Cover Image

Not for Sale



View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 4


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 3
Table 1: PRIMARY AUDIENCES FOR SECTIONS OF THIS TOOLKIT Primary Audience for Sections of this Toolkit Detailed Contents this Section Toolkit Introduction Overview of this document All readers Section I: Basic concepts; details concerning Persons not yet actively BASIC COORDINATION benefits, costs, and barriers engaged in CONCEPTS coordination Section II: Building blocks for new systems; Persons not yet actively IMPLEMENTING NEW frequently asked questions engaged in COORDINATION EFFORTS coordination Section III: Strategic approaches; some pitfalls; Persons now involved IMPROVING CURRENT detailed coordination issues in coordinated systems TECHNIQUES FOR COORDINATION Section IV: Successful state and local coordination All readers CASEBOOK OF models STATE AND LOCAL COORDINATION MODELS Bibliography, Abbreviations, All readers Glossary, Contacts Appendices: A: Stakeholder Interview Guide All readers B: Survey of County Transportation Services C: Sample Transportation System Survey Forms D: Identifying Best Practice Systems E: Coordination Workshop Facilitation Guides F. Detailed Operating Cost Categories for Coordinated Transportation Systems G. Example of Various Interagency Agreements to Enhance Coordination H. Sample Transportation Coordination Plan Report I: Example of State Legislation Creating Statewide Coordinating Council Toolkit Introduction 3

OCR for page 3
Newcomers to coordination issues should find inspirations in the many possible paths to success, and "coordination experts" should find insights in these state and local case studies that will enable them to obtain even greater levels of performance in their own communities. Persons really interested in how and why coordination works eventually will want to read all parts of this Toolkit. We see the Toolkit as a tree, with the trunk representing the fundamental understandings involving coordination, the branches representing required components and conditions, and the leaves representing the fine details. Note that different kinds of trees thrive in different environments. The detailed elements (leaves) of each tree often determine how people view the entire structure; the flow of information and resources from the tree's roots to the leaves and back again determines the overall strength and health of the living organism. The point here is that you, as an interested observer, have a variety of elements to examine, and you can do this in your own sequence of interest. You could start with basic definitions, then move on to the more detailed components and conditions, and finish with the finest details. Alternatively, you could proceed directly to the details, returning to the other elements for a more complete understanding of the fundamental framework. The choice is up to you, this Toolkit's user. WHAT IS COORDINATION, ANYWAY? Coordination is a technique for better resource management, in which improved organization strategies are applied to achieve greater cost-effectiveness in service delivery. Coordination is about shared power, which means shared responsibility, shared management, and shared funding. Coordination of transportation services is best seen as a process in which two or more organizations (who may not have worked together previously) interact to jointly accomplish their transportation objectives. Coordination is like many other political processes in that it involves power and control over resources, and coordination can be subject to the usual kinds of political problems and pressures, such as competing personalities and changing environments. 4 Toolkit Introduction

OCR for page 3
Coordination can be used to improve transportation system performance by eliminating duplicative efforts and improving the efficiency of transportation operations. Coordinating transportation means doing better (obtaining more results, like trips) with your existing resources. It requires working together with persons from different agencies and backgrounds. Coordination has been said to be "the best way to stretch scare resources and improve mobility for everyone." Adopting the broadest possible perspective is a key element of successful efforts. Effective coordination will require a focus on not just a few agencies or client types, but on your entire community and maybe even on multiple communities. WHAT ARE COORDINATION'S KEY BENEFITS? By addressing inefficiencies in the current use of transportation resources, coordination can lower the costs of providing services. Most communities apply these cost savings to increase the numbers of trips served, thus increasing overall service effectiveness. The combination of increased efficiency and increased effectiveness can create great improvements in unit costs, such as costs per trip, per mile, or per hour. Benefits commonly observed from coordinated transportation services include Lowered trip costs for travelers and for human services agencies; Extended service hours, services to new areas or new communities and to more people; More trips made by persons needing transportation; 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. Toolkit Introduction 5

