[nfbmi-talk] FW: Region 7 Coordinated Mobility Plan - Draft Strategies

Fred Wurtzel f.wurtzel at att.net
Thu Dec 24 03:21:39 UTC 2015



I am writing to as many blind people as possible to let you know of
activities happening around public transportation.  Transportation is of
vital interest and we all need to be as informed and active as possible in
working to maintain and improve services.  Though CATA, at 1 time was on the
leading edge of great public transportation and the service is, with a few
notable exceptions, still pretty good when compared to all services in the
state, it has not kept pace with technology and service levels. We need to
rais our level of knowledge and advocacy for these services.


Many blind people around the state have participated in a number of regional
transportation meetings.  These blind people are from various organizations
and some from no organization at all.  We all have in common that we all
have ideas for improving public transportation.  I encourage you to read
this partial report.  The authors wish for input prior to issuing the larger
report.  Please take time to read it and provide your suggestions.  I have
pasted the attachment in below for those who have difficulty with
attachments.  Prosperity Region 7 includes, as I recall,  Ingham, Eaton,
Clinton, Shiawassee and Jackson counties.  


Of course, I have my favorite points.  I feel that we need 1 single agency
to provide transit for Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties.  Steps toward
better coordination would be helpful, but as long as all these townships and
counties keep up their little turf wars, we, the riders, will never get the
level of service which can be provided with existing funds.


Second, though I don't tend to be much of a conservative, I must say that
CATA can certainly better use the funds they have, especially for SPECTRAN.
We all can tell stories of riding alone, or being picked up, riding around
for a while, just to return to where we were picked up and then proceeding
to our destination.  


You may not be aware that each SPECTRAN ride costs in the neighborhood of
$20 to provide.  We pay $2.50 and the taxpayers pay the rest.  We need to
use technology.  Uber has proven that on-demand service is possible with
reliable reporting of arrival times and position of approaching vehicles.
Green cab is a great example of predicting how long before a pick-up and
then calling when the ride has arrived.  CATA could do these things, too and
save a lot of time and money.  If I can get a ride which costs ten dollars
in a cab then SPECTRAN should be able to provide the ride for the same
amount or less since I am sharing the ride with others.


Please make a New Years resolution to do something to let CATA or someone
else who can help, know that you like public transportation and would like
to help make it better. We do have a good thing, but it is expensive.  It
can be improved and save money.  Let's try to make it the best it can be.


Warmest Regards,




From: Joel Eisenfeld [mailto:jeisenfeld at kfhgroup.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 2015 12:20 PM
To: andrew.kilpatrick at lansingmi.gov; bensond at clintontransit.com;
chris at misilc.org; commissionerhowardspence at gmail.com; crosingana at camw.net;
dwalexander at cata.org; dwebb at eatontrans.com; f.wurtzel at att.net;
gorbys at clintontransit.com; julie at glhc.org; lindley at childandfamily.org;
liz at environmentalcouncil.org; lmasoud at cata.org; lsweigart at hopenetwork.org;
michael.hagen at origamirehab.org; mitchelld at cceami.org; mmcwill at mpas.org;
munizt at michigan.gov; nwilson at cata.org; p.hemingway at micauw.org;
rsoucy at bathtownship.us; rtaylor at dewitttwp.org; shieldsm1 at michigan.gov;
singerrose at live.com; sophia at childandfamily.org; sskinker at mitcrpc.org;
tfriar at hgbhealth.com; voss at ceicmh.org; WilliamsB18 at michigan.gov
Cc: 'Dan Dalton'; 'Bennett'; 'Tom Page'; GeisslerJ1 at michigan.gov;
spigg at mitcrpc.org
Subject: Region 7 Coordinated Mobility Plan - Draft Strategies 


Thanks again for your interest and involvement in the Michigan Statewide
Transit Plan, and in particular work in Prosperity Region 7.  Please see the
attachment with a draft of the potential strategies to be included in the
coordinated mobility plan for the region.  We appreciate you taking the time
to review and provide us with any additions or edits by January 13, 2016.  


