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Section III Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts 93 TECHNIQUES FOR IMPROVING CURRENT COORDINATION EFFORTS This is the âfine-tuning and repair kitâ component of the Toolkit, the part that provides information on how to maintain and repair coordinated transportation services. Materials provided here will help persons involved in coordination to gain a bit more performance or to âsave the dayâ when events are not working out as planned. It explicitly recognizes that coordination is a process that can move backward as well as forward and describes strategies and tactics to use to institutionalize, to the extent possible, hard-won achievements. The following kinds of information are included: â¦ Strategic approaches to coordination (which to promote, which to avoid); â¦ Beneficial coordination approaches (how to maximize results); and â¦ Detailed coordination issues, such as ADA transportation requirements, consensus building techniques, and needs assessments. Section III
Chapter 5 Strategic Approaches to Coordination 95 STRATEGIC APPROACHES TO COORDINATION Coordination has been approached in many ways in many communities. This chapter discusses some of the most successful ways to approach coordinated transportation services. HIGH-IMPACT COORDINATION STRATEGIES FOR TRANSPORTATION OPERATORS Attempts to coordinate transportation services are more likely to succeed when specific coordination objectives are identified and appropriate strategies are employed. Certain strategies are often associated with transportation operations that generate large economic benefits from coordinated operations. These strategies include â¦ Tapping currently unused sources of funding, including using new funds to expand services and to provide and upgrade existing services; â¦ Decreasing the direct costs of providing transportation; â¦ Increasing the productivity and utilization of vehicles on the road; â¦ Achieving the benefits (and avoiding the disbenefits) of economies of scale; Chapter 5 Attempts to coordinate transportation services are more likely to succeed when specific coordination objectives are identified and appropriate strategies are employed.
â¦ Capturing the opportunities available from multiple providers and multiple modes of travel; and â¦ Instituting transportation services in areas lacking such services. These strategies appear to be much more effective in generating economic benefits than strategies addressing the following issues: â¦ Who is the lead agency (e.g., a public transit authority, a human service agency, a nonoperating brokerage, or a planning agency); â¦ Which services are emphasized (e.g., ADA paratransit services, welfare-to-work [WtW] trips, agency trips, general public trips, Medicaid trips, or others); and â¦ What particular coordination technique is used (coordination, consolidation, or brokerage, for example). Strategies to Adopt Case studies have been used to generate information about high-impact transportation coordination strategies (Burkhardt et al., 2003). Strategies that can generate large economic benefits for public transit operators and human service agencies involved in coordinated transportation systems (and their communities, too) are summarized below. â¦ The transit authority contracts to provide trips to Medicaid or other human service agency clients. In many communities, Medicaid agencies have not made full use of fixed-route transit services, opting for more costly paratransit services instead. As shown in numerous cases, moving only a small proportion of Medicaid clients to fixed-route transit service saves the Medicaid agency very large sums of money, substantially increases revenues of the transit authority at no additional operating cost, and provides mobility benefits for Medicaid clients. Public transit providers can also coordinate with local school districts to transport students for regular classes or for special purposes or special events. WtW programs will also benefit from coordination with transit providers. These can be considered to be key business expansion strategies. 96 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
â¦ Human service providers provide ADA paratransit services under contracts to transit authorities. In a number of communities, human service agencies have been providing paratransit services for a longer period of time than have transit agencies. Typically operating as private nonprofit organizations, the human service agencies often have cost structures that are less expensive than those of the transit agencies and can thus create significant savings for the transit agencies in providing the ADA-mandated services. (Using volunteers for drivers or other staff positions is one important way that human service agencies can generate large cost reductions.) For transit operators, contracting with human service transportation providers can be considered to be a key cost reduction strategy. â¦ Transit authorities and/or human service providers offer incentives to paratransit riders to use fixed-route transit services. Paratransit trips are often substantially more expensive than fixed-route trips. By offering incentives, including travel training, to frequent paratransit users, some of those paratransit riders will switch their regular travel mode to the fixed-route service. This strategy has real cost reduction benefits for agencies that operate paratransit programs, fixed-route transit operators, human service agencies who sponsor trips for particular clients, and the riders themselves. â¦ Human service agencies coordinate or consolidate their separate transportation services and functions to create a general public transportation system. Sometimes referred to as the âclassicâ coordination example, human service agencies band together to form a âcritical massâ of service that can qualify for general public funding and offer real travel options throughout the entire community. This is a key productivity enhancement strategy that can be referred to as a synthesis or synergy strategy. It is often combined with cost reduction, service enhancement, and mobility enhancement strategies. â¦ Transportation providers institute a communitywide coordinated dispatching operation so that all vehicles in use can accommodate all types of passengers at all times. Often entitled âridesharing,â this technique ensures the most cost- effective application of driver and vehicle resources. Judiciously applied, it can eliminate the typical precoordination situation of Chapter 5 Strategic Approaches to Coordination 97 Paratransit trips are often substantially more expensive than fixed-route trips.
overlapping and inefficient routes and schedules. In particular, the benefits of providing trips for ADA paratransit clients at the same time and on the same vehicle as other travelers creates much lower per trip costs, thus generating real savings for public transit operators. This is a key productivity enhancement strategy. â¦ Travel services are expanded to more residents of the community through a variety of low-cost strategies. Some of the largest dollar savings evidenced in the case studies of coordinated systems are those generated by the effective use of volunteers. Volunteers are most cost effectively used when specific trips have special requirements, such as the need for hands-on or escorted services; when providing the trip would tie up a vehicle and a driver for a relatively long time; or in other circumstances where ridesharing would be difficult to implement. This is a key service expansion strategy that strongly relates to some cost reduction strategies. Key coordination strategies are shown in Table 7. Many communities will apply multiple coordination strategies. Strategies to Avoid Just as there are transportation coordination strategies to embrace, there are also significant transportation service strategies to avoid. These are also shown in Table 7 and summarized below. Most characterize situations of little or no coordination; most of them are almost begging to be coordinated. â¦ Vehicles and drivers used to serve only one client or trip type: agencies provide trips for only their own clients; agencies provide trips only to certain destinations (e.g., medical facilities) and not to other needed destinations. â¦ Multiple dispatch facilities and other administrative operations: each agency uses dispatch personnel dedicated to only the needs of that particular agency; multiple agencies in the same community invest in independently operated geographic information systems (GISs) and automatic vehicle locator (AVL) systems. 98 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Some of the largest dollar savings evidenced in the case studies of coordinated systems are those generated by the effective use of volunteers.
Chapter 5 Strategic Approaches to Coordination 99 General category Specific strategy Examples Strategies to adopt Business expansion Transit authority contracts to provide Medicaid or other human service agency trips Cost reduction Transit authority contracts with human service agencies to provide ADA paratransit services Synthesis/synergy Human service agencies coordinate/consolidate to create general public transportation system Productivity enhancement Transportation provides coordinated dispatching and promotes ridesharing among cooperating agencies Cost reduction Use of volunteers Shift of paratransit riders to fixed-route services Strategies to avoid Limited focus Only one type of passenger/client on the vehicles Administrative duplication Underutilized vehicles, dispatch/administrative/ ITS or GIS facilities Productivity problems Significant unused vehicle capacity Service duplication Duplication of routes and services Cost problems Unusually high per trip costs Table 7: STRATEGIC APPROACHES TO COORDINATION
â¦ The existence of significant unutilized vehicle capacity; routes being run with less than full passenger capacity: vehicles idle during large portions of the day. â¦ Low productivities (passengers per hour, passengers per mile): performance statistics significantly below other operations of a similar nature in similar communities. â¦ Duplication of routes and services: vehicles of different agencies running the same routes, perhaps even at the same times of day (this is especially a problem when there are also areas lacking any service at all in a given community). â¦ Unusually high per trip costs: per trip costs significantly higher than other operations of a similar nature in similar communities. If any of these conditions are present in a locality, their presence should be taken as a clue that the coordination of human service transportation and public transit services may bring real benefits. LESSONS LEARNED FROM SUCCESSFUL COORDINATION EFFORTS Although the combinations of events, resources, interested parties, and the dynamics of their interaction differed among communities studied (see Chapter 8), it is possible to see underlying commonalities within these different communities and situations. Often, coordination efforts have been successful not only because groups share the same agenda or goals but also because they could identify some common points on which to work. A social service provider worked with a local transit provider because they were spending too much time on transportation services. A tribal government worked with a county government because both groups wanted to set up vanpools to a particular work site. Success is much more likely if benefits can be clearly defined for all involved. In most cases, the overall objectives were to provide more cost-effective transportation and to obtain funding from a wider range of sources than had been previously tapped. The coordination efforts that successfully met these objectives possessed the following common factors: 100 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Often, coordination efforts have been successful not only because groups share the same agenda or goals but also because they could identify some common points on which to work.
â¦ Real leadership and energy from political, human service, or transportation stakeholders. See Chapter 6 and Appendix A. â¦ A sound planning process, as described in Chapter 3, that includes â Goals and objectives, including community mobility needs; see Tables 2 through 5 and Appendices A, B, and C; â A strategic plan to address the goals and objectives; see Chapter 6; â An operational plan, including budgets; see Chapter 6 and Appendix F; â A detailed implementation structure; see Chapter 6 and Appendix G; and â A commitment to replan and reconfigure services based on a thorough evaluation of results achieved in relation to goals and objectives (see Chapter 3). â¦ Sound technical support, including â Planning and replanning based on results; see Chapter 3 and Appendix H; â Uniform performance and cost definitions and reporting; see Chapter 6 and Appendix F; â Sharing technical resources across agencies (data, resources, planning capabilities); and â Use of information technology and other tools; see Chap- ter 6. â¦ Effective participation of all applicable community agencies and local leaders in the planning process. See Chapter 6 and Appendices A, B, and E. â¦ Demonstrated coordination benefits in financial and service terms (as described in this chapter), including full cost and performance information. â¦ Modifications to services and financial participation patterns. See Chapter 3. Chapter 5 Strategic Approaches to Coordination 101 In most cases, the overall objectives were to provide more cost- effective transportation and to obtain funding from a wider range of sources than had been previously tapped.
Although other local coordination efforts could succeed without addressing all of these factors, the chances of success improve greatly when most or all of these factors have been covered. The statewide strategies for coordination differ appreciably from community coordination strategies, but some of the local success factors are also key to success at the state level. Many of the cases demonstrate that using multiple concurrent coordination strategies is more effective than only one. Actual strategies for successful coordination should differ from place to place depending on local goals and objectives, local human service programs, the availability and type of local transportation services, the political environment, the current status of coordination and coordination planning, and many other factors. Recommendations for successful coordination include the following: â¦ Involve all significant stakeholders in-depth and from the beginning; â¦ Clearly identify the needs and concerns of all parties; â¦ Focus on improved data collection and reporting to let all parties understand the full cost and service implications of their transportation decisions and understand for themselves the benefits of coordination; and â¦ Focus on the benefits that should be achieved: expanded service, lower unit costs, and better service quality. Applying these strategies will lead to coordinated activities of a large number of different agencies that provide or sponsor transportation services. SUMMARY We still need more coordinated transportation services in rural communities. There is still too much duplication, too little cost- effectiveness, and, overall, too little service in many localities. We would see more coordinated transportation services in rural areas if the planners, operators, and overseers of such systems had both more knowledge and a common understanding of these factors: what benefits 102 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Strategies for successful coordination should differ from place to place depending on local goals and objectives, local human service programs, the availability and type of local transportation services, the political environment, the current status of coordination and coordination planning and many other factors.
to expect from coordination, what to expect as one goes through the coordination process, what actions to take, what procedures to follow, and whom to contact and when. Coordination strategies to adopt include â¦ The transit authority contracts to provide trips to Medicaid or other human service agency clients. â¦ Human service providers provide ADA paratransit services under contracts to transit authorities. â¦ Transit authorities and/or human service providers offer incentives to paratransit riders to use fixed-route transit services. â¦ Human service agencies coordinate or consolidate their separate transportation services and functions to create a general public transportation system. â¦ Transportation providers institute a communitywide coordinated dispatching operation so that all vehicles in use can accommodate all types of passengers at all times. â¦ Travel services are expanded to more residents of the community through various low-cost strategies. Transportation situations to avoid include â¦ Vehicles and drivers used to serve only one client or trip type. â¦ Multiple dispatch facilities and other administrative operations. â¦ The existence of significant unutilized vehicle capacity; routes being run with less than full passenger capacity; vehicles idle during large portions of the day. â¦ Low productivities (passengers per hour, passengers per mile). â¦ Duplication of routes and services. â¦ Unusually high per trip costs. Applying the strategies addressed in this chapter will make coordination much more readily achievable. Chapter 5 Strategic Approaches to Coordination 103
Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 105 TOOLS FOR ADDRESSING DETAILED COORDINATION ISSUES This chapter provides information on a variety of specific topic areas that are expected to be vital in the continued success of coordinated transportation systems. For ease in accessing this information, the topics are presented in alphabetical order (not in order of importance). The topics included in this chapter are â¦ Accounting and financial management; â¦ Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504, and coordinated rural transportation services; â¦ Budgeting; â¦ Consensus building and setting goals and objectives; â¦ Involving stakeholders; â¦ Marketing and public information; â¦ Monitoring and evaluation; â¦ Needs assessment; â¦ Organization of the planning process; â¦ Organizational framework for coordination; â¦ Strategic directionâstrengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; â¦ Technology; â¦ Vehicle fleet status and evaluation; and â¦ Volunteers. Chapter 6
ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT Any organization that uses public funds has an obligation to keep good accounts of how those funds are spent. Careful accounting is also needed for planning and budgeting, to satisfy reporting requirements of funders and government agencies, and for audit purposes. An organization that provides coordinated services has special requirements for accounting and financial management. It needs to be able to determine how much to charge participating agencies for their share of coordinated service and to justify those charges. Agencies that purchase funding from or contribute funding to services need to be able to fairly and realistically assess what it would cost them to provide the same services on their own. Good accounts are needed as input for monitoring and evaluation. Financial management tools for coordination include detailed cost accounting, budgeting, cost allocation models and formulas, and negotiated or regulated rates. Cost Accounting: Detailed and accurate tracking of all expenditures is needed to support reporting, budgeting, cost allocation, and rate setting functions. Funding agencies typically have minimum requirements for accounting categories to which each expenditure needs to be assigned. These expense categories include salaries, fringe benefits, purchased services, fuel, other supplies, rent, and utilities. In addition, a useful accounting system will be able to separate costs within each expense category according to function and/or project. In an organization that provides only transportation, typical functions include at least administration, vehicle operations, and maintenance. In multipurpose agencies, transportation will be one group of functions among others. Projects might be specific services provided for participating agencies. 106 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Careful accounting is a requirement. Description Relevance to Coordination Methods
Budgeting: A useful budget will include expected total expenditures within each expense category and function or project. Funders usually require a budget to obtain funds. When agencies coordinate through interagency agreements, participating agencies may need to work together on their budgets taking into account expected payments and income among the agencies. In any coordination arrangement, good budgeting is essential in order for participating agencies to know what to expect, to anticipate problems, and to provide guidance to ensure that the coordinated service continues to meet their needs. Budget tracking should be an integral part of the accounting system so that participating agencies can receive regular reports of actual expenses compared to the budget throughout the year. Cost Allocation: When agencies coordinate they have to agree on how to share costs. The information provided by a good accounting and budgeting system is essential to the process of cost allocation. Other kinds of recordkeeping, such as passenger counting and tracking vehicle mileage, are also useful. In sharing costs, it is important to recognize that all costs need to be shared, even costs such as agency administration and âoverhead.â One way to allocate costs is by means of a cost allocation model. Such a model distributes costs among projects or specific services when these costs cannot be separately tracked. For example, if it is possible to directly track how many hours per week each driver spends on each type of service provided, a cost allocation model may not be needed for driver labor. More commonly, driver hours and many other things cannot be separated and tracked so easily, so a cost allocation model is needed that distributes the cost by specifying how each category of cost should be allocated. For example, the cost of driver labor might be divided among services according to the number of vehicle hours used for each service, while the cost of maintenance might be divided according to the number of vehicle miles for each service. If there is a substantial cost for fare processing (for example in a system that uses taxi vouchers), that cost might be divided according to the number of passengers sponsored by each participating agency. If clients of several participating agencies (or residents of several jurisdictions) ride on vehicles at the same time, vehicle miles and hours for each service type can be easily separated. This will require some method to divide vehicle hours or miles among participating agencies. Such a method can use a statistical estimating procedure or detailed recordkeeping. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 107 In any coordination arrangement, good budgeting is essential. Cost Allocation Modelâdistributes costs among projects or specific services.
