Research Archive

MSAA Background

In February 2004 Presidential Executive Order (#13330) on Human Service Transportation Coordination was issued by President George W. Bush. The 2004 executive order requested the establishment of the Federal Interagency Transportation Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM) to enhance accessibility and mobility for persons who are transportation disadvantaged, especially individuals with low-incomes, people with disabilities, and older Americans. This Council is chaired by the Secretary of Transportation with representation from 11 executive departments or agencies of the Federal government. The Executive Order also required that all federal agencies, overseeing the (currently 80) federal programs funding transportation services for the transportation disadvantaged, work together to enhance transportation access, minimize duplication of federal services and facilitate the most appropriate, cost-effective transportation for older adults, people with disabilities and low-income populations.

In collaboration with the CCAM, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) launched the Mobility Services for All Americans (MSAA) initiative in 2005.  Many Americans have difficulty accessing some of their basic needs because they must rely on transportation services provided for seniors, persons with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged which can be fragmented, unreliable, and inefficiently operated. Lack of efficient coordination among the many disparate service providers is a leading obstacle to meeting the mobility needs of the people who require these services most. The goal of the MSAA initiative is to improve these transportation services through the use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology.  With ITS improvements these services could be operated more efficiently thereby simplifying access to employment, healthcare, education, and other community activities.

The MSAA initiative is funded through the USDOT ITS Joint Program Office.  The MSAA initiative focuses on applying ITS solutions to advance human service transportation (HST) coordination and delivery.  Since the creation of the MSAA program in 2005, several projects featuring ITS solutions have been completed and some are just beginning.  In 2005, 8 regions were selected for Phase 1—System Development and Design. These 8 regions include:

In 2009, 3 of the original 8 regions (Aiken, SC, Camden, NJ, and Paducah, KY) were down selected and awarded additional funding for Phase 2 -- Model Deployment, Evaluation, and Technology Transfer.  These projects were finalized in 2011.  The Aiken, SC model deployment featured CAD/AVL and traveler information services to coordinate community transportation for the transportation-disadvantaged and improved non-Medicaid demand response trips by 18 percent and non-emergency Medicaid response trips by 40 percent.

Mobile data computer

Example installation of mobile data computer – Aiken, SC
(Source: Mobility Services for All Americans Initiative: Systems Impact Evaluation – Final Report, Aiken, SC, November 2013)

More details on the benefits and costs for this project can be found here.

In 2015, the MSAA Initiative provided grants for research projects to further improve HST coordination and delivery in Atlanta, GA, San Louis Obispo, CA, and Denver, CO.  These deployment planning projects are scheduled for completion in late 2017. The purpose of this deployment planning effort is to replicate and advance the success of TMCC phased‐implementation by providing “seed” funding to these regions and to leverage other federal, state and local resources to build up coordinated community transportation services. More details on these projects can be found here.

Common Travel Management Coordination Center Concepts

A TMCC can be either a physical or virtual center that connects human services agencies with transportation agencies, dispatchers, and brokers. A TMCC can be centralized, decentralized, or a hybrid of both approaches—the appropriate design is driven by a host of factors:

  • Customer needs.
  • The number and type of local providers and their assets (for instance, the number of vehicles in their fleets).
  • The level of data sharing and collaborative decision-making that stakeholders agree to.
  • The existing technologies and systems in place for operations.

Common Needs in TMCC System Design

  • Customers desire one point of customer service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and accessible from multiple media access points (phone, text messaging, kiosks, interactive voice response [IVR], Internet, and others).
  • Customers and agencies desire that travelers manage their own accounts (e.g., individual accounts for customized personal preferences).
  • Customers desire service flexibility.
  • Provider agencies want customer information on such characteristics as customer eligibility and certification.
  • Provider agencies and customers want easy fare payment options or identification cards.
  • Human service agencies want performance monitoring, and streamlined billing and reporting.
  • All parties want enhanced safety and security.

Common Functional Components of TMCCs

  • Communications/Networks
  • TMCC Customer Interfaces / Customer Service Access
    • Telephone
    • Internet
    • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
    • Kiosks
    • Walk-in service
  • Service Operations
    • Reservation and scheduling
    • Vehicle routing, dispatching and monitoring (Computer-Aided Dispatch/Automated Vehicle Location)
    • Vehicle communications (Mobile Data Computers and other mobile devices)
  • Service Management
    • Billing
    • Data management and reporting
    • Electronic ID/fare management
    • Eligibility and certification