Division of PlanningOffice of Transit
Transportation coordination is cooperation in the delivery of transportation services. Coordination occurs when transit providers, human service agencies, private institutions, businesses, volunteers and political leaders work together to expand one or more transportation-related activities. Coordination can be as simple as referrals about transportation choices among several agencies or it can be as complex as a fully consolidated community transportation system serving human service agency clients and the general public.
Few communities can afford to support a variety of human service agencies operating parallel transportation services. Beyond the obvious waste of empty seats on buses and vans, the duplication of maintenance programs, dispatching, driver training, insurance, and other administrative and operations functions is inefficient and costly. Further, there are vast unmet transportation needs in all communities. Repeated studies identify lack of transportation as among the top obstacles to employment and full participation in community life for older adults, persons with disabilities, families on public assistance, and others. Coordination is the best way to stretch scarce transportation resources and improve mobility for everyone.
Coordinated Transportation Plans
Where are the gaps in public transit and human services transportation? Who are the transportation providers in a particular county? How can transportation providers work together to increase service and reduce costs? Answers to these questions and many more may be found in coordinated transportation plans, formally referred to as locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plans.
Coordination Councils at the State and local levels include participation from funding agencies, public and private transportation providers, human service providers, and consumers, including people with disabilities. These councils are actively working on identifying needs, resources, and gaps related to human service transportation for people with disabilities and others who require assistance with transportation services.
According to United We Ride, "Mobility management can be described as a strategic approach to service coordination and customer service which enhances the ease of use and accessibility of transportation networks." ODOT, through its Ohio Coordination Program, directs federal transit funds to competitively selected mobility management projects in nonurbanized and small urban areas.
ODOT sponsors quarterly roundtable sessions for mobility managers. 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 mobility management projects, their current status, barriers they have encountered, and innovative strategies they have implemented. Although every project is unique, mobility managers agree that the exchange of information and ideas is extremely valuable, and they leave each roundtable with renewed enthusiasm for their projects.
Coordination Handbook and Implementation Guide
To meet the requests for technical assistance, ODOT developed "A Handbook for Coordinating Transportation Services" and "A Guide for Implementing Coordinated Transportation Systems" in 1997. 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.