Mobility Services for All American Initiative Foundation Research Draft Project Plan
Submitted to The US Department of Transportation
Science Applications International Corporation
1710 SAIC Drive, MS T1-12-3
McLean, Virginia 22101
October 7, 2004
Chapter 1: Background and Overview
A 2003 General Accounting Office (GAO) report (GAO-030698T) states that 62 federal programs fund transportation services for the transportation disadvantaged, and that 28 of the 62 programs alone spent at least $2.4 billion in FY 2001 on these services. Currently, due to inefficiencies, limited resources, and a lack of coordination, delivery of human services transportation is challenging. In many locations, human services transportation is fragmented, resulting in service area gaps (geographical areas where service is not provided) or limited service area size due to an absence in trip transfers between transportation providers. Often, customers have to contact multiple case workers for multiple funding programs, trip requests have to be made well in advance, scheduled trip times are inconvenient, pick-up wait times are long and difficult to estimate, trip travel times are long, and accessibility to transit for seniors and persons with disabilities is limited.
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 services. Pioneering public transportation agencies are using Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to provide centralized coordination of community transportation providers, one stop shopping, and service brokering through integrated automatic vehicle location systems, advanced communications, and universal benefit cards. Others are providing on-vehicle audio annunciation, accessible traveler information, and flexible routing to assist passengers with disabilities in using conventional transit services. In the rehabilitation community, innovative Assistive Technologies (AT) such as personal GPS and personal display assistants (PDAs) using mobile communications to provide real-time assistance to those with cognitive disabilities, accessible pedestrian signals, and "talking" bus stops and signs are also being developed. However, the two communities are often unaware of the research, new approaches, and advances that each is making, and neither may have direct communication with the disability community at large. The U.S. is now bringing them together to provide a coordinated effort to apply technological solutions to the barriers to accessibility and mobility for persons with disabilities.
The foundation of this Mobility Services for All Americans initiative is built around the notions of service coordination and technology integration. The definition of the transportation-disadvantaged, according to the GAO report, includes "people who are unable to provide their own transportation as a result of a disability, an age-related condition, or an income constraint." A similar definition adopted in the State of Florida states "…those persons who because of physical or mental disability, income status, or age or for other reasons are unable to transport themselves or to purchase transportation and are, therefore, dependent upon others to obtain access to health care, employment, education, shopping, social activities, or other life-sustaining activities, or children who are handicapped or high-risk or at-risk…" The TCRP Report 49, Using Public Transportation to Reduce the Economic, Social, and Human Costs of Personal Immobility (1999) uses a more generic definition for the transportation disadvantaged: "Those people whose range of travel alternative is limited, especially in the availability of easy-to-use and inexpensive options for trip-making."
For the purpose of this Mobility Services for All Americans initiative, the transportation disadvantaged refers to those within the following population groups that due to physical or mental disability, income status, age, or for other reasons experience difficulties in transportation themselves or purchasing transportation services in order to carry out their daily activities and participate fully in American Society:
- Persons with disabilities
- Wheelchair users
- Ambulatory (no mobility aids)
- Semiambulatory (mobility aids)
- Vision impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Psychological impairments
- Ability to reason and process
- Memory and learning
- Low-income population
The ultimate goal of this initiative is to increase mobility and accessibility for the transportation disadvantaged as well as the general public, and to achieve more efficient use of federal transportation funding resources. Embracing the concept of interagency coordination and cooperation and technology integration, this initiative proposes a five-phase approach to achieve the intended goals. The five phases are:
- Phase 1: Coalition building
- Phase 2: Foundation research
- Phase 3: Technology integration, testing and evaluation
- Phase 4: Replicable Scalable Traveler Management Coordination Center
- Phase 5: Documentation and outreach
This Project Plan describes Phase 2: Foundation Research.
Chapter 2: Technical Approach
SAIC's proposed technical approach to this task is presented in Figure 1 below. SAIC understands the customer's aggressive project schedule and proposes the work performed under Task 4 (Mobility and Accessibility Needs, Gaps and Barriers) be coordinated with Task 5 (Link Technologies with Mobility and Accessibility), which will then feed into Task 6 (Project Report Outline) and Task 7 (Project Report and Database). Further details of this approach are presented in the task-by-task description following the figure.