OCR for page 3
HOW DO THE BENEFITS OF COORDINATION COME ABOUT? The most powerful coordination strategies for reducing inefficiencies are reducing the number of drivers and the total driver wages paid, reducing the number of vehicles and other capital costs, and reducing administrative staff and administrative labor costs. The most powerful coordination strategies for increasing service effectiveness include extending service hours and boundaries, offering services that are more responsive to customer needs, and offering higher quality and safer services, all of which will attract more riders. THE COSTS OF COORDINATION Coordination certainly has its costs. Coordinated transportation services may be more expensive, more difficult, and more time-consuming to achieve than most interested stakeholders initially expect. While coordination will most likely increase overall cost-effectiveness or reduce unit costs (for example, costs per trip), coordination may not necessarily free transportation funds for other activities. Some agencies have hoped to see money returned to them--this has seldom happened because any cost savings realized are usually 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 work 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. WHEN IS COORDINATION EFFECTIVE? Coordination needs to be seen as one of several possible management or problem-solving tools; it will not solve all transportation problems in all communities. Coordination has its most substantial impact where transportation efficiency can be improved. In communities where persons who need transportation are not being served but existing 6 Toolkit Introduction

OCR for page 3
services are already highly efficient, coordination by itself is seldom an effective strategy: in these cases, additional resources are needed. WHAT ABOUT BARRIERS TO COORDINATING? Some local transportation operators have claimed that they would like to coordinate their service with those of other providers, but that they are "not allowed," "prohibited," or otherwise unable to do what it makes sense to them to do by "barriers" in the legislation or regulations of programs through which they receive funding. But many other local operators (see Section IV of this Toolkit) have succeeded in coordinating the transportation resources of various programs by working through the same administrative, personal, and institutional obstacles which other operators have found more difficult to surmount. Much of the funding for specialized transportation services originates with Federal programs aimed at specific client groups and needs. This means that recipients of such funds need to pay close attention to the specific objectives and regulations of these programs. While this can be a complex process, it is certainly not an impossible one. There definitely are "challenges" regarding coordination, but it would not be accurate to say that there are barriers that cannot be surmounted. SUMMARY Coordinated transportation services offer many benefits to many rural communities, but the coordination process takes real work. Many of the challenges faced will involve ways to forge cooperation among individuals who are not used to working with each other. Successfully addressing these challenges can create transportation services that serve more persons at lower unit costs. This Toolkit shows how to make coordination succeed for you. Toolkit Introduction 7

OCR for page 3
BASIC COORDINATION CONCEPTS Section I Coordination has been promoted as a means of improving the delivery of transportation services since the late 1960s. Many rural communities have benefited from increased coordination among the transportation services sponsored by various programs. Coordinating agencies, the riders of the services, and the localities all can receive measurable benefits, including additional funding, more cost-effective operations, and the benefits received from increased mobility. Section I includes basic information necessary to understanding coordination issues. It addresses the fundamental issue of "Why coordinate?" This section begins with basic coordination concepts, including definitions, an historical perspective about coordinated transportation services, an overview of the agencies often involved in coordinated transportation systems, and an examination of the kinds of problems that coordination addresses. The second chapter in this section provides more details about the benefits, costs, and barriers involved in coordination. This information lays the groundwork for understanding the basic elements of coordination, which can then be applied by following the steps outlined in Section II. Section I Basic Coordination Concepts 9

