ITS Opportunities for MSAA
New capabilities and opportunities are being created in both the transportation and health and human services communities through the use of emerging technologies and innovative service models. However, the two communities are often unaware of the research, new approaches, and advances that each is making.
The U.S. DOT ITS Joint Program Office launched the MSAA initiative as a way to bring communities and stakeholders together to provide a coordinated effort on transportation services and apply technological solutions to barriers experienced in accessibility and mobility for the transportation disadvantaged.
The use of ITS technologies can result in improved operations and management of human service transportation resources, but institutional coordination and planning is paramount. ITS technologies provide independent transportation service providers and public agencies with the ability to communicate and coordinate operations, and share and monitor resources in real time. ITS can support the data collection required for effective coordination of multiple service providers and can assist with the interoperability of fare payment systems. New ITS technologies can effectively address a wide range of stakeholder needs for information, communication and coordination, and provide opportunities to assist with managing the overall transportation ecosystem.
The key to effective and efficient coordination is integrating ITS technologies into a physical or virtual Travel Management Coordination Center (TMCC) that networks all parties together and uses ITS technologies that are tested and proven and have demonstrated significant benefits and return on investment, including:
- Fleet scheduling, dispatching, and routing systems;
- Integrated fare payment and management (payment, collection, and processing) systems;
- Better traveler information and trip planning systems, particularly for customers with accessibility challenges;
- Advanced GIS and demand-response systems to provide door-to-door service; and
- Enhanced asset management and coordination.
A successful TMCC provides benefits to:
- Customers with simplified, one-stop access to unified travel support services, a one call/one-click opportunity to arrange for transportation services.
- Human service agencies with the ability to coordinate transportation needs across service providers and modes, considering fare structures, while also extending customer service across wider geographic areas.
- Transportation providers with a method for matching schedules and asset capacity with requests; an ability to efficiently process financial transactions; an opportunity to eliminate redundancies; and tools to ensure security and customer eligibility to use the system.