeeper bookkeepers needed salaries Gasoline, oil, and 16 Joint purchasing reduces prices; -15 tires coordinated system may receive special tax advantages Capital expenses 12 Reduces total need for vehicles, radios, -25 and computers Insurance 4.5 Standardizes rates for service but +25 changes rate class to a higher risk level Maintenance 8 Eliminates duplication and -25 underutilization of space, tools, and personnel Other costs 3.5 Saves on rent and office equipment -25 Chapter 2 Coordination Details: Benefits, Costs, and Barriers 29

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The Economic Benefits of Mobility Transportation's mission has been succinctly expressed as follows: "Transportation is necessary to support overall economic growth and activity in the national economy, but it also is expected to serve other goals of the community, support the desires of those who use its services, and do all this with the least expenditure of scarce resources" (Fuller, 2000). These other goals that transportation is expected to address include an extremely wide range, such as "facilitate welfare reform, narrow regional wealth or opportunity disparities, manage growth, and help produce more livable cities or neighborhoods," accomplishing these as it "provides employment, facilitates changed land uses, links businesses and employees, broadens distribution, enhances recreation, and in short is called upon to put in place the agenda of every political body" (Fuller, 2000). Coordination's typical service improvements make significant increases to the mobility of transportation system users. Typical service improvements that result from coordination include the following: Lowered trip costs for travelers and for human services We need to recognize agencies; that some service Extended service hours; limitations may still Services to new areas or new communities and to more people; exist, even with More trips made by persons needing transportation; coordination. Services more responsive to schedules, points of origin, and destinations of customers; Greater emphasis on safety and customer service; More door-to-door service; and More flexible payment and service options. We need to recognize that some service limitations may still exist, even with coordination. Customers may have to preschedule their trips 24 hours or more in advance, and they may have to register with the service provider before being eligible to request trips. Some coordinated systems do not offer trips to all persons but only to those who meet certain qualifications, even though that approach runs contrary to most understandings about coordination. 30 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

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When such service improvements occur, mobility increases and substantial benefits result. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reports that the major benefits from transit investments include mobility benefits, efficiency benefits, economic development benefits, and economic productivity benefits. Overall, the ratio of benefits to public costs is said to range between 4:1 and 5:1 (APTA, 1998). A study found that rural public transportation services provide large economic benefits for their communities (Burkhardt, Hedrick, and McGavock, 1998), demonstrating that personal transportation services are a good investment for rural The American Public communities. The kinds of benefits that rural transit systems generate Transportation for their communities include the following: Association reports that With access to jobs, workers get better jobs and there is reduced the major benefits from unemployment; transit investments include mobility Riders become (and stay) more independent with better access to health care, welfare, and shopping; benefits, efficiency Riders can shop where costs are lower; benefits, economic development benefits, Riders save on their travel costs when using transit; and economic Local businesses increase their level of activity, more money is spent locally, and new businesses and visitors are attracted to the productivity benefits. community; and Communities benefit by the best use of their unique environments. Added to such benefits are the wages paid to transit employees, the costs of goods and services the transit system purchases locally, and the multiplier effects of wages and system purchases in the local economy. Achieving these goals can create returns on investment of greater than 3:1 for rural communities, as shown by both national and local analyses. HOW TO USE COORDINATION'S BENEFITS The uses of the benefits of coordination are highly significant. Some communities will choose to apply coordination's benefits in one way, while others will opt for different strategies. If there are cost savings on a unit cost basis (which is possible but does not always occur)--that is, cost per trip, per mile, or per hour--the savings from these greater Chapter 2 Coordination Details: Benefits, Costs, and Barriers 31