In many cases, costs are shared by means of a negotiated cost sharing formula. For example, a city and county may share the cost of a bus route that passes through both jurisdictions based on the number of passengers that board the bus in each jurisdiction. In other cases, cost might be shared based on the population of the areas served. Participating agencies may be charged negotiated or regulated rates. For example, in many states, Medicaid pays an established rate per trip and per mile. In other cases, the rate for each participating agency may be set through contract negotiation or bidding. Accounting, budgeting, and cost-sharing requirements are strongly influenced by state regulations that govern coordinated programs, recipients of public transportation funding, and purchase of service by human service agencies. While these requirements may seem burdensome, any effective coordination program will gain credibility from good accounting, budgeting, and cost allocation. Lane Transit District in Eugene, Oregon, is an agency that uses a detailed cost allocation model for its coordinated paratransit service. A process to divide vehicle time using detailed records of the exact time that each passenger gets on and off a vehicle has been developed by People for People for its coordinated service in eastern Washington state. An example of rates set by contract is provided by Dodger Area Rapid Transit System in Fort Dodge, Iowa. In Florida, county transportation coordinators file a rate structure as part of their transportation disadvantaged service plans. The rates must be based on a cost allocation plan or bid process. Resources Burkhardt, Hamby, MacDorman, and McCollom, Comprehensive Financial Management Guidelines for Rural and Small Urban Public Transportation Providers, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Multi-State Technical Assistance Program, September 1992. 108 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Negotiated or Regulated Ratesâ the rate for each participating agency may be set through contract negotiation or bidding. Detailed Cost Allocation Modelâa process to divide vehicle time using detailed records. Considerations Examples Cost Sharing Formulaâcosts are shared by means of negotiation.
Case Studies of People for People and DARTS in TCRP Report 91, Economic Benefits of Coordinating Human Service Transportation and Transit Services, 2003. Establishing Cost Sharing Agreements, in Lyons and vanderWilden, Innovative State And Local Planning For Coordinated Transportation, February 2002 at http://www.fta.dot.gov/library/ policy/islptc/establish.html. Florida rate setting guidelines in Coordinated Transportation Contracting Instructions, Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, July 2002, at http://www11.myflorida.com/ctd/. Koffman, D. Appropriate Cost-Sharing for Paratransit, in Transportation Research Record 1463, Transportation Research Board, Washington DC, 1994. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 109
ADA, SECTION 504, AND COORDINATED RURAL TRANSPORTATION SERVICES This section provides a broad overview of the requirements of the ADA as they pertain to coordinated rural public transportation and how coordination may help organizations meet their ADA obligations. It is not a definitive guide to the ADA and should not be taken as legally authoritative. The sources listed in the Resources section should be consulted for authoritative guidance. The ADA established requirements for accessibility by people with disabilities to all types of public and private services and facilities. The act contained provisions specifically pertaining to public transportation services provided by public entities (Title II) and private entities (Title III). The act directed the Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue regulations for those provisions. These regulations define requirements for â¦ Accessible vehicles and facilities in public transportation; â¦ Providing paratransit service to complement fixed-route transit service for people who cannot use the fixed-route services due to a disability; and â¦ How services are to be provided, such as ensuring operability of wheelchair lifts and calling out stops for visually impaired passengers. Within DOT, the Federal Transit Administrationâs (FTAâs) Office of Civil Rights has lead responsibility for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the transit accessibility provisions of the ADA. The requirements of the ADA generally superseded requirements established under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 defined requirements for accessibility by recipients of Federal assistance. Under the ADA rules, a recipient of DOT funds complies with its Section 504 obligations by complying with its ADA obligations. 110 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III The ADA established requirements for public transportation services. Description
Any coordination arrangement for providing public transportation needs to comply with the ADA regulations issued by the DOT. The various partners in a coordination arrangement may have differing obligations under the ADA. The coordination arrangement needs to take these differences into account and ensure that the obligations of each partner are met. Coordination generally involves agreements or contracts among organizations. ADA explicitly provides that an organization that provides services under contract to another organization âstands in the shoesâ of that organization for purposes of compliance (49 CFR Sec. 37.23). For example, if a public entity contracts with a private organization (nonprofit or for-profit) to provide service, the public entity has to ensure that the private organization is meeting all requirements that apply to the public entity. This does not mean that each private entity under contract to a transit agency has to meet all of the transit agencyâs ADA requirements. For example, one contractor might provide ADA paratransit service only for ambulatory passengers, while another contractor provides paratransit for wheelchair users. In the case of coordinated rural public transportation, the key provisions of the ADA will mostly be those that apply to public entities, including â¦ Public agencies can buy only accessible vehicles for fixed-route services (Sec. 37.71). â¦ Public agencies operating local, fixed-route service need to provide paratransit service for people who cannot use the fixed- route system due to a disability. The paratransit system must meet detailed requirements for comparability to the fixed-route system (Sec. 37.121). â¦ For demand-responsive services, public agencies can purchase only accessible vehicles, unless service is equivalent for people with disabilities and others (Sec. 37.77). The regulations provide a precise definition of âequivalentâ service in terms of response time, fares, area of service, hours and days of service, restrictions or priorities based on trip purpose, availability of information and reservations capability, and capacity constraints. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 111 Any coordination arrangement for providing public transportation needs to comply with ADA regulations. Relevance to Coordination Coordination involves agreements or contracts among organizations.
Some partners to a coordination agreement may be subject to other rules. For example â¦ A nonprofit human service agency that operates (or contracts with another organization to operate) transportation to bring clients to its programs is not operating public transportation at all. As a result, most of the DOT regulations would not apply to it, although other ADA regulations about nondiscrimination would apply. â¦ In rural coordination arrangements it is not unusual for a nonprofit human service agency to operate the public transportation system for an area with financial support from local governments. In this case, all the ADA requirements pertaining to public transportation provided by public entities would apply to the public transportation, but, in most cases, not to clearly separate client transportation provided by the same agency. â¦ A private company that operates rural service as a profit-making business, or with only incidental public support, is required to purchase only accessible vehicles, except for vehicles below certain size limits, unless service is equivalent for people with disabilities and others (Sec. 37.103). The coordinated system needs to ensure that each participating entity can meet its ADA obligations. In some cases, especially where the coordinated service is operated by a public agency, or where coordination results in a public transportation system that did not previously exist, the coordinated system will have ADA requirements of its own. Depending on an organizationâs obligations, ADA compliance can be achieved by means of providing ADA paratransit, purchasing ADA accessible vehicles, or tailoring services in such a way that ADA obligations are reduced. Coordination provides opportunities to share the work of meeting ADA obligations. For example, one agency may operate demand-responsive service that meets the paratransit obligations of another agency or at least reduces the demand for the other agencyâs paratransit service. Vehicle sharing can reduce the need for individual agencies to own sufficient accessible vehicles to meet the equivalent service standard for demand-responsive transportation. In 112 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III The coordinated system needs to ensure that each participating entity can meet its ADA obligations. Methods
many rural services, various types of flexible transit service are used in place of traditional fixed-route service. This kind of service can reduce the demand for ADA paratransit, provide a cost-efficient way of providing ADA paratransit, or completely eliminate the requirement for paratransit by serving all passengers with the same vehicles. In Roseau County, Minnesota, the Committee on Aging operates Roseau County Transit with Federal, state, and county funding. Since this is a public system, a fixed-route service would need to have ADA paratransit. Instead, Roseau County Transit consists of flexible route service that will deviate off the route and also dial-a-ride service with 24-hour advance scheduling. In compliance with rules for demand-responsive services, the two vehicles used for these services are both wheelchair accessible. Holmes County Transportation Coordination in Millersburg, Ohio, coordinates service for 27 agencies with 130 vehicles. Sharing vehicles has reduced the need for numerous agencies to operate their own wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Mat-Su Community Transit in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska, is a private, nonprofit corporation that operates a coordinated transportation system in partnership with multiple governmental, nonprofit, and human service agencies. The transit system provides local fixed-route service to the general public that has to meet ADA paratransit requirements. The need for paratransit is reduced by allowing vehicles to deviate up to three quarters of a mile off the route. In addition, Mat-Su Transit provides specific services for a variety of nonprofit agencies such as the United Way, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Mat-Su Recovery Center. These services would not trigger additional paratransit requirements. Resources Access Board web site provides convenient access to regulations concerning transit vehicles at http://www.access-board.gov/. Community Transportation Association of America, Making a Transit Service Accessible, Technical Assistance Brief No. 9. Available at http://www.ctaa.org/ntrc/rtap/pubs/ta/accssble.asp. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 113 Case studies in Chapter 8 provide examples of coordinated approaches to ADA compliance. Examples
Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Transit Operations, TCRP Legal Research Digest Number 19, 2003. U.S. Department of Transportation, Code Of Federal Regulations, Title 49âTransportation, Parts 27, 37, and 38 (implementing regulations for the American with Disabilities Act, cited as 49 CFR 27, 49 CFR 37, and 49 CFR 38), Revised as of October 1, 1996. Available at http://www.fta.dot.gov/ada/ along with recent FTA supplementary guidance. 114 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
BUDGETING A budget is a forecast of future revenues and of the costs of the resources necessary to produce these revenues. It can be considered a plan of action for the coming months and years and can be a useful tool in determining the direction of the organization as well as monitoring and controlling its results. Used properly, budgets accomplish three major functions: â¦ Planning, â¦ Coordination, and â¦ Control. The first main benefit from preparing a budget is that it forces management to sit down and formally plan what they want and expect to happen in the future. Various alternatives can be considered during the budgeting process, including curtailing or eliminating certain services, extending profitable services, adding new services, raising or lowering the rates being charged, and decreasing certain expenses. The second main benefit of budgeting is coordination. By pulling all the information together in one place during the budgeting process, all the individuals involved obtain a better understanding of the overall operation and the interrelations between functions. For example, if it is determined during the budget process that additional services will be provided and the vehicles will be on the road more often, then the person in charge of repairing the vehicles will need to be aware of the decision because more repairs may be necessary and the repairs may need to be made immediately. The third benefit of budgeting is that it enhances the ability of management to control operations. By comparing the actual operating results to the budget, management can determine areas which are not performing as expected and determine whether any corrective action needs to be taken. The following steps need to be considered prior to undertaking the budgeting process: Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 115 Description By pulling all the information together . . . individuals . . . obtain a better understanding of the overall operation . . . Various alternatives can be considered during the budgeting process . . .
