Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gleaning the Evidence: Needs and Preferences of the Aging Population

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) concludes a study of ADA paratransit services that does more than list the many challenges. In ADA Paratransit Services: Demand Has Increased, but Little is Known about Compliance, there is a litany of woes - increased ridership for service that is expensive to provide, ride shedding (organizations or agencies that once did certain kinds of trips no longer do so), and increased fuel and labor costs. The gap between fares and costs per trip are huge for ADA paratransit. 

Some of the report focuses on the:
[t]ypes of actions agencies are taking include coordinating efforts among various service providers, transitioning passengers from ADA paratransit to fixed-route service, improving the accessibility of fixed-route service, ensuring more accurate eligibility determinations, realigning paratransit service with minimum ADA paratransit requirements, and improving technology for scheduling and dispatch.
What is wonderful about the report is the depth of coverage of the strategies transit systems are employing and the issues over which transit systems have no control, but which have huge consequences. Travel training is discussed as one of the strategies that both improves service for individuals and helps reduce expenses.

[MAX rapid bus in Kansas City, MO.]

My Dog Is Old and He Loves His New Doggy Bed - So Much for Cliches

Also examining the problem of a population that has higher-than-average mobility problems is the report Meeting Transportation Needs in an Aging-Friendly Community from the AARP Livable Communities project. It assumes that like the cliche, older people are unable to adopt new habits. It argues that older people do not give up their cars easily and that when they do, it is only to sit as a passenger in someone else's car. However true those conclusions may be for current seniors and while the report concedes that the quality of public transportation in a given area has much to do with travel habits, even the travel habits of seniors, the data is not examined for the differences between today's boomers and their elders; nor does it examine the increasing popularity of transit, biking and walking.

Another, also recent, AARP publication, Impact of Boomers on U.S. Travel, 1969-2009, takes a somewhat different perspective, acknowledging the dynamic role of the boomer generation and finding in the evidence an uptick since 1995 in boomer use of transit. So one must ask - and this report does - whether, just as this generation transformed what it meant to be politically involved, how to form and navigate long-term relationships, and even the way we view generations, they will now transform what it means to be a senior citizen and how people who are older get around.


[Fountain near Plaza area of Kansas City, MO. The MAX runs right by here.]

The 1969-2009 study aptly points out that no matter the travel habits of this large cohort, they will be making medical trips in record numbers (though, with the recession, the number of total medical trips has leveled). The study also astutely observes that even if boomers will be exhibiting different travel behavior than their predecessors, where they live will influence their mobility options and habits. Raised on Leave it to Beaver and the Brady Bunch, this is primarily a suburban generation.
Many baby boomers have lived their entire lives in the suburbs—born and raised there, raised their children there, and most will age in place there. The place where people live as they age is critical to the kind of support networks and mobility options available to them at home.
Traveling Generation

The study shows that boomers are travelers, more mobile than both their elders and subsequent generations. This is partly due to women's participation in the workforce and a generation in which women's driving habits resembled those of men. As a generation, they drove their children to more activities and included record numbers of active, traveling, individuals without children.

Now, boomers are leading in other respects. "As the baby boomer cohort ages, retired couples and single-person households are growing faster than households with children." Likewise, multi-generational households have become more common as children move back home after college and as many boomers take care of their parents and aging relatives, though, the study points out, these phenomena represent a small percentage of the population and do not appear to have altered travel numbers or statistics.

Other Shifts with Children Grown

Now that most boomers no longer have young children or teenagers at home, there has been a downward trend in "maintenance trips," those necessary to sustain a household and transport people to regularly scheduled events, such as grocery shopping, daycare and after-school activities.
Vehicle travel for the baby boomers increased greatly in the 1980s and early 1990s, and then started to decline after 1995. The trends in transit use show a steady increase in the number of transit trips per person as the Baby Boom Generation ages, and a noticeable increase in 2009. Note that transit use by all ages increased during the 2008–2009 NHTS data collection period, as the economic recession was beginning and gas prices first spiked up to four dollars a gallon.
Like the aforementioned AARP report, this study shows that the primary mode of travel for boomers has been and continues to be the automobile. What neither publication discusses is the higher divorce rate and common situation of adult family members living at great distances from one another, which have the potential to significantly change the experience of old age from dependence primarily on a family network to dependence on a network of friends and community services, public and private. While most boomers will probably continue to age in the suburban communities in which they have lived for years "policymakers are carefully watching whether the baby boomers who chose to move will consider transportation issues in making their decision."

[A quiet, mid-day Union Station in Kansas City, MO.]

The study concludes with recommendations for greater coordination in medical transportation, safety education and technology for drivers, and innovative alternative transportation options on the spectrum between the single occupancy vehicle and conventional transit. In terms of how this generation perceives itself, "[t]echnologies and services will need to be for everyone, without the stigma of being for older people."

What Works Well for those in the Middle

With attention going to new urbanist projects in large cities and the challenges for transit and alternative transportation in rural areas, attention is not as frequently paid to the needs and challenges of our nation's medium-size cities. Reconnecting America's new report, Midsize Cities on the Move, is a welcome addition that discusses BRT, rapid bus, streetcars and their related street infrastructure in the context of smaller cities and satellite cities. Who championed the projects, the partnerships that pushed and now maintain them, and where the funding came from is discussed in detail.

Presentation Opportunity

Transportation is an important issue to the community of people with disabilities. The National Council on Independent Living is inviting proposals for presentations at its annual conference, to be held in Washington, DC n July 24-27, 2013. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 8, 2013. More details are available at http://e2.ma/click/njlsd/bmj3ad/zwn4y.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Technical Assistance Opportunities Offered

Do you have a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in your area?

If you do, maybe it would be a good idea to connect with that person. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federally run program that operates in every state and many communities to promote safe walking and biking routes to schools. The program recently received a national Harvard Bright Ideas in Government award, which recognizes and promotes creative government partnerships. The national director of the SRTS program attributes the award to the willingness of local and state organizers to make data-driven program decisions. "The policy experts selecting SRTS as a Bright Ideas award recipient pointed to the program's ability to obtain information on school travel habits from so many schools and communities, as well as how accurate the data is in forming and understanding national trends." Some of the other winners include local government networks that promote sustainability, video interviewing of human services clients, due to transportation challenges, and many education and employment-related projects, among others. (Sources: AASHTO Journal, Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Ash Center)


[Streetcar in Castro neighborhood of San Francisco.]

