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SECTION 1 Planning Decision Process Section 1 provides guidance to fixed route transit agencies and others that are exploring options for commingling ADA and non-ADA paratransit riders on the same vehicles. This guidance was developed based on the research conducted for this project, including a survey of 121 transit agen- cies of all sizes from throughout the country, supplemented by site visits and extensive interviews with more than a dozen transit agencies. The research team also reviewed a variety of recent publi- cations from national and local sources. A summary of relevant materials is included in Appendix C. The intent of this Resource Guide is not to duplicate those resources, but to suggest a roadmap for navigating through the process of planning for commingled services that will feed into the operations of that service, including development of operating policies and procedures. The operation of commingled ADA and non-ADA paratransit services is the focus of Section 2 of this Resource Guide. During the planning of commingled paratransit services, transit agencies are encouraged to take an inclusive approach, involving all of its stakeholders including human service agencies, consumers, and others as appropriate. The issue of whether to commingle ADA and non-ADA riders may be seen as a facet of transportation coordination, which has been a topic in the transportation industry since the 1970s as an approach for providing more effective and efficient specialized transportation service. Transportation coordination has become a more relevant focus since 2007, when the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) adopted a requirement for development of a "coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan," from which all projects funded with FTA Section 5310, 5316, and 5317 must be derived. Despite the emphasis on transportation coordination, the research team recognizes that for some transit agencies the answer is to not commingle riders, based on local resources and circum- stances. However, even if the decision is not to commingle riders, there may be other options for coordination identified as part of the process, including providing paratransit service for non-ADA riders using different vehicles or coordinating services with other existing transportation programs. As described in the introduction, the research team recognizes that sometimes the decision to commingle riders is based on the outcome of a formal planning process; other times the decision is based on political or funding decisions made with little formal planning input. Even if a formal planning decision process was not followed prior to the decision to commingle services, the information in this section will be useful to consider as a backdrop for establishing operating parameters and program guidelines. A graphic overview of the planning decision process is shown in Figure 1-1. In the electronic version of this report (available online at www.trb.org by searching for TCRP Report 143), each major component of the planning decision process is color coded as follows: A. "Define Purpose and Objectives for Commingling" is shown in red. B. "Identify Available Capacity and Funding" is shown in blue. 12
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Difference in rider Difference in program groups between ADA requirements between Add non-ADA paratransit and non- ADA paratransit and riders to ADA ADA programs non-ADA programs paratransit service? Yes, have Consider funding and its additional funds Consider compatibility of ADA sustainability to support paratransit service and non- non-ADA service Plan to add non-ADA ADA paratransit service Compatible Yes, have Consider service riders only to fill capacity No, do not have parameters for existing capacity additional funds commingled service: Local decision Not compatible same or different such as: (e.g., "saves money" or "improve service") - service area - days/hours Consider funding and its - fare structure sustainability to support Plan for additional Feasible plan Local political decision Define goals & Assess existing non-ADA service capacity (e.g., "makes sense") Do not have Yes, have Consider objectives for capacity: are there purpose of capacity additional adding non- empty seats on funds commingling External factors ADA riders existing vehicles? (e.g., merge with entity Do not have serving non-ADA riders) additional funds Legislation / regulation (e.g., FTA coordinated planning requirements) Estimate impact of Do not add Consider serving non- Develop plan to address No feasible adding non-ADA riders non-ADA ADA riders, but use program or rider-group Environmental plan on existing service hours riders separate vehicles differences considerations (e.g., reduced VMT and and miles carbon emissions) Yes, commingle ADA and non-ADA service using same vehicles No, do not serve Consider other options non-ADA riders for non-ADA riders with separate vehicles Yes, add non- Provide resources to non- Provide ancillary services ADA riders but ADA programs (e.g., coordinated training, use separate (e.g., retired vehicles) maintenance) vehicles CAPACITY & Coordination PURPOSE & between transit OBJECTIVES FUNDING agency and non- SERVICE ADA programs COMPATIBILITY PARAMETERS Figure 1-1. Planning decision flow chart.