â¦ Determine the organizationâs goals and objectives (they will guide the direction of the budget), â¦ Get significant people involved in the budget process (funders, suppliers, and consumers), and â¦ Determine the time frame for the budget. (A budget can be prepared for any period of time desired. Typically, budgets are prepared once a year for the upcoming year. The yearly budget is broken down into 12 monthly budgets. This allows management to compare the actual results to the budgeted results on a monthly basis. In addition to the yearly budget, many transportation operators also prepare a three- or five-year master plan. This master plan is not prepared with as much detail as the yearly budget and shows the general direction that management wants the company to head.) After analyzing the impacts of the organizationâs goals and objectives, you will have a solid foundation on which to prepare the budget. The next step is to analyze each program to forecast the revenues and direct expenses related to that program. Some of the variables to consider in this step are historical revenues and expenses, as well as trends in these historical amounts, the effect of the organizationâs goals and objectives, external factors (e.g., the economy, the demographics of the geographic area), and seasonal trends. Next, you need to prepare operating and capital budgets. Detailed discussions of operating and capital budgets follow this section. Capital budgets are like operating budgets. They are financial plans, based on the goals and objectives of the transportation organization, which support both present and future service activities. Unlike operating budgets, capital budgets are concerned with financial investments or expenditures in physical assets such as vehicles, equipment, and infrastructure. Because physical assets are considered to have life expectancies extending beyond the normal time frames of operating budgets (one fiscal year), they are treated differently in the budgeting as well as in the accounting process. Operating budgets consider items such as labor; administrative costs; services; and materials such as fuel, tires, small parts, office supplies, etc. Each of these items is generally bought, paid for, and consumed in a relatively short time frame. They are treated in the context of financial accounting as operating expenditures. Capital budgets are concerned with expenditures of funds for items or projects which have repeat use 116 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
over relatively long periods of time. The fact that no capital item or project has an indefinite life also means that plans for improvement and/or replacement must be established. The first page of every budget should list the major assumptions used in the preparation of the budget. This accomplishes two goals. First, when anyone reviews the budget, that person can start by reviewing the major assumptions and decide immediately whether they agree. The second goal accomplished by starting the budget with the assumptions is that it forces the people reviewing the budget to decide which assumptions need to be changed instead of just changing the amounts in the budget. By explicitly listing the assumptions on the first page of the budget, reviewers are forced to examine the budget and its interrelationships in more detail instead of making arbitrary changes to the budget. The items that you would want to include in the assumptions listing can be separated into four general categories: (1) changes to revenue producing operations, (2) method of calculating forecasted revenue, (3) changes to expenses, and (4) method of calculating forecasted expenses. Basically, the assumptions spell out the thought process that was used to arrive at the budgeted amounts. The best format for the assumptions is to list them in the same order that the item they are explaining appears in the budget. Usually revenues would go first, followed by expenses in the same order in which they appear in the budget. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 117
Operating Budgets Any organization that uses public and other funds needs to develop an annual operating budget. Such an annual budget represents the organizationâs financial plan for delivering its transportation services, the various expenses that it expects to incur in the delivery of those services, and the sources and amounts of revenues that will be provided to cover budgeted expenses. The budget represents the base against which actual revenues and expenses will be reviewed and analyzed to financially manage the delivery of transportation services and report performance to participating organizations. In a coordinated setting, operating budgets are the financial tool by which each participating organization formalizes its commitment to provide funding in exchange for transportation services that it is budgeted to receive. Each organization makes a commitment to provide a stated amount of funding in support of the coordination budget, in expectation of receiving a specific level of transportation service in return. The revenue, or income, side of the annual operating budget presents the sources from which an organization expects to receive its income. For a public or non-profit using some public funds, the sources of revenues should include the following broad categories: 1. Passenger fares and donations 2. Local fundingâpublic, other 3. State public funds by program source 4. Federal funds by program source 5. Service contract funds (detailed by participating organization service contract) 118 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Description Relevance to Coordination Methods
6. Advertising 7. Contributed services 8. Other revenue sources The revenue categories should be set up so that revenues received from each participating coordination organization can be tracked and reported. Operating expense side of the budget presents the expenses that the organization expects to incur. Expenses are typically categorized in two ways. First, by functional area, such as 1. Operations, including contracted transportation service 2. Maintenance, both vehicle and non-vehicle 3. General administration 4. Other, including marketing and planning Second, by type of expense, such as 1. Labor and fringe benefits 2. Services 3. Materials and supplies 4. Utilities 5. Casualty and liability 6. Taxes 7. Purchased transportation 8. Leases and rentals 9. Miscellaneous expenses The expense budget should be supported by a cost allocation plan so that the cost of service delivery for each participating organization can be reported to the organization as the justification for invoicing and payment for coordination services delivered to each organization. See Chapter 6âAccounting and Financial Managementâfor a discussion of cost allocation. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 119
These are the broad categories of revenues and expenses for rural programs that are reported for the National Transit Database (NTD). While the NTD does not require detailed reporting of operating expenses, a detailed tracking of expenses is necessary for effective financial management of transportation service delivery. The database structure has revenue and expense detail within these categories. It is typically advisable to combine the functional and type of expense budgets together so that the type of expense by function can be tracked. The revenue and expense detail that is placed in the operating budget should be determined by the grant or project management requirements for each organization participating in the coordination system. The budget should recognize and anticipate the reporting requirements with which each participating organization must comply. Since state departments of transportation administer the 5311 Non-Urbanized (Rural) Area Formula Program, local communities implementing coordinated transportation services should consult with state officials concerning operating budget requirements. The requirements of other programs should be integrated as well. Good examples of operating budget revenue and expense categories can be found in the Ohio Department of Transportationâs (ODOTâs) Coordination Handbook, ODOTâs Rural Transit Program budget forms, and in a Transit Provider Survey conducted by the Montana Department of Transportation, all linked below. Also, you may consult the Federal Transit Administrationâs National Transit Database (NTD) to see the revenue and expense breakdown that is reported. For Year 2001 revenues reported by urban transit systems, go to the NTD at http://www.ntdprogram.com/ntd/NTDData.nsf/2001+TOC/Table- 1/$File/T01_32.pdf. For Year 2001 expenses, go to the NTD at http://www.ntdprogram.com/ntd/NTDData.nsf/2001+TOC/Table11/$Fil e/T11_32.pdf to see expenses reported by functional area. For Year 2000 reported by object class, expenses, go to the NTD at http://www.ntdprogram.com/ntd/NTDData.nsf/2000+TOC/Table12/$Fil e/t12_32.pdf. The NTD tables are updated annually. Consequently, consult the NTD website to find current information. The NTD website may be found at http://www.ntdprogram.com/ntd/NTDData.nsf/ 2001+TOC/Table12/$File/T12_32.pdf. 120 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Considerations Examples
Resources A Guide for Implementing Coordinating Transportation Systems, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/ default.htm. A Handbook for Coordinating Transportation Services, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/default.htm. Burkhardt, Hamby, MacDorman, and McCollom, Comprehensive Financial Management Guidelines for Rural and Small Urban Public Transportation Providers, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Multi-State Technical Assistance Program, September 1992. Financial Management for Transit: A Handbook, Final Report, April 1985, Prepared by the Institute for Urban Transportation, Indiana University, 825 East Eighth Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47405 at http://ntl.bts.gov/card_view.cfm?docid=8829 and http://www.fta.dot.gov/library/money/FMT/FMT.HTM. Montana Department of Transportation, Montana Statewide Transit Survey. Available at http://www.mdt.state.mt.us/departments/ transportation_planning/transit_programs/pdf/needs_study/ appendixc.pdf. Ohio Department of Transportation, Rural Transit Program, Budget Forms, at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/downloads/ 04budform.xls. Web site for the National Transit Database, http://www.ntdprogram.com/ NTD/ntdhome.nsf?OpenDatabase. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 121
Capital Programs and Budgets Preparation of a capital program and budget provides an organizationâs statement of its anticipated capital needs over a multi-year period. The period is typically 3 to 5 years. The capital program would include purchase of vehicles for expansion and replacement, vehicle-related capital items such as fareboxes, radios and electronic communication capabilities, computer hardware and software, other information technology needs, and fixed facilities such as administrative offices and vehicle maintenance and storage facilities and associated equipment. In a coordinated setting, capital programs and budgets are an important planning tool for understanding current capital facility and equipment assets that are available and anticipating the future capital facility and equipment needs, the associated costs, expected sources of funds, and the timing of those needs. States require local organizations receiving Federal Transit Administration 5311 Rural Transit Program funding to complete an Operating and Capital Program (See the link below). Statement of need and inventory and assessment of capital equipment and facilities: In organizing to implement coordinated transportation services, it is necessary to know what capital assets are available and what capital assets will need to be acquired to support initial start-up and ongoing service delivery. Start with the capital assets that are already available through participating organizations. Also, look at the capital assets potential contractors that may provide some of the transportation service. Establish criteria for the replacement of vehicles and other equipment. Guidelines can usually be found at state departments of transportation through their administration of the Federal Transit Administrationâs Section 5311 Rural Assistance Program. Apply the criteria to complete an assessment of the condition, reliability, safety, and suitability of vehicles. It is especially important to assess vehicles for their fit with the types of services that will be provided and the types of customers who will be served. 122 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Description Relevance to Coordination Methods
Capital assets required: Lists of capital assets should include vehicles by size, accessibility characteristics, and other equipment; information technology hardware and software; office facilities and equipment; maintenance and storage facilities and equipment. Replacement schedule by year: From the inventory and assessment completed, prepare vehicle and equipment replacement schedule, by vehicle and by year, for the next 5 years. In the maintenance portion of the operating budget, it is advisable to anticipate major maintenance and rehabilitation expenses that may be incurred, such as engine and transmission replacements. Capital expenses and sources of funding: The cost of acquiring capital equipment must be estimated by type of vehicle to be acquired, allowing for a 2 to 3 percent increase in cost per year in the replacement schedule. In rural areas, it is likely that local governments, especially county governments, and participating organizations may be able to contribute the use of facilities or a portion of space in a facility, particularly for maintenance and storage of vehicles. In assessing capital needs and understanding the financial constraints that are present, care should be taken to look for opportunities for contributed services and equipment that may substitute for capital purchases. Donated vehicles are an area of particular opportunity. For rural programs in particular, some state departments of transportation provide state contracting that local organizations may use for vehicle and other equipment purchases. This enables local organizations to complete purchases based on competitive bid processes without the need for a complicated, competitive bid process of their own. See the Florida Department of Transportationâs vehicle purchase program link below. This site provides a quick overview of different vehicles that may be part of a vehicle fleet. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 123 Considerations Examples
Resources Comprehensive Financial Management Guidelines for Rural and Small Urban Public Transportation Providers, Jon E. Burkhardt, et. al., prepared by Ecosometrics, Incorporated for the Multi-State Technical Assistance Program of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Inc., September 1992. Financial Management for Transit: A Handbook, Final Report, April 1985, Prepared by the Institute for Urban Transportation, Indiana University, 825 East Eighth Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47405 at http://ntl.bts.gov/card_view.cfm?docid=8829 and http://www.fta.dot.gov/library/money/FMT/FMT.HTM. Florida Department of Transportation, Public Transit Office, Florida Vehicle Procurement Program, at the University of South Florida, Center for Urban Transportation Research web site, at http://www.cutr.usf.edu/research/fvpp/fvpp2.htm. Ohio Department of Transportation, Rural Transit Program Four Year Capital and Operating Plan, Instructions, Forms, and Sample, http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/downloads/05C&OPLNLTR.doc. 124 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
CONSENSUS BUILDING AND SETTING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES For transportation coordination to succeed, agreement among key participants is required. Consensus building means that the agencies participating in developing a coordinated transportation system agree on what needs to be done, how it should be done, and who will have responsibility for what. This includes establishing a common vision for coordinated transportation services. Setting goals and objectives means establishing a measurable basis for judging progress in planning and implementing coordinated transportation services. Coordination is all about bringing people with common and diverse interests together to create a structure where the delivery of transportation services will be achieved very differently. The earlier the areas of agreement and disagreement can be defined, the more smoothly and predictably the development of coordinated transportation services can be accomplished. Building consensus requires open, honest, and creative thinking and expression of ideas. To build consensus, it is necessary to have all of the key stakeholders involved. The key stakeholders can be determined by the task force that is managing transportation coordination development. Inclusion at this early stage is critical. Consensus is built by the following activities: â¦ Personal interviews afford each stakeholder the opportunity to speak confidentially about issues, concerns, and expectations. Such an interview is best conducted in person, not over the telephone, and can be conducted at a central location or at the convenience of the stakeholder. Not only does the interview provide the opportunity for the stakeholder to express views, the interviewer is able to inform the stakeholder of progress to date and key areas of activity. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 125 Description Relevance to Coordination Methods Building consensus requires open, honest, and creative thinking and expression of ideas. Consensus buildingâ agencies participating in a coordinated transportation system agree on what needs to be done, how it should be done, and who will have responsibility for what.
â¦ Workshops bring key stakeholders together to understand the issues, concerns, and expectations that have been expressed individually. Workshops provide the setting for key stakeholders to work together to define common areas of interest and areas of disagreement and to establish an agreed-upon vision for moving forward. Brainstorming is a good technique for doing this. Brainstorming provides a setting where participants are open and nonjudgmental in expressing ideas. Brainstorming is an interactive technique that relies on participantsâ teamwork to identify opportunities and solve problems. Participants can include transportation providers, social service agencies, community leaders, and consumers. The process is highly supportive, task oriented, and interactive. Early in the process, judgments are not made on the merits of a proposal or thought. âAll ideas are good.â This permits a full expression of issues and opportunities; then, realistic, actionable solutions are expressed. An effective, nonthreatening way for participants to express the importance that they place on issues or concerns is by voting. Typically, all ideas are expressed on flipchart sheets and then posted on the walls. An effective way to accomplish voting is to ask participants to take a set number of colored dots and place them beside the ideas that they feel are most important. This provides an excellent way to empower the group to set prioritiesâit prevents one or several individuals from dominating the process and empowers those who typically do not express their views, especially in the face of counter- arguments. Setting goals and objectives establishes the measurable direction that an organization or endeavor such as coordination will take. A goal is defined as a longer-term organizational target or direction of development. It is a statement of what an organization wants to accomplish over time, typically over the next several years. A goal represents an area of endeavor necessary to achieving a vision and fulfilling a mission. An objective is a measurable outcome that must be achieved in attaining a goal. Objectives should be stated annually so that outcomes can be measured and progress toward fulfilling goals and achieving the vision for coordinated transportation services can be reviewed. Each goal should have two to five objectives that represent the measurable actions that will achieve the goal. Setting goals and objectives can be completed in a workshop setting or by a smaller group and then presented to a larger group. The key consideration here is working in a group that is not too large and unwieldy. Also important is 126 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III âAll ideas are good.â
the willingness of the larger group to empower the smaller group to take the lead. Typically, strategic direction has been established. This means that the strengths and weaknesses of existing transportation services have been expressed and that opportunities for and threats to coordinating services have been explored. With consensus reached on focus and direction, vision, and mission, goals and objectives for developing coordinated transportation services then can be developed. On a statewide basis, the goals set by Oregonâs State Agency Transportation Coordination Project are worth noting. They include â¦ Doing more with limited existing resources, â¦ Utilizing transportation investments more efficiently, â¦ Enhancing mobility within and between communities, â¦ Increasing access to jobs and jobs training, â¦ Preserving individual independence, and â¦ Enhancing the quality of life. On a local basis, coordination objectives can be even more specific. As noted in TCRP Report 91: Economic Benefits of Coordinating Human Service Transportation and Transit Services, they might include â¦ Generating new revenues, â¦ Reducing the costs of providing trips, â¦ Increasing efficiency and productivity of transportation services, and â¦ Increasing mobility within the community. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 127 Examples
Resources A Guide for Implementing Coordinating Transportation Systems, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/ default.htm. A Handbook for Coordinating Transportation Services, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/default.htm. Burkhardt, J.E., Koffman, D., and Murray, G. Economic Benefits of Coordinating Human Service Transportation and Transit Services, TCRP Report 91, prepared for the Transportation Research Board by Westat, March 2003. Available at http://gulliver.trb.org/ publications/tcrp/tcrp_rpt_91.pdf. Creative Action, Inc., Coordinating Transportation Services: Local Collaboration and Decision-Making: A âHow-Toâ Manual for Planning and Implementation, Project Action, Washington DC. Available at http://projectaction.easter-seals.org/site/ PageServer?pagename=ESPA_doclibe_coordandoutreach. Planning Guidelines for Coordinating State and Local Specialized Transportation Services at www.fta.dot.gov/library/policy/guide. The Coordination Challenge, State Agency Transportation Coordination Project, Public Transit Division, Oregon Department of Transportation, June 2000. Available at http://www.odot.state.or.us/ pubtrans/documents/CoordBook.pdf. 128 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
INVOLVING STAKEHOLDERS Public involvement is a multifaceted coordination tool. While public meetings and surveys provide opportunities for the community to respond to issues and often provide useful planning input, every community has a key group of organizations and individuals that have a âstakeâ in any transportation coordination process. Typically, these stakeholders include elected officials, employment and business interests, representatives of social service agencies and medical service providers, community activists, transportation users, and transit planners. Involving stakeholders is the process undertaken to solicit the opinion and participation of these community resources in the coordination process. Stakeholder involvement is critical because it allows the facilitator(s) of the coordination effort to â¦ Establish realistic goals for coordination; â¦ Understand potential community resources, support, and sensitivities; â¦ Build on local successes; and â¦ Identify a coordination solution built on consensus. Although many types of transportation coordination are plausible, from informal vehicle-sharing to transit system integration and consolidation, coordination inherently means that various entities must work successfully with one another. Transportation coordination stakeholders may include any number of individuals or organizations, depending on the community and reason for coordination. For example, in a large rural county, coordination stakeholders may include regional social service agencies, the state DOT, and political leaders from each jurisdiction. In a small community with a particular transportation coordination issue, medical providers, Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 129 Description Relevance to Coordination Methods Involving stakeholders is the process undertaken to solicit the opinion and participation of these community resources in the coordination process.