 A few notes for your review: 


.         We are using the federally coordinated planning guidance in
development of the regional plans.  Therefore this section follows the
"strategies, activities, and/or projects" element from that guidance.

.         For some strategies you'll note that additional details will be
included in the draft plan for the region.  We first wanted to obtain your
input on these recommendations, and can then include more specifics for your
future review of the entire draft plan. 

.         For any of the strategies, and in particular those related to
expanded regional services, please provide any additional details and
potential projects that you feel should be included.       


After your review we will distribute an updated list of strategies for
prioritization.  In the meantime please feel free to contact us with any


Happy Holidays!




joel signature

Potential Strategies, Activities and Projects 

Draft 12/22/15  




This chapter discusses potential strategies, activities and/or projects for
consideration by regional stakeholders. These efforts can help to address
the identified gaps between current transportation services and unmet needs,
expand regional mobility, and achieve greater efficiencies in service
delivery. The development of the possible strategies, activities, and/or
projects took into account:


*         Input from regional stakeholders during the September workshop


*	Strategies from the report produced by the Tri-County Regional
Planning Commission for MDOT


*         Recommendations included in other recent plans and studies


After review by regional stakeholders, the potential strategies, activities,
and/or projects will be updated and distributed to the group for
prioritization. Subsequently, an action plan that identifies priorities for
implementation and next steps based on input from the stakeholders will be
developed for inclusion in the draft mobility plan for the region. 


The development of potential strategies, activities and projects took into
account overall goals for maintaining and improving mobility in Prosperity
Region Seven. While many of the transportation issues in the region are
inter-related, the proposed strategies, activities and projects are grouped
by the following goals:


*      Maintain existing transportation services

*      Expand and improve local transit services

*      Expand regional transit services

*      Improve coordination of public, private, and human services

*      Improve transit outreach marketing and education

*      Consider a variety of transportation services to expand and improve
mobility in the region 

*      Secure additional funding to provide expanded transportation services
in the region 







Goal: Maintain Existing Transportation Services 


Continue to Support Capital Projects that are Planned, Designed, and Carried
Out to Meet Identified Needs 


Maintaining and building upon current capital infrastructure is crucial to
expanding mobility options, especially for older adults, people with
disabilities, veterans and people with lower incomes in the region. Before
the region can consider efforts for improving mobility for these population
groups, it is critical to ensure that the current foundation of services
remains in place through a sufficient capital network. 


This strategy involves acquisition of replacement buses or vans, vehicle
rehabilitation or overhaul, and other appropriate vehicle equipment
improvements that support the current capital infrastructure in the region.
With limited capital funding to replace buses it is essential that current
vehicles are maintained and remain safe and operable beyond the typical
useful life criteria. 


Continue to Support Services that are Effectively Meeting Identified
Transportation Needs in the Region 


While maintaining the current capital infrastructure is vital to meeting
community transportation needs, financial resources are needed to operate
vehicles and continue services at the current level. This strategy involves
providing operating funds to support existing public transit services and
human services transportation that are effectively meeting mobility needs
identified in the region, especially those serving older adults, individuals
with disabilities and veterans. 


This strategy should be managed with evaluation of public transit services
in the region as detailed below. Several public transit systems have
recently completed formal transit plans. In addition, an ongoing process
that includes a review of existing transit services with a major focus on
the system's routes and the performance of the various transportation
services can be conducted. This ongoing assessment assures that the public
transit system is responding to possible changing demographics in their
communities and operating the service that is most effective and economical.
This service planning process should be supplemented with input through
appropriate rider, employer, and public surveys; feedback from various
stakeholders agencies and organizations; and input from staff including
drivers and dispatchers on the frontline of services. 