OCR for page 3
BASIC COORDINATION CONCEPTS Chapter 1 SOME DEFINITIONS Coordination is a strategy for managing resources. It is applied within Coordination is community political environments. Fundamentally, coordination is about shared power among organizations that are working together to . . . a strategy for achieve common goals. Typically, the necessary precursors to shared managing resources. power are shared respect and shared objectives. After these preconditions are met, sharing the key components of power-- . . . about shared power, responsibility, management, and funding--is possible. responsibility, Coordination focuses on management, resources, cost-effectiveness, management, and broad perspectives, multiple stakeholders, cooperation, and action. funding Skills required to succeed at coordination include knowledge, communications, dedication, perseverance, understanding, . . . a process involving cooperation, curiosity, creativity, and energy. power and control over resources. Coordination can be used to address problematic transportation situations, such as duplication of effort and opportunities for improving transportation resource efficiency. Coordinating transportation means doing better (obtaining more results, like trips) with existing resources by working together with persons from different agencies and backgrounds. According to Ohio's Department of Transportation, "Coordination is the best way to stretch scarce resources and improve mobility for everyone." (ODOT, 1997). Coordination of transportation systems is thus a process in which two or more organizations interact to jointly accomplish their transportation objectives. Coordination is like many other political processes in that it involves power and control over resources and can be subject to the Chapter 1 Basic Coordination Concepts 11

OCR for page 3
usual kinds of political problems and pressures, such as competing personalities and changing environments. Coordination-- This report is defining coordination as the sharing of the transportation the sharing of the resources, responsibilities, and activities of various agencies with each other for the overall benefit of the community. (Even after many years, transportation this "pooling of resources" definition of coordination is not necessarily resources, accepted within every community--in some communities, mass transit operators and human service agencies still perceive coordination from responsibilities, and narrow self-centered perspectives.) The broad perspective is a key activities of various element: effective coordination will require a focus on the entire agencies with each community, or maybe even on multiple communities. other for the overall The earliest study to focus on coordination of transportation services benefit of their defined it in three phases: (1) cooperation, (2) coordination, and community (3) consolidation (Revis et al., 1976). The definitions of these three levels of service integration are as follows: Cooperation: Working together in some loose association, perhaps focusing primarily on information sharing, in which all agencies retain their separate identities and authorities, including control over the vehicles which they own. Coordination: Joint decisions and actions of a group of agencies with formal arrangements to provide for the management of the resources of a distinct system. Consolidation: Vesting all operational authority in one agency that then provides services according to purchase of service agreements or other contractual relationships. More recent work has shown that these three levels of service integration are not necessarily part of the same continuum: each can be an end result by itself. Experience has shown that each of the phases mentioned above can be considered as a self-contained stage or a different level of service integration. Cooperation is necessary for both coordination and consolidation, but coordinated systems do not necessarily change to become consolidated systems. In fact, coordination is usually the end product--consolidation is rare. Consolidation is certainly one of the possible outcomes of efforts to work more closely together, but consolidation can be threatening to many agencies (whose political view may be one of "taking away" their vehicles, their funds, and their program control). But consolidation sometimes offers the potential for providing the greatest monetary benefits. 12 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

OCR for page 3
Whatever level of integration is ultimately achieved, the process of working together entails joint efforts to convert perspectives of narrow . . .working together self-interest into broader communitywide interests and actions. entails joint efforts to Individuals who may not be used to talking or working with each other convert narrow will need to develop levels of trust, respect, confidence, and shared responsibilities. A willingness to be open-minded about changing long- perspectives . . . into standing operating procedures will be required. The results can include broader community- the blending of travel purposes, client types, travel modes, funding sources, vehicle types, and the needs of different political jurisdictions, wide interests and as well as philosophies and perspectives. The results can be quite actions beneficial, as described below. THE EVOLUTION OF EFFORTS TO COORDINATE SPECIALIZED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES Understanding the history of coordination helps to understand some of the issues people now face when they attempt to implement coordinated transportation services. To meet national objectives for both human service and transportation programs--whether they focus on education, job training, welfare reform, elderly nutrition, health and medical care, other services, or simply transportation--the programs' intended recipients must have access to those services. But the intended recipients of such programs are often individuals with limited access and mobility. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, human service program officials lack of transportation recognized that many of their intended clients lacked adequate transportation and that lack of transportation could be a key barrier to could be a key barrier receiving important human services. When human service agencies to receiving important realized that many of their clients had no means of accessing needed human services services that were available to them, many agencies started their own transportation systems. Transportation services for persons with special transportation needs multiplied. Agency-sponsored vans often offered transportation services only to their own clienteles, but they frequently served destinations or riders similar to (or the same as) the destinations or riders of other agencies, with each agency owning, operating, and maintaining separate vehicles. But these services didn't address all of the transportation needs, the costs of the trips increased, Chapter 1 Basic Coordination Concepts 13