Technical Assistance Opportunities

Smart Growth America is offering free technical assistance in the form of one-or-two-day workshops for communities on such topics as transportation performance measurement and planning for small communities. The application deadline is next week on Oct. 25.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is gearing up for a round of Our Town grants. These grants are $25,000 to $200,000 each, for creative placemaking projects that contribute towards the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at their core. Our Town will invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to: Improve their quality of life; encourage greater creative activity; foster stronger community identity and a sense of place; and revitalize economic development. I am thinking public art at bus stops, transit and intercity stations. The application deadline is Jan. 14, 2013.

Webinars: Fare Free and Advisory Committees

As one of my panel members at a fare-free session a few years ago said, if the transit is good, fare free will make a big difference in ridership; but people will not use a lousy service even if it is free. That said, if you are intrigued (as I am) by the possibilities of fare-free service, next month the National Transit Institute is hosting a webinar, Implications and Outcomes of Fare-Free Transit Systems (TCRP Synthesis 101), on Nov. 15, 2012.


[Bike parking opportunity in Baltimore, near the Convention Center and Camden Yards ballpark.]

A secret to effective partnerships and decision making groups is to have the right people involved, people who have authority, energy or magical charms to make things happen. An Easter Seals Project Action webinar, BORPSAT: Bunch of the Right People Sitting Around the Table --Lessons for Maximizing the Effectiveness of your Transportation Advisory Committee, will address this issue on October 24. The webinar will discuss ways to ensure that diverse stakeholders, including representatives of the disability community, are involved as well as strategies for effective structure and operation of committees To register, email your name, ZIP code, phone number, email address, organization, and job title to registration@easterseals.com with the subject line "BORPSAT." (Caveat: There might not be a discussion of magical charms.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Opportunities for Communities - Funding, Health, Coordination

Federal Transit Administration
FTA rolls out a new webpage devoted to MAP-21 information, including illustrative apportionment data for several programs. 

National Transit Institute
Get some chocolates, coffee and a cushy pillow because NTI is putting courses online and posting archived webinars. These audio and video offerings include understanding the FTA and its programs, livability in transportation, and the National Transit Database 2010 Census updates, among others. NTI is currently maintains a webpage with all online offerings.

[Notice for a community bus in the Cotswolds area of England. The bus goes to supermarkets and the notice assures shoppers there will be "enough time to do your shopping."]

National Conference of State Legislatures
NCSL issues its quarterly Transportation Coordination Quarterly Newsletter with news about new statutory mandates and lapsing ones regarding state coordinating councils, and state laws relating to transportation for welfare recipients and older adults. "A task force was established in Connecticut to study how the state can encourage aging in place, which includes an examination of infrastructure and transportation improvements."

Community Transportation Association of America
CTAA's Joblinks program is accepting applications for the Job Access Mobility Institute, a multi-month, team-based research, design, and implementation process in which teams will develop and test a transportation service that solves a key challenge of their constituents. This opportunity will bring together community participants from the transportation, employment and training, and business sectors to solve mobility challenges. Applications are due by Aug. 24, 2012.

[Train decked out in Union Jack flag motif in London's Paddington Station.]

Health Impact Project
The Health Impact Project, which promotes the use of Health Impacts Assessments (HIAs) in public decision making has a funding opportunity "to support two types of health impact assessment (HIA) initiatives: 1) HIA demonstration projects that inform a specific decision ...; and 2) HIA program grants to enable organizations with previous HIA experience to conduct HIAs and develop sustainable, self-supporting HIA programs at the local, state, or tribal level." According to the Project, "HIA uses a practical approach that brings together scientific data, health expertise and public input to identify the potential health effects of a new proposal and to build in recommendations that minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities to improve health." The Health Impact Project is a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Proposals are due Sept. 28. 2012.

HIAs in transportation include coordinated transportation (Madison County, NY), expansion of bus routes (Indiana), and employer-sponsored transit subsidies (Tennessee). A map of HIAs across the U.S. has many more. You can view all projects or restrict the map to projects relating only to particular sectors, such as transportation or the built environment, among others.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Social Media Strategy for Technical Assistance and Transportation Providers

Social Media = Interaction = Lack of Control

Unlike traditional websites or blogs, the creator of a page or an account sends a message in one form or another, but does not control the direction any ensuing conversation will take. Many organizations use social media to announce events, news and resources. Others request feedback. Still others monitor in various ways how they are mentioned.

For the novices, at the end of this post please find a Social Media 101 section with advice and resources.

This social media strategy brief suggests ways to maximize and more effectively employ social media whether an organization is already an advanced user or just starting out. Please let me know how you are employing social media.

[Sculpture at St. Pancras train station in London. Multimodal access by Underground, buses and intercity rail. Across the street from Kings Cross train station, where platform 9 3/4 can be found.]

Purposes and Approaches

Social media has three primary purposes.
  1. News dissemination for promotion, outreach and public engagement;
  2. Staying informed about news, opportunities, challenges, feedback, and stakeholder activity; and
  3. Interacting with customers, clients, riders, and partners.

Most users concentrate on one or two of these, some effectively pursue all three. What most distinguishes social media use are the degree of uniformity and control that users exhibit and the individuality - or personality - of their voices.

Compare these two examples of twitter use. Each London Underground line has a separate twitter feed. They each sound exactly alike, without any personality (admittedly it is a huge, efficient and busy system with lots to do besides issuing tweets about happenings on the Jubilee, Piccadilly and other lines). Basically, the strategy is to get the word out, but not to interact. Compare that approach with Boulder Parking, which promotes various activities, multimodal opportunities, and the values of the city. There are many tweets and retweets. The feed reads less like mini-press releases from a public agency and more like a person who is excited about living in Boulder, CO.

Social Media Policy - To Have or Not to Have?

I have read various opinions on the topics of whether to have a social media policy and what to include in one. As this post covers much more than social policies, this will not be an in-depth discussion of such policies.

