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25 Introduction When planning for a new or existing transit service, it is important to document the exist- ing passenger transportation services within the area. Creating such an inventory is especially important to avoid duplicating transportation services already in place, but it also helps reduce gaps in service, identify coordination opportunities, and identify opportunities to leverage exist- ing funding to more effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the community. This chap- ter describes the types of information that should be collected from existing transportation programs. A written inventory is particularly important if a tribe desires to seek funding through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5310 Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities Program, Section 5316 Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) Program, or Sec- tion 5317 New Freedom Program. Each of these programs requires that any projects for funding must be derived from a locally developed Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Trans- portation Plan. Information on the requirements for these plans is provided in detail in the corresponding FTA Circulars, which are listed among the references at the end of this chapter. A tribe may prepare the coordinated plan or participate in a regional plan to seek funding from either of these programs. Types of Transportation Programs Many types of transportation programs exist. Each type has a different focus and provides ser- vices to different market segments. The primary transportation programs likely to be of interest to tribal transit planners are described in this section. Tribal public transit: This is a public transit program provided, supported, and/or operated by the tribe. Many tribes that provide tribal public transit services access funds available through the FTA Tribal Transit Section 5311(c) program. These funds are meant to complement other sources of FTA, state, and local funding, including other FTA Section 5311 funds. The key ele- ment of this service is that anyone may ride. Many tribes integrate specialized transportation services with a public transit program to reduce duplication of services. Non-tribal public transit: This is a public transit program that is not directly operated or funded by the tribe, but rather is provided by a non-tribal entity like a neighboring community or county. Non-tribal public transit services are geared toward meeting the needs of the general public. The system may or may not serve tribal lands and communities, but it is a resource that may be used to provide transit service to tribal members. Some tribes, such as the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, have found it advantageous to contract with C h a p t e r 3 Inventory of Transportation Resources
26 Developing, enhancing, and Sustaining tribal transit Services: a Guidebook a local public transit system to provide service to tribal members on tribal lands or reservations. Other tribes have coordinated their own transit services with nearby non-tribal transit services to allow transfers and expand the area to which tribal members have access. An understanding of the nearby public services allows a tribe to make an informed decision regarding the best approach to provide transit service. Medical transportation: This is a public transit service geared toward serving nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, doctorsâ offices, and other medical facilities. Many programs fund or oper- ate transportation services to support non-emergency medical needs. These include Medicaid, Indian Health Service, nursing homes, substance abuse treatment programs, and mental health programs. Many successful tribal transit programs have been based on medical transportation. The Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma provides medical transportation to all Native Americans in its 13-county service area. This program also provides delivery of prescriptions. The Chickaloon Village Health and Social Services Transportation Program in Alaska provides transportation for medical, dental, and mental health appointments in the Mat-Su Valley and to the Anchorage area. The Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, Southcentral Foundationâs Primary Care Center, and the Valley Native Primary Care Center in Wasilla are some of the agencyâs major medical destinations. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma provides general public transit services with priority given to non-emergency medical trips. The tribe realized that heath care services were important but that transportation was a critical need for members to access the health care services. The tribe applied for and was awarded a grant from the FTA Tribal Transit Program in 2007. The transit program then integrated the existing Community Health Representative medi- cal transportation service by providing service to the Indian Health Hospital and the other tribal clinics. Started in October 2007 as a one-vehicle operation, the program has since expanded to 17 vehicles serving 88,000 members within the Choctaw Nation boundaries. Elder services: This transportation service is provided to older adults. Often affiliated with a senior center, the service focuses on providing transportation to congregate meal sites, medical appointments, grocery shopping, human services offices, social events, and other locations. Many agencies that serve older adults also include people with disabilities in their transportation services. Education: This transportation service typically is provided by colleges or universities, often with the intent to decrease the number of single occupancy vehicles on campus or to support the transit-dependent student population. The Salish and Kootenai College located on the Flat- head Indian Reservation in Pablo, Montana, supports transportation for its students to access the campus using the tribal transit system. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe uses a public transit service operated by Sitting Bull College. This kind of arrangement allows the transit system to pool funds from a variety of sources. Other social service programs: These transportation programs focus on providing access to various social services, such as Head Start, job training, and counseling programs. The facilities at which these programs operate may or may not be served by public transit, and transportation is often the key to ensuring that people have access to the programs. Coordinating efforts with available social service programs may allow tribes to leverage existing funds and to set up a more efficient service. Private transportation services: Providers of private transportation services, such as taxis, airport shuttles, tour operators, charter bus companies, and intercity bus services, may serve areas near a tribe. Private transportation services may be geared to a specific market segment (such as tourists), a specific purpose (such as medical transport), or a specific destination (such as an airport). Private operators may offer a resource for tribes to meet specific transportation needs, such as regional service to an airport.
