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13 CHAPTER 2 COORDINATION HISTORY Public transportation providers and human services agencies to benefits other than cost savings. For human services agen- have a long history of delivering transportation services for cies or transit providers that may be serving only a portion of individuals who are considered to be transportation disad- the demand for their transportation services or whose unit vantaged. For transit operators, this group typically includes costs are already relatively low, coordination is likely to enable seniors and people with disabilities, although in small urban them to serve more customers or offer a higher level or qual- or rural areas, the general public also may use the services. ity of service for the same expenditure. Human services agencies frequently supply transportation to Today, partly due to encouragement and support at the enable clients to participate in the programs and services they federal and state levels, coordinated systems typically pro- offer. Client groups often include seniors, people with dis- vide some or all of the following transportation services: abilities, children, and low-income individuals. Yet, although transit providers and human services agen- ADA-complementary paratransit services and other ser- cies operate similar services for similar types of riders, trans- vices for people with disabilities portation is often provided through separate, parallel deliv- Medical transportation ery systems. Reasons for this separation include differences Job access transportation in funding sources, administrative and regulatory require- Services for seniors ments, and the importance of transportation to the missions Transportation to human services program sites of different types of agencies. The results of this separation Student transportation are often duplication of services or of administrative efforts, inefficient use of vehicles and other resources, poor service In rural areas, coordinated systems may provide the only quality, and unmet transportation needs. A common example available public transportation option. of uncoordinated services is the arrival of two vehicles at a medical facility: a public transit vehicle carrying customers of its paratransit program and a private vehicle transporting Medicaid recipients to their medical appointments--with both EARLY COORDINATION EFFORTS: vehicles being utilized at less than their full capacity. INITIATIVES AT THE LOCAL LEVEL Planning, designing, funding, and delivering transportation services for the transportation disadvantaged in a coordinated Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, a number of coordi- manner can help to address such problems. At the regional nation efforts were undertaken by local transit providers and or local level, coordination efforts can involve any combi- human services agencies. A critical ingredient in many of nation of partners: public providers of fixed-route transit and the early initiatives was the leadership of a particular indi- paratransit service, nonprofit transportation providers, private vidual who believed in the value of coordinated services and transportation companies, and public or nonprofit human ser- worked to make them a reality. State- or federal-level actions vices agencies. to encourage coordination also played a role in some of the Often the aim of coordination is increased efficiency and a first efforts. In other cases, early local successes proved dif- lower cost per passenger trip for participating agencies. In ficult to replicate until the development of state legislation or some cases, coordination has been shown to result in signifi- programs to encourage coordination made the task easier for cant reductions in cost per vehicle hour or passenger trip, other organizations. which may lead to lower transportation expenditures. A Med- Beyond the efforts of a local champion, a grant or contract icaid agency, for example, that pays a very high cost per trip from a federal or state agency was a factor in either the ini- when purchasing service on its own, may be able to reduce tial implementation or the success of some early coordination its overall transportation expense by purchasing service from initiatives. a coordinated system, particularly one that takes full advan- For example, two well-known, long-standing coordinated tage of existing fixed-route transit services. For many partic- systems are Wheels of Wellness and ACCESS Transporta- ipants, however, the result of increased coordination may lead tion Systems, operating in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh