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36 human service departments in each state: http://www.aphsa. and a fuller understanding of services. A sample question- org/home/StateContacts.asp. naire that could be used as a model when interviewing trans- Another good source of information is the public trans- portation providers is attached as Appendix B on the accom- portation association in your state. Most states have such an panying CD-ROM (an abbreviated version is also included). association that includes traditional public transportation Whichever method is determined to be most suitable, the systems and specialized or community transportation sys- information sought should include the following: tems. Some examples are the California Transit Association, Connecticut Association for Community Transportation, Illi- · Service area nois Public Transportation Association, New York Special- · Types of individuals served ized Transportation Association, and Utah Rural and Spe- Seniors cialized Transportation Association. People with disabilities Human services agency clients Individuals with low income Information Sources at the Local Level Transitioning welfare recipients If the area you are concerned about is a county or smaller Residents of rural areas geographic unit, contact your county and use the same General public approach described above for states. You should be able to · Trip purposes quickly locate transportation services for the transportation Employment-related disadvantaged, especially if you focus on the departments Medical-related that fund Medicaid, senior or aging, and employment-related Social services-related programs. Within a county, contact the same kinds of depart- General purpose ments in the major cities. · Operational data Finally there may be a number of nonprofit agencies that Name of direct or contract operator provide such services. Examples are Easter Seals, Goodwill Number and type of vehicles Industries, American Red Cross chapters, local YMCAs, and Types of service offered churches and charities. These might be located most easily by Days and hours of service looking in the appropriate yellow pages (either an electronic or Reservations and scheduling practices paper version) under such subjects as disabled, handicapped, Ridership human services, transportation, mental health, senior services, · Funding data wheelchair and special needs transportation, and so forth. Transportation expenses and revenues of the organi- zation Fare or fee charged Inventorying Providers Funding sources and amounts Funding restrictions Once the agencies providing service have been identified, · Unmet transportation needs the next step is to make contact in order to determine the Clients or people who need transportation assistance nature of what they provide and their potential interest in ser- but do not receive it vice coordination. There are three primary ways to obtain Days, hours, or geographic areas in which service is this information: needed Additional trip purposes to be served · Mail surveys · Interest in exploring opportunities for coordination · Telephone interviews · On-site interviews Providers may also be able to identify other organizations that operate or contract for transportation services. Obtaining detailed data from transportation providers, especially those who operate small transportation programs or whose main business is human services, presents a challenge EXAMPLES OF BEST PRACTICES in any initial coordination effort. However, conducting on- FROM CASE STUDIES site or telephone interviews guided by a detailed survey ques- tionnaire is a very effective method. Sending a copy of the The case studies illustrate a number of interesting strategies questionnaire to the providers in advance allows them time to that coordination partners have adopted to deliver service in prepare, so that the visit or phone call is productive. Dis- a coordinated manner or to coordinate operational functions cussing transportation services and issues face to face is usu- such as trip reservations and scheduling, customer informa- ally less time-consuming for the provider than completing a tion, fleet management, and technical assistance. Some strate- lengthy survey, so a greater response can be obtained. Also, gies exemplify new approaches, while others demonstrate this approach typically produces more detailed information that long-standing coordination techniques are still effective.
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37 These best practices are summarized below. More detailed ARC descriptions can be found in the complete case studies in Appendix A on the accompanying CD-ROM. In addition to operating service for agencies that no longer Other case study subjects are successfully using technol- provide transportation for their clients directly, ARC provides ogy to coordinate operations. More information about those technical and operating assistance to other organizations. sites is provided in Chapter 7. For example, ARC offers the following: · Technical assistance related to the acquisition of federal Greater Twin Cities United Way Section 5310 vehicles in the county · Scheduling and dispatching service (for one contractor) Through its various grants and technical assistance activities, · Backup vehicles and drivers for agencies that are too Greater Twin Cities United Way has been testing a number of small to have their own backup capability strategies and models in order to determine the most effective · Third-party billing services for its subcontractors, thus ways to better coordinate service and to improve assistance to saving the small agencies administrative costs and burden the agencies and their transportation-disadvantaged clients. United Way's goal is a network of four to five experi- Additionally, ARC is designated by the Minnesota DOT enced, nonprofit transportation providers that are able to pro- as the operating authority for all agencies in the state that vide needed services throughout the region and are supported receive state or federal funds for special transportation ser- by services such as centralized driver training and vehicle vices. In this capacity, ARC provides training and certifica- maintenance. tion related to driving vehicles, vehicle inspections, vehicle Dakota Area Resources and Transportation for Seniors maintenance, and so forth. (DARTS) and ARC are the first of those experienced pro- viders to participate in United Way's program. King County Metro DARTS King County Metro's CPP is based in the transit agency's Accessible Services Department. CPP expands transportation DARTS is a United Way affiliated agency that provides options for people with disabilities and seniors by developing transportation service to seniors and people with disabilities partnerships between the transit agency and community orga- in Dakota County, one of the seven counties in the Twin nizations. Under the CPP, Metro