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efficiencies can be used to serve more passengers. This is basically the approach used by the vast majority of communities simply because the transportation service in most communities serves only a fraction of the total travel needed. The most frequent use of these coordination benefits is the expansion of service to previously unserved portions of the The transportation community, to previously unserved client types, or to previously unserved hours and days. service in most communities serves To be sure, it is possible that some agencies will actually save money only a fraction of the through coordination. Since these cases are rare, they are notable. To a total travel needed. large extent, monetary savings have been the result of the use of programs such as transit passes to serve Medicaid clients needing frequent trips. Transit passes cost only a fraction of comparable paratransit trips; the Medicaid program saves money, the transit agency receives more revenue (at essentially zero cost increases), and the Medicaid clients receive additional mobility. Lee County, North Carolina, (CTAA, 1994) and Sweetwater County, Wyoming, (Burkhardt, 2000) are examples of cases where all participating agencies paid less on a per-trip basis after coordination, and some actually paid less in total for their trips after services were coordinated (but some agencies simply purchased more trips for the same or even increased levels of expenditure). Coordination . . . may THE COSTS OF COORDINATION be initially more expensive, more Coordination has its costs. It may be initially more expensive, more difficult, and more time consuming to achieve than most interested difficult, and more time stakeholders expect. Coordination may increase overall cost consuming to achieve effectiveness or reduce unit costs (for example, costs per trip), but may than most interested not necessarily make transportation dollars available for other activities. While some agencies have hoped to see money returned to them, this stakeholders expect. has seldom happened because any cost savings realized are most often devoted to addressing the many unmet travel needs found in most rural (and urban) communities. Also, coordination agreements can unravel over time, so that constant attention is necessary to ensure that all parties keep working together. Coordination depends on mutual trust, respect, and goodwill among all parties involved, so long-standing coordination arrangements can be jeopardized if antagonistic or self- serving individuals become involved in transportation activities. 32 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

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FACTORS THAT INHIBIT COORDINATION An oft-heard complaint from local transportation operators is that they would like to coordinate their services with those of other providers, but they are "prohibited," or otherwise unable to do what makes sense to them by "barriers" in the legislation or regulations of programs through which they receive funding. On the other hand, many local operators have succeeded in coordinating the transportation resources of various Federal and state-funded programs. They have done so by working Obstacles that have through the same administrative, interpersonal, and institutional troubled some obstacles that other operators have found more difficult to surmount. individuals and In short, this means that obstacles for some operations have not been operations have not barriers for others operations. Why is this? It is apparently due to the been barriers to others. nature of coordination, part of which involves stepping out into the unknown territories of other persons' interests and jurisdictions. This is an obvious challenge. To be successful, coordination also requires many other traits. Among these are a substantial amount of knowledge about possible approaches to coordination, a willingness to learn new information, and the flexibility and confidence to work cooperatively along paths that are only defined as one proceeds along the journey. The case studies in this Toolkit should provide the information and inspiration needed to implement successful coordinated rural transportation systems. Much work has been devoted to investigating the issue of barriers to coordinated transportation. Because some persons have succeeded in implementing coordinated systems, it is now clear that many coordination efforts have been slowed or halted by perceived rather than actual barriers. Certainly, coordination requires lots of effort. But it It is now clear that may be more accurate to say that, while there are hindrances or many coordination challenges, there are seldom actual barriers that cannot be overcome no matter what. efforts have been slowed or halted by During hearings in 1975, the U.S. Senate became concerned about the perceived rather than lack of coordination of human service transportation and commissioned a review by the General Accounting Office (GAO) which resulted in a actual barriers. detailed 1977 report to the Comptroller General of the United States, Hindrances to Coordinating Transportation of People Participating in Federally Funded Grant Programs (GAO, 1977). In this review, the Chapter 2 Coordination Details: Benefits, Costs, and Barriers 33

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GAO identified 114 Federal programs that provided transportation. (In a new report, GAO identified 62 Federal programs--most of which are administered by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Education, and Transportation--that fund transportation services for the transportation-disadvantaged [GAO, 2003]). The 1977 report could not identify any specific legislative or regulatory restrictions on coordination, but it did point out a number of "hindrances." Many of the hindrances were inherent in the categorical nature of Federal grant programs. Problems in coordinating transportation services for multiple client groups often stem from the incompatibilities or perceived incompatibilities in program purposes or services for the members of these different client groups. After some substantial efforts in investigating this issue of barriers, it is clear that many operators are responding to perceived rather than actual barriers. Issues that have been described as hindrances in the past include the following: Problems in dealing with the various requirements of a large variety of Federal funding programs; Not being certain that coordination is allowed or authorized; Problems with accountability, cost allocation, paperwork, and reporting; Funding issues including matching requirements for Federal funds, funding cycles, and lack of sufficient funding; Perceived incompatibility of goals, needs, or client eligibility; All of these hindrances or challenges have Expectations of no significant benefits from coordinated been addressed and operations; resolved in one Regulatory requirements (such as prohibitions on crossing local community or another. or state boundaries); and Lack of concerted Federal effort to encourage or require coordination (GAO, 1977; HEW, 1976). In addition, some agencies and individuals are not familiar with the concept of "fully allocated resource costs" of transportation services. Another hindrance has been the inability of others to address issues of service quality. All of these hindrances or challenges have been addressed and resolved in one community or another. 34 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

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REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL FUNDING PROGRAMS Many Federal programs offer funds that could be used for coordinated transportation services in rural communities. Some persons view this fact as a problem; in reality, having multiple funding sources is probably a real strength. The popularity of various Federal programs waxes and wanes over time, particularly within Congress, where funding decisions are made. Still, having to work with a variety of rules Having to work with a and regulations from different funding sources certainly adds a level of variety of rules and complexity to coordination tasks. regulations from different funding sources certainly adds No Overall Coordination Restrictions a level of complexity to There has been a misperception that categorical funding "does not coordination tasks. permit" the sharing of resources among client groups of different types. Both the U.S. Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have issued instructions that are clear on such issues: as long as there is excess capacity and service is not being denied to the primary client group, it is indeed possible to use vehicles and other resources to serve a variety of client types, and it is possible to have clients from different sponsoring agencies riding on vehicles at the same time. If there are misperceptions about the possibilities of resource sharing, these misperceptions should be relatively easy to resolve with appropriate detailed information. Restrictions within Specific Programs There have been concerns about specific Federal programs concerning legislation or regulations that make coordination much more difficult than necessary (or that provide support to the views of those individuals not ordinarily inclined to share resources and responsibilities). Most of these issues have been successfully dealt with by the individual agencies or the efforts of the Federal Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility. There are still some issues that need further work; chief among these are those relating to coordination with the Head Start and Medicare programs (both of which are being addressed but need further work before coordination obstacles are removed). Chapter 2 Coordination Details: Benefits, Costs, and Barriers 35

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Head Start--The Head Start program accounts for a substantial part of human service transportation nationwide. According to a 2000 survey conducted by School Transportation News, Head Start provides daily Head Start provides transportation to over 582,000 children across the country. Many of daily transportation to these children receive transportation from coordinated transportation systems, using either transit vehicles or agency vans. For many over 582,000 children coordinated systems, such as the one found in Iowa, Head Start across the country, transportation is a substantial part of the system. The Iowa Office of many of whom Public Transit estimates that between 20 and 25 percent of the trips in their statewide coordinated system are provided to Head Start clients. If receive transportation these trips were lost, the consequences to their coordinated systems from coordinated could be serious. transportation systems The Coordinating Council has been working with Head Start to ensure that rural transportation systems will continue to be able to transport Head Start children. A key issue is the issue of the types of vehicles that are allowed to be used for transporting Head Start children. Unless there is progress on manufacturing alternative vehicles or modifying the Head Start regulations, all Head Start trips will have to be provided with school buses starting in 2006. Since no transit system or human service agency uses school buses, they will no longer be able to provide Head Start trips. Current Head Start regulations (45 CFR 1310.12) state that "Effective January 18, 2006, each agency providing transportation services must ensure that All Head Start trips will children enrolled in its programs are transported in school buses or allowable alternative vehicles. . . ." Most transit agencies assume that have to be provided "allowable alternative vehicles" include vans, buses, and other transit with school buses or vehicles. That assumption is incorrect. allowable alternative The Head Start regulations clearly define an allowable alternative vehicles starting vehicle as "a vehicle designed for carrying eleven or more people, in 2006. including the driver, that meets all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards applicable to school buses, except 49 CFR 571.108 and 571.131." What are the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards applicable to school buses? The Code of Federal Regulations Section 571 lists well over 100 very specific regulations and parameters for school buses. These regulations and parameters go into extremely minute detail in specifying nearly every component of a school bus, such as window size, door size, door location, emergency exit handle location, minimum tensile body joint strength, and rollover thresholds. For example, Section 571.222.S.5.1.2, "Seat back height and surface area," states that: 36 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

