Research Archive

Current MSAA Project Overview

In May 2014, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $795,545 in Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Program funds for the deployment planning of Travel Management Coordination Centers (TMCCs) to support interoperable, coordinated human service transportation (HST) systems in coordination with the USDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office (JPO).

These funds were made available through cooperative agreements to engage in the deployment planning and preparation of coordinated HST systems that utilize ITS capabilities.  Four regions (Atlanta, GA, San Louis Obispo, CA, Denver, CO, and Madison, WI) were awarded grants to develop a Local TMCC Concept of Operations, a TMCC Phased Implementation Plan, and a Common Fleet Information Platform to be used for the deployment of TMCC capabilities in each region.  A project overview for each region is provided below.

Disclaimer:  The documents provided below are actual deliverables developed by the grant recipients during the Mobility Services for All Americans (MSAA) Program’s deployment planning phases. Each project under the MSAA deployment planning phase was designed to address a unique challenge, thus the respective documents were also very project-specific. Therefore, these documents/reports should not be viewed as templates, best practices, or USDOT endorsements. The documents/reports posted on this website are to provide examples for the agencies that are considering planning and deployment of similar types of technologies/systems. It is suggested that the agencies considering such projects refine the content and format to better address their individual needs.

Atlanta Regional Commission, Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta region published a TMCC concept in 2008 with FTA funding.  Findings from the 2008 TMCC study supported the development of an HST Advisory Committee and an update of the Coordinated HST Plan to facilitate greater coordination of HST transportation services throughout the region.  During FY 2011 and 2012, ARC was awarded funds for Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative (VTCLI) grants to develop the Atlanta Region One-Click/Call system and provide public education and outreach for the system. That website,, went live in March 2015. 

Phase II of the One-Click will bring the system forward from “trip discovery” (pinpointing the best option) to “trip transaction" (centralized booking, scheduling and dispatching).  As with websites that aggregate airline data (such as hotwire, kayak, etc.), the long-range vision is for Atlanta region residents to book trips through one online portal (ideally supplemented with phone services). The Atlanta Region Travel Management Coordination Platform (TMCP) will reflect the “start to finish” process of Human Service Transportation (HST) trips across multiple modes of transportation, HST programs/funding and individual consumer profiles.  The TMCP will include modular components such as 1) a client eligibility and accommodations profile, 2) “trip triaging” for best match pinpointing, 3) travel coaching/training assistance, 4) detailed modal data (automatic vehicle location, real time tracking), 5) modal route optimization, 6) payment and cost sharing and 7) data analysis/monitoring to find efficiencies and influence planning/future implementation in a system-wide feedback loop.  Agencies included within the system, whose involvement would be phased and voluntary, would continue to operate their own dispatching and scheduling operations while allowing for connectivity.

The proposed TMCP is a response to both national and local problems.  Nationally, the following are significant barriers to effective HST coordination: 1) overreliance on proprietary systems that were not designed specifically for HST contexts and 2) lack of transparency in client eligibility.  Unless an alternative is created, these situations will perpetuate indefinitely as a hindrance to more efficient and effective HST coordination.  ARC is proposing a national platform to be developed to provide an alternative to the current situation, and as such, ARC is very open to developing this concept in concert with other US organizations and geographic areas as a national pilot effort.  The TMCP will be an open-source platform designed for the complexity of HST trip transactions that will facilitate the following functions:

  1. Links to One-Click (phase 1) trip discovery
  2. Creates a client profile with permissions to various agencies
  3. Client info on current eligibility, trip accommodations needed and indication of other programs they might join
  4. Travel coaching to match user with mode
  5. "Trip triaging” to find ideal cost/accommodations match
  6. Consideration of supplementary services such as travel training to be proactive in shifting client to a higher triage level in future
  7. Cross-modal trip booking and connections to manifest creation and scheduling systems, route optimization across modes (internal/external, e.g. way to divert trips to taxi with cost/route optimization)
  8. Payment and billing - Cost sharing calculated on back-end
  9. Data analysis for system optimization
  10. Modular system (“plug and play” system that users could adapt to local needs)
  11. This new platform will be the reflection of new operations in the Atlanta region, enabling the local system to leverage gains already made by Ride Connection (RC) of Portland and its "trip triaging" approach.