local social services, transit users, and the transit operator may be the most appropriate stakeholders. Identifying Stakeholders: Organizations and individuals who could be stakeholders in your community, depending on the focus of the transportation coordination effort, are provided in the list below. The list is not exhaustive, but can be used as a resource to help you identify who might be appropriate to contact in your community. In addition, representatives of these organizations or stakeholder groups may be able to direct you to others who should be considered stakeholders as part of a transportation coordination effort: â¦ Amtrak â¦ Administration on Aging â¦ Center for Independent Living â¦ Chamber of Commerce â¦ Church/Religious Organizations â¦ Citizensâ Transportation Advisory Committee â¦ City Manager â¦ Convention and Visitorsâ Bureau â¦ County Commissioners â¦ Department of Public Works â¦ Disability Workshop â¦ Greyhound â¦ Homeowners Associations â¦ Human Services Agency Soliciting Input and Participation from Stakeholders: Stakeholders can play many different roles in a transportation coordination effort. It may be appropriate for some stakeholders to take a more active role than others. To maximize the value of stakeholders as part of the coordination process, they must take some âownershipâ in the process 130 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III â¦ Large Employers â¦ Local Transit Operators â¦ Mayor â¦ Paratransit Provider â¦ Planning Department â¦ Real Estate Developers â¦ Recreation Department â¦ Regional Transit Operators â¦ Senior Centers â¦ Senior Residential Facilities â¦ Shuttle Operators â¦ State DOT â¦ Superintendent of Schools â¦ Taxicab Providers â¦ Transit Users â¦ Welfare-to-Work Agency â¦ Youth Activities Centers
by being responsible for key tasks such as distributing surveys to their constituencies, collecting data for the project from their organization, meeting with peer agencies to solicit their involvement, and providing updates to their constituencies. Several strategies can be employed to involve stakeholders in a transportation coordination process. These strategies function as stand- alone methods for stakeholder participation, or they can be used in combination with one another as part of a more comprehensive stakeholder involvement process. Examples of stakeholder involvement efforts include the following: â¦ Establishment of a Coordination Oversight Committee. Effective coordination requires stakeholdersâ involvement early in the coordination process. The person(s) facilitating the transportation coordination effort can identify a group of stakeholders to work together to guide the process, establish goals, and make decisions about how transportation services should be coordinated. Typically, such a committee would have between 5 and 15 representatives, depending on the size of the community and the complexity of the coordination effort. â¦ Conduct of Focus Groups with Stakeholders. Bringing groups of stakeholders together allows coordination facilitators to gain input at critical stages of the coordination process. A focus group of stakeholders can identify major transportation challenges in the community, develop service goals and operating parameters, and discuss marketing needs and resources. A facilitated focus group can be effective because it allows for synergism and brings together a representative group of individuals to address a wide range of topics, providing insight into community priorities. â¦ Conduct of Stakeholder Interviews. Stakeholder interviews allow individuals to speak candidly about concerns and coordination priorities. Interviewees can be assured that their responses will be kept confidential and reported anonymously, thus encouraging them to expose personal sensitivities and biases. Such interviews also provide a personalized setting that can encourage comfort with the process and an informal sense of familiarity with the person facilitating the coordination effort. Stakeholder interviews can be valuable in combination with other involvement strategies. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 131
â¦ Preparation and Administration of a Stakeholder Survey. When numerous stakeholders are identified for controversial projects where a significant number of responses may be needed to substantiate coordination findings, a telephone or mail-out survey may be appropriate. Who Has the Power to Make Decisions? Although stakeholder consensus may suggest strong support for a particular program or issue, without sufficient political backing, this support can stall. A coordination oversight committee should include policy-level representation so the committeeâs recommendations can be reviewed internally to determine whether they are politically feasible and implementable. Are All Organizations, Geographic Locations, and Population Groups Represented? Many organizations and individuals may have a direct or indirect connection to transportation issues. The stakeholder process should be dynamic, allowing new stakeholders to be added as they are identified. As new issues and potential controversies are identifiedâas well as potential resources such as new funding sources or existing coordination effortsâadditional stakeholders should be encouraged to join the process. Has the Public Been Kept Informed of the Process? Once a stakeholder has provided input in the transportation coordination process, he or she probably will want to be updated about progress. Depending on the community, standing citizen committees and advisory groups should be kept informed of major milestones in the stakeholder process and given the opportunity to lend support to stakeholder views or comment if stakeholder views seem to be unrepresentative of community consensus. Updates from stakeholder surveys, focus groups, and committee meetings can be shared at open houses, citizen advisory group meetings, via newsletters, and on web sites. The consolidation effort in Butte County, California, (see Chapter 8) provides an example of using two stakeholder strategies to involve a diversity of interests. Representatives from Butte County, its cities and towns, social service providers, and its transit agencies convened as part 132 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Examples Considerations
of a coordination advisory committee that oversaw a consultantâs technical work. Individual interviews were held with all of these and other stakeholders to provide them an opportunity to speak about their priorities outside of the committee setting. In addition, regular focus meetings were held with the Social Services Transportation Advisory Committee and the Citizensâ Transportation Advisory Committee. On a statewide level, Ohioâs Statewide Transportation Coordination Task Force (see Chapter 7) provides a good example of multiple statewide agencies coming together. The standing task force established in 1996 includes representatives of the DOT, Human Services, Aging, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Development, Mental Health, and Education, as well as the Bureau of Employment Services, Drug Addiction Services, Rehabilitation Services Commission, Head Start, and the Governorâs Council on People with Disabilities. Resources Planning Case Studies, Access to Jobs. Washington, DC: Federal Transit Administration Office of Planning, September 2001. http://www.fta.dot.gov/wtw/casestudies/. Public Involvement in Transportation: Best Practices, New Approaches, TR News. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board. May- June 2002, No. 220. http://gulliver.trb.org/publications/trnews/ trnews220.pdf. Transit Consolidation Study Summary Report. Chico, CA: Butte County Association of Governments. Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, January 2001. http://www.bcag.org/cctssumweb.pdf. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 133
MARKETING AND PUBLIC INFORMATION Marketing is about providing information to stakeholders and members of the public about the services that are planned or may be available to them. Transportation marketing is primarily about providing good information to assure users that they have made the right decision to ride. Another important emphasis of transportation marketing is to attract new riders. In relation to transportation coordination, marketing and public information play various roles, from building public support for a coordination effort to attracting riders to the coordinated service. Depending on the level of coordination and the extent of the services being provided, coordination can provide several marketing-related benefits. Examples of marketing-related coordination benefits include, but are not limited to, the following: â¦ A unifying theme and image for public information (e.g., shared vehicle design and bus stops); â¦ A one-stop shop for informational resources about transit services (e.g., a single informational brochure, web site, or customer service number); â¦ A shared advertising campaign (e.g., joint marketing efforts, newspaper advertisements, and radio spots); and â¦ The identification of resources that may have the greatest benefit for the coordinated transportation programs. Marketing for coordinated transportation services is a large and complex topic. Although it involves basic marketing strategies, it requires that they be applied to a number of different providers who may or may not have the resources to oversee the greater marketing effort. Following are recommended steps for developing a marketing strategy or a plan. 134 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Description Relevance to Coordination Methods Marketingâ providing information to stakeholders and members of the public about the services that are planned or may be available to them.
Identify the Audience: It is essential to identify the audience for coordinated transportation marketing and public information. Different audiences may be appropriate during the transportation coordination planning process and once the process is completed (and a coordinated service is provided). Some examples of different audiences and the marketing/public information issues that arise follow: â¦ Political Leaders/Decision-Makers. What information needs to be presented to policymakers to gain support for a coordinated transportation effort? How can their support be marketed to their constituents? Elements to emphasize may include âbetter service for the community, maintaining local decision-making on important issues, and no increase in costs: transportation cost savings so funds can be used for other purposes.â â¦ Schools, Employers, Medical Facilities, and Social Service Agencies. What types of resources are available for these entities? Can they become partners in the coordination process/coordinated service? How do we inform their clients and employees? Elements to emphasize may include âeasier to coordinate transportation services for your clientsâ and âtransportation services have better focus on regional needs.â â¦ Transportation/Transit Users. Which subgroups are the focus (e.g., seniors, youth, those with disabilities, rural residents)? How should the coordinated system be marketed? Is the focus to build ridership on the coordinated service or to improve the rider experience? Elements to emphasize may include âeasier to ride the bus and make connections, better access to information, and one-stop shop for transportation needs and customer support (âthe buck stops hereâ).â â¦ General Public. Will marketing efforts be needed in order to solicit public comment about the coordination effort? Will a public referendum be required? How will information about the coordination process be shared? Elements to emphasize may include âbetter alternative for the community, cost savings or no tax increase, and easier for people who use transit to travel in the community.â Conduct a Marketing Resource Assessment: Before marketing a coordinated transportation service, it is important to evaluate the pre- coordination marketing organization and public information efforts. Such an assessment is a useful tool to identify work already underway Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 135
or successful, including minor efforts that could be folded into a coordinated effort. Elements to review include the following: â¦ Current Marketing. Review the current marketing staff at the various agencies, organizational structure, resources, and products. Evaluate the public information tools that are working successfully, as well as those that are unsuccessful, and determine which might serve as a model for the coordinated information tools. â¦ Transportation Markets. Identify all of the markets currently using transportation services and those likely to continue under a coordinated framework. Verify the specific public information tools that are required to meet all of the current needs. â¦ Responsibilities. Who is currently responsible for marketing? Who could provide assistance? Look at current job responsibilities and agency responsibilities to determine who might be the ârightâ marketing resources under a coordinated service and where responsibilities may need to be shifted. â¦ Marketing Coordination. Review opportunities for joint marketing with regional transit agencies, social service organizations, and business groups. Develop a Coordinated Transportation Service Marketing Plan: A marketing plan is a tool to identify marketing needs, prioritize those needs, and develop strategies to implement priorities. A general marketing plan framework, described below, can be applied to a coordinated transportation service. â¦ Challenges for Transit Marketing. Identify marketing problems and opportunities. â Marketing Expectations. Identify each agencyâs expectation for marketing and any current objectives and performance measures in place. Different agencies may have different marketing objectives (e.g., âattract new ridersâ versus âreduce customer service interaction with current usersâ) that may be in conflict when considered as part of a coordinated marketing plan. â Agency Responsibilities and Oversight. Determine the process for each agency to get marketing plans approved. 136 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III A marketing plan is a tool to identify marketing needs, prioritize those needs, and develop strategies to implement priorities.
For example, staff may be able to simply approve a plan at one agency while another agency may require board- or other policy-level approval. These differences could result in delays to the implementation schedule and might affect the plan itself if different boards have different opinions. Similarly, if one agency does not approve of the plan, the overall coordination schedule may be affected. It is also important to identify who has the power to make decisions once the marketing plan is implemented. For example, will it be necessary for a multiagency committee to approve every graphic, all text changes, each phone number, and so forth? â Agency Identity. Determine how the individual agenciesâ images will or will not be affected and how the agencies can keep their own identities overall while still coordinating. â Costs for Marketing. Determine how the costs for marketing will be divided among the various participating agencies. While some agencies previously may have had robust marketing efforts, other agencies may have had minimal efforts and may not be willing to step up contributions to marketing. Developing a marketing budget is only one element of implementing the coordinated marketing plan. â Current Users. Current users can be taken by surprise when the system with which they are familiar is transformed into a coordinated service. Contact current users about how the coordination effort will benefit them (assuming it will) or why it is necessary to make the coordination changes. â¦ Marketing Goals. Develop goals and objectives for marketing and public information for coordinated transit services. These may reflect any adopted coordination goals. All participating agencies must agree on these goals and objectives. â¦ Target Markets. Based on stakeholder interviews and the assessment of opportunities, identify the target markets. They should be selected and prioritized to meet the goals and objectives (e.g., senior citizens, tourists, children/youth, and social service transportation users). Considering each agency, prior to coordination, may serve very different markets, it may Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 137
be necessary to prioritize both short-term and long-term markets to address all needs. â¦ Marketing Actions. Detail the marketing activities required to meet the coordinated transportation service objectives. These might include community open houses, a unified web site, the development of a coordinated marketing brochure, etc. â¦ Organization and Responsibility. Identify which individuals and which agencies will be responsible for implementing the marketing actions for a coordinated service. When Is Public Support Needed? There are three key stages when marketing is essential and public support is advantageous. First, transit and transportation providers beginning the process of coordinating their services will need public support as they undertake the coordination effort. Many current users and stakeholders will have strong opinions, and it will be useful to gather information from them and to provide useful information about the process and milestones to them. Second, once implementation of the coordinated service is underway, there may be some growing pains while the coordinating agencies and providers adjust their services to meet the new objectives of the coordination effort. Providing comprehensive information and good customer service will help reduce user disenchantment and keep political leaders satisfied with the coordination effort. Finally, once the services are fully coordinated, maintaining good contact with users, agencies, and the public is important to ensure community visibility and to establish a positive identity for the coordinated services. How Much Should Be Budgeted for Marketing? Some agencies have no funds dedicated to marketing and public information. Others may set aside 5 percent or more of their budget for marketing and outreach. A rule of thumb often mentioned by transit providers is that marketing and public information resources should represent at least 2 percent of total expenses. As an initial marketing âpushâ as part of the coordination process, marketing costs in the first year can be much higher than in subsequent years. All agencies working together to coordinate their services must determine how much they can afford to dedicate to marketing. 138 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Considerations The advantage of marketing coordination is the potential to provide more information with fewer resources.
