Coordinated Transportation 2.0: Local Perspective

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Betty Petrie
Project Manager
Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (CNYRTA)

Many communities have completed the first round of Coordinated Transportation Plans. The plans are required to be in place for funding relating to JARC, New Freedom and 5310 projects. The presentation will provide an overview of what the State expects in the second generation of coordinated transportation plans. A major theme of the presentation is: adapt rather than adopt. Best practices will be discussed in detail including:

* Focus on origins, destinations and paths of travel.
* Focus on quality and objectively rating the projects.
* Including stakeholders and keeping them involved.
* Sharing knowledge and encouraging new ideas.

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  • RQ presents a good model for our next round of CT Planning and Implementation. My focus: to present more specific examples of what has worked (and not worked) in CNY. As with other Authorities, CNYRTA provides service in 4 counties and each county has a coordinating committee, but where they are on the continuum of coordinated planning and project implementation is vastly different for each county.
  • This short outline is familiar to all of you who participated in CT Planning. These 5 points are from the FTA Circulars for the 3 grants and represent a broad definition of the CT process. I remember thinking when this first hit the streets, that it represented quite a bit of staff time for not so much money. But as with most new programs, when the dust settles it does not look so bad at all. First, we had groups in place in 3 out of 4 counties. 2 counties had already done the last 4 bullets in connection with JARC Studies and maybe we could build off of those. 1 county had done an analysis of senior transportation needs too. In the end all 4 counties managed to get through the first round of CT Plans.
  • With that accomplished, we are now moving on in this continuum. This is what I would like to present today….the next generation of CT Planning and Activities. Stakeholders groups are often characterized by large attendance at the first meeting and severe drop off at the second and third. Allowing degrees of participation may be key. Group must consider providers and human service groups needs along with customers/passengers. CT Planning isn’t done in a vacuum and the current economic environment is having an impact. If any of these funding opportunities survive reauthorization it will be because they have proven to be valuable. We can have a discussion about this last one, PT providers have struggled with the CT Process and this next round may bring new challenges.
  • Each of the 4 Counties had these 3 groups at the table. Everyone was looking for money or services to cover the needs that they have experienced. Everyone kept coming to the table to make sure their needs were included in the first assessments, strategies and projects. The entity that did not continue to attend were the for hire, for profit transportation providers. Whats in it for me?
  • In Onondaga County we will be inviting them back as private providers are looking for ways to generate business, especially with some changes in the way NEMT and Medicaid trips are being brokered. Agencies without Transportation services have been encouraged to participate in Cayuga County and other counties as well. Cayuga built their stakeholders group from a Human Services Coalition that produces a directory of service each year, printed by a local newspaper and distributed to county residents. Not only are HS agencies looking for ways to get their transportation challenged clients to services but they gained an understanding of Trans. operations and cost considerations at the meetings. For the first time, some agencies were able to fully assess whether it was financially practical to have a van or to share service with another agency or contract it out. Staffers from State Senators/Assemblyman’s offices really appreciate being kept informed on local transportation as they are problem solvers for constituents. They may not always come to meetings, but getting meeting minutes can be very helpful. Oswego County Transportation Coalition joined forces with local politicians to host an Open Forum on Transportation when they were working on their first plan and helped to get buy in from those political offices. Employers is another group that may not always attend stakeholders meetings, but may want to be kept informed of efforts to help transportation challenged workers. Besides employers, you might want to consider reps from Chambers of Commerce, groups like the Manufacturers Association of CNY, Health Provider networks and the like.
  • There have been challenges with the stakeholders groups. Leadership and membership have become concerns in established groups and new groups as well. In CNY, 1 county elected their leader, but keep reins on membership. Another county also selected their leader, but as a new group they are still very open to new faces at the stakeholders table. 1 urbanized county has quite a mix, the MPO has been leading the grant proposal solicitation and selection, a county hs agency is leading the stakeholders group and the PTA is the designated recipient and is at the table to meld fixed route, ADA and grants management into the plans. If I had to choose one barrier that seems common to every CT planning process I know of, it would be staff time constraints. But there are times when this is a barrier only because the leadership and membership don’t delegate tasks very well. So remember that one of the ways to keep folks at the table is give them a responsibility that involves reporting back. And give them credit for what they do. When CNYRTA was developing its Mobility Management Center I remember a DSS Manager telling me that they were going to make me into a social worker. We laughed. But you know as time goes by this community transportation manager has gained a lot of understanding of human service programs, eligibilities, services and the like. And the opposite is true too. HS staff have learned a lot about transportation services as the CT process has continued. Where the trouble seems to be is when the parties stop listening to each other and learning from each other as peers. So this bullet really should be Lack of Understanding of each other’s concerns. Overwhelming needs and gaps in service can sometimes drive stakeholders groups into doing nothing for lack of prioritizing or being able to reach consensus. In Onondaga county we saw this in the first round as there are service gaps all around the fringes of the county. But strong leadership from our Department of Aging and Youth has resulted in a plan to link 5 volunteer transportation programs into a network that will enhance the existing public transportation services.