OCR for page 3
and the resources needed to provide the transportation services became One of the most talked about more constrained. Funding agencies became concerned with how to mechanisms for improving reduce duplicative efforts and make existing transportation services specialized transportation services was coordination. more efficient and effective. A closer look at these specialized transportation systems showed that many of them operated without regard to certain principles of economic efficiency, but that real increases in cost-effectiveness could be achieved if certain steps were taken to analyze, understand, and improve services. One of the most talked about mechanisms for improving specialized transportation services was coordination. In the field of public mass transportation, coordination began to take on a new meaning with the advent, in 1970, of the special service requirements for elderly and "handicapped persons" under the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964. Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the 1990s resulted in another source of transportation for persons with special travel needs. The ADA requires public transportation agencies to provide complementary paratransit services to transport certain persons with disabilities. (Eligibility for the complementary paratransit services mandated by the ADA is limited to persons who are unable to use accessible vehicles operated on fixed routes. The ADA is a civil rights law with the goal of preventing and remediating discrimination against persons with disabilities; like other civil rights laws, it does not provide funding for these goals.) Coordination became an important management strategy when we found that agencies dealing with human service transportation needs were doing so in a "silo" or "stovepipe" fashion: dollars and rules came down from above in a narrow and constrained manner, and the perspective was one of a closed system from the top to the bottom. The trip needs of one agency's clients could be served, but often at considerable expense and with some service quality problems. Many agencies had similar client travel needs, but they fiercely guarded the rights and interests of their own clients against "competing" interests and the prerogatives of their own "turf" from "outsiders." Many rural communities have evidenced real leadership in combining the travel resources of human service agencies and also opening such services to members of the general public. Despite these successes, transportation services in some of these same rural communities have been unable to cross township, county, or state boundaries to coordinate transportation services with neighboring communities. 14 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

OCR for page 3
The recognition that many agencies have real interests in improving the cost-effectiveness of human services transportation has led to an effort to build bridges between particular agency interests and mandates. Coordinating transportation services is one powerful way of building these bridges. As previously noted, coordination helps solve difficult problems and has real measurable benefits. But it isn't always easy to achieve, and it won't solve all problems. WHO NEEDS TO BE INVOLVED IN COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES? In many communities in the United States, a variety of public and private agencies and organizations provide or purchase transportation services for persons who are somehow disadvantaged in their ability to obtain transportation. Persons eligible for these programs are usually those with functional impairments (who are often also older), disabilities, low incomes, and otherwise without access to private automobiles. They and their representatives need to be included in any transportation planning process, as do the agencies serving them. These Riders and their representatives need agencies and organizations often include to be included in any transportation planning process, as do the agencies Public transportation providers, which are required by ADA to serving them provide complementary paratransit services to transport persons with certified disabilities wherever the public transit agency provides fixed-route transportation (public transit providers sometimes also offer special services for the elderly and persons with disabilities which preceded ADA); Departments of human and social services, which arrange Medicaid transportation as well as transportation for low-income persons; Departments of health and mental health, which provide medical trips; Area agencies on aging, which transport clients to senior centers and other service destinations; Chapter 1 Basic Coordination Concepts 15