Entities of all types range from not having policies to having detailed rules for who may use social media and what should and should not be expressed. For those that eschew formal policies, the opinion seems to be that staff should do their jobs well, in the realm of social media and otherwise, at the very least avoiding stupid mistakes and inappropriate statements. Translation from old media: Do not post written work or visual images about or of anything you would not want to see on the front page of a major newspaper.

If a social media policy is adopted, I would advise that it be short and sweet, concisely explaining what is and what is not allowed and perhaps describing the tone that is sought. What is probably superfluous is a list of previous mistakes or obvious types of misjudgments. Most likely that staff is already aware not to use inappropriate language or images in any work-related statements, whether internal or external. (If not, a better approach might be to revisit hiring and evaluation practices.)

This is entirely a personal opinion. What I propose is that any policy be clear, to the point and easily comprehensible. I would suggest brevity so staff are not tempted to skim over important material.

Needless to say there are other opinions and these are easily found via a Google search. Any number of approaches can work well in different organizational cultures.

Social Media and Legal Requirements

This blog post does not contain legal advice.

Legal decisions lag a few years behind cultural developments because litigation is either settled (and does not produce case law) or takes time to reach appellate courts and produce rules of law. There is a lack of guidance about what record retention and freedom of information laws require of public agencies that participate in social media. One strategy would be to take a conservative approach to compliance with record retention laws and consider all content distributed via social media as “part of the public record subject to the state’s archiving requirements.” According to TCRP Synthesis 99: Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation, most transit agencies are not taking such a conservative course. More information about social media record retention policies are available in the report.

The report finds that some agencies post disclaimers to alert social media users that commenting on a blog or video or replying to a tweet, just as examples, may be matters of public record and "the privacy settings of the application host applies."

Another area of legal concern are accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The TCRP report acknowledges that this is a murky legal area. One approach offered in the report is to create alternatives for any inaccessible media. "Orange County, California, does not require its social media sites to comply with Section 508 requirements; instead, the county requires noncompliant sites to contain links to identical material on a compliant website or social media network."

More information is available online and there are other approaches. Easter Seals Project ACTION is a technical assistance center that works on issues of concern to people with disabilities. 

Mobility Services and Social Media

If you are interested in staying abreast on a daily basis with social media developments as they relate particularly to transportation and government, I recommend these sources.
  • TheTransitWire.com focuses on transit and other options available to the general public, specifically on organizational use of technology and social media. On twitter @TheTransitWire.
  • Transportation Social Media, a Facebook page for transportation professionals who use social media. There are daily updates with suggestions and commentary. This is a group page and any member may post questions (which are promptly answered), ideas, news and links.
  • GovLoop concentrates on social media issues for government entities. I follow them on twitter - @govloop - because there is a limited portion of their material that is relevant to my work. (A blog post on the site recently illustrated how Amtrak's good use of twitter is an outreach success.)
  • Talking Transportation, a blog, has social media as one of its areas of concentration. There is more than one blog with this name. This particular blog author is on twitter @LLloydBrown (who is a communications professional at AASHTO).
  • LinkedIn provides group discussions about all manner of transportation, transit and social media topics. If you are involved or interested in mobility management, join the Partnership for Mobility Management and its LinkedIn discussion group.

Personal News Feeds and Managing Social Media Accounts

I suggest using twitter to follow the sources you like. You can create your own personal news feed, with each entry taking little time to read, but stating enough that it is easy to determine whether or not to follow a link and read more.  

[Paddington Bear kiosk at Paddington Station, London.]

Managing Multiple Social Media Platforms

For anyone but the social media novice, it quickly becomes apparent that managing one's social media accounts can be a job in itself. Various options are available to lighten this load by allowing one to monitor multiple accounts on a single page. I personally use hootsuite and I am very happy with it, but must admit I have not tried any other options. (I did not see a wikihow post for this, but it is very easy to use.) Be advised that these platform services do not necessarily enable management of all types of social media. Facebook, Yahoo and Google also enable various linkages among accounts. Linkage services will likely continue to be improved.

Dashboard services other than hootsuite are nambu and seesmic. These allow scheduling of tweets, sharing easily with other social media and, for a fee, offer premium analytic tools.
Develop Your Inner Harriet the Spy

For developing your approach to getting the word out, staying informed, and interacting with others, one should take the time to see how partners and similar organizations are using social media. Use relevant search terms and monitor for a few weeks. Twitter is especially useful for breaking news, but also explore blogs, youtube channels, facebook pages and other media.

For technical assistance centers, active users of social media are the National Resource Center, Joblinks, RPO America, and Easter Seals Project ACTION; they integrate social media into their core activities. Honorable mention goes to CTAA's senior transportation specialist for her impressive employment of twitter (@SeniorTransInfo).

Transit agencies and transportation providers cover the broad spectrum from social media shyness to full immersion. Read below about examples of some effective users that range from small to large transit systems.

[Old media: Bulletin board in church entry advertising for volunteer drivers in Toddington, England. See below for photo with details.]

Learning from Others

As one of my expressions is "don't reinvent the wheel," a recent guide illustrates many uses of social media by public agencies and innovative examples. The GovLoop Guide provides a wonderful introductory explanation of social media venues and includes examples of live chat use, apps for local governments, why to use Pinterest, and more. There is a discussion about measuring performance of social media use as well. Though I am conversant with different media, there was information relevant to all but the most advanced social media aficionados. (That means I learned quite a bit.)

One example in the guide that I like is the analysis that the Veterans Administration performed to analyze negative social media comments about its services, finding that health care was not the problem, rather people were unhappy with customer service at a few VA medical centers. This illustrates the value of social media to not only spread positive messages, but also to employ free tools to find out what your audience is saying about you, and what it wants and does not want.

I also like the case the guide makes for public agency use of pinterest for posting photographs, charts, plans, even poll results. Are your vehicles attractive, iconic, your drivers friendly, your public adoring, your new free wifi or real-time bus info, or new bus shelters ready to be promoted? Sometimes the best way to toot those horns is go visual.

Examples from Sectors beyond Transportation

Because transit, transportation services and technical assistance vary widely in purpose, size and audiences, here are some examples that demonstrate possibilities for creative social media use.