The advantage of marketing coordination is the potential to provide more information with fewer resources because the various agencies are working to reduce duplicative efforts. In addition, smaller agencies that were previously unable to develop informational materials or provide certain marketing resources benefit from the experience of and collaborative process with larger coordinating agencies. Merced County, California, (see Chapter 8) provides an example of a consolidated system under which several different transit providers now contribute to the operation of a single system. What were once several transit system names, logos, and identities is now a single system with one county map and brochure and a uniform logo. Southern Illinoisâs RIDES system, in its efforts to build partnerships, marketed to social service agencies, creating a brochure to encourage them to join the coordinated service rather than manage their own. RIDES also advertised through brochures, television, radio, and newspaper advertisements to overcome misconceptions that the service was for seniors only. In Kern County, California, a single brochure developed in 1997 by the regional transit system was marketed to users of the county system, but included local contacts and service area information for the various independent operators. Resources A Handbook: Integrating Market Research into Transit Management, TCRP Report 37. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board (Northwest Research Group, Inc.), 1998. American Marketing Association Web site http://www.marketingpower.com. The Bus: Merced County Transit Web site http://www.mercedrides.com/Transit_Info/thebus.htm. Transit Marketing and Fare Structure. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board, 1985. Transit Marketing. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board Commission on Sociotechnical Systems, 1976. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 139 Examples
MONITORING AND EVALUATION Transit operators routinely monitor performance measures in order to determine how well riders are being served, how efficiently service is being provided, and whether improvements are needed. Key types of data that operators collect to monitor the service include â¦ Operating costsâall expenses incurred to operate the system, such as driversâ wages, fuel, maintenance, administration, and marketing; â¦ Vehicle service hoursâthe hours the vehicle is available to carry fare-paying passengers; â¦ Vehicle service milesâthe number of miles the vehicle travels during a vehicle service hour; â¦ Ridershipâthe number of passengers on each route or route segment during a vehicle service hour; â¦ Adherence to scheduleâthe percentage of time the vehicle is on time to pick up passengers; and â¦ Farebox ratioâthe percentage contributed by the fares to the total operating cost. Such data are used to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the service. This is accomplished by comparing the results of the data collection with the goals or standards set by the agency. For example, the agency will want to know how cost-effective the service is by comparing the ratio of the farebox revenues to the cost of providing the service. Another example is using data on ridership to decide whether additional buses are needed to relieve overcrowding or whether the service should be rerouted to capture more riders. When several agencies join together to provide a new service or to coordinate existing services, the expectations may vary according to each agencyâs purpose. The data that a transit agency normally collects to monitor and evaluate performance may need to be supplemented or negotiated to meet the goals of the coordinated project. For example, 140 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Description Relevance to Coordination See Accounting and Financial Management heading in this toolkit for cost components.
the most important data to a social service agency may be trip length to ensure that its clients using dial-a-ride are not on the bus too long. On the other hand, the transit operator will want to know the cost- effectiveness of the trip by monitoring the number of people riding the bus at the same time. Although these two measures are not mutually exclusive, the two agencies may need to negotiate a common understanding of how the two measures will be interpreted to conclude whether or not the coordinated service is successful. All stakeholders in a project need to agree on the measures used and how these measures support the overall goals of the project. Service monitoring is also key for determining whether the participating agencies are achieving the benefits that were expected from coordination. Once the performance measures have been agreed on, a system must be set up to track the performance and compare it to the goals or standards set by the projectâs stakeholders. This means that the transit operator will need to collect information and share it with the stakeholders to compare the performance measures to the goals and to determine if corrective actions are needed where performance falls short. Stakeholders should all have a clear understanding of the definition of each measurement used to evaluate the projectâs goals. In the case of the performance measures used by the transit industry, operators may need to clarify how vehicle hours and passenger trips are measured. Stakeholders from other industries will need to understand how driver breaks, deadheading, and pickup and dropoff times are considered. Without such explanations, stakeholders may misinterpret the data, creating suspicion about their transit partners instead of trust. Similarly, transit operators may need education in the culture and acronyms of partner agencies in order to understand the evaluation mechanisms they use. Quantification: Table 8 (Burkhardt et al., 2003) outlines potential coordinated transportation benefits that stakeholders may consider as project goals when setting up their monitoring and evaluation program. For example, stakeholders may set a goal to lower the total number of transportation providers and increase the number of agencies purchasing transportation. Most of the goals (see âDesired or Expected Changeâ in Table 8) can be measured quantitativelyâthat is by counting whether the number of transportation providers is lower, whether the hours of service have been expanded, whether the number of funding sources is higher, or what the number is of passenger trips per vehicle mile. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 141 All stakeholders in a project need to agree on the measures used and how these measures support the overall goals of the project. Stakeholders should have a clear understanding of the projectâs goals. Methods
142 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Factor Desired or Expected Change SYSTEM CHARACTERISTICS (INPUTS) Number of transportation providers Lower Number of agencies purchasing transportation Higher Number of vehicles Lower Number of drivers Lower Part-time/full-time driver ratio Lower Average hourly driver wage Higher Total driver wages Lower Level and quality of driver training Higher Hours when service is provided each day Expanded Days when service is provided each week Expanded Vehicle hours of service May be lower Vehicle miles of service May be lower Total service area Expanded Number of persons who can get services Expanded Joint purchasing More frequent Joint dispatching of agency-owned vehicles More frequent Centralized oversight and management More frequent Level of route duplication Lower Number of funding sources Higher Total transportation funding Higher One central community information source More frequent Segregated client types Less frequent Limited trip purposes Less frequent Community-wide transportation perspective More frequent Time spent in meetings Higher Level of planning processes Higher Table 8: POTENTIAL COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION BENEFITS
Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 143 Factor Desired or Expected Change PERFORMANCE MEASURES Number of passenger trips Higher Number of passenger trips per service area population Higher Passenger trips per vehicle mile Higher Passenger trips per vehicle hour Higher Number of driver hours per passenger trip Lower Number of admin staff hours per passenger trip Lower Cost per vehicle hour Lower Cost per vehicle mile Lower Cost per passenger trip Lower Community benefits: Economic activity Higher Economic growth Higher Nursing home admissions per 1,000 population Lower SERVICE ATTRIBUTE ASSESSMENTS Acceptability Greater Accessibility Greater Adaptability Greater Affordability Greater Availability Greater USERSâ OVERALL SERVICE ASSESSMENTS Alternative travel options Greater Ratings of transportation services More Positive Outcomes: Independence Increased Security Increased Mobility Increased Isolation Decreased Table 8: (continued) POTENTIAL COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION BENEFITS
Extrapolation of data: Some of the measurements will need to be extrapolated from other quantifiable data. âLevel and quality of driver training,â for instance, can be derived from other data, such as the number of drivers who pass state tests after training, fewer customer complaints about drivers, and a reduction in accidents. However, care must be taken to ensure that the extrapolation is valid and credible. Simply attributing higher economic activity to a new transit service in an area would be too much of a stretch to be believable without some other supporting data, for example. In this case, before and after customer counts, surveys of customers and businesses in the area, business sales and income records, and records of tax revenues might be other ways to measure how bus service affected economic activity. Surveys: Surveys are a good evaluation tool to measure achievement in areas that cannot be easily quantified. However, a disadvantage is the need to create a new instrument over and above the evaluation measurements used during the general course of business. Another disadvantage is the cost of distribution, collection, and tabulation of surveys. Yet, other than relying on word-of-mouth or the number of customer complaints, a survey is the best way to measure usersâ satisfaction and overall assessment of the service. Surveys of businesses could also be used to determine, albeit subjectively, whether a new transit service increased economic activity in an area. Documentation: To monitor and evaluate the success of the project may require creativity in developing satisfactory performance measures. For example, to determine whether there is more frequent âcentralized oversight and managementâ or a higher âlevel of planning processâ may require initiating new reports that document efforts. This documentation can consist of reports summarizing data for the stakeholders or board of directors, minutes of meetings, and products, such as a strategic plan. Those involved in a coordinated project should agree, before the project gets implemented, how they will measure and evaluate the projectâs success and decide whether or not it should be continued. After implementation, the evaluation methodology can be re-visited to determine whether the information is forthcoming and whether the methodology should be modified. In selecting the evaluation tools, stakeholders should keep in mind the following key characteristics of an effective performance measurement system: 144 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III For a detailed discussion of these characteristics, consult âTCRP Report 88: A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance- Measurement Systemâ For this type of analysis, a useful reference may be âTCRP Report 34: Assessment of the Economic Impacts of Rural Public Transportation.â There are many ways to evaluate how service can be affected. Considerations
â¦ Stakeholder acceptance, â¦ Linkage to agency and community goals, â¦ Clarity, â¦ Reliability and credibility, â¦ Variety of measures, â¦ Number of measures, â¦ Level of detail, â¦ Flexibility, â¦ Realism of goals and targets, â¦ Timeliness, and â¦ Integration into agency decision-making. Examples of the types of monitoring transit agencies have conducted for evaluation purposes are mentioned in the following case studies in Chapter 8: (1) Huron County Transit in Ohio and Matanuska-Susitna Community Transit in Alaska have quantified a significant increase in the number of trips due to coordination; (2) the Fresno County Rural Transit Agency extrapolates the benefits of driver training by citing a significant reduction in insurance premiums; and RIDES in Southern Illinois extrapolates the economic benefit of transit to the community by quantifying the wages of former welfare recipients; (3)Bay METRO in Michigan and UCATS in Ohio have conducted customer satisfaction surveys, which identified successful coordination projects; and (4) Ride Connection in Oregon documents its coordination in a consolidated capital application for vehicles. Resources Burkhardt, Hedrick, and McGavock, Assessment of the Economic Impacts of Rural Public Transportation, TCRP Report 34, 1998. http://gulliver.trb.org/publications/tcrp/tcrp_rpt_34.pdf. Burkhardt, Koffman, and Murray, Economic Benefits of Coordinating Human Service Transportation and Transit Services, TCRP Report 91, 2003. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 145 Examples
Cambridge Systematics, Measuring and Valuing Transit Benefits and Disbenefits, TCRP Report 20, 1996. http://www4.trb.org/trb/ onlinepubs.nsf/web/TCRP_Reports. Kittelson & Associates, A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance-Measurement System, TCRP Report 88, 2003. http://gulliver.trb.org/publications/tcrp/tcrp_report_88/intro.pdf. 146 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
NEEDS ASSESSMENT Assessing needs includes gathering necessary information to determine (1) the transportation resources available in the community, (2) the needs for transportation, (3) what deficiencies exist when comparing needs and resources, (4) which existing deficiencies need to be addressed, and (5) what kinds of changes may address those deficiencies. This information may include the extent and types of trips needing to be served, as well as organizational or management needs, such as reducing confusion and duplication or improving client access. To plan for and implement coordinated transportation services effectively, it is necessary to know the resources, both physical and financial, that the participating agencies will have available for the delivery of coordinated transportation services. In the case of physical resources, it is necessary to know vehicle size, configuration, accessibility features, age, mileage, condition, original cost, sources of funds for purchase, and so forth. In the case of financial resources, it is necessary to know whether funds are available for operating or capital purposes or both, the amount of funding available, matching share requirements, reporting requirements, limitations on uses of specific funds, and other relevant limitations (if any). Convincing organizations to coordinate their services requires determining what needs or issues the coordination arrangement will respond to. These needs may include trips that cannot currently be served, reducing confusion on the part of clients, eliminating wasteful duplication of administrative effort, making more efficient use of vehicles, or increasing access to funding. Given that coordination generally involves some loss of control on the part of participating agencies, it is important to determine whether or not real needs can be addressed by the coordination arrangement. Learning in detail about these needs is crucial to creating meaningful and lasting coordination. Needs assessment itself is often a coordinated activity. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 147 Description Relevance to Coordination Identifying real needs is crucial to creating meaningful and lasting coordination. Identify the physical and financial resources available.
Relevant needs assessment methods include stakeholder interviews; facilitated group meetings or interviews; surveys of providers, users, and the general public; analysis of data using statistical analysis tools, maps, and geographic information systems; and demand estimation. Stakeholder Interviews: The needs assessment process for coordination often begins with interviewing key stakeholders and leaders. One guidebook suggests that a comprehensive process will typically involve 15 to 30 such people who can help and further suggests that such interviews are best conducted face to face. Depending on the circumstances, key stakeholders may include individuals and groups that advocate for older adults, people with disabilities, and people living in poverty; public transportation operators; local government, schools, and colleges; members of the business community such as large employers; charitable organizations and religious institutions; and labor union representatives. A good technique to use is structured interviews that follow a written outline, ensuring that all key topics are covered. Developing a written interview guide also provides an opportunity to review, with a preliminary group of people, what topics need to be explored. Facilitated Meetings: Group interviews and public meetings also provide a good way to explore needs. Although some participants may express themselves more openly in private, the group setting allows for more creativity. Formal facilitation by a neutral party can help in reaching a consensus about what coordination needs exist. A related idea is the focus group, which is appropriate where attitudes and priorities of the general public or system users need to be explored. Provider Surveys: Written surveys of transportation providers can be useful where there are large numbers of potential participants in coordination. Provider surveys typically aim to include as many potential participants in a coordination scheme as possible. Typical information produced by this type of survey includes numbers and types of vehicles, numbers and types of clients carried or trips made, areas served, and perceived needs. In rural areas with fewer potential partners, similar information may be collected through other means. Information on physical resources should include the vehicles, other equipment, and technology that existing agencies have in place for their 148 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Methods Use structured interviews (as provided in Appendix A) to determine what topics need to be explored.