Figure 1: An Overview of SAIC's Technical Approach
Task 1. Kickoff Meeting
The SAIC Team shall attend an initial kickoff meeting with the USDOT Program Management Team at the U.S. DOT headquarters in Washington, DC to discuss the project goals and expectations. The meeting shall focus on the project approach, staffing (e.g., roles and responsibilities), schedule, budget, tasks, deliverables, travel, and other important items. The contractor project manager and the key staff person assigned to the project shall attend the kickoff meeting. The SAIC team shall take notes and prepare meeting minutes of the key points discussed.
Milestones: Kickoff Meeting
- 1.1 Kickoff Meeting Minutes (NOTE: This deliverable is complete)
Task 2. Project Plan
Based on the discussion at the kickoff meeting, the SAIC team shall develop a detailed project plan. The plan shall consist of the following chapters and contain the following information:
- Chapter 1 shall contain project background information
- Chapter 2 shall contain information about approach for each task of the project. The chapter shall also discuss the type of information to be included in the deliverables.
- Chapter 3 shall contain a staffing plan including designated staff members, their projected availability, and task responsibilities. This chapter should also include information on all subcontractors, their qualifications and respective plans for resource allocation. The designated FTA Task Order Manager can assist the contractor in identifying additional expertise needed to supplement the contractor's existing internal resources.
- Chapter 4 shall contain a detail schedule and budget. The schedule shall be broken down by tasks and deliverables and shall indicate timeframes, completion dates, and other milestones. The budget shall be broken down by tasks and shall identify staff members and/or labor categories, labor hours and burden rates (base rate and overhead), travel and other direct costs, and other standard budget items such as fees.
Upon completion, the SAIC team shall brief the USDOT Program Management Team about the project plan at the U.S. DOT headquarters in Washington, DC by the delivery date. Once the Task Order Manager approves the project plan, the SAIC team shall begin the next task.
Milestones: Project Plan Meeting
- 2.1 Project Plan
Task 3. Project Advisory Group
One of the major goals of the foundation research is creating a bridge between the transportation/ITS and human services communities in order to create new solutions that combine the efforts and knowledge of both. Expert inputs and guidance through interagency coordination and cooperation is a key element to the success of the foundation research. To this end, the US DOT will be contracting with establishing an interagency/interdisciplinary project advisory group with its members drawn from public and private stakeholders, field experts who have extensive experience and knowledge on the subject matters, and representatives from public offices that fund and administer major human service transportation programs.
The SAIC team should attend monthly project advisory group meetings through conference calls (or at the U.S. DOT headquarters in Washington, DC if necessary) to discuss project related issues and obtain guidance as needed.
Milestones: Monthly Advisory Group Meetings
Task 4. Mobility and Accessibility Issues, Needs and Barriers
One of the first requirements in capturing "where we are" is to obtain a basic understanding of
- the general types of transportation disadvantages,
- how the disadvantages affect an individual's mobility, and
- the kinds of barriers such individuals typically encounter.
We expect to find that each type of disadvantage encounters different mobility and accessibility issues, needs, and barriers in using public transportation services.
This information will lead to an understanding of which individuals are defined as transportation disadvantaged, which, as previously noted, means people who are unable to provide their own transportation as a result of a disability, an age-related condition, or an income constraint. This means that the research will initially focus on
- Persons with disabilities
- Wheelchair users
- Ambulatory (no mobility aids)
- Semiambulatory (mobility aids)
- Vision impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Psychological impairments
- Ability to reason and process
- Memory and learning
- Low-income population
The SAIC team will gather and synthesize existing knowledge through expert consultation and an extensive review of literature from both transportation and health and human services communities on mobility and accessibility needs associated with key trip components. Individuals to be contacted will include Federal officials in various agencies, state officials, persons associated with transportation providers that serve transportation disadvantaged persons, and members of the project advisory group.
