FAQ’s

Informational Materials- FAQ’s

What is the Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan?

The Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan is required by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under Federal Law and as part of our continuing, coordinated and comprehensive planning process.

The Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan describes the challenges that face efficiently and effectively providing public transport to special needs, transportation disadvantaged populations within the Baton Rouge area, and provides potential strategies for confronting and overcoming these strategies. Transportation Disadvantaged, for the purposes of this plan, refers to those who, whether due to disability, advanced age, or economic circumstances, are unable to provide for their own transportation.

Beginning in FY2007, the Federal Transit Administration under the Safe, Accountable,Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFTEA-LU) requires that projects selected under the New Freedom (5317), Special Needs of Elderly and Individuals with Disabilities (5310), and Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC, 5316) be “derived from a locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan.” In addition, FTA regulations on the Rural Transportation Program (5311) require that these projects also be selected from a coordinated plan. According to these new regulations, the coordinated plan should be “developed through a process that includes representatives of public, private, and nonprofit transportation and human services providers and participation by the public.”

The Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility, whose membership consists of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Transportation, defines coordination as “a process through which representatives of different agencies and client groups work together to achieve any one or all of the following goals: more cost-effective service delivery; increased capacity to serve unmet needs; improved quality of service; and, services which are more easily understood and accessed by riders.”  Therefore, a Coordinated Plan that meets the federal mandate should:

  • Identify the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities, older adults and people with low incomes;
  • Provide strategies for meeting those local needs; and
  • Prioritize transportation services for funding and implementation

Why is Transportation Coordination important?

Coordination involves the mutual effort of human service agencies, transportation providers, workforce development agencies, the public, and others, to better serve the transportation disadvantaged population with the limited resources that are available.

The cooperation that comes from a coordinated effort can serve to create and implement strategies that will address gaps in coverage as well as eliminate duplication of service. When possible, it can also allow for the sharing of resources. The resultant increase of efficiency and the creation economies of scale can result in lower operating costs (per trip) for many transportation providers, an important benefit given the inevitably low amount of resources and funding available. Perhaps more importantly, coordination can increase the quality of life to those most in need of transportation by providing improved service at lower costs.

Coordination can open up possibilities for new funding sources. A few specific federal funding programs, such as FTA’s JARC and New Freedom, require coordinated planning. Communication between stakeholders may also reveal previously unknown funding sources. This communication can also provide a venue for the sharing of perspectives and specialized expertise that different agencies, organizations, and individuals have to offer. Finally, a centralized planning effort can serve to increase the visibility of available transportation resources to the funding sources, to stakeholders, and to the community as a whole.

Most communities are faced with limited resources and must make difficult choices about how much and what types of transportation, through partnerships among organizations, provides a means to better manage these limited resources.  By reducing duplication and inefficiency, coordination can improve transportation services and lead to enhanced mobility for older adults and the broader community.  The benefits of coordination include: increased sources of funding that can be used to expand and extend services, increased service efficiency, increased customer satisfaction, enhanced community mobility, and increased quality of life for older adults and others.

What are the goals of the Coordinated Human Service Transportation Plan?

  • To create a more cost-effective service delivery system;
  • To increase capacity to serve unmet needs;
  • To improve the quality of service provided; and,
  • To make services more easily understood and accessible by riders
  • To ensure that the coordination process is comprehensive and sustainable

What are Louisiana’s Transit Programs according to Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (La DOTD)?

Public Transportation Programs

Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Program (49 USC 5310)

Description: To provide financial assistance in meeting the transportation needs of elderly persons and person with disabilities where public transportation services are unavailable, insufficient or inappropriate in all areas – urbanized, small urban, and rural

Eligible Recipients: States apply for funds on behalf of local private non-profit agencies and certain public bodies.

Eligible Purposes: Capital projects are eligible for funding. Although the Federal program allows for additional capital-related assistance, the DOTD limits funding to the acquisition of buses, vans or other paratransit vehicles which meet DOTD specifications; and the acquisition of wheelchair lifts and restraints.

Allocation of Funding: Funds are allocated among the States by a formula based on population of elderly persons and persons with disabilities.

Match: 80 percent Federal and 20 percent local

Funding Availability: Year of appropriation (one year).