The Managers Guide for Using Social Media in Government is a solid guide for beginners in terms of how to proceed, marketing basics and good examples from government. A favorite is the United States Geological Survey (USGC) twitter campaign of "Did you feel it?" to engage the public, particularly amateur seismologists, to report how an earthquake felt and its actual damage. This increases USGC's data of an earthquake's impact. Another good example of the twitter newsfeed phenomenon is an agency's twitter warning to communicate by text, twitter, and other social media instead of cell phones after an emergency.

A blog post from Government and Technology Solutions for State and Local Government shows how local governments are using social media, hiring social media managers, and inviting citizens to participate in tough decision making. I have also seen examples of this in the transit realm. 

Highways, Byways and State DOTs

Here are just two examples of transportation use of social media, one from the private sector and one from a state department of transportation.

Some entities allow staff or even drivers on facebook, twitter or wherever. One trucking company embraces its drivers' experiences.

The Washington State DOT, an early adopter of social media (using youtube since 2009), has created a website bulletin board of its social media use, a social room page, which enables even those who do not use any social media to visit a webpage with an instant visual of WashDOT's social media activity.  The agency has a blog and is also on flickr, twitter, and facebook - all linked to the social room page. (Thank you to Jeremy Bertrand's post on the Transportation and Social Media facebook group for this. Bertrand commented that the social room would prove useful were an emergency to occur.)

TCRP Synthesis

Many transit agencies are at the forefront of social media and public engagement. Certainly, citizens in some localities have embraced social media - particularly facebook and twitter - as channels to express their opinions about service. TCRP Synthesis 99: Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation found that there is room for many transit agencies to expand their use and the report includes the experiences of early adopters, large and small.

The TCRP synthesis report covers much more than its title suggests. The author, Susan Bregman, who writes TheTransitWire (discussed above), explores government agency employment of social media and examples that go beyond public transportation, but are always relevant to both transit and other community transportation. I will share some of the resources and case studies from this TCRP report. It is well worth reading in full, but for those who do not have time, there are the relevant highlights below. 

How Transit Employs Social Media

The following three examples are quotes from the TCRP report. There is more information about these systems in the report's case studies. These excerpts were selected for their usefulness to transit and technical assistance for systems of all sizes.

Mountain Line Transit (Morgantown, WV)
Mountain Line’s manager takes a hands-on approach to social media for two reasons. First, updating the Twitter account is not time-consuming. Second, as a small agency, Mountain Line does not have many employees who are both qualified and available to post social media updates.
• Find the best way to communicate with riders using the tools they already use.
• Make it easy for the customers to get the information they need.
Mountain Line believes that university students along with choice, or discretionary, riders constitute the primary audience for its social media communications, especially Twitter updates. Although these individuals may have bet- ter access to technology than some rider groups, the agency believes that its social media strategy does not exclude other riders. Most customers can receive text messages on their cell phones, enabling them to subscribe to Twitter sta- tus updates as text messages. In addition, customers can access real-time service updates by means of telephone, on display boards at several locations, and on the agency’s website. Mountain Line does not consider social media an effective way to reach stakeholders such as community- based organizations; overall, these groups have not adopted social media.
Mountain Line does not have a social media policy. Only two people generate the online content for this small agency, and they can easily discuss issues or concerns on an infor- mal basis. If the agency developed a policy, it would most likely focus on messaging, image, and information control. Although such a policy could be beneficial, the general man- ager questioned whether a social media policy alone could take the place of hands-on training and experience.
As with most transit properties, Mountain Line has received negative comments on Facebook and Twitter. Although the agency deletes or edits material it considers offensive, managers treat criticism as an opportunity to offer an explanation and to correct misinformation. Social media allow Mountain Line to answer rider questions in a public forum, on the assumption that if one individual has a question, it is likely that others want to know the same thing.
Metropolitan Transit Authority (New York City, Long Island and Westchester)
MTA retains electronic and paper copies of social media posts and staff members summarize social media activities for senior man- agement in monthly reports. Personnel use readily available statistics to track social media activity, to assess the impact of changes, and to identify successful practices.
On an everyday basis, social media benefit the MTA by allowing the agency to distribute its message unfiltered by reporters or traditional media outlets and provides other chan- nels for individuals to get information. This, in turn, has helped personalize an agency that many perceive as a “big faceless bureaucracy.”
       Don’t overlook the value of incoming messages— During a series of snowstorms, messages from customers helped MTA identify trouble spots in the field.
Translink (Vancouver, British Columbia)

A key benefit of engaging customers is the unparalleled opportunity to gain insight into customer attitudes and priorities. In the survey, TransLink said, “Social media is a little like having a direct line into what customers are thinking.” Agencies that know how to tap into that information can learn a great deal about “customer pain points” and how to improve service. … If you use social media correctly, the questions and comments will prompt responses from departments throughout the organization. Legitimate questions and complaints can lead to real change or thoughtful responses from the relevant departments— not just sympathy and excuses from communications or customer service staff. ...

[I]n the short term, social media also provide the agency with an opportunity to have fun. Free from the constraints of traditional media, The Buzzer [the Translink blog] “tackles all kinds of stories about transit history, the SkyTrain chime, oddities of the system, and more.” [Editor's Note: The blog currently has questions for riders about what they do while riding transit.]
Other examples abound. Phoenix Metro not only uses social media to promote its own services, but also to publicize businesses along its light rail line.This system has a social media staff person in its communications department. More information is available in this article from Progressive Railroading.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has a youtube series, Bus Buzz. In its inaugual video, PSTA's driver of the year introduces the series. Other videos explain different modes, express services, serving people with disabilities, and more. A blog post announcing Bus Buzz explains PSTA's intentions for the video series.

[Kansas City Union Station with the American flag.]

Opportunities for Improvement

The TCRP report identifies opportunities that transit can take advantage of to better serve the public. These include:
  • Reaching out to potential riders.
  • Coordination with other customer information services, including 511/traveler information, 311/citizen information, and 211/human services information. 
  • For urban systems especially, "integrating social media with mobile applications, automated real-time information, special promotions, and other web-based activities.”

If you or your organization are using pinterest, youtube, SharePoint and other new offerings, please contact Sheryl Gross-Glaser (grossglaser@ctaa.org). We can learn from and possibly share your experiences.

Social Media 101

This section is intended for those unfamiliar with social media. Social media are interactive online opportunities, including, but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube, Instagram, and Flickr. Literally each day social media is evolving and new options are being created. Feel free to let the early adopters of each medium work out the kinks and provide models for how to move forward effectively and without consuming too much time.