As a follow-up to a statewide training on providing cost effective transit
services, a resource is available to support ongoing service planning
efforts. This resource is available through -- 



Transportation provided through human service agencies is more specialized
and therefore not monitored through these performance measures. There are
tools available that agencies can use to evaluate their transportation
programs and ensure that financial resources are being used effectively. An
example would be the Easter Seals Project Action's Transportation by the
Numbers tool which provides human service organizations with ways to more
easily identify expenses, revenues and performance outcomes so that agencies
can make more informed decisions about their future in the transportation
business. (A link to this resource will be provided in the Appendix of the
draft plan)



GOAL: Expand and Improve Local Transit Services 


Assess and Evaluate Current Public Transportation Services, and Identify
Possible Improvements. 


This strategy would involve evaluation of the public transit services in the
region. It calls for the support of any future transit plans developed for
individual counties and for the region. This planning process is crucial to
identifying opportunities to provide more efficient and effective transit


While typically formal transit plans are conducted every five to six years,
it is important for ongoing assessments that assure a public transit system
are responding to possible changing demographics in their communities and
operating the service that is most effective and economical. Again, this
assessment should be supplemented with input through appropriate rider,
employer, and public surveys; feedback from various stakeholders agencies
and organizations; and input from staff including drivers and dispatchers on
the frontline of services. This strategy specifically seeks to build upon
current planning efforts to improve curb-to-curb services in Lansing. This
strategy should include additional public forums and opportunities for the
community to give feedback on transit needs.


Continue to Support and Refine Bus Rapid Transit Planning Efforts in Lansing


CATA's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project is by far the largest transportation
project proposed for the Tri-County Region within the 2040 Long Range
Transportation plan. It will be a huge economic development engine for the
region. It will reduce congestion, improve travel time and provide benefits
to transit commuting along the 8.5 mile Michigan/Grand River corridor from
the State Capitol to Meridian Mall. The project was discussed and considered
in the 2035 Long Range Plan. As the project completes its environmental
review stages, TCRPC approved amending it to the 2040 LRP for $155 million.
This strategy calls for continued support for BRT through the environmental
assessment, final design and engineering, construction and service
initiation phases. The environmental assessment phase will be completed
within the year. All final design and engineering work will be completed in
2016 with construction to begin in 2017 and service in 2018.


Provide Transportation Options to Access Second and Third Shift Jobs


One of the regional transportation needs identified in the regional workshop
is for expanded transportation options to support access to service industry
and second and third-shift jobs. Many lower-income people who are starting
new jobs are offered the least attractive work schedule, as seniority is
typically a factor in choosing work schedules. There are also some
distribution-related jobs that only have work for people during the second
and third shifts. These schedules pose enormous transportation barriers for
low-income workers. 


While there are transit services in each county, few operate late into the
evening and rural service on the weekend is limited. There is insufficient
demand to warrant increased service hours late into the evenings. These are
critical transportation needs that if not met, negatively impact economic
development in the region and increase unemployment rates. This strategy
calls for investigating targeted transit services, like vanpools or
employment shuttles in partnership with local employers. Expanded service
hours apply primarily to Clinton Transit, ETRAN, and CATA rural services.



Goal: Expand Regional Transit Services 


Maintain a Forum for Ongoing Discussions on Regional Transit Needs and
Possible Service Expansions 


Stakeholders noted the need for expanded regional transit services that
cross county and jurisdictional lines. They noted that providing
cross-county transportation can be challenging, and there is a need to
determine barriers and work through the invisible boundaries of county and
jurisdictional lines to provide expanded regional services. 


While this plan serves as the foundation for improved regional services, it
is evident that more detailed discussions are needed. This strategy calls
for a more formal structure in the region that would assess regional transit
opportunities, identify possible service improvements, and gain consensus on
implementation of services (i.e. who would operate, how costs and funding
would be allocated, etc.). A consideration is a formal regional coordinating
committee that includes a broader group of representatives and provides an
ongoing forum for members would be able to:


*         Discuss improved connections between existing transit providers.
While there is connectivity between CATA, ETRAN, and Clinton Transit in the
region, streamlining of cross county trips and timing of transfers can be
improved upon. The goal is to reduce unnecessary transfers, long travel
times and cost for regional trips.