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Each school bus passenger seat shall be equipped with a seat back that, in the front projected view, has a front surface area above the horizontal plane that passes through the seating reference point, and below the horizontal plane 508 millimeters above the seating reference point, of not less than 90 percent of the seat bench width in millimeters multiplied by 508. Transit vehicles may not be able to meet such standards for seat back Head Start sponsored size or the equally specific standards for window size. Is there any a demonstration possibility that these transit vehicles will comply with the rear door program of alternative regulations that specify door size down to the millimeter? Is it possible that a transit agency will cut apart the body of one of its buses in order vehicles in North to test the body joints? At the moment, it does not appear possible for Carolina. any vehicle to meet these standards, other than a school bus (which was designed to meet these standards). So unless rural transit and human service agencies switch their fleets to school buses, their Head Start contracts could expire in January 2006. Head Start sponsored a demonstration program of alternative vehicles in North Carolina. These vehicles may provide an option to permit continued coordination between public transportation operators and the Head Start program. Clearly, this is an outstanding issue of some importance. Medicare--The Medicare program, administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of HHS is one of the key health care programs in this country. This program has two distinct components: hospital insurance (known as "Part A") and supplemental medical insurance ("Part B"). Both programs provide insurance protection for covered services for persons age 65 or older, certain persons with disabilities, and individuals with chronic renal disease who elect this coverage. Transportation costs are allowable expenses under Medicare Part B, but serious restrictions apply. By statute and regulation, Medicare will provide reimbursement only for transportation services Previous research has provided by ambulances. Furthermore, the use of an ambulance is limited to very severe medical situations such as a life-threatening questioned the emergency or a bed-ridden patient. These restrictions unnecessarily "emergency" nature of increase transportation costs and limit access to necessary health care. some Medicare transportation now Previous research has questioned the "emergency" nature of some Medicare transportation now being provided. This is particularly true being provided. for regularly scheduled dialysis trips for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. ESRD Medicare patients are especially likely to have a critical Chapter 2 Coordination Details: Benefits, Costs, and Barriers 37

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need for transportation support to access life-extending dialysis treatments. Such transportation problems are particularly severe in rural areas, which often lack local dialysis facilities and may lack long- distance transportation options to urban dialysis treatment centers. Medicare patients seeking dialysis transportation via ambulance must present a written order from their doctor stating that any other form of transportation would be harmful to their health. Of course, in some parts of the country, there may be no means of transportation except by ambulance. Since missing dialysis treatments can lead to serious medical problems, including death, it seems that some doctors are doing whatever it takes to get their patients to dialysis, even if this entails Research indicates bending some regulatory definitions of what entails an emergency. that there are many Research indicates that there are many nonemergency Medicare patients nonemergency arriving at hospitals via ambulance. With Medicare ambulance Medicare patients transportation costs approaching 2 billion dollars annually, Medicare's insistence on ambulance transportation--instead of, for example, rural arriving at hospitals public transportation systems--appears to be creating unnecessarily via ambulance. high costs. Research is now under way to examine the potential benefits to the Medicare program of changes to their legislation that would permit travel by services other than ambulances. PROBLEMS WITH ACCOUNTABILITY, COST ALLOCATION, PAPERWORK, AND REPORTING Rural transportation providers need detailed information to overcome the following kinds of potential coordination obstacles: The burdens imposed Program-by-program variations in eligibility for services; by differing regulations Billing, accounting, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements; and procedures can be Funding issues, including differing matching ratios and funding quite expensive for cycles; and local transportation Service regulations (such as prohibitions on crossing local or operators. state boundaries). While not constituting "barriers" that are impossible to surmount, the burdens imposed by differing regulations and procedures can be quite 38 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

