These plans are a component of a Veterans Transit Community Living Initiative (VTCLI) grant through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Michigan 2-1-1 and the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Office of Passenger Transportation led a statewide transportation study to identify regional gaps in mobility, particularly for people with limited transportation options such as veterans, older adults, individuals with disabilities and people with lower incomes. The result of the statewide study is ten coordinated mobility plans based geographically on Governor Snyder’s Prosperity Initiative. Provided are links to the Coordinated Mobility Plans for Prosperity Region 3, Prosperity Region 5 and Prosperity Region 6.
The statewide study built upon efforts by MDOT and Regional Planning Agencies and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to document what is known about regional transit mobility. These efforts were in response to the Governor’s special message to the legislature on the topic of aging, titled “Making Michigan a Great Place to Live Well and Age Well”.
The East Michigan Council of Governments (EMCOG) provides a regional forum to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, and to develop recommendations and plans to address those issues. EMCOG provided assistance throughout the development of this plan, including reviewing interim documents and helping to coordinate outreach efforts.
Input from a wide range of stakeholders was a key component in the study. Special thanks to the stakeholders who participated in a regional workshop and provided input throughout the planning process. Their input was especially beneficial in the assessment of transportation needs in the region, and in the development of potential strategies, activities and projects to improve mobility. In addition, appropriate information and pictures were obtained from the websites of some regional stakeholders.
The result of the statewide transit study is coordinated mobility plans based geographically on the Governor’s Prosperity Initiative.
Meeting The Federal Coordinated Transportation Planning Requirements
This Coordinated Mobility Plans are designed to meet the coordinated transportation planning requirements. Along with plans in other regions, it ensures that the entire State of Michigan is covered by plans that meet the federal requirements. Each of the plans incorporates the four required elements:
- An assessment of available services that identifies current transportation providers (public, private and nonprofit).
- An assessment of transportation needs for individuals with disabilities and seniors. This assessment can be based on the experiences and perceptions of the planning partners or on more sophisticated data collection efforts, and gaps in service.
- Strategies, activities, and/or projects to address the identified gaps between current services and needs, and opportunities to achieve efficiencies in service delivery.
- Priorities for implementation based on resources (from multiple program sources), time and feasibility for implementing specific strategies and/or activities identified.
A Blueprint for the Future
This plan is consistent with FTA coordinated transportation planning guidance that encourages broad efforts that incorporate activities offered under a variety of transportation programs sponsored by federal, state, and local agencies to greatly strengthen its impact. Taking into account the VTCLI grant, efforts through the Governor’s Special Message on !ging, and the Section 5310 coordinated transportation planning requirements, this plan takes a wide approach and includes information on a variety of transportation services offered in the region. It provides strategies and potential projects beyond public transit services.
The Coordinated Mobility Plans are designed to serve as a blueprint and practical document for future discussions and efforts in the region to improve regional mobility, especially for veterans, older adults, people with disabilities, people with lower incomes, and young people without access to transportation. However, these plans are not directly connected to any additional funding programs or sources, and does not obligate any agencies or organizations at the local, regional or state level to fund services included in the plan. Additional assessment would be needed to determine the costs and benefits prior to pursuing any of these recommendations and implementation would require re-allocation of existing financial resources.
Phase 3 Meetings, Conclusions and Next Steps
EMCOG RPI Regions 3, 5 & 6 Transit Agencies
To start Phase 3, staff of EMCOG invited each of the transit agencies located in the EMCOG planning region, grouped into three meetings based on RPI regions, to meet and discuss the results of their Phase 2 reports. In preparation for this meeting, staff asked that each of the transit agencies briefly review their particular RPI based Phase 2 reports with the following question in mind: “are there transit needs and/or strategies identified in the plan that your agency is in the process of working on or plan to address in the near future?” Staff also developed a worksheet for each agency to fill out, in response to both the Assessment of Transportation Needs and Prioritized Strategies. Through these meetings and additional follow up meetings, a final Phase3 report was written and provided to MDOT Office of Passenger Transportation.
All of the EMCOG Transit Agencies struggle with fleet maintenance issues due to funding constraints. Each of the transit agencies see a need for enhanced ability to either provide direct transport outside of their county, or to have a better mechanism to connect with adjacent county transit systems. A region wide mobility manager approach could assist in helping to provide better county to county transportation for all trip types.
Most EMCOG Transit agencies are reaching out to human services agencies for better coordination and development of cooperative solutions to common transportation needs. Yet, it seems limited staff time hinders some of those efforts, and there are different agencies within counties, so a common approach regionally is not always an option. Perhaps, the collation of a comprehensive data base of interested agencies might assist in future communication efforts and collaborative meetings between adjacent counties, rather than simply within single counties.
Following the face-to-face meetings held, EMCOG staff will continue conversations with all EMCOG Transit agencies on any and all planning, assessment, or service level projects identified in their strategy worksheets. Ideally, several follow up meetings might facilitate a common plan to assist all of the transit agencies in terms of transfer coordination across county boundaries, create a unified plan for discussions with hospitals and doctors in terms of patient scheduling, where multiple passenger trips could be arranged, as opposed to single passenger trips. The development of a common mobility manager for all trip types, even beyond NEMT trips could be discussed and hopefully implemented if supported by multiple transit agencies. This effort would require planning funding assistance in order to coordinate and facilitate such efforts.
EMCOG will contact the Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Passenger Transportation to determine if there is available planning funds to further pursue development of a more comprehensive planning approach across county boundaries.
If you would like to provide input into future updates to the RPI Coordinated Plans, please send your contact information, Transit related issues/concerns, and comments on how the Transit process might be improved to: David Engelhardt firstname.lastname@example.org 989-797-0800 Ext 12