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Coordination Activities

 Activities Overview

 ODOT Coordination Activities

ODOT provides funds to support coordination of human service transportation in areas with unmet transportation needs. Beginning in 1988 with oil overcharge funding through the Department of Development and later securing a grant funding from the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, ODOT has used these funds as "seed" money to assist communities in developing coordinated and public transportation systems. In 1995 when the $500,000 line item ODOT requested as part of its FY 96 budget request was not funded for the second consecutive budget cycle, ODOT set aside this same amount from its Ohio Public Transportation Grant Program and formally established the Ohio Coordination Program. Program goals continue to be to coordinate existing transportation services, to expand the availability of service, and to eliminate duplication of service among human service agencies and other transportation providers, and counties where no public transportation systems exist remain the top priority for funding. Funds are distributed through a competitive application process. Still, even with the funds ODOT has invested, 19 Ohio counties remain without public transportation or a successfully continuing coordination project.

Other ODOT accomplishments in transportation coordination include:

  1. To supplement the operating funds provided through this program, federal funds from the Specialized Transportation Program specifically to provide capital assistance to coordination projects. Sixty-seven (67) vehicles and 14 computer systems totaling over $2.5 million have been purchased for coordination programs; $400,000 was set aside for the 2002 program.
  1. To meet the requests for technical assistance, "A Handbook for Coordinating Transportation Services" and "A Guide for Implementing Coordinated Transportation Systems" were developed. Over 1,200 copies have been distributed throughout the state to human service agencies and other interested parties. In addition, every county human services department in Ohio was provided with the handbook and the guide to use in the development of transportation work plans to implement welfare reform legislation.  The handbook and guide have also been distributed to other state DOTs and communities across the country where they have been used as a model for initiating transportation coordination.
  1. In 1988, ODOT entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ohio Department of Aging. Under this MOU, ODOT and ODA received an FTA grant to assess the barriers to transportation for older Ohioans. A direct result of ODOT’s partnership with ODA has been the development of the DRIVE training program, a passenger assistance training program for drivers. This grant and partnership led to a similar MOU with the Department of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities.
  1. Building on the MOUs with ODA & MR/DD, ODOT formed the Statewide Transportation Coordination Task Force. The sole mission of the Task Force is to work together to remove barriers that prevent the successful coordination of programs and resources among their respective customers, which are sometimes the same agency or individual. In 1997, the Task Force applied for and received a grant from the national Governor’s Association to further work on transportation coordination and its impact on welfare reform.
  1. The Task Force has sponsored three statewide conferences to educate over 500 individuals from municipalities, human service agencies, public and private transportation providers about the benefits of transportation coordination.
  1. For the first time in the history of ODOT, another state agency, the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, is providing funding to ODOT for transportation. Beginning July 1 1998, RSC gave, not granted; not loaned; but gave ODOT approximately $250,000 to support coordinated transportation and to publish an additional 500 copies of ODOT's, Status of Transit for statewide distribution. This is a direct result of the Task Force’s work and the sharing of information among the agencies.
  1. In 1999, the Ohio Department of Education revised their School Bus Safety Rules which govern the use of Ohio's school buses.  Because of the Department of Education's role with the Task Force, the revised rules allow school buses to be used for Ohio Works First participants.
  1. ODOT sponsors bi-monthly roundtable sessions for representatives of current Ohio Coordination Program projects.  These sessions are often a combination of training on a specific topic such as marketing, developing contract rates, dealing with difficult people, etc. and information sharing.  Participants share the history of their project, their current status, barriers they have encountered, and innovative strategies they have implemented.  Although every project is unique, coordinators agree that the exchange of information and ideas is extremely valuable, and they leave each roundtable with renewed enthusiasm for their projects. 
9.   An evaluation of the Ohio Coordination Program for the years 1996 through 2000 was completed in 2001.  Quantitative information such as number of trips provided, number of individuals served, operating expenses, etc. from all the projects was compiled from their semiannual reports.  Qualitative information from questions such as "Has the coordination effort generally improved or not improved the transportation services in your area?"  was also included in the report.  Due to the differing levels of detail included in the project reports, concrete conclusions were difficult to draw, however, it is obvious that transportation coordination, in general, is meeting the goals of the program and increasing mobility options for those who need it most in Ohio's rural communities.

To obtain information about the Ohio Coordination Program, contact Josh Gearhardt, ODOT Office of Transit, (614) 466-8955.