*         Identify and address connectivity barriers. Current inter local
agreements prohibit many curb-to-curb trips from rural areas into Lansing
(with few exceptions) requiring transfers and extended travel times. This
strategy calls for an examination of both the customer service and cost
effectiveness of the current approach as well as how direct origin to
destination service can be achieved. 


*         Consider, plan, and implement cross jurisdiction services. While
the jurisdictions in the region are working together to implement services
that transport customers across county and jurisdictional lines or enable
transfers between services, regional stakeholders noted the need for
streamlined cross jurisdictional services that meet rural community demands
and support economic development. 

*         Assess barriers to regional services (i.e. county millages that
support local transit services but not services that operate out of the
county) and identify incentives and/or funding opportunities to provide
regional transit services. 


*         As part of improving regional mobility, agencies should utilize
the regional Mobility Manager. The mobility management services in the
region should be marketed to bring more awareness to interested


*	Review and discuss strategies for coordinating transit services with
other regions (Ann Arbor and Detroit) in Michigan to help expand mobility


*	Develop strategies for cross jurisdictional transit service that are
both cost effective and customer friendly.


Based on input from regional stakeholders on this strategy, additional
details on the structure for a formal coordinating committee can be included
in the draft plan for the region. 


Develop an Integrated Regional Transit Network


During the regional workshop, stakeholders noted the need for integrating
regional transit services into one cohesive network that users and agencies
can easily navigate. Travel between the three counties can be difficult and
time consuming for transit customers and there needs to be an improvement on
how the three transit systems interface with each other. This strategy calls
for improved coordination amongst the regional transportation providers to
help streamline regional transit service through coordination of routes and
demand response service, schedules, and fare structure. Clinton Transit,
ETRAN, and CATA will maintain autonomy while transit service should strive
to be seamless from the customer standpoint. Integration of regional transit
functions including funding, fares, service configuration and scheduling
should be evaluated. 


Goal: Improve Coordination of Public, Private and Human Services


Create a Formal Coordinated Technical Committee


This strategy calls for the continuation and improvement of coordination of
CATA, ETRAN, and Clinton Transit. These systems have been meeting on a
regular basis for several years and in an effort to continue the regional
commitment to coordination it is recommended to establish a formal
coordination committee. This group should meet approximately three times a
quarter to discuss operations and logistics issues relating to transporting
transit customers across county and jurisdictional lines. The committee
should consist of representatives from the three transit systems, local and
state government, human service agencies, businesses, disability advocates,
senior citizen advocates and transit customers. This strategy will create a
leadership organization for coordination and improve communication among
transportation stakeholders in the Tri-County Region.

Improve Coordination of Services among Providers through Mobility Management


Beyond the need to improve transit connectivity in the region is the need to
assess coordination efforts that include human services and private
transportation services. Stakeholders noted that there is an ongoing need
for constant coordination and open communication between providers and
consolidation of as many trips as possible. Many stakeholders were unaware
of the existence of a regional Mobility Manager. 


This strategy calls for greater coordination of services and financial
resources in an effort to use available funding as effectively as possible.
The demand for public and human services transportation in the region will
continue to surpass resources, so it is vital that wheelchair accessible
vans in the community are fully utilized, that long distance trips are
consolidated when possible, training and vehicle maintenance are
coordinated, and 2-1-1 services effectively integrated into outreach and
needs assessments. Regional mobility management activities, tailored
specifically to meet the region's needs, can be implemented to improve
transportation services. Mobility management is an approach for managing and
delivering coordinated transportation services that embraces a "full family"
of transportation services, emphasizes movement of people through a wide
range of providers and services and makes more efficient use of
transportation resources. It provides the opportunity to unite a broad
collaborative of transportation providers, health and human service
agencies, customers and other stakeholders and support the design of local
and regional solutions to fit community needs and visions. 


In Prosperity Region Seven, the Mobility Manager has been established to
address a variety of coordination opportunities expressed by regional
stakeholders, including: 


*	Establishing a central point of contact in the region that would
develop and maintain a list of primary contact people with both the human
service providers and transit operators to foster collaboration.