For a quick summary of how different social media are used, read this amusing guide.
Each social medium has its purpose and the goal is to advance your agenda, not to fill out an imaginary dance card to show how many different media you use. Out of the office much? Not to worry, pretty much everything is available on smartphones, sometimes with a better interface than on a computer.

National RTAP has a brief entitled Leveraging Social Media, available from its resource library. While this brief only covers twitter, facebook, youtube and blogs, (the primary social media when the brief was released last year), it is a concise and usable introduction to the basic media covered.

For a quick introductory lesson for many social media, visit wikihow.com and enter in the search box the social medium you are curious about, followed by the word "account," for example "youtube account." Ads will show up first, followed by search results. I looked up pinterest and wikihow explained how to sign up, use, find resources, and link a pinterest account to facebook and twitter. There are also advanced how-to posts. Google is also quite helpful in this regard. Any question you have has probably already been answered. Just type it in. I have discovered amazing solutions.

[Multimodal London at bikeshare station.]

For those new to social media, TCRP Synthesis 99: Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation offers a glossary of social media types and terminlogy as well as the case studies quoted above. Especially well done are the examples of making engagement with transit fun for riders, such as posting transit music performances on Youtube. The Long Island Railroad “mind the gap” rap music campaign illustrates the point. Remember to use various media as well as webpages to draw attention to such campaigns.

It is not difficult for transit agencies and technical assistance centers to use social media. Particular uses are the youtube examples above. LinkedIn can be useful for publicizing  employment openings and to communicate with individuals. Some agencies tweet a contemporaneous record of meetings open to the public. Some agencies tweet for all routes and services, while others have separate accounts for each line. Facebook pages are used for whole transit agencies or for specific transit or other transportation projects. Flickr, pinterest and instagram can be used for photographs and other visual aids. Any of these can be used in conjunction with other social media. 

For specific instructions, use Google, wikipedia or wikihow. Or contact us at the National Resource Center.

[Ad for volunteer drivers in posted on a bulletin board of a church in Toddington, England.]

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

State Level Coordination, Taxi Study, Rural Meets Google

NCSL has released the latest in its series of state coordination profiles, this one from the great state of Texas. These profiles examine the statutory, regulatory or executive mandates for coordination, initiatives at the state level, funding and grant management, and the progress of coordination and mobility management. The Texas profile highlights statewide and regional efforts, a website clearinghouse, and funding.

NCSL also releases its first 2012 coordination newsletter. The new issue lists pending and recently-passed state legislation requiring coordination or making changes to human services or Medicaid transportation delivery.

Survey - Statewide Coordination

"NCSL is in the midst of a survey of all the states and territories on state coordination and other activities that facilitate access to transportation mobility for veterans. Planned for release in Aug. 2012, the report will feature a state-by-state comparison, three case studies and a synthesis of best practices from across the nation." Contact Jaime Rall at jaime.rall@ncsl.org to participate in the survey.

[Conductor and passenger during a station stop on Amtrak's Vermonter route.]

The Original Guaranteed Ride Home

By way of introduction to a very good study about taxi service, I cannot resist telling about a recent ride of my own. While making my way to a conference in Vermont, taking the Vermonter train to the Burlington area, I was reminded how a taxi driver can give a visit local flavor. My driver was a taxi advocate and local history buff. How many people do you know who can tell romantic and daring tales about the War of 1812? Probably not too many. Nicholas was so engaging that I contacted him for the ride back for my trek home. Stories of Champlain, for whom Lake Champlain is named, filled that trip. Champlain, according to Nicholas, was a visionary, though somewhat naive about tribal relationships. Nicholas left me with a reminder to read the book Taxi from Hell, written by an immigrant taxi driver with his own tales.

Local and State Partnerships with Taxicab Companies
is a TCRP report that offers an in-depth analysis of many different types of taxicab/public partnerships, from subsidized services to a taxi-friendly regulatory environment. Covered are human services transportation programs, guaranteed rides home, accessible taxis and much more. Not only does the report cover a broad swath of programs, but it honestly examines the incentives and some disincentives for taxi owners and drivers to participate in publicly-run transportation programs.

If you want models of types of partnerships with taxi operators, how the public/private divide is handled, and incentives and arrangements that work, this is the study to read. This report will take time to sift through, but the time will be worthwhile. Examples from large cities and rural areas alike seemed amenable to adaptation in different types of places. Adequate compensation for participation is crucial for the taxi companies, with paperwork another concern; whereas the public agencies are concerned with protective practices, such as adequate insurance, drug and alcohol testing, and fraud prevention. The wonderful thing about the report are the examples of how these concerns have been negotiated and resolved.

The only fault I find with the report is the small number of respondents, particularly that only eight taxicab companies responded to the survey. Those respondents cited as obstacles to public/private taxi partnerships "insufficient financial incentives, low demand for service, and lack of government interest or participation." Despite the obstacles, which are examined in detail, there are case studies of partnerships that have discovered ways of navigating barriers and have figured out how to adequately compensate companies and drivers, while satisfying the need of public agencies to maintain records, ensure driver safety and guarantee sufficient insurance coverage.

Google Changes Transit Way Beyond the Big Cities

Evolution of Intelligent Transportation Systems for Mobility Management and Coordination Serving California’s Rural Frontier is an honest account of the barriers to coordination via technology for rural frontier communities. Google comes to the rescue in a sense with new possibilities, but systems designed for urban settings, with frequent service and many passengers, are not easily transferable to this very different setting.

Google Inc. added real- time updates through the same trip planning interface. Riders can see if their particular trip plan will be delayed by traffic, breakdowns or weather. In deploying a real-time interface, there are new standards that allow multiple agencies to communicate on behalf of the rider. Another recent feature offers all lodging options up to a span of time on transit, defined by the rider. These data integration features are the future of ITS projects. Riders will demand that innovative companies push technology solutions to meet their needs.
Yes, this report is about technology making mobility management be truly customer focused, but it is also about expectations, patience, and knowledgeable interaction with consultants on complex projects.

[Old railroad car at a Vermont Amtrak station.]