OCR for page 3
Vocational and/or developmental disabilities departments, which often transport clients to sheltered workshops for employment and training and to jobs in the community; Departments of employment, which are responsible for implementing U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)-funded programs, such as those serving individuals who are moving from welfare to work; Departments of education, which transport many students and provide specialized transportation for vocational rehabilitation students; and Many different private nonprofit organizations, such as the Red Cross and faith-based organizations, which provide transportation to a variety of persons for different purposes. (Burkhardt, 2000) Each of these agencies and organizations may receive funding for transportation services from one or more sources, including Federal, state, and local programs and nonprofit programs. Such funds are often accompanied by specific objectives for serving limited clienteles and by specific rules and operating requirements. Operating separately, such services often demonstrate the economic and service problems noted below. Operating in a coordinated fashion, these agencies can often achieve greater levels of transportation services for their own clients and others as well. PROBLEMS THAT COORDINATION ADDRESSES In communities without coordination efforts, the following kinds of inefficiencies and problems are often observed (Burkhardt et al., 1990): A multiplicity of operators, each with its own mission, equipment, eligibility requirements, funding sources, and institutional objectives, often resulting in significant duplication of expenditures and service efforts, as well as gaps in needed services; 16 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

OCR for page 3
The absence of a formal mechanism for cooperation or communication among these operators; A total level of service well below the total level of need--often, substantial unmet transportation needs among populations with . . . coordination has its growing numbers and proportions of older persons; most substantial Excess travel by transportation providers with underutilized impact in communities vehicles; where transportation Significant variations in services available during particular efficiency can be times of day or days of the week and to specific groups of improved . . . persons, and duplicative services in some neighborhoods but substantial gaps where no service is available in other areas; Substantial variations in service quality, including safety standards, from provider to provider; A lack of reliable information--for consumers, planners, and service operators--describing the services being provided and their costs; The absence of an overall compendium of services available or the funds being used to provide them; and The absence of a reliable mechanism to quantify overall service needs and create a comprehensive plan to address these problems. Coordination has been shown to be capable of resolving such problems and improving specialized transportation services. Coordination will not solve all transportation problems in all communities. It needs to be seen as one of several possible management or problem-solving tools. In order to determine if coordination can improve the transportation services in a particular locality, transportation planners must first gather data about the potential population to receive transportation services and the current transportation providers. The next step is to analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of current services in meeting the service population's needs. Coordination may be an effective action strategy in communities where there is substantial unused vehicle time; substantial unused vehicle capacity; or a lack of economies of scale in planning, administration, Chapter 1 Basic Coordination Concepts 17

OCR for page 3
operations, purchasing, or maintenance. Unless these conditions are present, strategies other than coordination are better suited to improve transportation services. Thus, coordination has its most substantial impact in communities where transportation efficiency can be improved. In communities where persons who need services are not being served but where there is little room for efficiency improvements, coordination by itself will not be an effective strategy; in these cases, additional resources are needed. Rural communities must carefully assess their own circumstances with respect to these conditions; only then will the most appropriate strategy become apparent. GOALS FOR COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES A number of efforts to coordinate transportation services have not shown success because they failed to specify what they were trying to achieve by coordinating. Setting specific goals becomes a crucial initial step in the coordination process. On an overall (for example, statewide) basis, the kinds of goals set by Oregon's State Agency Transportation Coordination Project are worth noting. They include Doing more with limited existing resources, Utilizing transportation investments more efficiently, Enhancing mobility within and between communities, Increasing access to jobs and job training, Preserving individual independence, and Enhancing the quality of life. On a local basis, coordination objectives can be even more specific. As noted in TCRP Report 91: Economic Benefits of Coordinating Human Service Transportation and Transit Services, they might include Generating new revenues, Reducing the costs of providing trips, 18 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

OCR for page 3
Increasing efficiency and productivity of transportation services, and Increasing mobility within the community. HOW COORDINATION WORKS The fundamental goals The fundamental goals of coordinated transportation systems are to . . . are to increase the increase the numbers of people served and the numbers of rides numbers of people provided with existing resources. Coordination achieves these goals through better resource management. served and the numbers of rides The first set of resource management objectives, targeted on greater provided . . . efficiencies, focuses on reducing duplication and fragmentation in operating, administering, planning, and funding transportation services. Specific strategies for achieving these objectives include reducing the following: Operating and administrative salaries, Capital costs on vehicles and other equipment, and Other operating costs (maintenance, insurance, etc.). The second set of resource management objectives, targeted on more productive services, focuses on improving the acceptability, accessibility, adaptability, affordability, and availability of transportation services within the community. Specific strategies for achieving these objectives include increasing the following: Days and hours of service, Service areas, The different kinds of persons and trip purposes served, The accessibility of vehicles in the fleet for persons with special needs, The kinds and amounts of public information concerning services, and The kinds and amounts of funding available to help pay the costs of specific trips. Chapter 1 Basic Coordination Concepts 19

