Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA): A national nonprofit working to ensure that our nation’s residents have Reliable, Accessible, Affordable, Convenient and Safe Transportation Services. Joblinks, a program of CTAA, connects workforce development agencies, transportation providers and other stakeholders with transportation-to-work solutions that are affordable, reliable and accessible. Joblinks focuses on the mobility needs of low-wage job seekers and earners, as well as workers with disabilities, youth, veterans, and older workers. Joblinks activities are supported with both U.S. DOT Federal Transit Administration funds and U.S. DOL Employment and Training Administration dollars.
Each of us was asked to pick a question or two from those posed in the challenging workshop descriptions. I chose to frame my remarks around two: What is a livable community? and, What does it take to make a livable community? I’ve chosen to help to answer these questions: Through a job access connectivity lens, AND Through the lens of meeting the mobility needs of low-wage earners, workers with disabilities, older workers. This is my second presentation on the topic of livability and WHILE I know many of the values and goals between Joblinks work and Livability work are the similar – with both looking for important indicators in a community that show that we’ve achieved success – I hadn’t much thought about the term Livability as it affects Joblinks’ work. My preparations for both these presentations have shown me that what Joblinks promotes is very much on the livability agenda.
I found Todd Litman’s Victoria Transport Policy Institute article, “Sustainability and Livability: Summary of Definitions, Goals, Objectives and Performance Indicators” (March 11, 2011) to be extremely informative. Of the livability goals that Litman discusses in the article, the following three goals (drawn directly from Litman article) align with Joblinks’ work: Goal: Economic Development Objective: More and better employment and business activity Indicator: access to education and employment opportunities Goal: Equity/Fairness Obj.: Transportation system accommodates all users, including those with disabilities, low incomes, and other constraints. Indicators: Transport system diversity; Portion of destinations accessible by people with disabilities and low incomes Goal: Affordability Obj.: All residents can afford access to basic/essential services & activities Indicator: Availability and quality of affordable modes (walking, cycling, ridesharing and public transport)
From the job access lens, then, our communities need to deploy various modes (fixed route, demand response, bikes, vanpooling, etc.). Such multimodalism plays an important role and fit together to create “livable” lives. Vanpools are essential, here, often overlooked, especially in rural communities. Vanpools are riding groups of 5 to 15 people who commute together on a regular basis. One person volunteers to be the vanpool driver/coordinator. The riders share the cost of operating the vanpool. Riders determines their daily schedule and route. Vanpools are good for those with at least a 30-minute drive or travel more than 15 miles one-way to work. Three legged stool: Ben Franklin Transit in Wash. State uses “three-legged stool” to talk about the strength of its demand-response, fixed-route and vanpools services. For our discussion, here, I think vanpooling needs to join rail and bus as the modes that communities employ to build more sustainable and livable communities. Vanpools are an economic tool for business, for low-wage families, for home-based communities, a tool for Transit to Extend Its Reach to new origins and destinations beyond the fixed-route rail and bus lines. (Other modes, where vanpools not viable, also important to livability in rural areas: ridematching/driver buddy program in carpools, volunteer driver programs, Rural Rides in northeastern Minnesota.)
More cost-effective and environmental than driving alone A solution for those without a reliable personal vehicle Flexible routing and scheduling A supplement to fixed-routes, demand-response services The Third Leg of Transit - Ben Franklin Vanpooling Other modes , where vanpools not viable, also important to livability in rural areas: ridematching/driver buddy program in carpools, volunteer driver programs, Rural Rides in northeastern Minnesota.
Vanpooling is another mode to consider for transportation to support people in getting to new jobs in the job recovery period.