The first step will be a functional assessment of key trip components, including
- understanding the system,
- accessing the facility/vehicle from origin,
- entering/traveling in/exiting a vehicle, and
- arriving at the destination.
The SAIC team will then examine the current level of practice and success in meeting those needs in different built environments (e.g., urban, suburban and rural), with different types of services (e.g., private vehicles, fixed route transit, paratransit, taxi, community vans, etc.). Subsequently, any unmet needs/gaps where current transportation services fail to present themselves as a viable travel option to transportation disadvantaged persons shall be explored and identified.
The SAIC team will test the efficacy of displaying this information in matrix format. Rows would be types of services and vehicles, columns could be key trip components, and cells would indicate needs and gaps. A separate matrix would be produced for each of the different built environments. One of the key sources of data for this matrix would be the recent BTS survey of the transportation needs of persons with disabilities.
After the needs and gaps are identified for each transportation disadvantaged group, the research team will analyze issues and hurdles that may have compromised transportation service providers' and program administrators' capacity in meeting these needs and resultant gaps. Special attention will be given to identifying ways in which new or existing technologies could aid in meeting these needs. The research team will explore the presentation of this information in a tabular format that specifies
- issues, problems, hurdles
- applicable transportation disadvantaged population
- applicable service providers
- specific needs and gaps, and
- potential solutions.
In addition, it is important to understand the concerns and priorities of the different transportation disadvantaged populations, transportation service providers, and human service program administrators, and what they feel are the most important issues and needs to be addressed, and hurdles that must be overcome immediately. This information will be gathered during our contacts with experts at the beginning of this task.
The SAIC team will produce a technical memorandum documenting needs, current level of service and the resultant gaps and barriers organized by transportation disadvantage type (i.e., seniors, persons with disabilities and income constraints) experienced in different environment settings (e.g., urban, suburban and rural). The memorandum should be written in such a way so it can be readily incorporated into the overall foundation research project report.
Two deliverables will be produced as a result of this Task:
- 4.1 Technical Memorandum Outline: Mobility and Accessibility Needs, Gaps and Barriers for the Transportation Disadvantaged
- 4.2 Technical Memorandum: Mobility and Accessibility Needs, Gaps and Barriers for the Transportation Disadvantaged
Deliverable 4.1: Outline of the Technical Memorandum
- As specified in Task 4, the SAIC team shall prepare and submit an outline of the Mobility and Accessibility Needs, Gaps and Barriers for the Transportation Disadvantaged Technical Memorandum. The outline of the technical memorandum shall be submitted to the FTA Task Order Manager for review and approval before its content is developed. This outline will be submitted 7 weeks after notice to proceed. The Rehabilitation Act does not apply to this deliverable.
Deliverable 4.2: Technical Memorandum
- As specified in Task 4, the SAIC team shall prepare and submit a Technical Memorandum that documents needs, current level of service and the resultant gaps and barriers experienced by the transportation disadvantaged. The subcontractor shall assist in summarizing and synthesizing all relevant information gathered throughout the process and will provide references for all information sources. The Technical Memorandum will be submitted in draft form 10 weeks after notice to proceed. One week is set aside for COTR review and comments. This Draft Technical Memorandum will then be revised and submitted in final form one week after COTR comments are received, which is expected to be 12 weeks after notice to proceed. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act applies subject to the standards indicated above.
The SAIC team shall obtain acceptance of these research findings from the FTA Task Order Manager before proceeding to the next task.
Task 5. Linking Technologies with Accessibility and Mobility
This task will be performed in coordination with Task 4. It is assumed that information from Task 4 will provide input to Task 5; however, Task 5 will not formally commence until completion of Task 4.
Technology plays a key role and presents great opportunities for human service transportation coordination and mobility enhancement for the transportation disadvantaged. The scope of this foundation research will considers all technologies, including Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Assistive Technologies (AT), and other technologies and innovations to improve the availability and accessibility of public transportation services to transportation-disadvantaged persons as broadly defined during the kickoff meeting. These may include, but are not limited to, the following potential technology applications:
- Technologies and services for improving the access, egress, and ease of use of conventional fixed route transit and other non-private auto transportation for the transportation disadvantaged.
