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Coordinated Services Models

This model involves the coordination of individual service programs in a community to improve the efficiency of limited transportation resources. Agencies work together to share resources, knowledge, and funding to increase the number of people being served. The overarching goals of coordinated planning models are to provide more rides for the same or lower cost, to simplify how services are accessed, and to improve the rider's satisfaction with services.

Partnerships play a key role in this model. Partners typically include human service agencies, local non-profits, worksites, transit providers, customers, and local or regional economic development agencies.

In their Toolkit for Rural Community Coordinated Transportation Services, the Transportation Research Board described 10 elements of successful coordination efforts. These elements include:

  1. Specific support for coordination efforts, such as state laws, executive orders, interagency coordinating councils, and support from state agencies
  2. Quality control standards, oversight, and monitoring
  3. Technical assistance provided to local officials by state and federal agencies, including the use of handbooks and guidebooks
  4. Guiding principles established early in the process
  5. An extensive local planning process
  6. A comprehensive system, encompassing all modes of transit and all potential trip purposes
  7. State Department of Transportation assistance with “selling” coordination
  8. Input from nontransit agencies, such as Departments of Veterans Affairs, Corrections, Housing, and Health and Human Services
  9. Demonstration projects that test ideas for statewide efforts
  10. Coordination incentives, including funding

Examples of Coordinated Services Models

  • Operated by Opportunity Link, Inc., North Central Montana Transit (NCM Transit) serves rural Hill and Blaine counties and coordinates services with Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy's Transit systems. NCM Transit is a partnership of local organizations including tribal and local governments, education, and health and community organizations.

Considerations for Implementation

One particular barrier for coordinated service models is the specified funding streams of federal programs. The funding for specialized transportation services typically stems from federal sources and is designated for specific clients with specific needs. This means that coordinated services may need to pay special attention to requirements associated with federal funding.

Resources to Learn More

Coordinating Rural Transit Requires Thinking Outside the Box
Describes the experiences and lessons learned in establishing a regional transit coordination pilot program in rural Kansas.
Organization(s): Kansas University Transportation Center
Author(s): Elias, J.
Date: 7/2010

Framework for Action: Building the Fully Coordinated Transportation System
This state and community self-assessment toolkit has information on how to conduct individual assessments and develop action plans for addressing coordinated systems of transportation.
Organization(s): Federal Transit Administration
Date: 2003

National Center for Mobility Management
The Coordinated Transportation Services section of this website lists the principles of transportation coordination; links to federal, state, and local services; and links to resources on federal mandates for coordination and economic benefits.

Toolkit for Rural Community Coordinated Transportation Services
Covers processes and strategies for coordinating rural transportation services.
Author(s): Burkhardt, J.E., Nelson, C.A., Murray, G., & Koffman, D.
Organization(s): Transportation Research Board
Date: 2004