OCR for page 3
Additional information on how coordination works is found in the next chapter in the section on coordination's benefits. SUMMARY This introduction to fundamental coordination concepts has focused on these areas: Coordination is a technique for managing limited resources and focuses on shared power arrangements among partners, Coordinated transportation services evolved as a means of meeting the transportation needs of special needs populations more effectively and efficiently than is possible with single- client transportation services, A very broad range of transportation operators, consumers, and policymakers needs to be involved in coordinated transportation efforts within a locality, Coordination addresses problems created by inefficient services that operate without overall direction, Key goals for coordinated transportation services include more productive and more cost-effective services, and Coordinated transportation works by reducing the costs of providing transportation and expanding services. The following chapter presents details concerning coordination's benefits and costs. The issue of barriers to coordination is also discussed. 20 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

OCR for page 3
COORDINATION DETAILS: BENEFITS, COSTS, AND BARRIERS Chapter 2 Coordination really is more complex than its basic "let's work together" message. Successful coordination depends on a full understanding and appreciation of the details concerning what can or cannot reasonably be expected to happen as a result of coordination activities. Valid expectations are particularly critical in the areas of coordination's Coordination is one of benefits and costs, as well as the often misunderstood concept of "barriers to coordination." a number of management strategies for improving the performance of various THE OVERALL BENEFITS AND COSTS OF individual COORDINATION transportation services . . . Coordination is one of a number of management strategies for improving the performance of various individual transportation services, as well as the overall mobility within a community. It wrings inefficiencies out of the disparate operations and service patterns that often result from a multiplicity of providers. Overlapping, duplicative, and inefficient services can be combined for more efficient service delivery. As a result, coordinated services may achieve economies of scale not available to smaller providers. Coordinated services often also provide higher quality services. Greater efficiency helps to stretch the limited (and often insufficient) funding and personnel resources of coordinating agencies. Coordination can lead to significant reductions in per-trip operating costs for transportation providers. Many communities use these savings to expand services to persons or areas not previously served. Persons Chapter 2 Coordination Details: Benefits, Costs, and Barriers 21

OCR for page 3
with special transportation needs often benefit from the greater amount of transportation and higher quality services when transportation providers coordinate their operations. WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF COORDINATION? Coordination has a wide range of potential benefits. Detailed benefits realized in various rural communities are described in Chapter 8. The three major potential benefit categories can be described as follows: Coordinated transportation services often have access to more funds and thus are better able to achieve economies of scale. They also have more sources of funds and other resources, thus creating organizations that are more stable because they are not highly dependent on only one funding source. Higher quality and more cost-effective services can result from more centralized control and management of resources. Coordinated services can offer more visible transportation services for consumers and less confusion about how to access services. Some of the most important specific benefits can include Filling service gaps in a community by offering transportation to additional individuals and geographic areas within existing budgets; Providing trips to consumers at lower costs; Providing more trips for community members, thus enhancing their quality of life and providing economic benefits to their communities; Reducing total vehicle travel within a community, thus enhancing air quality and making other positive environmental contributions; and Generating cost savings to some participating agencies in special forms of coordinated transportation service. 22 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

