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Partnerships and Coordination with Stakeholders

Resources are scarce in rural communities with multiple programs competing for similar funding. Forging partnerships and coordinating services among stakeholders with similar goals can be an important strategy to successfully implement and sustain a transportation program. Coordinating transportation programs in a community can reduce duplication of services and improve efficiency. It can also ensure that there is an adequate supply of transportation staff and resources to operate the program if stakeholders pool resources. Since rural communities are often spread far apart and transportation programs may span many miles of land, partnerships could cross county and state lines.

Examples of types of stakeholders that could be considered for coordinated efforts in rural transportation include:

  • Public and private transportation agencies
  • Local and state health departments and departments of health and human services
  • Tribal agencies
  • Agencies focused on aging, employment, education, and housing
  • Local businesses and national businesses with chapters located in the community
  • Community-based and nonprofit organizations
  • Rural and national philanthropic organizations and foundations

Some examples of implementation steps for building rural transportation partnerships and/or collaborations include:

  • Identify relevant stakeholders and partners
  • Plan meetings and start the process for formalizing the partnership
  • Identify the transportation needs of the community and population being served
  • Strategic planning surrounding the shared goals of the partnership, anticipated outcomes, and allocation of resources. Develop the process and strategies for moving forward
  • Implement the coordinated services and build partnerships
  • Plan for evaluation and sustainability efforts

Implementing policy change can be an effective means for integrating planning efforts and maintaining transportation projects. Transportation for America has identified several principles for reforming federal policy to address the transportation challenges facing many rural communities, including:

  • Involving rural communities in planning efforts
  • Repairing existing infrastructure
  • Improving transportation safety
  • Investing in public transportation and paratransit services
  • Improving intercity and multimodal transportation connectivity

Resources to Learn More

Connecting the DOTS: A guide for connecting with your Department of Transportation
This report describes strategies to collaborate with state level Departments of Transportation in order to collectively achieve project goals.
Author(s): Cole, D.
Organization(s): National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation
Date: 9/2011

Coordinated Transportation Services
This website outlines key resources on coordinating transportation services at the federal, state, and local levels. Also included is a comprehensive description of coordinated transportation services.
Organization(s): National Center for Mobility Management

Coordinating Rural Transit Requires Thinking Outside the Box
This article provides guidelines on building transit systems that cross state boundaries. This can be beneficial in many communities that border other states, as healthcare facilities in neighboring states may be more accessible than ones located within the state.
Author(s): Elias, J.
Organization(s): The University of Kansas Transportation Center for Rural Transit Providers
Date: 7/2010

National Center for Mobility Management
This organization serves to improve mobility options by assisting communities to overcome their transportation barriers. They carry out many of their activities through certified mobility managers.

Toolkit for Rural Community Coordinated Transportation Services
This toolkit includes detailed information about the benefits of coordinating transportation services in rural areas to maximize efficiency and quality of services. Although developed several years ago, the toolkit provides examples of real programs and implementation challenges for coordinating transportation services.
Author(s): Burkhardt, J.E., Nelson, C.A., Murray, G., & Koffman, D.
Organization(s): Transportation Research Board
Date: 2004