Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FEMA Resources

Not sure why there have to be new resources on a topic I just covered. Must be a message from the universe. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has two new resources and another worthy of mention.

For ongoing updates about FEMA and emergency management and planning, there is the FEMA blog. Coverage this week includes the California natural disaster due to weather and upcoming winter challenges. Twitter and online links are given.

The second resource is a comprehensive planning guide, Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, Version 2.0. Since I do not dabble too much in this area, perhaps one of my resolutions for 2011 is to have a guest blogger review this resource.

Better write that down.

For those even more involved in emergency planning is FEMA's lessons learned website. For those updates, there is a lessons learned newsletter available at the site.

Before I add any more resolutions to an already long list, let me wish all of you a happy and a healthy holiday season and a joyous new year. Have fun, be safe, and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2010 Highlights

I am starting the recap early this year, going over notes, my blog, the index of my old newsletter, and thinking about what from 2010 resonates and will last as useful resources and information as the calendar page turns over to 2011.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and a healthy holiday season and a joyous new year.

Stay Up to Date at the National Resource Center for Human Service Transportation Coordination
Go to the NRC website - - for news and information from around the country, such as the blogs of the United We Ride Ambassadors. The NRC also has resources about all aspects of public and human services transportation, including several compilations about significant topics.

New News Sources

The Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) has launched a newsletter, Caryn's Corner, named for Executive Director Caryn Souza.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)created two transportation-related newsletters, one is the Transportation Coordination Quarterly Newsletter, a compilation of news and resources involving coordination, and the other a monthly newsletter that spans transportation sectors.

Specialized Taxi Transportation

In 2010, the Taxi, Limousine, and Paratransit Association (TLPA) prepared reports that address the taxi industry's role in providing non-emergency medical transportation and accessible transportation. These are Assessing the Full Cost of Implementing An Accessible Taxicab Program and Non-Emergency Medicaid Transportation (NEMT): How to Maximize Safety and Cost Effectiveness
Through Better Use of Private For-Hire Vehicle Operators
. The accessible transportation report discusses how the taxi industry works in terms of the practical obstacles and costs of providing accessibility where the additional costs fall on mostly small businesses and independent contractors. The NEMT report provides an excellent explanation of what coordination provides and what models of NEMT exist throughout the country.

Learning about Health Care Changes
For information on what states must accomplish and are doing to fulfill the mandates of the new health care law, the National Governors' Association (NGA) has created a website, the Health Reform Implementation Resource Center, a product of the State Consortium on Health Care Reform Implementation (State Consortium), which provides information and technical assistance to states about requirements, offers options and best practices and synthesizes feedback to federal agencies on issues that affect state implementation. The website has resources on aspects of the health reform law that are likely to have the biggest effect on states – the Medicaid expansion, the establishment of health insurance exchanges, insurance regulations, and delivery system initiatives, along with important governance, coordination and timing issues for states are available from NGA and on each of the Consortium members' websites.

The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) has a short presentation, Health Reform: Issues for State Governments, that explains the effective dates of different provisions, what will happen to Medicaid, and summarizes long-term care and other provisions.

With greater numbers of people to be covered by Medicaid and preventive and maintenance medicine to be practiced, there may well be many more people traveling to regular doctor appointments. The Community Transportation Association of America is assisting providers with training, the Competitive Edge, to enable providers to be more efficient for when the new law takes effect.

Transportation for Challenged Populations

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) report, Funding the Public Transportation Needs of an Aging Population, discusses the depth of the growing need for transportation services among Older Americans and the amounts of funding that will be necessary to provide those services. In addition to APTA, the report was guided by input from a technical working group that included CTAA, Easter Seals Project ACTION, and the AARP Public Policy Institute, all members of the National Consortium on the Coordination of Human Services Transportation.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has a multitude of resources related to the intersection of transit and the ADA. These include regulations, legal guidance, details about equipment and paratransit eligibility, and so much more. A new page has topic guides on selected ADA topics.

The Easter Seals Project ACTION website always has resources for government staff, transportation providers and transportation-challenged populations. These resources offer information to improve services, educate staff and enhance public participation.

Census Guides the Future

Census 2010 and Transit: What's at stake? is a web portal that the NRC created for transit-related Census resources. The 2010 Census will help communities receive over $400 billion in federal funds each year for many activities including transit and human services. Visit the NRC's Census 2010 page to read about how public transportation may be affected, learn about possible outcomes for tribal communities, and find a list of quick links to audio and video clips about the Census.

State-Level Sustainability Plans
State-wide sustainability and livability movements are turning into established parts of state governments with plans that span different sectors of the economy and public works, including transportation. At their core, these plans envision transportation systems that meet present needs without compromising the lifestyles of future generations.