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expensive for local transportation operators. Recently completed case Most of the commonly studies showed that overall administrative accounting and reporting identified obstacles or burdens can be extremely expensive: 24 percent of all administrative costs of the Pee Dee RTA in South Carolina are devoted to accounting barriers to coordination and reporting; administrative costs account for 58 percent of the total have specific strategies cost of Medicaid transportation provided by the Community Transit service in York, Pennsylvania. to overcome them. Most of the commonly identified obstacles or barriers to coordination have specific strategies to overcome them. For example, problems of billing and accounting, which used to consume vast amounts of administrative staff resources for large coordinated transportation services (like OATS in Missouri) are now handled with relative ease because of the installation of computerized accounting systems (like that used by Jefferson Area United Transportation System [JAUNT] in Virginia) which allow detailed reporting to a wide variety of funding sources. The issue of cost allocation can be resolved by working through cost sharing arrangements in which all parties agree to certain specific formulas for sharing. OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES TO COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION In Chapter 8, local transportation providers describe the operational challenges they have faced when trying to coordinate services in their localities. These challenges were the following: Funding, Interpersonal relationships, Political support and power sharing, Lack of knowledge, and Understanding coordination. Excluding funding, these topics can be addressed through greater understanding of coordination, including its likely benefits, costs, challenges, and successes in similar communities. All of these topics are covered in depth in this Toolkit. Chapter 2 Coordination Details: Benefits, Costs, and Barriers 39

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administrative procedures for some Federal programs; therefore, certain forms of coordination may be much easier for communities in one state than they are for communities in another state. Differing levels of resources are available for planning and operations from state to state. Despite many challenges, the overwhelming message is that many persons have succeeded in establishing and maintaining coordinated transportation services in rural communities. Take heart in this message: success is possible, although it's seldom easy. WILL COORDINATION REQUIRE THAT I GIVE UP MY VEHICLES? CONTROL OVER MY FUNDING FOR TRANSPORTATION? THE WELFARE OF MY CLIENTS? Coordination requires you to share authority, responsibility, and Coordination requires resources (including funding), not to give them up. There are many you to share authority, administrative options for coordination, and many of them involve the partners keeping ownership of vehicles, control over funding, and an responsibility, and active involvement in the welfare of specific client groups. Indeed, this resources (including maintenance of authority, responsibility, and resources could be considered to be one of the hallmarks of coordination. funding), not to give them up. On the other hand, consolidation of resources is a different approach to maximizing cost-effectiveness. Consolidation often means that only one agency owns vehicles and controls costs. Even in a consolidated operation, agencies that contract for services with the unified transportation provider would ideally remain in a strong and vital advisory position regarding overall service policies, and they should certainly remain as energetic advocates for the needs and welfare of their own clients. Consolidation will be an effective management strategy in some rural communities, but it may diminish the direct involvement of some agencies in operating decisions regarding transportation services. Chapter 4 Frequently Asked Questions About Coordination 87

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WHY HAVE SOME COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS FAILED TO SUCCEED OR SURVIVE? There have been four key reasons that coordinated transportation systems have not prospered or have even ceased to operate: Not fully understanding local politics. Not treating coordinated transportation like a business. Not developing a strong institutional foundation. Allowing partners to develop unrealistic expectations. Not fully understanding local politics. Coordinated transportation services often command many more resources than non-coordinated operations. They become a new force within the community and may become the target of envy and hostility if there are other local stakeholders--for example, politicians or other transportation providers--who are not firmly committed to the coordinated operations. As noted in the Economic Benefits of Coordinating . . . report (Burkhardt, Koffman, Murray, 2003), "Political individuals and organizations with vested interests in "the status quo" will often view expanded transportation services as a threat to their own power or influence and may, therefore, take steps to derail both personal and organizational capital invested in the coordinated transportation system." Not treating coordinated transportation like a business. Like other business operations, successful transportation services require a balance between income and expenses. Many coordinated transportation operations serve individuals who have quite limited incomes; a natural tendency of the operators of these systems is to ask the riders to pay very little of the actual costs of their trips. This is fine as long as someone is paying the full costs of the trips. Sometimes an agency will say to the transportation provider, "My clients really need rides, but I can only pay you X amount of money." But X amount of money usually runs out well before the end of the year, and then the transportation provider faces the difficult issue of whether to deny trips to people who really need them or to subsidize the agency that has insufficient funds to serve its own clients. The way to deal with this problem is to make sure that it does not come up in the beginning, and tying payments for trips directly to the costs of those trips eliminates this problem. 88 Implementing New Coordination Efforts SECTION II