assists organizations in set- Cities metropolitan area. It operates a fleet of 35 buses and ting up their own transportation programs by providing vehi- has been in operation for about 30 years. It also provides a cles and some operating subsidies. Organizations benefit number of services for other United Way agencies in the because they can customize their transportation programs to region including meet their customers' needs. The community benefits because these programs are more cost-effective than Metro's ACCESS · Vehicle maintenance service (more than 350 vehicles Transportation program. are maintained for 40 to 50 other organizations in a The CPP currently has three different products for agen- modern, state-of-the-art maintenance facility) cies in the community, which include AddVANtage and · Maintenance training AddVANtage Plus. · Professional driver training classes (provided to several Under the AddVANtage and AddVANtage Plus programs, hundred drivers employed by 25 to 30 organizations) Metro will lease retired ACCESS vans to eligible organiza- · Consulting services (in the areas of transit planning, oper- tions at no cost and reimburse a percentage of some costs, ations, and helping transit collaboratives work together) pursuant to county requirements. The county will also pro- · Scheduling software vide a backup vehicle while a van is being maintained or repaired. Organizations are expected to provide their own One of the things that DARTS has accomplished is to operators and perform scheduling, assignment of customers, develop simplified reservation and scheduling software that and other operational functions. Organizations must also carry is more appropriate for small systems (i.e., those that operate the appropriate insurance and agree to indemnify the county up to 10 vehicles). The software that DARTS uses for its own as specified. Organizations are required to maintain trip logs system is more sophisticated and expensive than is appropri- and other records as specified by the county. They also are ate for many small systems. DARTS therefore developed a responsible for providing information to the county to assist much more affordable system that provides capabilities such with evaluations of the program. as a customer and driver database for scheduling and billing To be eligible to receive vehicle and maintenance support, purposes but does not include a map-based automated sched- organizations must submit an application and show that they uling capability. A license for this software is available for are regularly providing at least 50 trips per month to people $2,500, a much lower price than that of a full-scale reserva- who are ADA paratransit eligible (AddVANtage). To be eli- tions and scheduling package. gible for vehicle, maintenance, and limited operating support,
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38 organizations must submit an application and show that they brokerage demonstration program. The brokerage, which are regularly providing at least 100 trips per month to people was established in 1979, is managed by ACCESS Trans- who are ADA paratransit eligible (AddVANtage Plus). portation Systems, Inc. ACCESS has sponsorship agree- ments with 120 local agencies, including PennDOT, which provides state lottery revenues for senior transportation, and DuPage County the County Office of the Bureau of Federal Programs, which is responsible for Medicaid transportation. PAT provides DuPage County, Illinois, initiated a subsidized taxi service funding for ADA paratransit trips and the local match for the as a pilot program in 1998. The program resulted from a senior transportation program. paratransit coordination study conducted for DuPage County For these 120 agencies, ACCESS is responsible for the and the Chicago area RTA. The study concluded that human coordinated provision of approximately two million trips services agencies and municipalities could provide improved annually through the network of ten for-profit and not-for- mobility for their clients and residents by developing a joint profit transportation providers it has under contract. General taxi program that would augment public transit service pro- public customers may also use ACCESS services, but must vided by Pace, the suburban transit agency. The DuPage pay a fare that covers the full cost of their trip. County Department of Human Services administers the pro- ACCESS is an example of a decentralized/administrative gram on behalf of all participating entities. paratransit brokerage, reservation intake and scheduling being The program is primarily aimed at older adults and people performed by the ten service providers. The ACCESS staff with disabilities, although sponsoring agencies have been able of 35 employees performs several centralized functions, to offer subsidies to many other DuPage residents as well. including the following: Participation is available through sponsoring cities, villages, townships and human services agencies. The program · Design and maintenance of the service delivery structure includes the following features: · Provider procurement and negotiations · Contract/service monitoring · Registration through a sponsor is required. · Provider training (e.g., management training, pas- · Discounted coupons can be obtained through the spon- senger assistance training, and training for drug abuse sor. These coupons are worth $5 toward the cab fare. monitoring) The typical discount is 50%, although some coupons are · Reporting provided free of charge to participants in the county's · Accounting (e.g., vendor payments and sponsor invoicing) Transportation to Work Program. · Information and referral · Program participants may ride together and share their · Eligibility determination coupons for payment. · Customer registration · Travel is possible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, any- · Sale of scrip for customers of the brokerage's user-side where in the county. subsidy program · Trip reservations are made through one of nine cab com- · Customer information services panies and can be made up to 1 week in advance. · Lift-equipped vehicles are available. Providers are paid on a per hour basis and are assigned to specific zones. Including the administrative cost of the bro- Sponsors include programs such as the DuPage County kerage, the average cost per hour is $36.00, while the aver- Transportation to Work Program (for people with develop- age cost per trip is approximately $15. Average productivity mental disabilities), the DuPage County Health Department for the service is 2.38 trips per hour. Teen Parent Services program, and the DuPage County Access to Jobs Program (short-term assistance for county residents with incomes at or below 150% of federal poverty guide- SCAT lines who are actively seeking employment or are preparing to do so). SCAT is the public transit operator in Brevard County, The service initially began by using one taxi company but Florida. Today, SCAT offers a variety of services to the currently uses nine. The program provides about 35,000 trips general public, including fixed-route bus service, ADA per year and involves expenditures of approximately $310,000 paratransit service, paratransit service for transportation- for transportation service. Administration of the program disadvantaged individuals, subscription service for human requires the equivalent of one county employee. services agency clients, a bus pass program, a Medicaid brokerage, individual trips for seniors provided by volunteer drivers, and a Commuter Assistance Program. ACCESS Transportation Systems, Inc. SCAT represents the consolidation of two separate sys- tems--the Consolidated Agencies Transportation Systems In 1978, PAT, which is the Pittsburgh area's public transit (CATS) and the Brevard Transportation Authority (BTA)-- provider, received funding from the FTA for a transportation which, prior to consolidation, had provided transportation