OCR for page 3
The largest and most frequent economic benefits of coordinating human service transportation and regular fixed-route transit services (Burkhardt et al., 2003) are listed below. These benefits are generally applicable to other coordination examples as well. The largest and most frequent economic benefits are the following: Additional funding--more total funding and a greater number of funding sources; Increased efficiency--reduced cost per vehicle hour or per mile; Increased productivity--more trips per month or passengers per vehicle hour; Enhanced mobility--increased access to jobs or health care, or more trips provided to passengers at a lower cost per trip; and Additional economic benefits--increased levels of economic development in the community or employment benefits for those persons associated with the transportation service. How Do the Benefits of Coordinating Transportation Services Occur? How are the potential benefits actually realized? These are the ways in which the benefits of coordination usually come about: A more cost-effective use of resources is created through productivity increases, economies of scale, eliminating waste caused by duplicated efforts, and more centralized planning and management of resources. Greater productivities and efficiencies can be used to fill service gaps in a community by offering services to additional individuals and geographic areas within existing budgets. These also result in more trips for community members, thus enhancing their quality of life and generating economic benefits for the entire community, and generating cost savings to some participating agencies in some forms of coordinated transportation services. Chapter 2 Coordination Details: Benefits, Costs, and Barriers 23

OCR for page 3
A more centralized management of existing resources can The most powerful result in greater visibility for transportation services and an coordination strategies enhanced appreciation of their value, reduced consumer for generating confusion about how to access services, clearer lines of economic benefits are authority, and more professional (more comfortable, reliable, and safe) transportation services. reducing inefficiencies The most powerful coordination strategies for generating economic and increasing service benefits by reducing inefficiencies are reducing the number of drivers effectiveness. and the total driver wages paid, reducing capital costs, and reducing administrative labor costs. The most powerful coordination strategies for generating economic benefits by increasing service effectiveness include extending service hours and boundaries, offering services that are more responsive to customer needs, and offering higher quality and safer services. Within rural communities, the most significant results of coordination are probably the following factors: Provider/program cost savings: There are two kinds of reduced costs per trip: those associated with decreased resource inputs (costs) and those associated with increasing service outputs (trips). The first type of cost reduction, the cost to provide trips, is created by increased efficiencies from vehicle sharing, use of volunteers, lower fuel cost, lower insurance cost, economies of scale, or similar coordination measures. From the point of view of a human service agency that participates in a coordination arrangement, the same benefit could be in the form of reduced cost to purchase a trip compared to a non-coordinated arrangement. The second type of cost reduction on a per-trip basis comes from the increase in the number of trips consumed, or the productivity of the services. User cost savings: These savings result from trips made by target populations at lower costs than would otherwise be the case. Mobility increases: These result from additional trips provided to target populations that would not otherwise be made. The value of these additional trips depends on the type of trip--for example, the ability to obtain needed services, obtain medical care, or hold down a job. 24 Basic Coordination Concepts SECTION I

OCR for page 3
Service quality: This results from trips that are safer, more reliable, or more convenient because of coordinated arrangements for driver training, maintenance, access to advanced technology, and so forth. An overall list of the possible benefits of coordination is shown in Tables 2 through 5 (Burkhardt et al., 2003). Not all of these benefits occur in all communities, and not all consequences of coordination lead to reduced costs or outcomes that are universally considered desirable. Table 2 shows the desired or expected changes to transportation system characteristics (the inputs to transportation services) that may come about as a result of coordination. Coordinated operations can actually lower some of the fundamental transportation system inputs, such as numbers of drivers, vehicles, and transportation providers. Duplication of services is reduced in this way. Table 3 shows the desired or expected changes to transportation system performance measures (the results of transportation services) that may come about as a result of coordination. Both efficiency measures (for example, cost per mile) and effectiveness measures (such as passenger Tables 2 through 5 can trips per vehicle mile) should show improvements as a result of coordination. be used as checklists for possible Table 4 shows coordination's desired or expected changes to users' coordination goals assessments of basic transportation system attributes such as within a specific accessibility or affordability. Users should rate all of these system attributes higher after coordination is implemented. community. Table 5 shows the desired or expected changes to users' overall transportation system service assessments that may come about as a result of coordination. Coordinated transportation services should result in greater accessibility throughout the community, providing greater mobility and independence for residents, and leading to decreased isolation. Tables 2 through 5 can be used in the initial stages of planning coordinated transportation services. These tables can be used as checklists for possible coordination goals within a specific community. Chapter 2 Coordination Details: Benefits, Costs, and Barriers 25