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.  Three regions (Atlanta, GA, San Louis Obispo, CA, and Denver, CO) 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.

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, www.simplygetthere.org, 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

  • Concept of Operations (Coming Soon)
  • System Requirements and Architecture (Coming Soon)
  • System Design Document (Coming Soon)
  • Phased Implementation Plan (Coming Soon)
  • Final Report (Coming Soon)

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

  • Concept of Operations (Coming Soon)
  • System Requirements and Architecture (Coming Soon)
  • System Design Document (Coming Soon)
  • Phased Implementation Plan (Coming Soon)
  • Final Report (Coming Soon)

VIA Mobility Services, Denver, CO

Via Mobility Services (Via) is the sponsor of the Northwest Metro Denver Coordination System (the TMCC) project, which will expand Via and RTD’s successful coordination project in the city of Longmont, CO, to other urban and small urban communities within the northwest Denver Metro area: Northglenn, Federal Heights, Broomfield, and Thornton. The TMCC project will also build on the Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council’s (DRMAC’s) VTCLI Trip Exchange project. The TMCC project partners include the Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver; DRMAC; Easy Ride Transportation (Easy Ride) of Broomfield; the Seniors’ Resource Center (SRC) located in Denver; and two software vendors—RouteMatch and DemandTrans Solutions. Once completed, the TMCC project will allow partner demand-response HST providers in the target region to use a centralized and coordinated system to easily exchange information, book rides, and arrange transfers across service areas.  This will improve both the customer experience and the providers’ productivity.

In the northwest Denver Metro area, government agencies and private HST nonprofits all work to provide on-demand specialized transportation to the same populations of older adults and people with disabilities. Using a centralized coordination system for scheduling trips among the providers would result in a more efficient use of the region’s available resources by eliminating duplications and providing transfers across service areas. But one barrier to such coordination has been the use among the providers of different, proprietary scheduling software with no standard for exchanging information between systems. This technological barrier is not unique to the Denver Metro area; it’s also found in metropolitan areas across the United States. By creating a standard for exchanging information between regional HST providers and a means to do so, the TMCC project team’s goal is to create solutions that can be piloted in Colorado and then implemented across the country.

Via and RTD’s Longmont Coordination Project proved that successful coordination efforts can increase efficient use of resources, ridership, productivity, and customer satisfaction. But during that initial effort, Via identified institutional and technical sustainability issues as well as scaling problems that the TMCC project is designed to address as it expands a coordination system into the northwestern Denver Metro region. The TMCC project will also leverage and build on DRMAC’s VTCLI Transportation Coordination System Trip Exchange project and its centralized trip exchange system. The TMCC project’s overall goal is to allow HST providers to easily transfer trips between the general public Call-n-Ride and specialized HST services in the target region to maximize use of resources and minimize duplication of services.

Project Deliverables

  • Concept of Operations (Coming Soon)
  • System Requirements and Architecture (Coming Soon)
  • System Design Document (Coming Soon)
  • Phased Implementation Plan (Coming Soon)
  • Final Report (Coming Soon)

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

  • Concept of Operations (Coming Soon)
  • System Requirements and Architecture (Coming Soon)
  • System Design Document (Coming Soon)
  • Phased Implementation Plan (Coming Soon)
  • Final Report (Coming Soon)
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