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39 service to transportation-disadvantaged individuals and the viders. (Note that in this instance, mobility manager refers general public, respectively. to a person who identifies travel options for a transportation- In 1970, the Transportation Subcommittee of the Brevard disadvantaged customer, much as a travel agent would do for County Community Services Council, made up of a number a customer planning a vacation, rather than a transportation of human services agencies, conducted a study of available broker, which is an alternate definition of the term.) transportation services for transportation-disadvantaged peo- They recognized that the TOMs could be a centralized ple and developed a transportation plan based on the study's source of information for people with disabilities about the findings. The plan proposed coordination of transportation transportation services and resources available in their com- services, which initially entailed the consolidation and reor- munities. At the same time, TOMs would be able to give MRC ganization of existing resources. Many of the coordination staff and the local transportation providers a better sense of recommendations were implemented, which led to the devel- the existing unmet need for transportation in local communi- opment of CATS in 1974. ties. Identifying this need could ultimately help the local pro- Also in 1974, the BTA began providing general public viders better design their transportation services and increase transit service. Over time, BTA ridership declined, while coordination activities to meet those needs. CATS ridership increased significantly. Public support for After a year and a half of planning, MRC was able to secure the transportation services for the transportation disadvan- a 5-year, $1.25 million demonstration grant from the U.S. taged provided by CATS grew, while support for general Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Adminis- public transportation provided by BTA diminished. tration, to fund their mobility management initiative, called After a performance review by the FTA in the early 1980s, the TOP. the Brevard MPO worked with the two providers to address The TOP program is currently in its fourth year, and three and resolve duplication of service and study the feasibility local RTAs are involved: the Franklin RTA (FRTA), the of consolidation. In 1983, a transportation development plan Montachusett Area RTA (MART), and Greater Attleboro (TDP) was prepared, which included a detailed analysis of Taunton RTA (GATRA). These RTAs were selected through both providers, a short-term service integration plan, and a a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by MRC. TOMs are 5-year improvement plan. The MPO adopted the short-term housed at the local RTAs and are experts in both transporta- plan in late spring 1983. The service integration strategy was tion and human services. to be tested for 2 years with the goal of total consolidation In order to help find affordable means of transportation for by 1988. people with disabilities, the TOMs research the availability of In 1985, the systems were consolidated, with the Brevard transportation services in their regions, including accessible Board of County Commissioners receiving the assets of BTA. vanpool and carpool programs, low-cost subscription van A countywide contest was held to name the new system--the programs, Councils on Aging (COAs), car donation and vehi- winning entry being SCAT. cle modification programs, ADA paratransit services, and Reflecting its unique origin, SCAT continues to place a other public transportation services. The TOMs use a person- high priority on providing mobility to the transportation- centered transportation planning approach to match a per- disadvantaged groups that CATS was established to serve. son's needs to transportation options available in the com- munity. The focus of this process is to assist people to live and work successfully and independently in their respective TOP communities. TOMs are also active in outreach activities, such as with local human services providers and in public The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) has forums. long recognized the importance of transportation to the self- sufficiency of their clients. In the past, the agency has con- ducted a number of studies that identified two major barriers Cross County Transit that keep people with disabilities from being able to work. One of those barriers is transportation--specifically, finding Cross County Transit is a web-based system that tracks information about the transportation options that are avail- requests and schedules for out-of-county nonemergency med- able and knowing how to navigate the system. ical transportation in North Carolina. Centralizing informa- Despite the importance of transportation to their consumers, tion about scheduled trips not only makes finding transporta- MRC also believed that a gap exists between transportation tion easier for individuals, it gives transportation providers and human services providers. Transportation providers are more opportunities for grouping trips and improving service accustomed to focusing on transportation operations and do efficiency. Developed as a demonstration project with fund- not always understand the complex issues that affect people ing from the North Carolina DOT, Public Transit Division, with disabilities. In the late 1990s, MRC staff became inter- the system is among ongoing efforts by the division to facili- ested in the idea of Transportation Options Managers (TOM), tate nonemergency medical transportation for state residents. or mobility managers, and their potential to bridge the com- The system can help people to find transportation to a munication between human services and transportation pro- medical facility in another county. It consists of a website on