Project Deliverables

United Cerebral Palsy San Louis Obispo/ Ride-on Transportation, San Louis Obispo, CA

The FTA MSAA San Luis Obispo County Travel Management Coordination Center (TMCC) project will serve the citizens and visitors of San Luis Obispo County, California.  Located along the central California coast, San Luis Obispo County is a thriving economic community that is home to 276,443 (2012 US Census estimated) residents and medical centers, clinics, 211, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), post-secondary educational locations, employment centers, recreational, shopping, and other quality of life needs.  The county covers a total of 3,299 urban and rural square miles that includes seven municipalities, including the county seat and largest city, San Luis Obispo. The county also includes the urbanized area of San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA.

In addition, the San Luis Obispo region’s community transportation partners provide services for many of the county’s neediest citizens.  The public and human service transportation partners provide mobility for many of the estimated 44,783 senior citizens and 37,872 persons living below the poverty level.  According to the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments’ (SLOCOG) 2007.

In the Coordinated Human Service – Public Transportation Plan, the county’s community transportation providers accounted for over “882,000 passenger trips annually, with 89 percent of these provided by 9 public transit operators, which includes Ride-On, and just 11 percent provided by the 23 responding human service providers. Applying just the operations costs presented, the public transit cost of a one-way trip is $10.45, while the human services agencies was $2.45 in reported costs.” Note, the region’s coordinated human service transportation plan is currently undergoing revision. All activities reflected through the MSAA project will be incorporated into the new plan.

Given the demographic background of the region, the San Luis Obispo County Travel Management Coordination Center (TMCC) project will focus on designing an interoperable, replicable, and scalable mobile technology system with the goal of coordinating paratransit passenger trips among partnering community transportation agencies and sharing this service information in real-time with the public.  The project’s lead agency is Ride-On Transportation (known as Ride-On), a division of United Cerebral Palsy of San Luis Obispo County, a non-profit community partnership agency.  Ride-On also serves as San Luis Obispo County’s designated state sanctioned Consolidated Transportation Services Agency (CTSA) and local Transportation Management Association (TMA), providing multiple community and human service transportation services and options throughout the county.  The project features a public, human service, and private transportation partnership between Ride-On and immediate community mobility core project partners, including the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (SLO RTA), Community Health Centers, SLO Regional Rideshare, SLO Safe Rides, taxi cab providers, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and partnering human service agencies.   The TMCC project will also include additional advisory stakeholders from the United States Department of Transportation/Federal Transit Administration (FTA) – and its designees, SLO Council of Governments (Metropolitan Planning Commission/ITS Architecture), City of San Luis Obispo (SLO Transit – fixed route), Cal Poly State University, California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), local municipalities, Amtrak, RouteMatch Software, business and technology partners, and others as appropriate.

The proposed San Luis Obispo County TMCC will provide the local transportation partners with the greater ability to meet additional customer same day paratransit ride requests and to provide customers   with real-time access to paratransit services.  Throughout the county, most transportation providers require a next day notice to schedule paratransit trips due to a lack of resources.  The proposed TMCC will allow providers to communicate and monitor fleet assets in real-time with one another, provide for rapid scheduling of the customer’s transportation service, notify the appropriate transportation provider, and communicate electronically and/or through automated call backs to customers.

The San Luis Obispo County TMCC project seeks to enhance personal mobility through the design and demonstration of a Common Fleet Information Platform through the TMCC’s real-time Ride Coordination System (RCS) for San Luis Obispo County. The TMCC’s  RCS  will  focus  on  providing  real-time  coordination  information  for  all  partnering agencies while enabling immediate information and mobility opportunities for customers through mobile communication.

