What is “United We Ride?”
United We Ride is an interagency Federal national initiative that supports States and their localities in developing coordinated human service delivery systems. In addition to State coordination grants, United We Ride provides State and local agencies a transportation-coordination and planning self-assessment tool, help along the way, technical assistance, and other resources to help their communities succeed.
What is Human Service Transportation?
Human service transportation includes a broad range of transportation service options designed to meet the needs of transportation disadvantaged populations including older adults, disabled persons and/or those with lower income. Individuals have different needs and may require a set of different services depending on their abilities, their environment, and the options available in their community. Examples may include dial-a-ride (responding to individual door-to-door transportation requests), the use of bus tokens and/or transit passes for fixed route scheduled services, accessing taxi vouchers and/or mileage reimbursement to volunteers or program participants.
What Is Coordinated Transportation?
Coordinating individual human service transportation programs makes the most efficient use of limited transportation resources by avoiding duplication caused by overlapping individual program efforts and encouraging the use and sharing of existing community resources. In communities where coordination is made a priority, citizens benefit from more extensive service, lower costs and easier access to transportation. Coordination can improve overall mobility within a community, particularly when human service agencies are each providing transportation to their own clients. It works by eliminating the inefficiencies within disparate operations and service patterns that often result from a multiplicity of providers. Greater efficiency helps to stretch the limited (and often insufficient) funding and personnel resources of these agencies. When appropriately applied, coordination can lead to significant reductions of operating costs (per trip) for transportation providers. People in need of transportation also profit from enhanced transportation and higher quality services when operations are coordinated.
What did the Executive Order on Human Transportation Coordination do?
Executive Order 13330 signed by President Bush on February 24, 2004, established the new Interagency Transportation Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility; chaired by the Secretary of Transportation, Norman Y. Mineta. The purpose of the Council is to coordinate 62 different Federal programs across 9 Federal departments that provide funding to be used in support of human services transportation, The Council is comprised of 11 Federal departments, including the Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services, Labor, Education, Housing and Urban Affairs, Agriculture, Justice, Interior, the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration and the National Council on Disabilities. Specifically, the Executive Order requires the participating departments to develop a report to the President by February 2005 that in part, identifies the most useful Federal, State, tribal and local practices in coordinating transportation service; identifies the substantive and procedural requirements of duplicative Federal laws and regulations, or restrict efficient transportation operation; and provides individual departmental reports on the progress being made in simplifying access to transportation, producing cost effective service within existing resources, and reducing duplication.
What are the benefits of Coordinated Transportation?
Greater access to funds is provided by:
- Tapping a wider range of funding programs.
- Accessing a greater variety of staff and facilities.
- Employing more specialized and skilled staff.
- More cost-effective use of resources is created through:
- Productivity increases.
- Economies of scale.
- Eliminating waste caused by duplicated efforts.
- More centralized planning and management of resources.
- Greater productivities and efficiencies will:
- Fill service gaps within communities by offering services to additional geographic areas and individuals within existing budgets.
- Provide additional trips for community members, thus enhancing their quality of life.
- Generate cost savings to some participating agencies in special forms of coordinated transportation service.
- More centralized management of existing resources results in greater visibility for transportation services:
- To riders.
- To agencies needing trips for their clients.
- To the community.
- To funding sources.
- Reduced consumer confusion about how to access services.
- Clear lines of authority.
- More professional (comfortable, reliable, and safe) transportation services.
How can I become involved in “United We Ride” efforts within my state and community?
Public policies at the Federal, State, and local level can foster coordination through funding requirements, offering incentives for improvements in coordination, and requiring transportation and human service providers to demonstrate strategies and efforts to coordinate resources at the local level.
Interested organizations and individuals can contact their State to ascertain what plans and actions are being planned and implemented for human service transportation coordination at the State and local levels.
Locally, consumers should be actively involved in the planning and development of human service transportation services; including the development of policies and programs at all levels.
Efforts to expand the availability and accessibility of transportation services should cut across age and disability boundaries and seek to include such rider groups as older adults, people with disabilities, and individuals with lower income.