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Not developing a strong institutional foundation. Many coordinated transportation systems are created through the efforts of dynamic and creative individuals. Sometimes these persons even qualify for the title of "charismatic leader." But sometimes these persons leave their position for other interests or other communities. If the coordination process depends too heavily on the efforts of such persons, it may founder if they are no longer available. Similarly, a new stakeholder who is not committed to cooperation, or even antagonistic to coordination, can upset carefully constructed partnerships. The way to avoid such situations is to develop formal institutional arrangements that may include Memoranda of Understanding or other legal documents, so that the coordination process has a strong and permanent enough foundation to survive the loss or addition of particular individuals. Allowing partners to develop unrealistic expectations. Partners in the coordination process need to have an extremely clear idea of what to expect. Cost issues can be among the most troublesome: non-coordinated operators may have a poor idea of their actual transportation costs and may be shocked to find that their actual cost per trip is much higher than they had previously thought. Some agencies have entered into coordination agreements with the idea that money would be returned to them; as explained in Chapter 2, this is possible but seldom occurs. Concerted efforts to develop a full understanding of coordination, early in the coordination process, turn out to be quite worthwhile in the long run. Other issues that may come up in some communities include the inability of some partners to make long-term funding commitments, shifting agency priorities (which may leave less emphasis on transportation issues), and the inability to generate local community or governmental support. When facing any of these issues, it is crucial to recognize the fluid nature of coordination processes: they require constant attention and the continued support of key stakeholders. WHAT ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL COORDINATION? Close attention to a small number of fundamental coordination concepts will increase the probability of successful and sustainable coordinated transportation services. The most significant of these concepts are Chapter 4 Frequently Asked Questions About Coordination 89

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The partnership approach: shared power, shared funding, shared responsibility. A key piece of the partnership approach is cost sharing--the idea that all partners agree to at least some responsibility for all the costs that coordinated transportation involves--often through some sort of formal agreement. Community-wide focus and community-wide support. Transportation services that focus services narrowly on some client groups but not others or some parts of the community and not others are not liable to generate community-wide support. Services to the entire community are best able to generate community-wide support, meaning that transportation services should focus on universal design and universal access (in other words, open door transportation, service for everyone). Resource management and quality control. What makes coordination different from other management strategies is some concept of broad oversight of all transportation resources within the community. Added to this is the idea that trips are not just provided; they are to be provided in a cost-effective manner that is consistent with the needs and desires of the riders. Maximizing productivity: ride sharing. Vehicles need to be operated with as many passengers on them as possible at all times. Some sort of coordinated trip assignment or joint dispatching will probably be needed to ensure that all kinds of passengers are on the vehicles at the same time, thus eliminating duplication of routes and services. Business focus: full cost recovery. As previously noted, coordinated transportation services need to be operated in a business-like fashion. All costs of service need to be accounted for and paid: in a coordinated system, all of the partners will share in making the payments. Coordinated service scheduling with non-transportation providers. While this approach is still relatively rare, it offers great benefits, particularly for rural communities. It means that not only do transportation providers communicate and coordinate with each other, but that human service agencies, doctors, hospitals, and other service organizations work jointly with the transportation services to create a highly integrated scheduling of services for clients, thus creating the most cost-effective overall allocation of resources within the entire community. 90 Implementing New Coordination Efforts SECTION II

