Transportation

Strategies that expand options for affordable, flexible and reliable transportation offering access to jobs, programs and services are fundamental to lifting individuals out of poverty.

  • Leverage partnerships, volunteers, and technology to improve transportation options for people with mobility challenges or access barriers.
  • Improve the viability and safety of active modes of transportation—like walking and biking.
  • Enhance and promote public transit to increase access to jobs and services.
  • Why This Strategy Matters

    Many service providers offer transportation services for their clients. However, insights from providers show that these organizations are often limited by a shortage of funding and resources and other issues. By coordinating with other organizations, leveraging technology, and recruiting volunteers, service providers can overcome these barriers and accrue the resources they need to provide reliable transportation to the residents they serve. The need to be resourceful and inventive will only increase with an aging population, especially for seniors and those with mobility challenges in more rural areas that are disconnected from public transportation. This approach can help providers improve their ability to provide services and reach more people in need.

  • Potential Action Steps

    Provide funding, vehicles, drivers, and other resources for non-emergency medical transportation.

    Leverage technology to reduce transportation costs, such as by using electric or hybrid vehicles, or route-optimization technologies.

    Facilitate carpooling among current and potential customers of service providers.

    Partner with ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft to provide reliable, low-cost transportation to customers of service providers.

    Form volunteer organizations to provide transportation to those with mobility challenges or access barriers who need to get to critical services, like healthcare or education.

  • Potential Actors in the Community

    NFTA
    Private ride-sharing companies
    Transportation service providers (private, not-for-profit)
    Health service providers
    Religious organizations
    Volunteers
    Technology companies

Models to Consider

  • PSTA Direct Connect

    PSTA Direct Connect

    Pinellas County, Florida

    A partnership between the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and Uber or United Taxi gives a $5 discount to riders who are travelling to or from one of 24 "Direct Connect" locations in the region. Direct Connect locations are specific transit stops identified as places where first-mile and last-mile connections to transit are needed. Aside from the partnership with Uber and United Taxi, riders can also receive a $25 discount on Wheelchair Transport to or from any Direct Connect location. The program began in February 2016 with a limited number of Direct Connect locations, but expanded to include 24 Direct Connect locations today. Subsidies are paid for by the PSTA.

    www.uber.com
  • Second Chances Garage

    Frederick, MD

    In operation since 2010, Second Chances Garage is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Frederick, Maryland that provides affordable, reliable vehicles to individuals and families with financial need. Second Chances receives used vehicles through donations then completes necessary repairs before being sold to those in need for a nominal fee. Other donated vehicles that do not meet program criteria are repaired to the extent they can be fixed, then sold to the general public to help fund operations. In addition to affordable car sales, Second Chances Garage also provides low-cost car repairs for qualifying families and individuals. Qualification for services are based on whether applicants receive assistance through other social services, or through income requirements. For car purchases, Second Chances Garage works with partner agencies that refer individuals in the community who are gainfully employed. Second Chances Garage is funded and operated through donations, grants, and volunteers.

    secondchancesgarage.org
  • RTA Connect On-Demand

    Dayton, OH

    This service supplements the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority's (RTA's) transit system with free or discounted door-to-door service in parts of the region where fixed-route service is non-existent or limited. Rides can be booked in advance through the agency's customer service, or on-demand through the Lyft app. Throughout the Miami Valley, zones are designated for use of this service. Within those zones, users can book a free trip that either starts or ends at a RTA-fixed route service transfer point. For door-to-door trips not starting or ending at a transfer point, but still within a zone, rides are $2 (standard fare for RTA rides). These services are available during early morning, weekend, and late night times as well, providing affordable transportation options for riders needing transportation in areas, or at times, where transit service is limited or non-existent.

    i-riderta.org/rta-connect/on-demand
  • Lift Garage

    Minneapolis, MN

    The Lift Garage is a non-profit organization providing low-income residents in Minneapolis, MN with low-cost car repair, free pre-purchase car inspections, and free car-care classes. The organization was founded in 2013 by Cathy Heying, a social worker who saw how expensive car repairs could lead to dangerous situations, lost jobs, and even homelessness. After going back to school for auto technology, she opened the shop one day a week. Today, the shop has expanded its hours and services, and has helped over 1,045 customers, completed 2,200 repairs, and saved those in need over $825,000. Case workers or other referral sources may complete an income eligibility form and send it to The Lift Garage with documentation of client income before an appointment is made. To be eligible, clients must be under 150% of the Federal poverty line for their size household.

    theliftgarage.org
  • Why This Strategy Matters

    Active modes of transportation, like biking and walking, are low-cost, healthy travel options. However, the feasibility of these options is limited in many communities by environmental conditions, like inadequate sidewalks and street lighting, and dispersed locations of key services. Insights from providers show that neighborhoods that are not walkable or safe for pedestrians can limit residents' ability to access services. Placing more jobs and services near populations in need is a straightforward way to increase accessibility and overcome transportation barriers. Promoting environments that encourage physical activity, such as walkable neighborhoods, parks, and trails, can also encourage people to make more trips by walking or biking.