- Technologies and services for the provision of accessible demand response transit, paratransit, and other mobility options to transportation-disadvantaged persons.
- Technologies and services for coordination of all transportation services to provide fully accessible demand-response mobility equivalent to that provided to the general public.
Under this task, the SAIC team will conduct a thorough literature review to develop inventories of: state-of-the-practice and state-of-the-art technologies and methods, available information/references, past and ongoing projects that are related to using advanced technologies to improve accessibility and mobility for the transportation disadvantaged. The SAIC team will coordinate and obtain/incorporate information with related parallel efforts, including but note limited to the following:
- Communicating with Persons with Disabilities by Booz Allen Hamilton.
- Comprehensive Uses of ITS Technology for Human Service Transportation Coordination by the North Dakota State University.
- ITS Applications for Coordinating and Improving Human Service Transportation Cross-cutting Study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Based on the findings from the literature review, the SAIC team will also identify, assess and prioritize the technologies (or "packages") based upon their ability to address the needs/gaps, expected return-on-investment, and their readiness for widespread application. Special emphasis will be put on technologies that enable coordination between and among human service programs/organizations, and across a continuum of human service transportation alternatives including fixed/flex route, demand responsive, intercity buses, community vehicles, taxis, and so on. Literature for review may include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Recent developments, deployments and evaluations of technologies, especially ITS technologies, for human services transportation coordination and service quality improvement.
- Literature associated with innovative state and local government business models and practices in coordinating human services transportation.
- Literature on state-of-the-art ITS and assistive technologies and their respectively deployment maturity and potential for advancing human services transportation quality and operational efficiency.
The SAIC team will address the following four topics for each of the identified technologies:
The SAIC team will provide a general description of each technology and application to meet the accessibility and mobility needs of the transportation disadvantaged.
The SAIC team will identify the transportation disadvantaged group, environment, and application that the technology applies to.
- State of Readiness and Level of Deployment
The SAIC team will summarize the status of deployment, including trends and levels of deployment, based upon the literature review findings, advisory group inputs, and other information sources. An indication of the technology's readiness for widespread deployment will be provided. The SAIC team expects to use the following classification for describing a technology's readiness:
1) In Conceptual research;
2) In Prototype;
3) Proven Prototype;
4) Proven with Limited Deployment; and
5) Proven with Full Scale Deployment.
Field examples of using such technology by state, local or tribal governments across the country and their evaluation outcomes, if available, will be described in brief.
- Issues and Hurdles
The SAIC team will identify any issues and hurdles that may challenge the development and implementation of technologies for human service transportation applications.
The SAIC team will produce one technical memorandum for all technologies defined and discussed. This technical memorandum shall be structured and written in such a way so it can be readily incorporated into the project report. As required, the technical memorandum, and subsequently the final project report, will include the following two tables along with text explanations. The first table shows the association between each technology application and (unmet) mobility and accessibility needs/gaps and barriers (see Sample Table 1). The purpose of Sample Table 1 is to provide a quick overview to policymakers and human service transportation professionals about the applicability and maturity of technology applications in addressing mobility and accessibility needs and overcoming barriers. Different colors may be used to reflect needs/barriers priority and technology readiness.
|Disadv. Group||Needs||Barriers/Hurdles||Technology A ||Technology B ||Technology C ||Technology D ||Other  Technology||Rural  Environment|
|Disable-Wheel||Need A ||Barrier A1||X||X|
|Disable-Wheel||Need A ||Barrier A2||X||X|
|Disable-Wheel||Need B||Barrier B1||X|
|Disable-Wheel||Need C||Barrier C0||X||X|
1.TechX - Proven with Deployment
2. TechX - Proven Prototype
3. TechX - Conceptual Research
4. NeedX - Priority Needs
Sample Table 2 will summarize recent federally funded field projects, including the ongoing 11 FTA/HHS agency integration operational tests, as well as and any other field projects uncovered in the previous tasks, that apply ITS technologies to enable/improve human service transportation coordination (see Sample Table 2). The table will specify the type of technologies deployed, affected population and programs, intended outcomes, and completion dates by project. The second table is intended to allow readers to obtain a quick status refresh of recent federal activities related to human service transportation, and set the stage leading into the next phase of the Mobility Services for All Americans initiative: Phase 3 – Technology Integration, Testing and Evaluation. The SAIC team will suggest and make certain modifications to the above table contents, subject to the approval of the FTA Task Order Manager.