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There are other important success concepts that apply to all transportation services, not just those that have coordinated operations: A customer orientation that is truly responsive to the travel needs and desires of the intended riders (and not merely focused on operating vehicles); Offering a broad service spectrum within a community that ranges from mass transportation services to specialized services to emergency services, and offering a similarly broad range of prices based on service quality and responsiveness; The intelligent use of volunteers to provide transportation for the kinds of trips that could not be otherwise served in a cost- effective manner; Data that document the mobility benefits achieved by the transportation services which are supported by the community; Targeted marketing to discrete rider and stakeholder subgroups to ensure that each market niche is fully cognizant of individual and community benefits of the transportation services; and Travel training for the intended riders of the transportation services. Systems that focus on the concepts described in this section are much more likely to succeed in their attempts to provide efficient, effective, and sustainable services that generate a broad base of community support. SUMMARY This chapter has presented answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about coordination: Will coordination save me money? What are the important funding sources for rural transportation? What funding sources am I missing? Which legislative barriers do I need to watch out for? Chapter 4 Frequently Asked Questions About Coordination 91

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Where can I get planning funds? What if we tried coordination before and never got anywhere? Should we try again? Some agencies are willing to participate, but others are not. What should we do? Whom should we involve in our initial efforts? With all the work on coordinated transportation systems in rural areas for many years, why isn't coordination easier? Will coordination require that I give up my vehicles? Control over my funding for transportation? The welfare of my clients? Why have some coordinated transportation systems failed to succeed or survive? What are the fundamental components of successful coordination? Answers to other questions may be found in other chapters in this Toolkit. If you can't find the answers here, go to your U.S. DOT or U.S. HHS contacts, your state program contacts, professional associations, or the published references listed in this Toolkit. It's likely that someone will have found the answers to the questions that you have about coordinated transportation services. 92 Implementing New Coordination Efforts SECTION II

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TECHNIQUES FOR IMPROVING CURRENT COORDINATION EFFORTS Section III This is the "fine-tuning and repair kit" component of the Toolkit, the part that provides information on how to maintain and repair coordinated transportation services. Materials provided here will help persons involved in coordination to gain a bit more performance or to "save the day" when events are not working out as planned. It explicitly recognizes that coordination is a process that can move backward as well as forward and describes strategies and tactics to use to institutionalize, to the extent possible, hard-won achievements. The following kinds of information are included: Strategic approaches to coordination (which to promote, which to avoid); Beneficial coordination approaches (how to maximize results); and Detailed coordination issues, such as ADA transportation requirements, consensus building techniques, and needs assessments. Section III Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts 93

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STRATEGIC APPROACHES TO COORDINATION Chapter 5 Coordination has been approached in many ways in many communities. This chapter discusses some of the most successful ways to approach coordinated transportation services. HIGH-IMPACT COORDINATION STRATEGIES FOR TRANSPORTATION OPERATORS Attempts to coordinate transportation services are more likely to Attempts to coordinate succeed when specific coordination objectives are identified and transportation services appropriate strategies are employed. Certain strategies are often are more likely to associated with transportation operations that generate large economic benefits from coordinated operations. These strategies include succeed when specific coordination objectives Tapping currently unused sources of funding, including using are identified and new funds to expand services and to provide and upgrade appropriate strategies existing services; are employed. Decreasing the direct costs of providing transportation; Increasing the productivity and utilization of vehicles on the road; Achieving the benefits (and avoiding the disbenefits) of economies of scale; Chapter 5 Strategic Approaches to Coordination 95