  • Potential Action Steps

    Locate service providers in existing communities, particularly in areas with a high concentration of populations in need, such as older adults, individuals living in or near poverty, or in households without a vehicle.

    Promote volunteerism to foster healthy, active lifestyles, especially for older adults.

    Engage residents through direct outreach to promote walking and physical activity.

    Advocate for the placement of senior housing and other residential developments near existing amenities and services, such as shopping, health care, and food.

    Host events, walks, and bike rides to promote the use of existing active transportation infrastructure.

    Partner with health care providers, hospitals, and clinics to promote biking and walking.

  • Potential Actors in the Community

    NFTA
    Private ride-sharing companies
    Transportation service providers (private, not-for-profit)
    Local governments
    Economic and community development organizations
    Health service providers
    Community organizations and block clubs

Models to Consider

  • Granville Greenways

    Granville Greenways

    Granville, NC

    After a community health assessment revealed high rates of chronic disease in Granville County, North Carolina, the county government, municipalities, and school districts partnered together to expand recreational trails to encourage walking and healthy lifestyles. Granville is a rural county without public transportation, so most residents rely on automobiles. With funding from Eat Smart, Move More NC, a statewide partnership of organizations working to promote public health, the local governments of Granville developed a Greenway Master Plan in 2005. As a result, numerous greenways were developed out of abandoned trails and rail lines using a variety of funding sources, including federal, state, and local transportation dollars. Greenways were constructed to connect residents to schools, workplaces, retail, and community assets. By 2016, Granville Greenways installed over 12 miles of greenways in the county, with plans for more. The effort has enhanced local residents’ opportunities for walking and biking. Today, the share of Granville County residents with access to amenities for physical activity is nearly on par with the national benchmark.

    granvillegreenways.org
  • Olean Walking School Bus

    Olean Walking School Bus

    Olean, NY

    To promote healthy lifestyles among students, the Olean School District developed a “Walking School Bus” program in 2009. The Walking School Bus is like a typical school bus, but instead of sitting during their trip, the children walk to school with one or more adults while making stops to pick up other children along the way. Along with promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing childhood obesity, the program is also aimed at improving attendance and safety. The program features Walking School Bus days where students and parents meet the school principal at a local park and walk to school together. The program was funded with a portion of a $385,000 grant from the US Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program. The funds were also used to upgrade sidewalks and traffic lights near Olean’s schools, and to institute a bicycle/walking safety patrol program.

    nyconnects.ny.gov/services/walking-school-bus-500
  • Why This Strategy Matters

    For Buffalo Niagara residents without a car, access to services and opportunities can be limited. The region has over 60,000 households without a vehicle, many of whom live in poverty, but many service providers and amenities are not within walking distance of a transit stop. Service providers can consider transit accessibility in how they provide services, by locating facilities near transit stops, or offering transportation for customers without a vehicle. Service providers can look to offer transportation themselves, or form partnerships with transit agencies and ridesharing companies to fill in transportation gaps in areas underserved by transit.

  • Potential Action Steps

    Partner with ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft to provide first- and last-mile connections for residents and services beyond walking distance of a transit stop.

    Develop transit hubs that connect multiple modes of transportation to enable multi-modal trips.

    Provide funding for transit trips to essential services, like employment, health care, and education.

    Partner with transportation providers and other social service organizations to fill in transportation gaps.

    Promote the use of volunteers, and innovative funding among service organizations to provide transportation for customers, clients, and workers.

  • Potential Actors in the Community

    NFTA
    Private ride-sharing companies
    Transportation service providers (private, not-for-profit)
    Local governments
    Economic and community development organizations

Models to Consider

  • All Points Transit

    All Points Transit

    Western Colorado

    All Points Transit (APT) is a non-profit that helps fill transportation gaps in a rural region of western Colorado by catering to the individual needs of its riders, with a focus on older adults and people with disabilities. APT provides low-cost, fixed-route transportation within and between several communities, with additional discounts for seniors, students, veterans, and people with disabilities. The organization offers a flex service to reach riders just beyond its fixed-route system. APT also runs a "Dial-a-Ride" service that riders can call to schedule a trip. This service helps seniors and people with disabilities get to and from key services, like doctor's offices or grocery stores. APT also works with a local health network to provide free transportation to medical appointments. APT is supported by a coalition of local governments, hospitals, foundations, and other community partners.

    allpointstransit.com
  • PSTA Direct Connect

    PSTA Direct Connect

    Pinellas County, Florida

    A partnership between the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and Uber or United Taxi gives a $5 discount to riders who are travelling to or from one of 24 "Direct Connect" locations in the region. Direct Connect locations are specific transit stops identified as places where first-mile and last-mile connections to transit are needed. Aside from the partnership with Uber and United Taxi, riders can also receive a $25 discount on Wheelchair Transport to or from any Direct Connect location. The program began in February 2016 with a limited number of Direct Connect locations, but expanded to include 24 Direct Connect locations today. Subsidies are paid for by the PSTA.

    uber.com

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