separate services. Financial resources mean the sources of funding from local, state, Federal, and private sources that are available to support the operating and capital expenses of the coordinated transportation system. Public or Rider Surveys: Surveys of the larger public, transit riders, or human service agency clients can provide quantitative evidence of needs. If this information is to be convincing and useful, however, these surveys need to be conducted using sound statistical methods, random sampling, and the largest possible sample sizes. In rural areas, the most cost-effective method of conducting such surveys is often by distributing surveys on board vehicles. If client lists are available, mailing and telephone surveying can be even more cost-effective and can allow for more flexibility in the types and numbers of questions that can be asked. Data Analysis: Needs information is most valuable if it can be quantified and displayed in forms that are immediately understood, dramatic, and useful for planning solutions. Typical sources of data include the U.S. Census; population projections and analysis by metropolitan planning agencies; client and case lists from human and social service agencies; and records of actual transportation provided (e.g., the locations most commonly served by demand-responsive transportation providers). One particularly effectively tool for displaying and analyzing data is a Geographic Information System (GIS). A GIS is a computer program that allows a wide variety of information to be displayed on maps and analyzed on the basis of location (e.g., transit routes and client files can be analyzed together to determine how well the transit routes serve a particular set of clients). GIS tools are not always within the reach of small, nonprofit agencies, but most counties, transit systems, and cities now have staff with GIS skills. Demand Estimation: If a new or improved coordinated transportation service is being proposed, one way to measure the âneedâ for such a service is to estimate the number of people who would use it, known in planning terms as the âdemand for the service.â Rural demand estimation is an imprecise art, given that the large data sets and elaborate models used for metropolitan area planning commonly are not available or appropriate. However, simple, shortcut methods that can be applied with a hand calculator or spreadsheet and commonly available data have been developed and are documented in published reports. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 149 Surveys need to be conducted using sound statistical methods For more information, see the list of Resources below
Case studies in Chapter 8 illustrate examples of several types of needs assessment: â¦ The Transportation Network in Wasco County, Oregon, resulted from a countywide social service needs assessment study, which included stakeholder interviews. â¦ Provider surveys were employed in developing Ride Solution in Western Indiana. â¦ Surveys of the public were distributed by the Erie County Health Department in Ohio to document the need for coordination between Huron County Transit and transit in Sandusky County. â¦ The Chief Executive Officer of RIDES in Southern Illinois facilitated meetings to promote coordination among agencies. Resources Burkhardt, Hamby, MacDorman, and McCollom, Comprehensive Financial Management Guidelines for Rural and Small Urban Public Transportation Providers, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Multi-State Technical Assistance Program, September 1992. Case Studies of People for People and DARTS in TCRP Report 91, Economic Benefits of Coordinating Human Service Transportation and Transit Services, 2003. Creative Action, Inc., Coordinating Transportation Services: Local Collaboration and Decision-Making: A âHow-toâ Manual for Planning and Implementation, Project Action, Washington DC. Available at http://projectaction.easterseals.org/site/ PageServer?pagename=ESPA_doclibe_coordandoutreach Establishing Cost Sharing Agreements, in Lyons and vanderWilden, Innovative State And Local Planning For Coordinated Transportation, February 2002 at http://www.fta.dot.gov/library/ policy/islptc/establish.html. 150 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Examples
Florida Rate Setting Guidelines in Coordinated Transportation Contracting Instructions, Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, July 2002, at http://www11.myflorida.com/ctd/. Koffman, D. âAppropriate Cost-Sharing for Paratransit,â in Transportation Research Record 1463, Transportation Research Board, Washington DC, 1994. Koffman, D., and Lewis, D. âForecasting Demand for Paratransit Required by the Americans with Disabilities Act,â in Transportation Research Record 1571, Transportation Research Board, Washington DC, 1997. Multisystems, Inc. et al., Using Geographic Information Systems for Welfare to Work Transportation Planning and Service Delivery, TCRP Report 60, 2000 Transportation Research Board, Washington DC. Available at http://www4.trb.org/trb/onlinepubs.nsf/web/ TCRP_Reports. SG Associates et al., Workbook for Estimating Demand for Rural Passenger Transportation, TCRP Report 3, 1995 Transportation Research Board, Washington DC. Available at http://www4.trb.org/ trb/onlinepubs.nsf/web/TCRP_Reports. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 151
ORGANIZATION OF THE PLANNING PROCESS Coordination begins with planning. Coordinating transportation services takes careful, deliberate, proactive planning. Such planning requires thoroughness, comprehensiveness, and including representatives of the agencies setting out to coordinate or to modify how coordination has been taking place. How this planning takes place is important. The process needs to be managed by a steering committee or task force of interested parties. Further, the process works best with defined stages where roles and responsibilities among the agencies and other parties involved in the planning are defined. Planning is the process by which local officials with a stake in successful transportation services come together to determine how the communityâs needs can best be met and how the skills and resources available to them can best be used to this purpose. The planning process has several well-defined steps or stages, which have been described variously in several transportation coordination handbooks. The coordination literature is not the only place where applicable planning processes have been described. The welfare reform movement provided new opportunities for stakeholders in local areas to come together in different ways to address transportation issues and find solutions. As in coordinating transportation generally, the need to implement new welfare programs focused on getting people to jobs and job training brought transportation into focus and required that local agencies work together in new and different ways. In summary, though, the steps can be described as follows: â¦ OrganizationâForm a task force or steering committee and decide to move forward. â¦ Existing ConditionsâUnderstand issues, needs, and circumstances and defining local conditions. â¦ Focus, Consensus, and DirectionâAgree on the problem, develop consensus, and set direction. â¦ AlternativesâDevelop and evaluate alternative coordination strategies. 152 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Description Methods
â¦ Action PlansâFormulate action plans and implement coordinated transportation services. â¦ Monitoring and ReviewâReview and evaluate progress. Whenever a need to engage in new ventures or a need to change scope or direction in an endeavor presents itself, planning is the key to execution. Organization: An organizational structure is essential to early progress and eventual success. A task force or steering committee, a group of manageable size, must be organized to oversee and direct the planning process. The group needs to decide who should be involved and set an agenda and timetable. Leadership is equally important. Someone needs to be in charge. In the early stages, leadership needs to focus on being inclusive rather than directive. Existing Conditions: Existing conditions include the views of key stakeholders (those who have a serious interest and/or role to play in the outcome of the planning); surveys to gauge interest in participating in coordination efforts, understand unmet needs, and assemble information on transportation programs to be included in coordination; vehicles and other physical resources available; and levels and sources of funding available. Focus, Consensus, and Direction: Focus defines the problem(s) that will be addressed. Consensus is the process of agreeing on the basis and framework for moving forward. Direction is the setting of goals and objectives that will guide the development of overall strategies and completion of a detailed service plan and form the basis for measuring progress in implementing a plan. Alternatives: Alternatives are developed so that the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to addressing needs and solving problems can be considered and evaluated before a decision on a specific approach is made. Key elements in coordination alternatives include the coordination approach to be taken, organizational and administrative options, service delivery choices, responsibility for functional activities, and budgeting and financial management. Action Plans: Action plans include organizational structure and management; service development, delivery, and pricing; capital facilities and equipment; annual and projected operating budget; and marketing and public relations program. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 153
Monitoring and Review: Progress is measured and reviewed against objectives to assess results in all areasânumber, type, and other trip characteristics; revenues and expenses; customer satisfaction (complaints); and inter-agency relations. Levels of activity and performance measures are reviewed. Monthly and quarterly reviews are conducted, with a more detailed review performed quarterly. There are likely to be various levels of interest in the process of planning for coordinated transportation services. First, a strong interest and need for involvement exists for the agencies that will be coordinating services. Other local officials who may have various responsibilities need to be kept informed periodically. Agencies that have not yet decided to participate in the coordination of transportation services need to be kept informed of progress. Agencies with funding and monitoring responsibilities should be kept informed of progress and implementation relative to an established timeline for implementation. In Mahoning County, Ohio, the process to develop coordination services included development of a written service plan. The plan represents the written statement of the consensus decisions that were reached on action plans, key steps, and milestones. Further, the planning document was used by the county commissioners as the basis for official action that endorsed moving forward by using the plan as the basis for future action, including the local regional transit authority (RTA) being the lead agency in moving forward. Resources A Guide for Implementing Coordinating Transportation Systems, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/ default.htm. A Handbook for Coordinating Transportation Services, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/default.htm. 154 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Examples Considerations Agencies with funding and monitoring responsibilities should be kept informed of progress and implementation relative to an established timeline for implementation.
Creative Action, Inc., Coordinating Transportation Services: Local Collaboration and Decision-Making: A âHow-toâ Manual for Planning and Implementation, Project Action, Washington DC. Available at http://projectaction.easter-seals.org/site/PageServer? pagename=ESPA_doclibe_coordandoutreach Planning Guidelines for Coordinating State and Local Specialized Transportation Services at www.fta.dot.gov/library/policy/guide The planning process in TCRP Report 64: Guidebook for Developing Welfare-to-Work Transportation Services. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 155
ORGANIZATIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR COORDINATION Agencies involved in a coordinated effort must alter the interests of their institutional and governance structure to take into account the interests of the other agencies involved. In order to do so, agencies need a way to guide the coordinated system so that it continues to reflect the common interests of the participants. Planning Guidelines for Coordinating State and Local Specialized Transportation Services defines Cooperation, Coordination, and Consolidation as points along a continuum of organizational working relationships. The governance structure chosen for a particular community would depend on where along this continuum the participating agencies are in their coordination efforts. Cooperation: Working together in some loose association, perhaps focusing primarily on information sharing, in which all agencies retain their separate identities and authorities, including control over the vehicles they own. Coordination: Joint decisions and actions of a group of agencies with formal arrangements to provide for the management of the resources of a distinct system. Consolidation: Vesting all operational authority in one agency that then provides services according to purchase of service agreements or other contractual relationships. The organizational structures listed here vary in the involvement required by individual agencies. Although other organizational variations undoubtedly exist; this discussion provides an overview of the options available to increase coordination. In order to avoid misunderstandings, the parties to the agreement should confirm their involvement by a memorandum of understanding or other such formal document. 156 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Description Methods Agencies involved in a coordinated effort must take into account the interests of the other agencies involved
Inter-agency agreements: Two or more agencies agree to share resources. One example could be an agreement to share transfer revenues among operators in order to create a seamless transportation system from the riderâs perspective. Another example might be a purchase-of-service contract between a social service agency and a transit operator. These agreements would not involve changes in the governing structure of the participating agencies. However, the contract can provide a clear guide for governance between the two agencies, because it lays out responsibilities. Inter-agency agreements are closest to cooperation on the continuum of relationships described above. Consortium or Coordinating Council: Staff responsibilities for a project are shared so that no one agency needs to carry the entire burden. The lead agency role and specific tasks can be rotated among the members. For example, a group of agencies might get together to develop and implement a joint marketing program. The internal governance of each agency would remain unchanged. A formal agreement or memorandum of understanding may be written to outline the purpose of the consortium and the responsibilities of each participant. A consortium is an example of coordination on the continuum of working relationships. Brokerage: Agencies pool funding to contract with an outside vendor or with one of the member agencies to perform functions on behalf of all participating agencies. For example, social service providers may pay one of the participating members to handle the scheduling and dispatching for all their vehicles. Each agency would give control of certain of its functions to the brokerage, while retaining internal control of its overall organization. An agreement signed by each member agency would set out the terms and funding for the brokerage. A brokerage is an example of coordination moving toward partial consolidation on the continuum of working relationships. Joint Powers Authority (JPA): Agencies join together to form an organization to provide certain transportation services. Each agency has a representative on a new governing board. The governing boards of the existing agencies may continue to oversee other functions of their agencies, but they transfer the responsibility for specific transportation services to the JPA. For example, transit operators may form a JPA with a separate board to provide ADA services but may retain their existing boards to govern the individual fixed-route systems. Or cities may form a JPA in order to give up their individual transit systems for a subregional system, while maintaining all other responsibilities of a Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 157 See Appendices for model Joint Powers Agreements.
city. A JPA is an example of consolidation on the continuum of working relationships. Before entering into an agreement, agencies will need to consider several issues and how they affect their own governance structures. The most obvious issue is how to share the funding of the project. For example, should agencies split costs based on population, actual number of riders, mileage of the bus within each jurisdiction, employment sites that benefit from out-of-jurisdiction labor force, or some formula that combines various factors? The same types of issues arise in decision- makingâshould voting be based on population, percentage of contributed funding, equality among independent jurisdictions, or simple consensus? Other considerations may include restrictions on spending the agencyâs money for services outside its service area; potential diminishing of local identity; effects on the agencyâs ability to carry out its other services; differences in labor contracts, rules, and salaries; differences in types and ages of populations served; ability to involve the right participants in the agreement; and support within the community for change. A key issue is whether the leadership exists from a person or a group with the necessary commitment to tackle these thorny problems. Case studies in Chapter 8 showcase examples of the types of governance models: â¦ Mason County, Washington, illustrates inter-agency agreements between a transit operator and school district; â¦ Butte County, California, transit operators turned down consolidation in favor of a loose consortium to coordinate fares, marketing, transfers, and schedule consistency; â¦ Greene Coordinated Agency Transportation System (CATS) in Ohio is a transportation broker for 51 participating agencies; and â¦ Merced County Transit, California, is a consolidated system adopted by a JPA between the county and six cities. 158 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Considerations Examples Agencies will need to consider several issues and their effects.
Resources A Guide for Implementing Coordinating Transportation Systems, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/ default.htm. A Handbook for Coordinating Transportation Services, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/default.htm. Planning Guidelines for Coordinating State and Local Specialized Transportation Services at www.fta.dot.gov/library/policy/guide Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 159
STRATEGIC DIRECTIONâSTRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, AND THREATS Strategic direction involves getting away from the details of a problem or issue and taking a fresh look at the environment within which the problem or issue exists. It requires (1) careful thinking about what is to be accomplished and (2) an open process to develop a more complete and in-depth understanding of problem and issues and how to move forward in solving problems and dealing with issues. A decision to coordinate or consider coordinating transportation services represents strategic change (i.e., organizing and delivering transportation services in a significantly different way). The desire to coordinate transportation services typically follows from a key person or small group of people deciding that the current way of providing transportation services is not working well. Opportunities are perceived to be present for agencies to work together to improve and/or expand transportation services to agency clients. This may also be seen as an opportunity to introduce or expand services to the general public as well. Methods include stakeholder interviews, facilitated workshops, steering committees, working groups, and task forces. Developing strategic direction involves taking an open and unbiased look at existing transportation services in an attempt to discover options for improving them. Strategic thinking starts with an investigation of the strengths and weaknesses of the internal environment within which transportation services are provided. An easy way to think about the âinternal environmentâ is to view it as the environment over which the participants have some control, such as what kind of service to deliver, how to coordinate, and what kinds of vehicles to buy. 160 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Strategic thinking starts with an investigation of strengths and weaknesses. Coordinating transportation services represents strategic change. Description Relevance to Coordination Methods
It also includes looking honestly at the external environment that influences how local decisions about transportation services are made. In other words, what are the opportunities that may be available and the threats that may exist to improving transportation services? An easy way to think about the âexternal environmentâ is to view it as the environment over which the participants have little or no control. It is the part of the environment they must accept and deal with at a given point in time. Examples would include funding programs defined at the Federal or state level, levels of funding that may be available by some pre-determined formula, and rules and regulations for program implementation. Depending on what is happening in the external environment, opportunities and threats emerge as external actions are taken. Good examples are the opportunities for building relationships and improving and re-making transportation services that presented themselves as a result of welfare reform legislation and program implementation that began in the late 1990s. The first step is typically to conduct stakeholder interviews. These are personal interviews best conducted in person, at either a central location or at a stakeholderâs office. Confidentiality is very important to enable stakeholders to share their views of issues and problems freely. Personal interviews enable stakeholders to make sure that their views are included in the discussion. Following completion of these interviews, it is wise to report back, in written form, to the steering committee or group that is organizing and managing coordination efforts, so that they can begin to review the results of the interviews. The next step, which is crucial to the continued, incremental development of a plan for coordination and its implementation, is to bring key stakeholders together to discuss issues and problems, potential solutions, and an agreement on how to proceed. Generally, starting with a creative, brainstorming approach is recommended because brainstorming is founded on the premise that all ideas are good. The objective is to enable all participants to express their ideas and to feel comfortable in doing so; decisions about priorities and specific actions come later. The brainstorming works best in a workshop format, on neutral ground. Typically, a full day is required. Consensus results from an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. However, participants must recognize that reaching consensus includes divergent opinions and conflicting views and that this situation is okay. With a properly facilitated discussion (in Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 161 Confidentiality is very important in obtaining frank responses. Bring key stakeholders together. Considerations
a workshop setting), the differences and disagreements will be expressed. Some consensus will be established, but some issues may have to be left to be resolved another day. In addition to reaching consensus, a focus on strategic direction will also provide a list of issues or concerns about which consensus cannot be reached. Maintaining the neutrality of discussions at this point is important. The focus should be on enabling and encouraging participants to express their views. One or several strong advocates for a particular direction at this time may polarize thought and positions and make progress more difficult. In Portage County, Ohio, workshops with the board of trustees of the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority were conducted. An early focus on strategic direction, including an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, resulted in a consensus that the transit authority needed to seek voter support for a sales tax so that an acceptable level of public transportation services could be offered. In Youngstown, Ohio, a series of workshops and facilitated steering committee meetings resulted in the development and adoption by county commissioners of a service plan for countywide coordination of transportation services. Development of consensus on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats resulted in consensus that coordinated transportation services should be implemented under the umbrella of the Mahoning County Commissioners, with the Western Reserve Transit Authority being the lead agency in implementing coordinated transportation services. Resources A Guide for Implementing Coordinating Transportation Systems, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/ default.htm. A Handbook for Coordinating Transportation Services, 1997, Ohio Department of Transportation, Office of Public Transportation. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/default.htm. 162 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Examples
Creative Action, Inc., Coordinating Transportation Services: Local Collaboration and Decision-Making: A âHow-toâ Manual for Planning and Implementation, Project Action, Washington DC, 2001. Available at http://projectaction.easter-seals.org/site/ PageServer?pagename=ESPA_doclibe_coordandoutreach. Creative Action, Inc., Project Technical Report, Model Procedures for Coordination Among Transportation Providers Transportation Services: Local Collaboration and Decision-Making: The Key Role of Local Collaboration and Decision-Making, Project Action, Washington DC, 1998. Available at Easter Seals Project Action, 202-347-3066. Planning Guidelines for Coordinating State and Local Specialized Transportation Services at http://www.fta.dot.gov/library/ policy/guide/. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 163
TECHNOLOGY New technology is a âhot topicâ in transportation circles. Some technologies offer real promise to rural and small urban transportation operators. Scheduling, vehicle location, fare payment, billing, maintenance, and passenger information functions all could be aided by one or more forms of technology. The technologies that most often will yield significant benefits to rural transportation agencies are as follows: â¦ Fleet Management, including â Communications systems, â Geographic information systems (GIS), â Automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems, and â Operations software; â¦ Systems Management, including â Financial management and accounting software; â¦ Traveler Information, including â Pre-trip information systems, â In-terminal/wayside information systems, â In-vehicle information systems, â Multimodal traveler information systems, â Electronic fare payment, and â Other technologies, such as automated service coordination. The following technologies most often yield the most significant benefits: â¦ Communications systems and services, particularly those that provide real-time communication between vehicle operators and 164 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Description Some technologies offer real promise to rural and small urban transportation operators.
