Research Archive

7. Suggested Next Steps for MSAA Program

The goal of the MSAA initiative is

[t]o develop the architecture/design of a replicable, scalable traveler management coordination center,
which will enhance service accessibility and operations efficiency and provide a one-stop customer-based
travel information and trip planning services. [72]

Based on findings from the Phase II Foundational Research, the following next steps are recommended for the overall MSAA Program and in anticipation of an MSAA Model Deployment.

  • Ensure continued integration with the overall UWR initiative. The UWR initiative is working toward improving access and mobility through improved coordination of human resources transportation. UWR is working to identify institutional and other barriers to coordination at the Federal, State, and local level, and ultimately will be offering and supporting solutions to break down those barriers. The MSAA project is an extension of this effort. To the extent that technology and transit ITS can support these efforts, they should be integrated and complement one another. An example would be promoting the development of coordinated databases and related components that can be used for tracking eligibility determination, fare payment, invoicing, and trip distribution among providers in a coordinated systems. Similarly coordination efforts ranging from information sharing to full consolidation in a TMCC may be enhanced through the use of appropriate technologies. Information gleaned from the UWR effort also may assist in the identification of potential test sites for the MSAA project.
  • Continue work with the vendor community. During the vendors' discussion group, participants identified the need to conduct additional research about how to make the model deployment an open architecture system, which would allow for multiple vendors to participate. The group also suggested that other software vendors that work with health and human service agencies be included in future research to ensure that their concerns are identified and addressed, particularly as they relate to data the issues surrounding program eligibility, privacy concerns, and invoicing.
  • Consider conducting limited standards research. It is important to determine the minimum operating standards for a TMCC to ensure that the requirements are met. Once that has been accomplished, there will be a clearer target for successful deployment (and evaluation) for the selected test deployment sites.
  • Develop Measures of Effectiveness. Measures of effectiveness for any field planning and/or operational tests should be developed prior to their implementation. Similarly, measures of effectiveness also should be developed for the subsequent model deployment as well as the overall program.
  • Identify criteria for selecting potential test sites. An important aspect of the next steps research is to identify and apply criteria for selecting potential model deployment sites. Several of the discussion groups underscored the differences between rural and urban settings and cautioned against assuming that just because some technology deployment works well in a large complicated urban setting it is transferable to a rural setting. In the interest of timing, it also was suggested that sites be selected that are already operating with at least some technologies in place rather than starting from scratch. In many ways this approach may more accurately mirror the way technology evolves locally – often beginning with a module like AVL and expanding in to other transit ITS application over time.
  • Develop a competitive ITS deployment planning process. In might be helpful to conduct an initial planning process to help select the test deployment sites. For example, planning grants could be offered competitively for up to 10 locations to conduct a one-year local planning process in preparation for the implementation of a TMCC. Using the standards and criteria identified in the next steps research, the planning projects could be evaluated to determine which efforts would provide the "best" deployment test sites.
  • Work with candidate sites to develop a Concept of Operations. Part of the planning effort should include a "concept of operations," which is a clear, concise specification of how a system or software package should operate. Keeping in mind that the potential deployments include everything from virtual to physical TMCCs, this is a key task. Providing technical assistance in this area will improve the planning process and help to identify the potential test sites best suited for this project.
  • Implement the model deployment sites. A thoughtful and thorough planning process will result in high quality model deployment site testing.

The MSAA project will benefit greatly by coordinating with UWR and sharing/leveraging resources and information. UWR can help to identify and reduce barriers to human services coordination and the MSAA project can help find technology solutions to support coordination. Expanding the base of vendors involved in the concept and design of this project will help to ensure its success. Developing standards and measurements of effectiveness up front will help ensure that the MSAA project meets its goals. Working with selected communities to support their internal planning processes, while providing technical assistance, will result in the identification of high quality deployment tests. The planning effort also will help of the selected communities – whether chosen as one of the model deployment sites or not – to plan better for the eventual inclusion of technology in their coordinated human service transportation programs.

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