Hawaii's plan, Hawaii 2050, incorporates increased public transportation as a goal and an indicator of progress under its community and social well-being heading. Hawaii's plan goes way beyond the environment, addressing such different issues as the economy, education and health care.

The Department of Transportation for Washington, D.C., the equivalent of a state department of transportation that also has jurisdiction over local roads, releases its Sustainability Plan 2010, which promotes transit, biking and walking and seeks to reduce energy consumption.

The Oregon Department of Transportation also has a sustainability plan. It emphatically incorporates public transportation and the environmental and health benefits of zero and low-emission modes. The state DOT also commits to a policy of locating its own facilities in places that employees can reach by walking and transit.

State Planning Participation

The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), via its Rural Transportation Clearinghouse, posted a presentation that local officials can use or modify for orientation of new board members, transportation committee members or staff. The Guide for Rural Local Officials: Evaluating Your Input into the Statewide Transportation Planning Process explained the local role in state transportation planning across modes. The guide was also available in a PowerPoint format.

NADO also released a new online version of its Metropolitan and Rural Transportation Planning: Case Studies and Checklists for Regional Collaboration. This guide was intended for leadership and professional staff of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), rural planning organizations (RPOs), state departments of transportation (DOTs), and regional development organizations that are involved in transportation planning, programming, and service delivery, and other planning partners.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released an MPO primer, Staffing and Administrative Capacity of Metropolitan Planning Organizations. It is a terrific nuts and bolts detailed description of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), their staffs, projects, funding, partnerships and formal arrangements with state and local governments.

Livability and Sustainability
The Initiative for Sustainable Communities and States (ISCS) compiles the news and resources of the federal interagency sustainability partnership in one place. There is information about funding, policy, and examples for states and localities.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has a Transportation and Climate Change Resource Center with resources about how state departments of transportation, regional planning organizations and states are addressing climate change.

Always a solid source is the FTA's livability page, which is kept up to date with funding programs, case studies, and news and links related to the interagency sustainability partnership.

Also on My Favorites List

TCRP SYNTHESIS 85: Effective Use of Citizen Advisory Committees for Transit Planning and Operations is a must-read for anyone who either works with public involvement and stakeholder groups, recommends them, or whose work is in some way involves public involvement.

TCRP Report 140: A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services, a product of the Transit Cooperative Research Program, gets into the weeds on what constitutes a non-fixed route, flexible transit service, why communities and regions choose them, the relative costs and how they operate either on their own or as supplements to traditional fixed route and ADA paratransit service.

Compilation of tribal transit resources, which appeared on this page earlier in the year.

An Express Stop blog post offers a compendium of emergency preparedness resources.

Relevant to public employees and citizens in every state is a National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Fiscal Brief: State Balanced Budget Provisions, which explains what is meant by a balanced budget, to which funds state constitutional and statutory provisions apply and what enforcement mechanisms exist. Interesting is how varied balanced budget requirements are. This not a one-size-fits-all term.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Resources for Emergency Preparedness

National RTAP - the Rural Transit Assistance Program - announces its updated free training module, Emergency Procedures for Rural Transit Drivers. The training includes a Learner’s Guide, a Self-paced eLearning Course Disc, an Instructor’s Guide, and a disc with videos and a trainer’s PowerPoint presentation. It can be used in a classroom setting or by a single student, and is appropriate for both new and experienced transit drivers. The training offers information on preparedness for hazards and threats that may be encountered as a transit operator. This training module also offers targeted training on the Seven Steps of Crisis Management.

For more information, please contact Pam Russell DiGiovanni at 888-589-1122 or

FEMA Reviews its Progress

Although FEMA’s Preparedness for the Next Catastrophic Disaster - An Update, a report from the Department of Homeland Security, will not render assistance in the midst of an actual emergency, it provides food for thought about what is involved across the different types of agencies called to serve during or in the aftermath of a man-made or natural disaster.

Transportation is mentioned as a piece of the pie of emergency response services, and discussed in reference to large-scale evacuations.

FEMA is responsible for providing direction, guidance, and technical assistance on state and local evacuation plans that contain integrated information on transportation operations, shelters, and other elements of a successful evacuation. FEMA is also required to work with state, tribal, and local authorities to support contraflow planning, where the normal flow of traffic is reversed to aid in an evacuation, and is responsible for ensuring that adequate resources are available for evacuation efforts.

Most indicators of progress have progressed with a moderate rating. Substantial progress has been made in the areas of emergency communications and having pre-disaster contract in place.