DOT Agencies Create Joint Webinars

Webinar - (SR500) FHWA FTA TPCB Transportation Planning Information Exchange - May 22, 2012. This webinar will be an introduction to the Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program, particularly its web-based resources, peer exchanges and events, manuals, training, and newsletters. The event kicks off a FHWA and FTA webinar series, the Transportation Planning Information Exchange (T-PIE). T-PIE is a web-based forum to connect the transportation planning community with information on training, technical assistance, and technical support for State, local, regional and Tribal governments, transit operators, and community leaders. The webinars will address issues like scenario planning, land-use modeling, livability, environmental quality, operations, and maintenance. The May 22 webinar airs at noon to 2 p.m. Eastern time.

Upcoming Events

National Transit Institute
has courses coming up around the country in mobility management, public involvement in transportation planning, environmental reviews, state and metropolitan land use, bus rapid transit, procurement and asset management, and many aspects of technology.

Easter Seals Project ACTIONhas a webinar on May 16, 2012. Best Practices in Premium Paratransit Service will cover ACCESS Transportation Systems in Pittsburgh, Pa., and its successful premium paratransit services.

DOT Requesting Collegiate Assistance

This is a call to action. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is engaging in a dialogue with the public and requesting assistance. Following the recent announcement of its SaferBus app, DOT is asking the nation's students to submit improved apps that give consumers easily accessible, comprehensible, and navigable safety information about intercity bus services. The Secretary himself made the request in a Fastlane blog post. Submissions are due by August 30, 2012.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Benefits Outweight Costs: Travel Training and Transit

Can Travel Training Services Save Public Transportation Agencies Money?, a Transportation Research Board publication, calculates the cost-benefit ratio of travel training for public transportation systems. The article is a quick read and does not identify the transit systems surveyed. What it does is identify the costs and savings related to travel training programs. Karen Wolf-Branigan, director of the National Center on Senior Transportation is one of the authors. NCST is a technical assistance center administered by Easter Seals Inc., in partnership with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

Rural Transit Reality

The recent South Dakota Public Transit Research Project report paints a picture of the crucial role that transit plays in rural areas. "In the absence of public transit, many of them would have no choice but to forego their trips. This implies that some people would lose their job and apply for public assistance, or require home care, or move to a nursing home facility." The report concludes that for every dollar spent on public transit, the state generates $1.90 in economic activity, or almost double the return on investment.

Though the report finds a connection to the recession, with an increase in ridership since 2008,rural transit is largely transportation to medical care.
[T]he more rural the service area and the larger the share of benefits attributed to medical trips. For instance, benefits attributed to medical trips represent 73 percent of total benefits for Rural systems whereas they account for just 38 percent of total benefits for Urbanized systems. This difference can be explained by two factors: the share of medical trips is typically higher for rural transit providers than for urban transit providers ...; congestion related benefits (travel time savings and emissions cost savings in particular) are non‐existent (or slightly negative in some cases) in rural settings.

Another consequence of the recession is that rural transit systems are experiencing “load shifting”, in other words an increase in ridership as a result of transportation service cuts from human service agencies.
Disability Rights: Quick Course

Self-Paced Course on Disability Rights Laws from the New England Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Center is a free web course on federal disability rights laws will take approximately 90 – 120 minutes to complete. The course will provide an overview of the legal definition of disability; an overview of each of the disability rights laws and a discussion of the four laws that apply.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Driving Safely - Technical Assistance for Transit and Transportation Services

Federal Transit Administration
FTA issues a Dear Colleague letter about training for transit workers about distracted driving. The agency offers a half-hour course "to educate, inform, and increase awareness among all transit workers about the dangers and challenges associated with distracted driving." The course is available online and can be accessed at any time.

Community Transportation Association of America
CTAA's EXPO conference will feature safety and vehicle maintenance trainings as part of the one-to-three-day intensives available on May 21-23 in Baltimore, Md. The EXPO conference is on May 21-25.

CTAA's Safety and Security Manager training certifies managers. "[T]his is a protocol for on-site assessments by Certified Safety and Security Managers of their respective transit systems preparedness in the critical components and core elements of the Federal Transit Administration's Bus Safety and Security Program."

Rural Transit Assistance Program

RTAP has a number of safety-related introductory training products. These are available on the website via a search for safety materials. They are also available via the RTAP catalog.

Local Stories


Support for transit, first mile/last mile service, coordinating human services transportation, and just having another mode of transportation to get an impromptu cup of coffee are gearing up in nearby towns in Massachusetts. The Wicked Local Maynard (now that's a great news source name) reports that "a $184,575 grant from the state aims to identify these redundancies and propose solutions for a more efficient regional transit network in the towns of Acton, Maynard, Boxborough, Littleton and Stow." The article, Maynard, Stow among communities receiving grant from state describes ambitious goals for the grant, to "pay for geodetic positioning systems for the 13 vans ... and a project coordinator to analyze trip data and develop a shared dispatch service. The long-term goals, according to the grant application, are to improve economic viability and realize cost savings for towns in the region." Though the grant will not pay for fixed-route service, some see it as a step in that direction. A transportation summit is planned for May in Maynard.

Wichita wants bus shelters with real-time bus information. The city is applying for "a $1.08 million grant from the FTA’s Bus Livability Initiative to establish eight bus shelters every two blocks along the Douglas corridor downtown." Wichita seeks U.S. grant for Douglas bus shelters, an article in the Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com, discusses Wichita's goal to make transit an attractive alternative to car use in the downtown area.
“We’d like to get wait times to 10 minutes or less at these shelters so the bus becomes a car alternative,” Fluhr said. “We have a large geographic area for our downtown, 800 acres, and within that we have a number of epicenters like Old Town, the Douglas corridor, City Hall, the arena and WaterWalk.
...
Other Douglas corridor projects that would be covered by the grant project include streetscape amenities, parking for 175 bicycles, a signalized pedestrian crosswalk between Mead and Rock Island and pedestrian wayfinding signage.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Innovative Partnerships - Resources, Events, Stories

The Federal Transit Administration will hold an informational webinar on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 2:00pm EST for any agencies interested in applying for the FY 2012 Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative (VTCLI). Please visit http://vtcli2.eventbrite.com/ to register. For those who are unable to attend, the session will be recorded and posted along with Q&As for later viewing.