dispatchers, can improve operational efficiency. Further, there can be an improvement in driver performance as a result of improved and available information on travel conditions and other factors. â¦ AVL systems can â Improve operational efficiency, â Improve quality of service, â Improve use of resources, â Improve service effectiveness, and â Provide better modal integration. â¦ Operations software, which includes automated scheduling and dispatching systems, can â Improve operational efficiency; â Increase the number of vehicle trips; â Improve the use of resources; â Improve operational effectiveness; â Increase ridership; â Provide better modal, transit agency, and service integration; â Increase mobility for transit customers; â More readily accept service modifications; and â Create better working conditions for transit agency personnel. â¦ Automated service coordination, which involves the integration and coordination of transportation services offered by multiple providers, can improve operational efficiency and effectiveness; provide better modal, transit operator, and service integration; and increase ridership. â¦ Systems management: Computer-aided accounting programs are particularly applicable to reporting to the multiple funding sources, which are often stitched together by entrepreneurial rural transit operators to obtain sufficient funds to make the entire operation viable. Possibilities for intelligent transit Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 165
management at both the state and local levels will be greatly enhanced by software that can describe current performance in depth and compare it with previous operations of the same system and current operations of other systems. With this added level of detail, system managers can make better operational decisions, and state program managers can better decide how to distribute their funds and technical assistance. The computer technology to make this happen is available now, but is not in widespread application. It is important to remember that the effectiveness of any technology is directly related to the type of transit service to which it is being applied. In rural transit settings, often several types of service must be considered. For example, technologies that work best in a system that has deviated routes may not provide the same operational and customer- related improvements as those that work in a traditional fixed-route environment. Another issue is the degree to which âoff-the-shelfâ technology can be directly applied to rural and small urban transportation services. Some rural systems are considering the use of technologies originally developed for large urban transit environments. Most of these technologies have not, until very recently, handled the specific requirements of paratransit. Most would not be able to handle the particular requirements of rural and small urban transit without considerable customization, which can be very costly. Table 9 shows a few examples of how new technologies could provide substantial assistance to coordinated rural transportation systems. 166 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III The effectiveness of any technology is directly related to the type of transit service to which it is being applied.
To be relevant to coordinated transportation operations, a technology should â¦ Increase the number of trips taken on the system, â¦ Lower the systemâs operating costs, or â¦ Increase the systemâs revenues. The best technologies for coordinated rural transportation services are those that benefit people and communities by enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of transportation services. Seen in this light, technology is recognized as only one of several important tools for serving the needs of riders and achieving positive results. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 167 Relevance to Coordination Table 9: POTENTIAL CONNECTIONS BETWEEN TECHNOLOGIES AND PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY New technologies What they do Expected results electronic payments faster and more accurate billing; allows cost-sharing options additional system revenue; more riders automatic vehicle locators pinpoints equipment; assists in schedule adherence; adds to safety in remote areas greater vehicle utilization; lower capital costs automated dispatching and routing optimizes trip assignments greater vehicle utilization; lower capital costs automated accounting and billing provides greater service details; speeds processing speeds system cash flow; increases accountability and credibility swipe card technology eliminates need for cash or paper verification of rides Speeds boarding process, allowing better schedule adherence; better validation of rides
Technologies that offer the following kinds of service innovations are worth considering: â¦ Creating service types that are more responsive to individual travel needs by providing âjust-in-timeâ notice of impending vehicle arrival at the riderâs home or other location; â¦ Designing different payment and cost-sharing options such as â electronic payment; â cost-sharing with merchants, doctors, and agencies; â third party payment options; and â barter arrangements and volunteer banking; â¦ Using advanced vehicle designs (e.g., low-floor vehicles); â¦ Implementing advanced scheduling, routing, and dispatching procedures (to schedule and re-route vehicles dynamically); and â¦ Enhancing communications between headquarters and drivers and between the system and its riders. Technologies that could enhance management coordination include a communitywide travel information data center (including weather data, GIS, and address matching) to serve protective and emergency services as well as transit. Not all technologies can now return sufficient productivity and efficiency increases to justify the effort and expenses now involved in their application. Coordinated rural transportation services should assess the individual components of their services to see which components could be made more efficient or effective by the application of specific technologies and then assess which technologies might provide the necessary assistance. Regarding the financing of advanced technologies for rural transit operations, some of the key questions are â¦ What does it cost to implement (ALL COSTS, including capital acquisition, training, operations, and maintenance)? 168 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Considerations
â¦ Who pays what portion of the cost? In particular, what portion is paid by the rural transportation system? â¦ Who benefits from its implementation? The transportation system? Who else? These components must be weighed against the effectiveness side of the equation, which is to say, what do these technologies do to make rural public transit operations more productive, more revenue-producing, more effective, and more efficient? The concept of sharing the costs of advanced technologies will be one of the most cost-effective strategies available for rural transit operators. One obvious place to start is in the âcommand centralâ operation that would connect the system to its vehicles. As locations in Maryland, Michigan, and Minnesota have conclusively demonstrated, sharing the central office functions of radio communications and dispatching with non-transit functions such as Emergency Medical Services, police, fire, rescue, and highway maintenance can be a huge benefit to all parties. If each of these parties had to establish its own GIS, set up its own radio communications, purchase its own dispatching equipment, and train its own operators, the costs to one particular community would be huge. This is exactly what is happening in many communities, even within the narrower province of specialized and human services transportation. Rural communities need coordinated transportation services, not just transit, not just paratransit, not just taxis, not just police cars, and so on. The daunting costs of new technologies might become a potent force to encourage the coordination of services that has sometimes been slow to actually occur. A wide variety of stakeholders need to be involved in cost-sharing. Obvious parties include all levels of government, technology companies, system operators, and transit system users. Some technologies have assisted in making real improvements for rural and small urban transportation systems. Examples include Rural Nevada: Division of Aging Services (DAS) provided a grant to the Northern Nevada Transit Coalition (NNTC) to develop and implement the use of magnetic swipe cards in several transit operations that serve senior citizens (see Use of Magnetic Swipe Cards in Transportation in Rural Nevada, 2003). The primary goal was for NNTC transit operations Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 169 Examples
to eliminate the need for DAS-eligible clients to sign a paper for a bus ride while still being able to provide verification that the passenger did indeed board the transit vehicle. This project will purchase and install debit card technology into approximately 50 buses for passengers throughout rural Nevada who are elderly or have disabilities. The technology will (1) allow clients to not have to carry cash in order to make donations, (2) provide better computerized validation of their rides, (3) result in less chance of missing cash, and (4) increase ease of agency reporting. Passengers are issued personal rider ID cards with the local system logo and their name printed on the card. Encoded data (containing passenger name, ID number, and region code) are stored in three âtracksâ or fields on the magnetic strip on the back of the card. Because the cards are encoded with each clientâs name and personal ID number, the cards are not transferable. Each of the project sites has portable (handheld) magnetic card readers for each vehicle or route. As the passengers board the vehicle, they swipe their cards in the reader. Their name appears on the screen of the card reader (visible by the driver and the passenger) to verify ID. The data from the card are then stored in the memory of the reader along with the time. When the dayâs trips are complete, each card reader is connected to a system computer. The recorded data on the card reader is then uploaded onto the synchronization utility to be matched with the trip. Once the information is imported into the synchronization utility, the client IDs and time stamps are automatically matched with scheduled trip tickets in the SQL Server database. The user can also delete invalid records such as duplicate or accidental swipes. The matched trip tickets are then automatically updated with the actual âOn Boardâ time stamps recorded by the card reader. Most of the process is handled automatically by the software and is actually very easy for the person at each step of the process. The passengers swipe their cards, the driver verifies the information, and the dispatcher (or office staff) connects the card readers to transfer the data into the system. The entire dayâs trips for each card reader can be synchronized with the scheduling database in less than a minute or two (depending on the number of trips and unmatched tickets). 170 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
Sweetwater, Wyoming: Sweetwater County Transit Authority (STAR), in cooperation with local human service and coordinating agencies, installed a semi-automated dispatching system to assist with the operation of their para-transit service. The dispatching system uses color-coded computer-based maps to identify origins and destinations and route the particular bus. STAR has chosen to disable the fully- automated driver notification features and route the buses via voice instructions. This enables the dispatcher to override the computer system according to the demands of a given situation. For example, if there is a trip request at the edge of a designated zone, the computer will only send a vehicle from that zone to make the pickup, whereas the dispatcher will notice that there is a vehicle in another zone several miles closer to the trip request and dispatch the nearest vehicle. The dispatching system also allows STAR to track demographic and trip information for every passenger trip and to compile statistics and reports without additional data collection. STAR can, for example, track the number of low-income riders or welfare trips for a given month. This allows STAR to create a detailed analysis of the clientele and to tailor service to meet the needs of this clientele. With the scheduling efficiency provided by the semi-automated dispatching system, in addition to the planning capabilities offered by the demographic tracking system, STAR has been able to increase productivity without additional vehicles or personnel. According to the former director of the Sweetwater Transit Authority, STAR saw a 400- percent increase in the number of rides provided since the inception of the automated system. Arrowhead, Minnesota: The Arrowhead region of Minnesota is a rural area that covers 18,000 square miles in the northeastern area of the state. It is characterized by a sparse population and brutal winter weather that lasts from October until August. Rural public transportation in the Arrowhead region involves 3- and 4-hour trips, without radio contact for nearly all of the journey. Major snowstorms could create serious safety concerns among transit officials. Since October of 1997, the ARCTIC (Advanced Rural Transit Information and Coordination) system has coordinated communication between transit vehicles and the central dispatch facility. Automatic vehicle locator (AVL) systems allow the central facility to track the exact location of transit vehicles. In addition, the automated scheduling system handles reservations and routing for the regionâs fixed-route, paratransit, and subscription services. The ARCTIC system increases Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 171
the safety of drivers and passengers dramatically, because there is constant communication between the vehicle and dispatching center and the location of the vehicle can be tracked. Second, the ARCTIC system permits more passengers to ride the rural transportation services because the reservations can be made in real time. Potential passengers can make their trip decisions based on the immediate weather conditions and then call the dispatching center to find the exact location of the nearest vehicle. Although this will not provide thousands of new riders overnight, it will contribute to the long-term growth of rural paratransit in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. The key to the success of the ARCTIC system is the sharing of the technology and resources among state and local agencies. This sharing spreads the cost among the participating groups (i.e., snow plows, state patrol cars, state DOT maintenance vehicles, transit buses, and volunteer-driven vehicles). In addition, sharing creates benefits across the board, which offset the total cost. Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Cape Cod Transit, acting in conjunction with Bridgewater State College, received an FTA intelligent transportation system (ITS) demonstration grant to implement a computer-aided dispatching (CAD) system, an AVL system, and a SmartCard and mobile data terminal (MDT) system. When the system is completed, all of the hardware and software systems will be connected via a LAN. Montgomery County, Maryland: (Although not generally thought of as a rural area, Montgomery County has received Section 5311 funds, and their technology ideas should be extremely relevant for at least some rural areas.) The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is implementing a CAD system and AVL system on its buses, along with several ATIS applications. These ITS applications will be part of the countyâs Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), which will be one of the most advanced transportation systems in the United States when completed. The GPS-based AVL system also includes a trunking radio system and on board computers for each vehicle. The AVL system relays vehicle location data to the control center, where they will then be relayed to information centers and kiosks and to the Public Works web site, where potential riders can find the location of the nearest bus. The AVL system will be linked to the CAD system, which will provide for dynamic routing and scheduling of vehicles. The AVL system will also link with the countyâs traffic signal control system (located in the same office) which will allow certain buses to receive signal priority at traffic 172 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
lights. MCDOT officials believe that schedule adherence will be dramatically improved with the introduction of the AVL and CAD systems, which will then lead to increased ridership. It is still too early to estimate actual benefits. The key to obtaining the funding for the ATMS system in Montgomery County was the integration of transit with traffic applications. The system was presented as a package deal, designed to manage traffic and transit simultaneously with the ultimate goal of moving people. Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged: The Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged was created in 1989 for the purpose of coordinating special needs transportation in the State of Florida. The Commission serves or advocates for an estimated 5.4 million transportation-disadvantaged Floridians. The Commission recently received a $200,000 FTA Rural ITS demonstration grant for a project involving multi-county and multi- agency coordination through a CAD system. The Commission selected three systems in rural counties, Flagler, St. John, and Putnam, to participate in this demonstration of electronically coordinated transit service for job training, employment, medical services, rehabilitation, and other special needs. The Commission will also be contracting with Florida A&M University for technical assistance. Unique features of this project include coordination among agencies that already employ advanced public transit technologies. Putnam County, for example, already uses a GPS-based AVL system for its vehicles. This means that the Commission will have to ensure that the CAD system that is implemented is compatible with the existing systems in the three counties. Resources Harman, L.J. Advanced Technology for Accessing Jobs, prepared by Bridgewater State College for the Community Transportation Association of America and the Federal Transit Administration, 2003. Kihl, M., Crum, M., and Shinn, D. Linking Real Time and Location in Scheduling Demand-Responsive Transit, prepared by Iowa State University for the Iowa Department of Transportation, 1996. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 173
Schweiger, C.L., and Marks, J.B. Advanced Public Transportation Systems (APTS) Traveler Information Services: The State of the Art, prepared for FTA and FHWA, 1997. TCRP Report 76: Guidebook for Selecting Appropriate Technology Systems for Small Urban and Rural Public Operators. Prepared by North Carolina State University, KFH Group and Transcore, 2001. Use of Magnetic Swipe Cards in Transportation in Rural Nevada, prepared by Mobilitat, Inc. and Gardatek for the Nevada Division of Aging Services, Nevada Department of Transportation, and the Northern Nevada Transit Coalition, 2003. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Advanced Public Transportation Systems Deployment in the United States, prepared for FTAâs Office of Mobility Innovation, August 1996, Report No. FHWA-JPO-96-0032. 174 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