Project Deliverables

VIA Mobility Services, Denver, CO

Four transportation providers in Northwest Denver in Colorado collaborated to develop a means to share trip data for demand-responsive transportation to improve service coordination in the region.  There were two over-arching purposes to this project.  The first purpose was to use technology to provide more rides for more people. The specialized transportation providers in Northwest Denver are in a situation that is common for many regions:

  • Human services transportation resources are limited while needs are great.
  • Many trips need to travel across jurisdictional boundaries.
  • There are a variety of service providers, some of which may have overlapping boundaries or serve clients who are eligible for services under multiple programs. For example, a rider could be a senior, a veteran, and have a disability that makes him or her eligible for ADA Complementary Paratransit, Veteran’s Transportation services, and the local services provided by the Senior Center.

The complexity of ride qualification and selection can be difficult for riders, family members, or human service agency staff to navigate as they try to figure out which agency to call to get needed transportation.  Similarly, a transportation provider would not know if there might be another provider who could carry a trip that is difficult to serve or that it does not have the resources to serve. A provider would also not know if there is another provider traveling in the same general corridor at the same time who could provide a trip more efficiently.  It is a situation where existing technology can provide a means to quickly enable data about trip availability to be exchanged, allowing agencies to get the information needed to make decisions that provide the most trips and use resources effectively. 

The second overarching purpose for the project was to create a system platform to exchange the needed trip data and to do so in a way that can be replicated. This was a system planning and deployment project based on solid collaboration and was grounded in systems engineering. It resulted in the open-source Trip Exchange software for exchanging data about demand responsive transportation trips. The software platform primarily uses Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to allow the providers’ different software scheduling systems to exchange data with one another. At present, basic functionality is used to exchange trip information and can be enhanced in the future.  Two scheduling systems (DemandTrans Solutions Mobility DR and RouteMatch) are adapted to send and receive data streams that include the basic trip information.

Project Deliverables

Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Madison, WI

This project is sponsored by the Greater WI Agency on Aging Resources, Inc. which is the area agency on aging that oversees aging programs in 70 of the 72 counties in Wisconsin and all 11 tribes.  Most of this service area is rural and the aging units are often the only providers of transportation services for older adults and individuals with disabilities.  Transportation is not a required service for Older American’s Act programs, however it is imperative to the health and wellbeing of the population served.

The Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Inc. (GWAAR) and Dane County Department of Human Services (DCDHS) are proposing to build upon a solid basis of local and regional coordination agreements and extensive experience with collaborative projects, in order to develop a phased deployment plan for a regional Travel Management Coordination Center to coordinate human services transportation for older adults, Veterans, persons with disabilities, individuals with lower incomes, and other transit-dependent user groups as well as healthcare. Key partners in this project will be the software developer Codeversant, Consultant Norah Cashin and will include collaborations with aging programs, Aging & Disability Resources Centers, private transportation providers, healthcare facilities, and the Southwestern WI Regional Planning Commission.

The project will serve an area of southern Wisconsin comprised of ten contiguous counties.  Most of the region has a very low population density. One of the most economically depressed areas of the state (poverty level of 11% and unemployment averages about 5.5%). This region has a high percentage of older adults (nearly 16%) and persons with disabilities.  It is challenging to serve because of lack of density and an aging population and because of narrow, winding local roads. People have to travel across county lines to receive needed services or employment and there are few transportation options, and even less that can provide this type of service in an accessible and affordable way.  The TMCC will link programs to better use the resources regionally to get people where they need to go.

The Travel Management Coordination Center (TMCC) of Southern Wisconsin Project will demonstrate how emerging cloud- and mobile-based technologies can eliminate barriers to HST coordination, providing low cost of entry and operation, and ease of use to participants. The project will build on Wisconsin’s’ robust coordination network, creating a regional TMCC to increase customer service and transportation efficiencies in the southern region of WI once completed.

Project Deliverables