The application deadline for the FY 2012 VTCLI grant competition is April 19, 2012. For more information on the VTCLI, please visit the FTA website at www.fta.dot.gov/veterans.

John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Webinar or in-person event - Transportation Trajectories - Weaving silos into tapestry: Cross-modal safety through the U.S. DOT Safety Council - Mar. 22, 2012 in Cambridge, MA.

[Light rail at Denver's Union Station hub.]

Statewide TA Resources


American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
AASHTO posts on its Multi-State Technical Assistance Program (MTAP) site a state DOT directory that lists state staff contacts for different federal programs and purposes, such as insurance, vehicle maintenance and emergency preparedness.

Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program

TPCBP provides training, technical assistance, and support for State, local, regional, and Tribal governments, transit operators, and community leaders. TPCBP has produced three Transit at the Table guides. Transit at the Table I explores how transit agencies in larger metropolitan areas (more than 200,000 in population) could be more effective partners with MPOs in the metropolitan transportation planning and programming process. Transit at the Table II is about how transit in smaller metropolitan areas (populations between 50,000 and 200,000) can be effectively involved in planning. Transit at the Table III serves rural and small urban areas by covering partnerships with state agencies and state planning.

[Public art on a Portland, OR., street.]

Local Stories

Florida Food Bank Wins Award for Transportation System for Low-income Residents shows partnership in action and long-term goals. A Florida food bank decided that a crucial link in reducing hunger is getting people to employment, medical care and other important destinations.
The food bank started the Transportation Coordination Network six months ago after a Hunger Free Community Coalition town hall meeting with agencies and partners. There, food bank officials heard that transportation after public transit hours was a need for St. Lucie residents. The St. Lucie County Housing and Community Services Department, FL and its transportation partners spearheaded the network.
The transportation network is already expanding, serving college students going to and from school, and planning to provide service soon to more counties. The article appeared on the Kansas City Infozine site.

Mobility Options


Village of Great Neck Plaza Complete Streets Policy Guide does a nice job of explaining what are complete streets, what they can accomplish and their significance to seniors, children, and public transportation. The guide also provides a clear explanation of local versus state versus county roads, which jurisdictions have authority over each, and how the village can partner with and encourage complete streets design on the roads over which it does not have jurisdiction.

Montana Intercity Bus Service Study
discusses analyses to determine unmet demand for intercity bus service, particularly in Montana. Examples are from North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas, among others, with information about funding sources and uses. The study also examines why passengers in Montana use intercity bus service, how passengers access information about the service, and physically how they access the actual bus - whether through a ride, walking, another bus, etc. Montana transit connections for intercity service, whether bus or train, or airplane, are reviewed for frequency, type of service and fares.
To understand how transit agencies are aligned with the other modes of services, agencies were asked specifically whether they provide a transit connection within an hour of arrival or departure time of ICB, Amtrak or airline services. Nine transit agencies reported they provided a connection to an ICB location within an hour, with five agencies providing a connection within an hour to airports and train station.
This is a fascinating read about estimating demand, satisfaction and user preferences, specifically in a mostly rural state.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Doing Errands While in Transit

The need to do errands on the way to or the way home from work is a major hassle of taking transit. These are a couple of recent examples of transit bringing the errands to the station; perhaps, one day, coming to a bus stop or subway station near you.

Farm stands at bus stops? Markets at transit stations? How about virtual grocery shopping, with just pictures of supermarket products? Virtual shopping at stations is happening in Korea and, perhaps, coming to places around the United States if we all learn a lesson from Philadelphia's transit agency.

Next Bus: 10 Minutes; Milk and Bread Available

Read Commuters and virtual storefronts - a match made in heaven? from the Sydney Morning Herald, via the TransitWire. Phillie transit riders will soon be able to use a smartphone app to shop from a virtual wall of grocery items. Reminds me of being a little girl and having a milk machine in the basement of our apartment house and seltzer and soda delivered weekly (yes, we had a seltzer man). As a New York native, any delivery or convenience pick up resonates; I am sure across the demographic and density spectrums, convenience is appreciated (though few have experienced seltzer delivery).

This is a nice solution for cities and suburbs, anywhere where delivery services work well. But can something like online ordering or shops at the bus station work in rural areas? Can supermarkets deliver pre-ordered items to bus stops? The answer is "it depends," which means odds of success probably increase with flexibility to try an idea that is developed with local conditions, culture and partners.

And Pick Up the Kids


Two of the biggest logistical concerns for working parents are transportation and child care. One transit agency is doing both. To attract good employees who can work the nontraditional hours that transit and other industries demand, Prairie Transit in Spearfish, S.D., "opened its own state-licensed child care facility right in its new transit center." The article, Community care: Day care centers draw workers to towns, appeared in the Rapid City Journal.

Barb Cline, the executive director of the Prairie Hills Transit system and a CTAA Board member, explained the symbiotic needs of employers and parents.

"One of the things we found in our hiring process is that when potential candidates were given the hours they needed to work, they said, ‘I'm sorry we can't work before 6, or I'm sorry we can't work after 5, I'm sorry we don't have child care on weekends,'" Cline said.

Cline knew that she wasn't the only employer with that problem. As a United Way agency, she had visited with others who agreed there was a need for more, quality day care providers in the community.

So the system, which operates a public bus system as well as a dial-a-ride service for people of all ages, decided to take the problem under its wing.

Now transit riders can arrive at the transit center and get the kids. Perhaps groceries will be next.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Project ACTION Offers Practical Answers for People with Disabilities

Easter Seals Project ACTION
The new Accessible Transportation for Students—New Online Community will help students, their families, educators, human service providers, and transit professionals to learn from each other. Participants can use this forum to share stories and strategies related to providing accessible and inclusive transportation for students who are in school as well as those transitioning to post-school settings. Participants may discuss how transportation education content is integrated into class curriculum, instruction and academic standards; and upload or post links to helpful resources, projects or organizations.

ESPA's newsletter has a new feature, Ask Project ACTION, which poses a practical query from a person with a mobility disability. This month's question and answer are about who is responsible for snow removal at bus stops. For the person writing in, this is an important issue because he or she is afraid that ice and snow at the stop will interfere with walking with a cane (though rubber tips have no traction on ice) and cause a fall.