|Project||Technology A||Technology B||Technology C||Technology D||Other Technology||Affected Population||Affected Program||Completion Date|
|Northland Healthcare Alliance||X||X|
|Northern Shenandoah Valley Mobility Program||X||X|
The outline of the technical memorandum will be submitted to the FTA Task Order Manager for review and approval before its contents are developed. The SAIC team will obtain acceptance of the technical memorandum from the FTA Task Order Manager before proceeding to the next task.
- 5.1 Technical Memorandum Outline: Linking Technologies with Access and Mobility for the Transportation Disadvantaged
- 5.2 Technical Memorandum: Linking Technologies with Access and Mobility for the Transportation Disadvantaged 
Task 6. Project Report Outline
Based on the information obtained from Tasks 1 through 5, the SAIC team shall develop an annotated outline of the project report. Each section shall contain a short paragraph describing the type of information to be included in the section. The main body of the report shall be organized based on the following structure:
- Transportation Disadvantaged Populations and their mobility / accessibility needs in different environments.
- Mobility and Accessibility Performance and Gaps in different environments, and Issues/Hurdles in Providing Service
Provide one section for each type of transportation disadvantage, service providers, brokers and program administrators.
- Assessment of Potential Technologies for providing Accessibility and Mobility to the transportation disadvantaged.
Provide one section for each type of transportation disadvantage, service providers, brokers and program administrators. Link barriers with applicable technologies to indicate potential solutions.
- Conclusions, Remaining Issues and Expected Future
The SAIC team shall also provide an executive summary for the project report. This executive summary shall contain the two summary tables (i.e., Tables 1 & 2) described in the previous task. Once the Task Order Manager approves the annotated outline, the SAIC team shall begin the next task.
- 6.1 Project Report Outline
Task 7. Project Reports and Database
Based on the annotated outline, the SAIC team shall prepare a project report that documents the results of the research. The report shall be written in plain English, and be easy to read, and use proper grammar, punctuation, and style. The SAIC team shall first submit a draft report to the FTA for review, and then produce a final report, which incorporates comments and recommendations from the FTA on the draft report. The final report must be professional looking and may require up to two revisions. The Task Order Manager can provide sample reports, if desired. The report must meet Section 508 requirements and adhere to Government Print Office (GPO) specifications (www.gpo.gov).
In addition to the project report, the SAIC team shall transform Table 1, defined in Task 5, into a relational database in Microsoft Access and provide a database dictionary/codebook for future reference.
- 7.1 Project Report
- 7.2 MS Access Database and Related Documents
Task 8. Progress Reports and Advisory Group Meetings
The SAIC team shall provide monthly project progress reports. The reports shall include the following items and provide information relevant for the particular period:
- Significant accomplishments
- Project issues/concerns and recommended solutions
- Updated project schedule
- List and status of current tasks
- List of completed tasks
- Percent complete by task
- If slips in the schedule occur, the contractor shall propose how to mitigate the schedule deviation(s)
- Total budget by task
- Amount spent to date by task
- Amount remaining by task
- Travel expense report (if applicable)
- 8.1 Monthly Progress Reports
- Original schedule calls for completion of outline during week 15, draft tech memo during week 18, and final tech memo in week 20. It is anticipated that additional information will be collected during the TRB Annual Meeting, which occurs during week 16 of the project. TSC will be at the TRB Annual Meeting and will make revisions to the draft outline as needed based on input received at the Annual Meeting. We anticipate a face-to-face meeting with the project team on January 13 to discuss the final outline.