*	Identifying and facilitating expanded connections between public
transit providers in the region. 


*	Coordinating long distance medical trips between the various
transportation providers. 


The mobility management activities should be supported and expanded to


*	Coordination of capital asset procurement, transit technology,
training and scheduling amongst CATA, ETRAN, and Clinton Transit.


*	Assisting regional transportation providers and human service
agencies in transportation coordination activities. 


*	Working with employers to help connect work times with available
transportation options. 


*	Working with hospitals and medical facilities so that transportation
options are considered in the scheduling of treatments and more regional
trips can be coordinated when possible. 


*         Improving the coordination with the veterans transportation
services provided in the region. 


*         Collecting more detailed information on regional origins and
destinations for service planning efforts. 


*	Coordinating NEMT services - currently transit has a minor role in
NEMT services. Coordinating public and human service transportation can
expand service for all. For example a regular NEMT trip from remote area can
be placed on the public transit schedule and public riders can ride
according to the NEMT schedule, reducing costs for all riders.


*	Coordinating local services - coordinating CATA, ETRAN, and Clinton
Area Transit System services would be to the advantage of all:

*	Three separate entities operating as one service, planned and
marketed as such.
*	Merging of systems into single regional services, eliminating
service barriers.


Based on input from regional stakeholders on this strategy, additional
marketing of mobility management activities to human service agencies is a
primary need. 


Goal: Improve Transit Outreach, Marketing and Education 


Establish or Expand Programs That Educate Customers, Human Service Agency
Staff, Medical Facility Personnel, and Others in the Use and Availability of
Transportation Services 


It is vital that customers, caseworkers, agency staff and medical facility
personnel that work with older adults, people with disabilities and people
with low incomes in the Tri-County Region are familiar and confident with
available transportation services. Regional stakeholders expressed the need
for expanded marketing of existing transportation services and education of
residents in the region on their travel options. This strategy involves
expanded outreach programs to ensure people helping others with their
transportation issues are aware of mobility options in the region.
Additional efforts include travel training programs to help individuals use
available public transit services. 


This strategy involves expanded outreach programs through Michigan 2-1-1 or
other sources to ensure people helping others with their transportation
issues are aware of mobility options in the region. A regional approach,
through the mobility management discussed in the preceding strategy, is one
consideration. This effort could involve regional marketing that highlights
individual system services and facilitates possible regional branding
opportunities. It would also involve appropriate marketing to stakeholders,
legislators, and other supporters or potential supporters. 

Establish Programs that Advocate on Behalf of Transit for Local, Regional
and State Decision Makers


Stakeholders noted that many elected officials and decision makers do not
fully understand the virtues of public transit services and the vital role
they play in many residents' lives. Outreach and planning efforts should
strive to make sure officials are knowledgeable about transit and ensure
that these individuals are engaged in the process. Regional transit
providers should develop a unified message for funding partners and help
advocates market this message. 


Additionally, regional stakeholders noted during the planning workshop that
state-level funding entities are often absent from planning efforts. This
strategy would encourage the state, seen as an "official" agency who
oversees the funding, to link current and future funding initiatives to
on-going local agency coordination and consistency with this plan. It would
provide the opportunity to build upon the State Coordinating Committee for
Human Services Transportation that has been in place in various structures. 


As part of this strategy, CATA, ETRAN, Clinton Transit, local human service
agencies and other local transit stakeholders should conduct a joint
marketing effort to educate all transportation agencies, government
officials and the general public in the Tri-County region on the benefit of
coordinated public transit services.  