Local Stories - Coordination


In Campbell County , WY., coordination is moving forward. The Basin Radio Network reports that a team of organizations are working together on a coordination plan, one of the first steps of which is to educate and seek support from local political leaders. The article, Group works to coordinate public transportation, lists the organizations involved and goes into detail about the near-term plan. Staff from the team of organizations attended the recent Colorado/Wyoming Institute for Coordination held in November 2011.

Like many communities, Yuma County, AZ., is experiencing reductions in transit service. For people with disabilities, these cuts are significant because there are limited or no transportation alternatives available. Dial-A-Ride alternative arranged, an article on the YumaSun website, tells the story of a woman who retired early due to a disability and what dial-a-ride cutbacks, ADA transportation rules, and non-profit efforts have meant for her.

NYC Engages Riders - And They Have Opinions


Miracles do happen and one is going on in my hometown of New York (that's the city). The New York Times reports that subway announcements may be suggested by the public. The comments, with suggested announcements, are the best part. Warning: Some of the comments to the New York Times article have a biting, NYC humor. Other comments suggesting announcements are charming, such as requests for facts about construction of famous buildings, sports scores, and fanciful destinations (platform 9 3/4 was one; anyone heading to Hogwarts?). My favorite announcements when I lived in New York were on the D train, when it was still the Brighton Line. When the train left the city, a conductor every evening would declare that we were entering the bee-bopping borough of Brooklyn. How right he was.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mobility Management Webinars Very Soon

Partnership for Mobility Management
Performance Measures for Mobility Managers - Feb. 9 webinar. This webinar will discuss performance measures as they relate specifically to mobility management. It will cover the state of performance measurement of mobility management programs and where there is room for improvement. Speakers include one of our regional ambassadors and authors of Performance Measures for Public Transit Mobility Management, a national survey of the current use and types of performance measures for mobility management. The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) study offers recommendations that will support mobility management programs in telling their stories and providing evidence of their value.

Easter Seals Project ACTION
Connecting CILs and Mobility Managers for Accessible Transportation - Feb. 29. The webinar will explore ESPA's work to strengthen the link between the disability community, specifically independent living centers, and mobility management programs.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Accessibility - Tools, Classes to Make it Happen


Easter Seals Project ACTION

Fundamentals of Travel Training Administration - Online course - Feb. 20. The course will cover launching, operating and maintaining a travel training program, including details such as job descriptions; hiring, training and supervising travel trainers; developing budgets; and understanding travel training services offered throughout the country.

Department of Transportation

Not infrequently, I get calls from people seeking information about long-distance travel options for people with disabilities. Here is a new website and toll-free helpline resource. Transportation Services Administration Cares: Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions was launched in December by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to provide information and assistance to passengers with disabilities and medical conditions and their families before they fly. TSA Cares is available toll free at 1-855-787-2227, which operates Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

National Transit Communications Accessibility Survey

Funded by the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH, the Oregon State University Survey Research Center, and the National Center for Accessible Transportation (housed at Oregon State University), this survey will collect data about the technologies, policies and practices relating to transit-related communications. "Our goal for this study is to identify opportunities for universal and accessible design considerations in the chain of communication from inside a transit agency all the way to travelers."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Coordination: Regional, at National Parks, for Seniors, and Courses

National Conference of State Legislatures
NCSL issues its quarterly Coordination Newsletter. News of taxi involvement in accessibility for people with disabilities and low-income populations. The newsletter mentions a few statewide reports, two of which studied mobility needs of older adults. The Michigan report announces a startling statistic. "By far the most common help given by caregivers was related to transportation, with more than 90% of respondents statewide reporting to have provided this type of care."

NCSL also issued Regional Human Service Transportation Coordinating Councils: Synthesis, Case Studies and Directory. The directory lists regional coordinating councils across the country and contact information for each. The synthesis defines these councils as:
... multidisciplinary, in that they coordinate among diverse transportation and human services providers; regional, in that they coordinate across multiple cities, counties or other local jurisdictions; and ongoing, in that they engage in active, ongoing coordination, not just coordination planning or other intermittent activities.

The synthesis also explains the requirements in federal legislation for coordinated transportation planning. The complementary relationship of state and regional coordinating councils is discussed. Different state and regional structures are explored. The case studies are quite interesting. They look at different states, their legal frameworks, how regional councils were created and what they are doing. The publication does not cover the performance results of regional coordinating councils that have existed for several years and whether services to communities are improved and people are enjoying greater mobility.

More acronyms to add:
regional coordinating council - RCC
local coordinating council - LCC
statewide coordinating council - SCC (not to be confused with the SEC, which refers either to football or to regulation of publicly-traded companies).

Getting to and around National Parks

Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks
TA center in the news: Secretary LaHood's Fastlane blog praised the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks program (TRIPTAC). The program brings mobility options to park visitors and helps "green" the park experience and environment.
Federal lands in 24 states and the District of Columbia will use funds to enhance transportation choices for a cleaner, greener visitor experience. Projects range from redesigning and widening the Nauset Bicycle Trail at Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts to purchasing new buses to transport visitors between Sausalito and the Muir Woods National Monument in California.

Funding for Supplemental Transportation Programs for Seniors

Beverly Foundation

The Beverly Foundation, which fosters senior transportation programs, is accepting applications for awards to 18 senior transportation services program of grants of $10,000 each. Previous applicants (including past STAR Award winners) are eligible.

The eligibility criteria for a 2012 STAR Award include delivery of transportation services to senior passengers; knowledge of the organization's transportation service data (e.g. miles driven, number of drivers, number of vehicles, cost per ride, number of senior passengers, etc.); and ability to describe good practices employed in delivering transportation services to senior passengers. "Senior transportation programs that mobilize (or plan to mobilize) volunteer drivers will be looked upon favorably."

The application deadline is February 1st.
The Beverly Foundation’s mission is to foster new ideas and options to enhance mobility and transportation for older adults. The Foundation’s STAR Search program has gathered information on more than 1,400 services that provide transportation to older adults in communities across America.
Upcoming Courses

National Transit Institute

NTI has many courses listed on its website. Here are a few that are currently available.
Managing Community Mobility - a few classes coming to the South.
Comprehensive ADA Paratransit Eligibility
Paratransit Management and Operations