Job Access/Reverse Commute

Description: The Job Access and Reverse Commute grant program assists states and localities in developing new or expanded transportation services that connect welfare recipients and other low income persons to jobs and other employment related services. Job Access projects are targeted at developing new or expanded transportation services such as shuttles, vanpools, new bus routes, connector services to mass transit, and guaranteed ride home programs for welfare recipients and low income persons. Reverse Commute projects provide transportation services to suburban employment centers from urban, rural and other suburban locations for all populations. Criteria for evaluating grant applications for Job Access and Reverse Commute grants include:

  • Coordinated human services/transportation planning process involving state or local agencies that administer the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and Welfare-to-Work (WtW) programs, the community to be served, and other area stakeholders; >
  • Unmet need for additional services and extent to which the service will meet that need; >
  • Project financing, including sustainability of funding and financial commitments from human service providers and existing transportation providers; >

Other factors that may be taken into account include the use of innovative approaches, schedule for project implementation and geographic distribution.

Coordination: The Job Access and Reverse Commute grant program is intended to establish a coordinated regional approach to job access challenges. All projects funded under this program must be the result of a collaborative planning process that includes states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), transportation providers, agencies administering TANF and WtW funds, human services agencies, public housing, child care organizations, employers, states and affected communities and other stakeholders. The program is expected to leverage other funds that are eligible to be expended for transportation and encourage a coordinated approach to transportation services.

In urbanized areas with 200,000 population or more, MPOs select the applicant(s). In small urbanized areas under 200,000 population and in non-urbanized, rural, areas states select the applicant(s). Tribal governments must go through the state process but, once selected, can choose to be sub-recipients of the state or apply directly to FTA.

Funding: Funding for Job Access and Reverse Commute grants is authorized at $150 million annually beginning in FY 1999, including up to $10 million for Reverse Commute Grants. A 50/50 Federal/local match is required. Other Federal funds can be used as part of the local match. In FY 2000, the Congress appropriated $75 million for the program.

New Freedom Program (49 USC 5317)

The purpose of the New Freedom grant program is to support services and facility improvements to address the transportation needs of persons with disabilities that go beyond those required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Funds are available to support the capital and operating costs of new public transportation service targeted toward people with disabilities or public transportation alternatives that go beyond those required by the ADA. The foundation of the New Freedom program is larger fixed-route urban systems that are required to have parallel or “complementary” paratransit systems to meet the needs of disabled individuals. The stereotype project is extended hours or days, or expansion of service area or other operating parameters not available under previous funding mechanisms. For LADOTD’s program, Section 5317 is distinguished from Section 5310 by its “disabled persons only: focus and providing services not otherwise available through 5310 or other grant programs.

Eligible recipients include State or local governments, non-profit organizations and local transportation providers through a designated recipient as defined in 49 USC Section 5317. The New Public Transportation Services beyond the ADA include activities that could be funded under the program, but are not limited to:

  • Providing paratransit services beyond minimum requirements (3/4 mile to either side of a fixed route), including for routes that run seasonally.
  • Making accessibility improvements to transit and intermodal stations not designated as key stations.
  • Building an accessible path to a bus stop that is currently inaccessible, including curb cuts, sidewalks, accessible pedestrian signals or other accessible features.
  • Supporting voucher programs for transportation services offered by human service providers.
  • Supporting mobility management and coordination programs among public transportation providers and other human service agencies providing transportation. These activities are considered a capital cost and are defined as short-range planning and management activities and projects for improving coordination among public transportation and other transportation service providers.
  • Purchasing vehicles and supporting accessible taxi, ride-sharing, and vanpooling programs; including staff training, administration, and maintenance.

Matching fund ratios in New Freedom projects (including mobility management) are 80% federal for capital, and 50% for operating assistance.

Projects must be competitively selected from locally developed coordinated public transit-human services transportation plans. The competitive selection process is to be conducted by a Designated Recipient or any agency acting on behalf of a Designated Recipient in urbanized areas over 200,000 population. Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is the Designated Recipient for urbanized areas under 200,000 population and non-urbanized areas. Selected projects must be programmed in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and grantees must certify that they will comply with all FTA Civil Rights, environmental, reporting and other requirements.

 

 

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