Research Archive

ITS Applications for Coordinating and Improving Human Services Transportation: A Cross-Cutting Study

I. Background

In 1998, the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Joint Program Office (JPO) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) initiated an effort to "soak up" lessons learned from both Federally and locally funded tests and deployments of ITS. The data collected and lessons learned are packaged into products whose purpose is to encourage ITS investment of local budget resources. These products provide information on ITS solutions that meet local and regional transportation needs. Brochures and cross-cutting studies are two of the communication formats that have been developed. Brochures let experienced community leaders and transportation professionals explain in their own words how specific ITS technologies have benefited their constituencies. Cross-cutting studies examine various ITS approaches that can be taken to meet a community's goals.

II. Project Objectives

This cross-cutting study will identify and summarize existing, successful ITS solutions for improved transportation coordination and enhanced mobility for communities and the transportation disadvantaged, as served by transit and human service transportation networks. This study will identify/describe challenges in transportation coordination and will address the applicability of ITS solutions, which have already been documented to be effective, in meeting those challenges. A brief description of each coordination challenge will be matched with ITS applications that address it. This description will include/summarize: (1) a brief explanation of the ITS technology, including documented benefits and costs, (2) technological and institutional barriers that were encountered, (3) documented solutions for overcoming these barriers, and (4) key lessons learned in each of the ITS applications. ITS applications supporting human service transportation, e.g., paratransit, fixed route, demand responsive, and flexible service, across the United States will be examined. The intention of this cross-cutting study is to compile a comprehensive collection of information to educate local and regional organizations on the breadth and depth of ITS applications to human service transportation. This information will assist providers and communities in making informed decisions about investing and deploying ITS solutions that will enhance service, coordination, and mobility within the scope of human services transportation. The basis for this effort will coincide with the Federal Coordination Council on Access and Mobility’s "Framework for Action: Building a Fully Coordinated Transportation System."

Two benefit brochures will be developed to accompany the cross-cutting study. Both brochures will address ITS solutions to address human service transportation needs and coordination. One brochure will be written for use by transportation service providers, and the other will provide information of use to consumers (i.e., users of the services). The brochures will contain information about relevant ITS best practices and testimonials of successful ITS applications that facilitate coordination and enhance mobility.

III. Task Descriptions

Task 1. Assess State-of-the-Practice

In this task, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will analyze data from the ITS Deployment Tracking Database and the ITS Benefits and Unit Costs Database, conduct a literature search, and review relevant documents pertaining to ITS solutions that are used to improve the mobility and human services transportation needs of aging, disabled, and low-income populations. To ensure the completeness of this assessment, ORNL will work closely with Federal agencies, local and regional transit/paratransit agencies, service brokers, and advocacy groups such as the Aging American Initiative, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Administration on Aging (AOA), Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the National Consortium on Coordination of Human Service Transportation. The end result of Task 1 will be a comprehensive listing of ITS deployments that were implemented to benefit human services transportation and led to increased service or coordination.

Task 2. Identify Transportation Coordination Needs for the Transportation Disadvantaged

Through a literature search of relevant documents and communication with the same organizations named in Task 1, ORNL will document and develop a list of specific transportation service and coordination needs. This list may include, but is not limited to, scheduling, dispatching, reservations, billing, organization, reporting, and data management issues that can be addressed by ITS solutions.

Task 3. Identify and Gather Information on Successful Practices

A cross comparison of the ITS deployments identified in Task 1 and the list of actual needs from Task 2 will provide a list of the deployments that meet actual needs. The list shall form the basis for a data collection plan that will enumerate the deployments that will be studied in greater detail; in addition, the list will include the plan for acquiring additional information for each of the deployments selected (e.g., document review, telephone interview, and/or site visit). From this list and other considerations, including the Federal Coordination Council on Access and Mobility’s “Framework for Action: Building a Fully Coordinated Transportation System” document, ORNL will develop a set of criteria that can be used to select the most successful practices. The criteria might include, for example, benefits (e.g., impact on mobility, number of people helped), role of leadership, return-on-investment (cost-benefit), and consumers’ acceptance. Upon approval of the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR), ORNL will finalize the list and begin the selection process.

ORNL will conduct interviews with staff from organizations identified as having successful practices. In these interviews, ORNL will gather detailed information on the project, such as system goals, description, operations, functions, and costs (if documented). ORNL will attempt to learn why the organizations chose to use ITS technologies as the solution and will acquire photographs and testimonials as appropriate. Finally, information on each application will also be collected on

  • Barriers (both technological and institutional) encountered,
  • Solutions used to overcome the barriers, and
  • Lessons learned.

In addition, ORNL will interview individuals with experience in implementing ITS technologies in human service transportation, both within and outside USDOT (see partial listing in Task 1), to obtain photographs, quotes, and testimonials to be included in the cross-cutting report and/or the brochures.

Task 4. Draft Cross-Cutting Report and Brochures

ORNL will document and summarize assessment results from Tasks 1 and 2 and information collected in Task 3. The report format will conform to previously published ITS Benefits Special Studies reports (e.g., "Intelligent Transportation Systems in Work Zones: A Cross-Cutting Study"). Permission to use any graphics, photographs, and quotations will be obtained prior to delivery. Specifically, ORNL will deliver to the COTR:

  • The full title of the document, including benefits statement.
  • Full text of the document.
  • Photographs or graphics to be used in the body of the report, along with general directions as to where each photograph or graphic should be inserted.
  • Photographs or graphics to be used for the report front cover.
  • Any quotes that could be used as "side bars" within the body of the report.

In addition, ORNL will submit to the COTR the technical contents, photographs, graphics, and quotations/testimonials to be included in the two brochures. Layout of these materials will be recommended. Permission to use any graphics, photographs, and quotations will be obtained prior to delivery.

All graphic elements (photographs and graphics) will be legible in black-and-white format. Once the report is published, all photographs and graphics used in it will be the intellectual property of the U.S. Department of Transportation and thus become available for distribution to the public free of charge. Photographs and graphics that remain the intellectual property of their previous owners or otherwise are not available for free public distribution will not be used in this report.

Photographs will be in either wet film print (preferred format), wet film negative, or electronic format. If in electronic format, the digital photographs will be of sufficient resolution to be used in the report, i.e., file size 3 Mb of greater.

Task 5. Finalize Technical Contents of the Cross-Cutting Report and two Brochures

Upon receiving comments from the COTR, ORNL will finalize the technical contents of the cross-cutting report and the materials pertaining to the two brochures.

Task 6. Develop A Preliminary Distribution Plan

ORNL will develop a preliminary distribution plan for the document, stating which organizations, both internal and external to the U.S. DOT, should receive copies of the document(s) once published. Distribution plans for previously published ITS Benefits Special Studies documents will be used as a model.

Task 7. Monthly Progress Reports

Since the cost information for a business month will not be finalized until the 10th of the following month, monthly progress reports will be submitted to the COTR by the 15th of the following month.