VEHICLE FLEET STATUS AND EVALUATION Its fleet of vehicles will be the most significant and important capital asset that a coordinated transportation system will have. It is important to periodically review the status of all vehicles in the coordinated systemâs fleet. This review achieves several objectives, including assessment of the suitability and condition of vehicles that are available, the need for and timing of vehicle replacement on a scheduled basis, and preparation of a capital program and budget. Such a review also helps in assessing which vehicles in a fleet are most appropriate for the services that are provided, gaps in the fleet, and the need for new types of vehicles not currently in the fleet. In a coordinated setting, maintaining accurate and timely information on vehicle fleets is important in order for all coordination participants to be confident about the reliability and safety of the coordinated services being provided. Further, especially when setting up a coordinated system, complete and accurate information on all vehicles available for service delivery in relation to service requirements is necessary. Completion of a vehicle fleet inventory is an easy way to get potential coordination participants working together to begin addressing coordination opportunities and issues in their community. To complete a statement of the status and assessment of vehicles available for coordinated transportation services, create a common form that all participating organizations and other transportation services providers will complete. The form should include the following information for each vehicle: 1. Organization contact information: name, mailing address, phone, fax, contact person, and email address; and 2. General fleet characteristics: breakdown of vehicles by size range, seated passenger capacity, and wheelchair capacity. For each vehicle, collect the following information: manufacturer, model, year; purchase price; sources of funding (local, state, federal); Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 175 Description In a coordinated setting, maintaining accurate and timely information on vehicle fleets is important. Methods Relevance to Coordination
odometer reading and date of reading; type of vehicle (automobile, van, light transit, transit); physical length of vehicle; seating capacity-seated and wheelchair; rating of operating condition (excellent, good, fair, poor); year of scheduled replacement; and other features (two-way radio, farebox, IT features, etc.). Conducting a vehicle fleet inventory can be completed as a stand-alone project or it can be incorporated into a broader survey of organization transportation services and capabilities. The inventory and evaluation provides important information for coordination partners on the size, characteristics, and condition of vehicles available. Broader considerations include knowledge of the use characteristics of the vehicles (days and times of use), the availability of vehicles for sharing among organizations, and opportunities for sale and re-use of older vehicles in lighter duty circumstances and in support of volunteer or small community programs. Some vehicles may no longer be suitable for all-day, daily, high-mileage use, but may still be serviceable for occasional, evening, or weekend use. The Council on Aging and Human Services (COAST) in Colfax, Washington, manages its vehicle fleet so that organizations and communities are able to borrow or lease vehicles from COAST. As vehicles are replaced, they are made available for lending or leasing (See Chapter 8, page 320). Resources Community Transportation Association of America, Rural Transit Assistance Program, Vehicle Procurement, revised 2001, at http://www.ctaa.org/data/rtap_vehicleproc.pdf. Florida Department of Transportation, Public Transit Office, Florida Vehicle Procurement Program, at the University of South Florida, Center for Urban Transportation Research web site, at http://www.cutr.usf.edu/research/fvpp/fvpp2.htm. Ohio Department of Transportation, ODOT Vehicle Catalog and Selection Guide, 1997. See also ODOTâs Term Contract Program at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ptrans/Term_Contracts/2002_03_term_ cont.htm. 176 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Conducting a vehicle fleet inventory can be completed as a stand- alone project or it can be incorporated into a broader survey of organization transportation services and capabilities. Examples Considerations
VOLUNTEERS Volunteers donate time to organizations or individuals on an informal but regular basis. Many rural communities depend on volunteers to provide trips to persons with special transportation needs or to fulfill other critical roles in coordinated transportation operations. Coordinated rural transportation systems have used volunteers in many roles: as drivers, driver recruiters, driver trainers or supervisors, driver recognition leaders, dispatchers, program marketers, or transportation escorts. Volunteers can be especially effective in providing highly personalized levels of care for persons who require âarm-in-armâ assistance in and out of buildings. Some volunteers may even escort individuals through extensive batteries of medical tests or provide other kinds of unusually personalized help. Such assistance is generally not available from paid transportation service drivers or from anyone else except highly trained and highly paid personal assistants or nursing staff. If such services were available from paid staff, the costs would probably be so high that few individuals needing such services could pay for them. Volunteers can save money for transportation agencies and can provide services that would not otherwise be available. Because they are seldom used by public transit agencies, non-transit agencies participating in coordinated transportation services can make volunteers available for the overall benefit of rural communities. Clearly, individuals whose travel needs may be poorly served by traditional transit and paratransit operations still need to travel. In such situations, using volunteer drivers has many benefits: â¦ Costs of providing trips are reduced, allowing an emphasis on trips that are difficult to serve (such as long-distance trips). â¦ Individuals looking for ways to help their community make contributions to the well-being of others, but they can do so to fit their own schedules and work levels. â¦ Persons who might otherwise not be able to travel for specific trips (such as persons with disabilities or who are elderly) enjoy Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 177 Description Relevance to Coordination Volunteers can save money for transportation agencies and can provide services that would not otherwise be available.
the benefits of access to a wide variety of life-maintenance and life-enriching activities without the worry of intruding on the goodwill of their families, friends, and neighbors. â¦ Volunteers usually offer a more personalized service than is available through other travel modes. Finding and maintaining a well-trained, enthusiastic core of volunteers are important keys to success. In some communities (for example, Bedford, Virginia), rural transportation providers believe that volunteers are most easily found in small group settings where individuals have obvious common self-interests. Small communities with binding ties can be found in neighborhoods, other geographic communities, faith- based organizations, and within some foundation, service, medical, and governmental groups. Recruiting, training, and maintaining loyal volunteers are subjects that have received much attention. (For example, see CTAA, 2001; Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation et al., 2003; Burkhardt, 1999.) Careful attention must be given to these specific issues. For example, because volunteers are not working for pay (although many do get reimbursement for their expenses), volunteer recognition and support efforts are crucial to maintaining good volunteer workers. The Beverly Foundation (2003) has found several key lessons from their efforts in volunteer transportation: â¦ Volunteers worry about their potential liability. â¦ Insurance for volunteer transportation does not have to be expensive or difficult to obtain. â¦ Volunteer involvement can make it unnecessary to purchase vehicles or hire staff. â¦ When riders recruit their own volunteer drivers, they can also schedule their own rides. â¦ Volunteer friends are often willing to drive when someone asks them. 178 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III Methods Considerations Volunteer recognition and support efforts are crucial to maintaining good volunteer workers.
â¦ Various reimbursement options can make it easier to recruit volunteer drivers. â¦ Volunteer involvement can make it possible for a transportation service to meet special needs of travelers at an affordable cost. â¦ Volunteer driver services are seen as âuser friendlyâ because many drivers are from those groups of people needing rides. Funding and other resources need to be scaled to specific plans for volunteer involvement, local conditions, the size of the geographic area to be covered, the institutional complexity of the service area, the transportation options available, and the level of travel demands. Developing a coalition of partners and agencies committed to serving special transportation needs may take some time, and public transit agencies initially may not recognize the benefits offered by volunteer driver programs for services outside of traditional transit networks. Many transportation services have successfully used volunteers (Beverly Foundation, 2001). Some of the larger and more successful efforts include those in Riverside County, California, and Portland, Oregon. Both of these services are discussed in depth in Chapter 8; key details are summarized here. The Transportation Reimbursement and Information Project (TRIP) complements public transportation services in Riverside County, California, by reimbursing volunteers to transport individuals where no transit service exists or when the individual is too frail to use other transportation. Older persons are the primary clientele. By using volunteers, a needed service is provided at a small fraction of what it would cost using more conventional methods. As a program of last resort, TRIP supplements rather than competes with public transportation. In fact, TRIP insists that its clients be unable to use public transportation before they are accepted into the program. Therefore, TRIP expands the availability of transportation, increases the number of trips overall, and fills gaps where there is no public transportation service. TRIP is a program of the nonprofit Partnership to Preserve Independent Living for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities. In FY2000-2001, TRIPâs annual transportation expenses were $350,157. With this budget, TRIP served 537 people by providing 48,350 one-way trips at a Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 179 Examples Developing a coalition of partners and agencies committed to serving special transportation needs may take some time.
cost of $7.24 a trip. These trips were provided by more than 1,000 volunteer drivers, who were reimbursed at a rate of 28 cents a mile for use of their personal vehicles. If the public transportation providers were to take over the TRIP program with paid drivers and publicly owned vehicles, the costs would be at least five times higher. (In fact, public transit costs would be even greater if the value of a personalized escort service were included.) Persons using TRIP must begin and end their round trip in Riverside County, which is located in Southern California about 60 miles west of Los Angeles. The county includes several cities, the largest of which is Riverside, with a population of 255,000. Much of the 7,200 square miles constituting Riverside County consists of sparsely populated rural areas. For this reason, the average one-way trip provided by TRIP is 22.6 miles. Nearly a third of the countyâs 1.5 million residents live in unincorporated areas, and almost 13 percent are 65 years of age or older. TRIP is not advertised. Instead, individuals are referred to TRIP by its 130 nonprofit and governmental partners, such as the Department of Social Services, the Office on Aging, visiting nurses, the Multipurpose Senior Services Program, and Care Teams (which consist of the District Attorneyâs office, police, licensing agencies, adult day care programs, and the Better Business Bureau). TRIP pays Senior HelpLink to screen potential applicants to determine eligibility by questions such as whether the caller is unable to drive, needs assistance getting in and out of a vehicle, or has no family members to provide a ride. About one-third of the applicants are denied eligibility, because the committee determines that the individual can use other transportation options, such as Dial-a-Ride. TRIP is considered a service of last resort. The constituency of TRIP is considered âat risk.â Typically, a client is in the program for no more than 3 years. This is because persons accepted into the program are generally unable to live independently longer than 3 more years or because they have died within that time- frame. The attrition rate is estimated at 85 percent in 3 years. Because one of the funding sources of TRIP, the Older Americans Act, prohibits income qualifications, eligible riders do not have to be low income, although most are. The philosophy behind TRIP is that people must take responsibility for the outcomes in their lives. Therefore, riders are asked to recruit their 180 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III The constituency of TRIP is considered âat risk.â
own drivers. TRIP staff coaches them in how to approach friends and neighbors and how to assure them that they are not asking for charity, because they can reimburse the driver. One of the problems of elderly people is isolation, which leads to giving up. Finding a driver encourages people to get to know their neighbors and reduces the feeling of dependency and victimization. Although 85 percent of TRIP clients are successful in recruiting a driver, TRIP staff has begun a volunteer driver corps to help the remaining 15 percent. The concept is to partner with existing organizations to recruit reserve drivers from within those organizations. Ride Connection is a nonprofit community service organization that offers transportation assistance to persons with disabilities and seniors without alternative transportation. Ride Connection serves a three- county area, including Washington, Multnomah, and Clackamas Counties in Oregon. The service area is both urban and rural, because it incorporates Portland and surrounding suburban communities, but also stretches beyond the urban growth area to serve the rural portions of the three counties. The organization prides itself on an ongoing commitment to identifying transportation needs and filling them. Ride Connection has grown to include a network of 32 separate partner agencies and holds 22 separate contracts with its participating providers. The service has more than 330 volunteers providing 236,000 rides annually. An estimated 8,800 residents of the three-county area benefit from participating agency trips each year. Eligibility for the service is self-declared. Ride Connection has an annual operating budget of approximately $4.6 million. More than two-thirds of these funds go to more than 30 provider organizations. Ride Connectionâs internal budget is just over $1 million, which funds 15 staff members and several support programs. Ride Connection has a planning staff that provides coordinated planning services that benefit participating agencies throughout the three-county area. Ride Connection planners work to identify service gaps and opportunities around community-based transportation. They also act as policy planners and advocates helping to forward transportation policies that support the mobility needs of its clientele. Ride Connection believes strongly that volunteer workers can provide the highest level of service available. They recognize that volunteers do require compensation in the form of recognition, quality treatment and training, and appreciation. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 181 One of the problems of elderly people is isolation, which leads to giving up.
Ride Connection treats its relationships with network providers as a collaborative and supportive one, believing that cooperation in problem solving leads to longer term solutions than simple enforcement of its existing contracts. Ride Connection has a very strong commitment to training its volunteers. The organization believes that volunteers can provide an equal or higher level of service as paid employees if they receive the proper training and are recognized for quality work. Resources Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation et al., 2003. Volunteer Drivers â A Guide to Best Practices. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ transit/vdg/default.htm. Accessed: December 29, 2003. Bernier, B., and Seekins, T. 1999. âRural Transportation Voucher Program for People with Disabilities: Three Case Studies.â Journal of Transportation Statistics, vol. 2, no. 1. Washington, DC. Bernier, B., Seekins, T., and Herron, K. 1996. Making Transportation Work: For People With Disabilities In Rural America. Supported by Volunteer Rural Transportation Program: Missoula, MT. Beverly Foundation, Enhancing Mobility for Older People, prepared for the Community Transportation Association of America, 2003. Burkhardt, J. Bridging the Gap Between the Elderly and the Disabled: A Volunteer Transportation Option, prepared by Ecosometrics, Incorporated for the Elder Services of the Merrimac Valley and Project ACTION, 1999. Burkhardt, J.E., Koffman, D., and Murray, G. Economic Benefits of Coordinating Human Service Transportation and Transit Services, TCRP Report 91, prepared for the Transportation Research Board by Westat, March 2003. Available at http://gulliver.trb.org/ publications/tcrp/tcrp_rpt_91.pdf. Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 2003. Senior Mobility Toolkit, Final Report. Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates: San Francisco. pp. 34-46. Montana University Affiliated Rural Institute on Disabilities. 1995. Rural Transportation: Using Vouchers to Improve Access. Missoula, MT. Montana University Affiliated Rural Institute on Disabilities. 1996. Making Transportation Work for People with Disabilities in Rural America. Supported by Volunteer Rural Transportation Program. Missoula, MT. 182 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III
The Beverly Foundation, Supplemental Transportation Programs for Seniors, prepared for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Washington, DC, 2001. âVolunteers in TransportationâSome Issues to Consider,â Community Transportation Association of America Technical Assistance Brief No. 1, 2001. Chapter 6 Tools for Addressing Detailed Coordination Issues 183
SUMMARY This chapter has provided information on specific topic areas expected to be vital to the continued success of coordinated transportation systems: â¦ Accounting and financial management; â¦ Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 504, and coordinated rural transportation services; â¦ Budgeting; â¦ Consensus building and setting goals and objectives; â¦ Involving stakeholders; â¦ Marketing and public information; â¦ Monitoring and evaluation; â¦ Needs assessment; â¦ Organization of the planning process; â¦ Organizational framework for coordination; â¦ Strategic directionâstrengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; â¦ Technology; â¦ Vehicle fleet status and evaluation; and â¦ Volunteers. The information provided here should allow systems to fine-tune their operations to create more effective and efficient coordinated rural transportation operations. 184 Techniques for Improving Current Coordination Efforts SECTION III