Goal: Consider a Variety of Transportation Services to Expand and Improve
Mobility in the Region 


Use Current Human-Services Transportation Services to Provide Additional
Trips, Especially for Older Adults and People with Disabilities 


The expansion of current human service transportation programs operated in
the region is a logical strategy for improving mobility, especially for
older adults and people with disabilities. This strategy would meet multiple
unmet needs and issues identified by regional stakeholders, including
providing mobility for people who live beyond fixed-route public transit
services and people who live in the more remote areas of the region, while
taking advantage of existing organizational structures. This strategy would
support door-to-door transportation for customers who need assistance to
travel safely and an escort from a departure point, into and out of a
transport vehicle and to the door of their destination. For certain cohorts,
human service transportation may be able to address the barriers put in
place by inter local agreements barring ETRAN and Clinton Transit from
providing direct origin to destination trips into Lansing and CATA's


Operating costs - driver salaries, fuel and vehicle maintenance - would be
the primary expense for expanding demand-response services by human service
agencies, though additional vehicles may be necessary for providing expanded
same-day and door-to-door transportation services. 


Goal: Secure Additional Funding to Provide Expanded Transportation Services
in the Region 


Develop Additional Partnerships and Identify New Funding Sources to Support
Public-Transit and Human-Service Transportation


During the regional workshop, local stakeholders noted that there is
currently a lack of overall funding to support the variety of transportation
services that are needed in the region. The demand for public transit, human
services transportation and specialized transportation services continues to
grow daily. One of the key obstacles the transportation industry faces is
how to pay for additional services. 


This strategy would involve identifying partnerships opportunities to
leverage additional funding to support public transit and human-services
transportation in the region. This would include meeting multiple unmet
needs and issues by tackling non-traditional sources of funding. Hospitals,
supermarkets and retailers who want the business of the region's riders may
be willing to pay for part of the cost of transporting those riders to their
sites. This approach is applicable to both medical and retail establishments
already served, as well as new businesses. This strategy should be targeted
to major employers in Lansing that have employees who live in rural areas
where housing is more affordable.  While this plan helps to document the
need for these additional services, some may need to be further quantified
and unmet needs and gaps in service documenedt as part of educating elected
officials and potential funders.  


Develop Additional Sponsorships, Partnerships and Identify New Private
Funding Sources to Support Public-Transit and Human-Service Transportation


One of the key obstacles the transportation industry faces is how to pay for
additional services. This strategy would involve identifying sponsorship
opportunities to leverage additional funding to support public-transit and
human-services transportation in the region. This would include meeting
multiple unmet needs and issues by tackling non-traditional sources of
funding. Big box retailers, hospitals, supermarkets and retailers who want
the business of the region's riders may be willing to pay to become system
sponsors. As sponsors, they can benefit from advertising and other
promotional benefits, and while supporting their customers. Sponsorships can
be at any level and size business from Walmart to a local restaurant.


Aggressively Seek and Apply for Grant Opportunities Where Available


FTA has funding available for different needs. Last year's Ladders of
Opportunity grants provided significant funding for commuter services.
Funding is often available for capital and technology as well. While most of
the available funds are federal FTA funds, there are also opportunities from
the private sector. Diverse transit funding can be achieved through a
combination of initiative from CATA, ETRAN, Clinton Transit and local human
service agencies.  Some funding silos preclude transit agencies from
accessing grants but allow for certain human service agencies to fund
transportation services for their clients by contracting with transit


Advocate for Additional Funding to Support Public Transit and Human Service


Coupled with the need to develop additional partnerships is a stronger
advocacy campaign that highlights the impact that public transportation and
human-services transportation has on residents of the region, and how it is
a vital component of the community transportation infrastructure. This
strategy involves a regional and unified effort to inform elected officials,
local and national decision makers, and the general public on the dire need
for additional funding to support current services. Taking this a step
further, greater funding to expand transportation options would be
necessary, especially since additional administrative resources are often
overlooked when operational expansion is discussed. 


This advocacy campaign could be part of a national movement to stress the
importance of community and public transit in the surface transportation
reauthorization debate in Washington, D.C. The Community Transportation
Association of America (CTAA) and the American Public Transportation
Association (APTA) have developed a variety of resources that can be used in
advocacy efforts with local offices of House and Senate members, local media
and state and local elected officials.





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