  • Recent publication – National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Research Results Digest 331 – State DOT Coordinate Transportation Planning, is very interesting reading for anyone involved with CT. The chapter on Alaska CT activities really caught my eye. Why Alaska…..the population density of our rural counties is better than Alaska, but not much. Coordinating services in rural areas of Upstate NY is also an enormous challenge. Environmental challenges, trip lengths, multi county trips, geographical and time gaps in services….I can relate to Alaska. So here is something to consider from the Alaska experience.
  • We have tried to keep the private operators at the table in Onondaga County and it has been a little easier over the past year because of changes in the Medicaid Transportation program. They are looking for work now so the Stakeholders Group meetings are an opportunity to do some niche marketing. One provider has been very good about listening to the needs of agencies and has offered reduced rates for guaranteed work. Two other providers have been in discussion about sharing vehicle maintenance services to reduce costs although it has not happened yet. The HS agency transportation programs are also looking for ways to reduce costs either by shedding their workload to other services, selling excess capacity on their vehicles, sharing agreements and the like. So they too see the Stakeholders Group meetings as an opportunity to do some networking.
  • Obviously HS groups want their clients transportation needs met, but another area that can be helpful to an agency and offered through the stakeholders group is a program that involves travel training and trip planning services. In Oswego the coalition produced a travel training basics video that is available to community. In Onondaga right now we are promoting the new trip planning service available through the Centro website. Our next round of activities will broaden our marketing and training in the community to be sure that customers know how to use it.
  • As I mentioned before CT does not occur in a vacuum and outside influences on the process are hitting it all the time. So many of our hs agencies have been hit very hard financially, some reducing staff and some programs being cut. If it has not impacted your meeting attendance and list of “doers” at the table, then you have been spared. Not just agencies have been hard hit, but the transportation providers that serve those agencies and their clientele. Just as those services shrink the needs and service gaps are growing. Centro had almost no service reductions in a recent round of changes, but feeder services have been greatly impacted by a cutback of days and hours of service. Some agencies have been forced to pull their vehicles off the road completely. Get ready for the Silver Tsunami……our next round of planning has a significant focus on the needs of seniors, with and without disabilities. And a larger number of these seniors now have employment transportation issues too. While we public transportation providers would like them all to move to a bus line, they are going to age in place as long as possible. This may not be the time for many of them to try to sell the family home in exchange for an apartment or townhome. In Onondaga and Oneida Counties our employment transportation services have met a new wrinkle. There are no or very few entry level jobs to take workers to. So, a new focus for JARC and certain state grants is trying to get unskilled workers to job training opportunities. So all of these areas are going to have some impact on the next round of strategies and projects for CT.
  • RQ spoke of taking stock of original plans, priorities and efforts in an evaluation process. In round 2, we are building performance measures and assessments right into the plans. Once again, this is where transportation knowledge is helpful to the stakeholder leadership. This is a good place to discuss Strategies and Projects, can someone tell me a strategy for coordinated transportation, maybe one they had in their plan? What were the projects associated with the Strategy? Did you evaluate their effectiveness at some point? In Onondaga, our round 2 strategy is Enhancing transportation options for Seniors One of the projects is to provide financial support to a number of volunteer programs. Measures we are applying: How many vols recruited, how many trained, how many in service and how many vol hours How many rides provided, service miles provided How many new riders Getting consensus right from the start on performance measures is very important. Volunteer coordinators have a lot of work to do and they need performance measures to be meaningful to them in many many ways. Some of the above is also reported to the United Way for funding and used for additional grant applications.
  • I found this table in a presentation sponsored by the National Center for Senior Transportation and it has been a useful tool lately as we work on our next round of activities. It seems to work with just about every strategy and project that we consider. I also want to highlight the National Center for Senior Transportation, funded in part by FTA and the CTAA. It has other materials for your use and has sponsored grant opportunities for localities that are working on CT.
  • And finally, a few words about the role of PT. Even though we may be most knowledgeable about transit service, we can never lose sight of CT being more about volunteer transportation programs, taxi vouchers, door through door services, on demand services and other programs beyond the scope of Public transit. So as a PT provider where do you sit at the table. Centro has taken on all four of these identities and they each present a challenge. The relationship with the “for profits” has to be built and the competitive situation addressed. Onondaga – we are fostering our role as transportation professionals available to hu se’s to teach, serve etc. DR – Sat with OCDAY and reviewed each FTA Clause. The Circle of Funding with OCDAY Doing Nothing? The Price of being a Naysayer “It will never work” folks.
  • Thank you very much for listening and participating. Rich and I can entertain questions and comments at this time.
  • Coordinated Transportation 2.0: Local Perspective

