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Factors That Affect Transportation Cost and Service Reports 7 Reporting Problems Affect Transportation Coordination Efforts Today, there is great variety among client transportation services delivered by human service programs, with significant differences in service delivery methods, reporting, and eligibility requirements. Human service programs that provide transportation services have uniquely different missions; one agency may provide employment services while another may have the delivery of health care services as their primary mission, and the transportation services needed for the success of these programs are not the primary concerns of program administrators. These complexities are compounded by the fact that no single law or statute created federal human services transportation programs. Unlike federal transit programs that are all codified under a single piece of authorizing legislation, there is no legislative or statutory uniformity on how human services transportation services are to be reported or delivered. Each program has devel- oped its own idiosyncratic regulations, eligibility requirements, and operating procedures. Because they have developed autonomously, some federal programs also may fund the same types of ser- vices as other federal programs. Coordinating these currently disparate transportation services can be highly beneficial to local communities, but the lack of consistent methods for reporting program outputs and costs stands in the way of achieving this coordination. For coordination efforts to succeed, potential coor- dination partners will need to analyze their services and costs using comparable data. This Toolkit provides the tools needed to generate such data for assistance in implementing coordinated transportation efforts. Like other projects before it (see TCRP Report 144, Volume 2, "Research Report"), this project has come to these conclusions: · The major federal programs have very different data collection and reporting requirements for transportation services, and many state administering agencies impose their own account- ing and reporting practices on local service providers. · Some local service administrators develop their own unique internal accounting and data collection processes--often more complex than the federal or state requirements. · The lack of any uniform standards in the many different human service and transportation programs means that these individualistic approaches to data collection and reporting often result in incomplete statements of program costs and services. Currently, the kinds of problems with human services transportation cost recording and report- ing include the following: · Transportation costs often are combined into generalized accounting categories that do not allow transportation costs to be reported as a separate and distinct cost category. · Partially as a result of the practice of combining transportation costs into more general account- ing categories, overall transportation expenses tend to be significantly underreported. · Payments for transportation services may or may not have any direct relationship to the costs of providing services. · The costs of administering transportation services may not be reported accurately: transportation-related expenses such as administrative salaries, office rent, accounting ser- vices, and other administrative overhead items have been both understated and overstated in various communities. · Staff travel for the purpose of transporting clients often is not reported as a transportation expense but is reported as an administrative or case-management cost. · Identifying the specific federal or state program dollars used for funding transportation services may be difficult because of the blending of state and federal funding sources at the local level.