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Improving website information on services ments Received from Telephone Interviews. This available (NF). section provides further comparison of the results of Developing a "Bus Buddy" program, to intro- the interviews by pointing out some key contrasts duce elderly and disabled citizens to public between various agency types and reviewing some transit (5310). additional key themes that were found repeatedly Providing a demand-response service for re- during the course of the interviews. turn trips for hospital users, enabling them to arrive via fixed-route services for appointments Contrasts and Issues but have flexibility for return trips given varia- tions in appointment duration (5310). Rural versus Urban. In general, the rural organiza- Creating Mobility Management programs to tions interviewed appeared to be both more enthusi- connect customers with services, providing astic and more critical of the Section 5310, 5316, and information and collecting data (5310). 5317 programs. This enthusiasm is due to the human Sponsoring volunteer-operated transportation services transportation these organizations can now services (5310). provide to needy customers; in many cases there were Providing bus stop accessibility improvements no existing public transportation services prior to fed- eral funds becoming available. At the same time, rural for wheelchair users (NF). Improving access to shopping for low-income organizations are critical of the distribution of these funds because of their concerns that the higher cost of customers (5310). transportation in such areas--longer distances, dis- Many organizations commented that programs persed customers and destinations, and little other in- have been more successful than expected. Customer frastructure to support human services customers-- demand has been high; in the words of Town & may make rural human services transportation appear Country Transit in rural Pennsylvania, ridership "has ineffective or inefficient. Rural organizations noted grown exponentially, far beyond what the state had that they would like to see funding arrangements that projected." In addition, respondents indicated that take background or baseline conditions into consider- human services transportation has also increased use ation in distributing federal funds. Finally, because of general mass transit, as customers can combine the state is often the designated recipient for the funds services that meet their needs. They also believe that for rural areas, they feel their project prioritization is improved information and greater familiarity with the often undermined when the final decision on funding transportation options available has also increased is made at the state level. general transit ridership. Some projects of the respondents have admittedly State DOTs versus Recipients. Grant recipients in- proved unsuccessful. They indicated that a year-long terviewed generally indicated they would like more trial is usually sufficient to identify these, though transparency in the project prioritization and selec- some have been re-designed or placed under new tion process at the state DOT level. Several respon- management in an effort to make them more success- dents indicated that they felt the products of state de- ful. In general, however, most projects implemented cisions were challenging to understand or to explain by those interviewed have become relatively perma- to local officials involved in the local prioritization nent, in some cases being incorporated into fixed- process. These respondents suggested that more guid- route service or taken over by private operators. ance from FTA on the grant selection and prioritiza- tion process would be appreciated and would improve the understanding of all stakeholders in what federal Conclusions priorities are and how grants match up with the pur- Many general conclusions about the perceived pose of the Section 5310, 5316, and 5317 programs. success of the Coordination Plans, the level of effort Finally, while three of the six state DOTs inter- that it takes to create them, the types of programs that viewed by the web-based survey indicated that they are funded with the grant programs, and the concerns did not perceive a great benefit from the Coordina- held by the interviewees are addressed throughout tion Plan requirements, most of the recipients inter- this document, particularly in the following sec- viewed felt differently. They felt that the plan devel- tions: Cross-State Comparison of Interview Results, opment process resulted in a much more coordinated Responses by Agency Type, and Summary of Com- approach to the provision of human services trans- 48