    1. 1. COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION 2.0 Local Perspective Betty Petrie NYPTA Spring Conference June 11, 2009
    2. 2. The First Round of CT Plans <ul><li>Stakeholders Groups formed or reformed </li></ul><ul><li>Resources and Inventories surveyed </li></ul><ul><li>Needs and Service Gaps Identified </li></ul><ul><li>Strategies Identified and Prioritized </li></ul><ul><li>Projects Developed and Implemented </li></ul>
    3. 3. The 2 nd Round of Planning <ul><li>Redefining the Stakeholders Group </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping transportation providers interested. </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping human service groups interested. </li></ul><ul><li>Reviewing priorities in a changing economic environment </li></ul><ul><li>Performance Measures </li></ul><ul><li>The Role of Public Transportation Authorities and Providers. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Redefining the Stakeholders Group “The Originals” <ul><li>Human Service Agencies with Trans. </li></ul><ul><li>Community Transportation Providers </li></ul><ul><li>Public Transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for operational funding </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for operational funding </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for transportation options in non-service areas </li></ul>
    5. 5. Round 2 – Additions to Consider <ul><li>Private Transportation Providers </li></ul><ul><li>Human Service Agencies w/o Trans. </li></ul><ul><li>Elected Officials </li></ul><ul><li>Employers </li></ul><ul><li>Business Opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Low cost/no cost service </li></ul><ul><li>Low cost service for their constituents </li></ul><ul><li>Reliable services for employees </li></ul>
    6. 6. Groups in Trouble <ul><li>Leadership issues </li></ul><ul><li>Membership issues </li></ul><ul><li>Staff time commitments </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Transportation Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Overwhelming Needs and Gaps </li></ul>
    7. 7. Old vs. New <ul><li>“ Somewhat paradoxically, AKDOT found that </li></ul><ul><li>organizations that were newly formed in order to </li></ul><ul><li>conduct coordination planning were actually better </li></ul><ul><li>at coordination than well-established organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>The groups that had been addressing transportation </li></ul><ul><li>coordination issues for years believed that their former </li></ul><ul><li>practices were fine. The older groups were used </li></ul><ul><li>to doing things for themselves and had preconceived </li></ul><ul><li>notions of coordination. On the other hand, newly </li></ul><ul><li>formed groups took the guidelines they were given </li></ul><ul><li>and excelled at creating coordination plans.” </li></ul><ul><li>NCHRP, Research Results Digest 331, April 2009 </li></ul>
    8. 8. Keeping Transportation Providers Interested <ul><li>“For Profits” must have an opportunity to grow their business or reduce their costs. </li></ul><ul><li>Human Service Agency Transportation must have an opportunity to reduce their costs. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Keeping Human Service Groups Interested <ul><li>Service to clients that is convenient and low cost </li></ul><ul><li>Services in support of the staff efforts to help clients such as trip planning and travel training </li></ul>
    10. 10. Reviewing Priorities in a Changing Economic Environment <ul><li>Impact on Stakeholders’ Involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Possible Changes to Resource Inventories </li></ul><ul><li>Increased Needs and Gaps in Services </li></ul><ul><li>Changing Demographics </li></ul><ul><li>Employment Opportunities or Lack of </li></ul><ul><li>Uncertain future connected to reauthorization </li></ul>
    11. 11. Performance Assessments <ul><li>Which Projects met the Strategic Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Typical measures: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>inputs (resources applied to a problem) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>outputs (numeric measures of program products) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>outcomes (what changed) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Requires consensus from the beginning </li></ul>
    12. 12. Program Outcome Model <ul><li>Resources dedicated to or consumed by the program </li></ul><ul><li>Money </li></ul><ul><li># of staff </li></ul><ul><li>Staff time </li></ul><ul><li># of volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer time </li></ul><ul><li>Facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Equipment </li></ul><ul><li>  Supplies </li></ul><ul><li>Other </li></ul><ul><li>What the program does with the inputs to fulfill its mission </li></ul><ul><li>More staff & volunteers to provide trips </li></ul><ul><li>I & R services </li></ul><ul><li>New dispatch systems </li></ul><ul><li>Driver training </li></ul><ul><li>New vehicles </li></ul><ul><li>The direct products of program activities </li></ul><ul><li>More rides </li></ul><ul><li>More riders </li></ul><ul><li>Additional volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Greater service span </li></ul><ul><li>Quicker I & R </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter wait time </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits for participants during and after program activities </li></ul><ul><li>Improved access </li></ul><ul><li>Greater sense of independence </li></ul><ul><li>Increased customer satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Increased flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Improved communication among providers </li></ul>Source: EVALUATION 101: HOW CAN WE DEMONSTRATE PROGRAM RESULTS? Burkhardt & Bernstein, Prepared for the NCST – December 2008
    13. 13. The Role of Public Transit <ul><li>The Leader? </li></ul><ul><li>Just one of the many service providers? </li></ul><ul><li>The Consultant? </li></ul><ul><li>Funding Source as Designated Recipient </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The challenges associated with </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>non-traditional contracting. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What is the price of doing nothing? </li></ul>
    14. 14. Thank You <ul><li>Contact Information </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Betty Petrie, CCTM </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CNYRTA Project Manager </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>315-442-3318 or bpetrie@centro.org </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>

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