King County Metro, Washington: Offers vanpooling used by low-wage earners, VanShare commuter program, Group takes last leg of trip together and uses public transit other part of the journey, Here, Vanpooling is a “Last-Mile” Strategy First Mile – Last Mile Solutions (connectors – help make use of bus and rail work) (FEEDER services) How Can We Make Transit Usage More Attractive? In Support of Livability CalSTART –Whitney Pitkanen, Project Manager “ Provide Door-to-Door Mobility w/o Dependence on a Private Automobile” Bikes/Folding Bikes and Bike Stations, Bikesharing, ZipCars, Dynamic Ridesharing, Segway, Scooters, Electric Vehicles, Moped, Telecommute Seamless payment Clean Mobility Stations, co-located near transit centers May 2010 PowerPoint, “Thinking Outside the Bus” Conference, on Joblinks Conference and Webinars web page View her view at http://joblinksencore.ctaa.org Compendium of Sustainable Community Transportation Strategies Toolkit of innovative mobility technologies and strategies, includes first and last mile strategies, CALSTART Maximizing Mobility Options in Los Angeles: First/Last Mile Strategies , SCAG and CALSTART www.calstart.org
What does this mean for how communities prepare to ensure that these workers-to-be have affordable, reliable, safe transportation. What does this mean for the services communities are prepared to provide if jobs have varied start and end times, have varied locations.
Visit the Resource Center at www.ctaa.org/joblinks for more information about reduced fare programs.
1) Tamien Child Care Center - located near a transportation hub. established with the express purpose of providing easy access to transit dependent travelers to child care. Parents can park for free at the station, drop their child off at child care and continue on to work or another destination via public transit. While not specifically geared to serving low-income families, the project does offer transit incentives to patrons, including discounts on monthly transit passes and priority enrollment and discounts on tuition for children of transit users. 2) A program operated by Lawrence County Community Action, in Pennsylvania provides door-to-door rides for elementary school aged children between their childcare providers and schools, allowing low-income parents to expand job placement opportunities.
Co-locate support services – hospital campuses Bring services to where the people are: library, health care, job search services. VISION of Mobile Services RVs – may be useful in Idaho, for instance, where rural one stops closing. Bring the services to the neighborhoods where people live and frequent WIB of the Treasure Coast, Florida Mobile Units – Career Centers 2 Mobile Units - Career Centers Workforce Solutions - Indian River County Mobile Unit Workforce Solutions - Martin County Mobile Unit Available all day on regular days of the week
Pushing for a policy of “Complete Streets,” in which streets in Duluth are designed for all users, including transit riders, pedestrians and bicyclists as well as car drivers. That would help low-income residents walk and use transit more easily. Advocating for Head Start participants hurt by budget cuts that have eliminated bus service to Head Start programs. Working with local community development agencies to make sure neighborhood redevelopment plans make daily transportation needs simple, such as getting to and from child care, buying groceries, and getting to work. Working to get residents and the city of Duluth to clear snow off sidewalks in the winter. Snow-clogged sidewalks make walking and transit use more difficult and cause more residents to need a car for winter transportation. Working with the DTA to provide better transportation service to workers who don’t work traditional Monday-to-Friday daytime hours.
I’ll close with a one of the questions posted to us (which could be a workshop discussion in itself): Is livability an affordable factor to consider in this current fiscal crisis, or a luxury we can set aside for another day? Joblinks’ Vision: A nation in which transportation is always the link, and never the barrier, to accessing employment, training, child care or related destinations. Livability is not a luxury. It is a necessity. TRANSPORTATION MATTERS. LIVABLE COMMUNITIES MATTER. It’s in our economic interest and our social interest. Transportation is the great enabler of jobs. The role of transportation and livable communities in economic vitality of families and the communities where they reside is vital. This is transit’s day – and has a vital role to play. We must support transit, smart communities, and livable communities….
Livable Communities, Equity and Transportation A Perspective from Joblinks Carolyn Jeskey Joblinks Employment Transportation Center Community Transportation Association of America 2011
SEVEN top occupations expected to provide the greatest number of new jobs in the next decade, as projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, SIX will be low-paying . (NPR, Where the Jobs will be This Decade, January 2010)
Many workers may resort to the “two-job norm” to make ends meet. And many people may maintain two sources of income over long periods. (HBR blog) – “Involuntary part-time jobs”