Inventory of transportation resources 27 Volunteer programs: Some communities have volunteer programs that provide transporta- tion services. In some cases, volunteers use their own vehicles and, in other cases, volunteers drive agency vehicles. Volunteers are often a valuable resource for trips like long-distance medi- cal trips, which can be difficult to provide in other ways. Information to Gather Planners should compile basic information about each available transportation service. Understanding of the various options helps planners identify opportunities to build on existing services and to leverage funds already being spent on transportation programs. Cooperative arrangements with existing transportation programs have allowed many tribes to begin a suc- cessful public transit service. Some of the important information to be collected about transportation providers is described in this section. Service area: If possible, identify the areas served by each of the available transportation resources on a single map, especially those that serve the general public. This will be helpful when designing service alternatives to meet the needs of the community. A map showing all the transportation providers in the area will help to avoid duplications, identify coordination opportunities, and identify areas that lack service or are underserved. Type of service: It is important to understand the type of service provided by the available transportation programs. Services can be categorized into fixed-route, deviated fixed-route, demand-response, and combination services. This helps clarify the level of service and if the type of assistance provided is door-through-door, door-to-door, or curb-to-curb service. Fixed-route service vehicles travel along designated routes. Service is provided at identified stops at set times during the day. Demand-response service vehicles operate based on service requests received. Deviated fixed-route service operates along an established path, arrives and departs at set times during the day, but can deviate from the established path for pick-ups and drop-offs according to service requests. Point-deviation or checkpoint services operate at fixed stops, but deviate between stops without having a designated route. Carpool and vanpool programs are an effective way to provide transportation for commuters. These programs work best for people who have similar origins and destinations. Participants travel together in one vehicle, share the costs, and may take turns acting as the driver. These programs may be administered by a transit agency, a nonprofit, or an employer, or they may be informal arrangements. Often carpools are informal arrangements set up by people who know each other. Service characteristics: Some of the service characteristic information to be collected includes the number of operating days and hours, eligibility to use the service, the frequency of the ser- vice, advance reservation requirements, the size and type of the vehicle fleet, seating capacity, and whether vehicles are wheelchair-accessible. Ridership: Some of the ridership information that needs to be compiled includes the number of one-way passenger-trips, types of passengers served, and trip origins and destinations. Limi- tations on eligibility for users also should be identified, as many programs have restrictions on who may be eligible or what types of trips may be served. Performance measures: Performance measures give an indication of the effectiveness and efficiency of a transportation service. Some types of service, such as long-distance medical trips,
28 Developing, enhancing, and Sustaining tribal transit Services: a Guidebook are very expensive and have relatively low performance. Understanding performance measures will help planners select the appropriate type of service to meet a specific need. Ridership is one important measure by which transportation programs gauge their service effectiveness. It adds value to document the number of people who are able to get to a medical appointment, get to a job, or get to services they may not otherwise be able to access. This information helps highlight the impact of services on the community. Data collected should cover a full year of operations. Depending on the information available, some of the common performance measures include passenger-trips per hour, passenger-trips per mile, cost per passenger-trip, cost per service-hour, and cost per service-mile. Costs: Gathering information about costs is important for understanding the current amounts being spent on transportation services. Tribes may be able to use the existing level of funding to match other grant programs and enhance the transportation services without committing additional local funds. Information about capital costs will be useful. Costs also are important for calculating basic performance measures as described above. Local cost data will also help planners estimate a budget for new public transit services. Funding and revenues: Relevant information about funding and revenues needs to be col- lected for each transportation service provider. Relevant information includes items such as whether the agency charges a fare and the sources of the program funding. Any restrictions imposed by different funding sources should be identified. Several federal agencies fund trans- portation programs of human service agencies. These agencies include the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging (AoA), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Employment and Training Administration, and Office of Disability Employment Policy. These nonâ Department of Transportation (DOT) federal funds may be used as a local share or match for FTA programs. Other examples of local match sources include private donations and revenue from human service contracts. Compiling this information helps planners identify partnering opportunities. Organization: Information should be collected about the transportation programâs organiza- tional structure, management, administrative structure, and current staffing. Policies: Policies and procedures that are in place for transportation programs should be documented. Customer policies and procedures communicate the transportation providerâs customer service philosophy, as well as the degree of flexibility the agency may have in working with reservations. Knowledge about existing policies and procedures can be helpful when coor- dinating transportation services and being sensitive to the agencyâs perspective on the matter. Existing Funding Programs An important part of doing an inventory of existing transportation providers is documenting their existing funding sources. The primary categories of funding sources are described below. More detailed information on funding tribal transit programs can be found in Chapter 8 of this guidebook. FTA programs: The FTA may provide funds for services directly to the tribe or through programs administered by state governments. Most FTA grants require local matching funds. Other federal grants: Other federal programs that are used to support transportation pro- grams should be identified. Many federal grants may be used to match FTA funding. State funding: Some transportation programs are funded through the state government. These may include human service programs or transit programs.
Inventory of transportation resources 29 Contracts: Any existing contract that provides funds for transportation services should be identified. Existing local funds: It is important to document local funds used for their respective trans- portation programs. Local funds may include general budget funds, gaming revenues, fees, or enterprises. Matching funds: It is important to identify how existing grants are matched with local or other funds. Funds may not be used to match more than one grant. Often, however, an inven- tory will reveal funds being used for transportation programs that could be used as matching funds to additional grants. For More Information FTA Circular 9045.1: New Freedom Program Guidance and Application Instructions. http://www. fta.dot.gov/documents/FTA_C_9045.1_New_Freedom.pdf. FTA Circular 9050.1: The Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) Program Guidance and Application Instructions. http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/FTA_C_9050.1_JARC.pdf. FTA Circular 9070.1F: Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities Program Guidance and Application Instructions. http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/C9070.1F.pdf.