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Capturing the opportunities available from multiple providers and multiple modes of travel; and Instituting transportation services in areas lacking such services. These strategies appear to be much more effective in generating economic benefits than strategies addressing the following issues: Who is the lead agency (e.g., a public transit authority, a human service agency, a nonoperating brokerage, or a planning agency); Which services are emphasized (e.g., ADA paratransit services, welfare-to-work [WtW] trips, agency trips, general public trips, Medicaid trips, or others); and What particular coordination technique is used (coordination, consolidation, or brokerage, for example). Strategies to Adopt Case studies have been used to generate information about high-impact transportation coordination strategies (Burkhardt et al., 2003). Strategies that can generate large economic benefits for public transit operators and human service agencies involved in coordinated transportation systems (and their communities, too) are summarized below. The transit authority contracts to provide trips to Medicaid or other human service agency clients. In many communities, Medicaid agencies have not made full use of fixed-route transit services, opting for more costly paratransit services instead. As shown in numerous cases, moving only a small proportion of Medicaid clients to fixed-route transit service saves the Medicaid agency very large sums of money, substantially increases revenues of the transit authority at no additional operating cost, and provides mobility benefits for Medicaid clients. Public transit providers can also coordinate with local school districts to transport students for regular classes or for special purposes or special events. WtW programs will also benefit from coordination with transit providers. These can be considered to be key business expansion strategies. 96 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III

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Human service providers provide ADA paratransit services under contracts to transit authorities. In a number of communities, human service agencies have been providing paratransit services for a longer period of time than have transit agencies. Typically operating as private nonprofit organizations, the human service agencies often have cost structures that are less expensive than those of the transit agencies and can thus create significant savings for the transit agencies in providing the ADA-mandated services. (Using volunteers for drivers or other staff positions is one important way that human service agencies can generate large cost reductions.) For transit operators, contracting with human service transportation providers can be considered to be a key cost reduction strategy. Transit authorities and/or human service providers offer Paratransit trips are incentives to paratransit riders to use fixed-route transit often substantially services. Paratransit trips are often substantially more expensive than fixed-route trips. By offering incentives, including travel more expensive than training, to frequent paratransit users, some of those paratransit fixed-route trips. riders will switch their regular travel mode to the fixed-route service. This strategy has real cost reduction benefits for agencies that operate paratransit programs, fixed-route transit operators, human service agencies who sponsor trips for particular clients, and the riders themselves. Human service agencies coordinate or consolidate their separate transportation services and functions to create a general public transportation system. Sometimes referred to as the "classic" coordination example, human service agencies band together to form a "critical mass" of service that can qualify for general public funding and offer real travel options throughout the entire community. This is a key productivity enhancement strategy that can be referred to as a synthesis or synergy strategy. It is often combined with cost reduction, service enhancement, and mobility enhancement strategies. Transportation providers institute a communitywide coordinated dispatching operation so that all vehicles in use can accommodate all types of passengers at all times. Often entitled "ridesharing," this technique ensures the most cost- effective application of driver and vehicle resources. Judiciously applied, it can eliminate the typical precoordination situation of Chapter 5 Strategic Approaches to Coordination 97

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overlapping and inefficient routes and schedules. In particular, the benefits of providing trips for ADA paratransit clients at the same time and on the same vehicle as other travelers creates much lower per trip costs, thus generating real savings for public transit operators. This is a key productivity enhancement strategy. Travel services are expanded to more residents of the Some of the largest community through a variety of low-cost strategies. Some of the largest dollar savings evidenced in the case studies of dollar savings coordinated systems are those generated by the effective use of evidenced in the case volunteers. Volunteers are most cost effectively used when studies of coordinated specific trips have special requirements, such as the need for systems are those hands-on or escorted services; when providing the trip would tie generated by the up a vehicle and a driver for a relatively long time; or in other circumstances where ridesharing would be difficult to effective use of implement. This is a key service expansion strategy that volunteers. strongly relates to some cost reduction strategies. Key coordination strategies are shown in Table 7. Many communities will apply multiple coordination strategies. Strategies to Avoid Just as there are transportation coordination strategies to embrace, there are also significant transportation service strategies to avoid. These are also shown in Table 7 and summarized below. Most characterize situations of little or no coordination; most of them are almost begging to be coordinated. Vehicles and drivers used to serve only one client or trip type: agencies provide trips for only their own clients; agencies provide trips only to certain destinations (e.g., medical facilities) and not to other needed destinations. Multiple dispatch facilities and other administrative operations: each agency uses dispatch personnel dedicated to only the needs of that particular agency; multiple agencies in the same community invest in independently operated geographic information systems (GISs) and automatic vehicle locator (AVL) systems. 98 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III