2015 Research Funds for Mobility Services for All Americans (MSAA) Deployment Planning Projects
In July 2015, FTA announced five planning grants totaling close to $800,000 for projects that showcase promising technologies and practices that improve travel planning and coordination for people who need specialized transportation.
Mobility Services for All Americans (MSAA) Deployment Planning Project grants are awarded to selected local and regional organizations to plan coordinated mobility services. Funded projects use intelligent transportation systems to coordinate deployment of on-demand public transportation systems, such as paratransit, for people with mobility issues. The grants will help provide vital services for veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and others who rely on community transportation providers to access everyday needs such as employment, medical care, and groceries.
Demand for these grants far surpassed FTA’s available funds. In response to its 2014 Request for Proposal (RFP), FTA received 11 proposals for MSAA grants requesting approximately $3.2 million. The five selected grantees are:
Atlanta Regional Commission (Atlanta, GA)
One-Click/Call Program Phase 2
[A lady assisting elderly man out of the car] The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will receive $80,000 to implement Phase 2 of the Atlanta Region One-Click/Call program. This Travel Management Coordination Platform will bring together 17 partner agencies to create a comprehensive “start-to-finish” system to help Atlanta-area residents with mobility issues access transportation. Through One Click/Call, ARC will create personalized profiles for riders to ensure better service, assist them with identifying the best mode of travel, and coach them through trip details. Further, improvements to vehicle tracking, payment, cost sharing, and data monitoring and analysis will allow ARC to continually improve the program’s efficiency.
United Cerebral Palsy of San Luis Obispo County/Ride-On Transportation (San Luis Obispo, CA)
San Luis Obispo County Travel Management Coordination Center Project
[People standing in front of transportation vehicle] Ride-On Transportation will receive $141,725 towards the San Luis Obispo County Travel Management Coordination Center Project, which will design and demonstrate a Ride Coordination System for San Luis Obispo County. The project will examine how to break down institutional barriers to efficiently manage over 882,000 passenger trips annually. Ride-On and its project partners plan to use innovative technologies to link databases and services in real time, allowing customers to enjoy better and more integrated service from the county’s public, private, and non-profit transportation providers.
Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Inc. (Southern Wisconsin)
Travel Management Coordination Center
[Metro bus ariving at a bus stop and people waiting around] The Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Inc. and the Dane County Department of Human Services will receive $158,192 to develop a deployment plan for a regional Travel Management Coordination Center (TMCC). The TMCC will enable high-tech coordination among local transportation providers, demonstrating how modern, relatively inexpensive cloud-and mobile-based tools can improve interoperability. The project will build on Wisconsin’s robust network of human transportation services and will be headquartered at the Dane County Center. The 11-county service area in southern Wisconsin features a significant number of veterans, low-income residents, and others who depend on mobility-assistance programs.
Via Mobility Services (Denver, CO)
Program Expansion and Improvement
[Mobility Vehicle] The nonprofit Via Mobility Services will receive $240,000 to expand and improve coordination initiatives in the Denver region. Via currently provides paratransit services in the Longmont area through the Longmont Coordination Project, in conjunction with the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) Call-n-Ride service. Via’s MSAA grant will allow the organization to expand this model to communities including Northglenn, Federal Heights, Broomfield, and the Seniors Resource Center in Thornton. Partnering with the Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council will allow agencies in the region to use a coordinated system to easily book rides and transfers for customers across service areas, improving the customer experience and minimizing duplication. The project will build upon a centralized data exchange capability that allows multiple providers to share information about availability, capacity, rider needs, and useful data such as real-time vehicle locations and schedules.
Nassau County Department of Human Services (Long Island, NY)
Integrated Transportation Services Project
[Transportation Bus] The Nassau County Department of Human Services will receive $175,628 to improve coordination among myriad human services transportation providers on western Long Island. This project will build on an existing region-wide plan that calls for a more integrated provision of transportation. Bringing together government providers and community organizations, Nassau County will develop a centralized IT system for making reservations, dispatching rides, administering funding, and pooling vehicles. Once operating, this system will help ensure high-quality and low-cost transportation for a variety of mobility-challenged groups in the county.