July 2011

                                                                                        Responsible Senior Program Officer: Gwen Chisholm-Smith

Research Results Digest 354
                                      A REVIEW OF HUMAN SERVICES TRANSPORTATION PLANS
                                      AND GRANT PROGRAMS
                                      This digest presents the results of NCHRP Project 20-65, Task 26, “An
                                      Analysis and Evaluation of States’ Implementation of the FTA 5310, 5316,
                                      and 5317 Programs.” The research was conducted by AECOM, Arlington,
                                      Virginia, with Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning (ITP), Rockville,
                                      Maryland, serving as a subconsultant. Sara Carini of AECOM was the
                                      Principal Investigator. The other authors of this report are Lora Byala, Shana
                                      Johnson, and Eric Randall of Foursquare ITP and Laura Riegel of AECOM.

CHAPTER 1 Introduction, 1
  Internet Survey, 2
  Telephone Survey, 4
                                      CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION                                 • Section 5310 Transportation for
  FTA Grants Data, 6                                                                           Elderly Individuals and Individu-
  Conclusions and Findings, 7             Pursuant to the Safe, Accountable, Flex-             als with Disabilities Grant Program
CHAPTER 2 Internet Survey             ible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A             (1). The program was created in 1975,
of State Departments of
Transportation (DOTs), 9
                                      Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the Fed-                  under the National Mass Transporta-
    Summary of Survey Responses, 10   eral Transit Administration (FTA) insti-                 tion Assistance Act. The goal of
    Conclusions, 24
                                      tuted a planning requirement as a condition              Section 5310 is to improve mobility
CHAPTER 3 Telephone Survey of
State DOTs and Representative
                                      of federal funding for its human services-               for elderly individuals and individu-
Agencies, 25                          related grant programs for individuals with              als with disabilities. States are the
    Selection of States, 25
    Interview Process, 26
                                      disabilities, older adults, and individuals              designated recipients of Section 5310
    Summary of Survey Responses, 28   with lower incomes. As a result, since 2007,             funds, and the funds are apportioned
    Conclusions, 48
                                      FTA has required the establishment of a lo-              by a formula based on the number
CHAPTER 4 FTA Grants Data, 49
  Summary of JARC and NF
                                      cally developed, coordinated public transit/             of elderly persons and persons with
    Programs, 50                      human services transportation plan (Coor-                disabilities in each state. Eligible
  JARC Program, 50
  NF Program, 51                      dination Plan) for all FTA human services                activities include capital expenses
  Conclusions, 54
                                      transportation programs. The Coordination                (e.g., vehicles and communication
CHAPTER 5 Conclusions                 Plan must be developed through an inclu-                 equipment); purchase of transporta-
and Findings, 54
   Costs Associated with Human        sive process that involves representatives               tion services under a contract, lease,
      Services Transportation Plans
      and Grant Programs, 54
                                      from public, private, and nonprofit trans-               or other arrangement; and mobility
   Successes Associated with Human    portation and human services providers, as               management.
      Services Transportation Plans
      and Grant Programs, 56          well as the public. The intent of this require-        • Section 5316 Job Access and
   Findings, 58                       ment is to bring the right people to the table           Reverse Commute (JARC) Grant
REFERENCES, 60                        to discuss human services transportation                 Program (1). Section 5316 was es-
ABBREVIATIONS AND                     issues and identify opportunities to assist              tablished in 1998, under the Trans-
                                      more people, reduce service gaps and over-               portation Equity Act for the 21st Cen-
APPENDIX A—Blank Internet
Survey Form, 61
                                      laps, and increase the cost effectiveness of             tury (TEA-21). Section 5316 seeks to
                                      the services provided.                                   improve transportation services that
APPENDIX B—Telephone
Interview Questionnaire, 61               A brief description of each of the FTA               provide access to employment and
APPENDIX C—Detailed Telephone
                                      human services transportation programs is                employment-related activities for
Interview Summaries, 61               provided as follows.                                     welfare recipients and low-income
individuals. Section 5316 also provides for          portation (DOTs); performing more detailed tele-
      transportation services to suburban or other         phone interviews with states, local transit agencies,
      reverse commute employment opportunities.            private service providers, MPOs, Rural Planning
      States are the designated recipients of JARC         Organizations (RPOs), and access groups; and ana-
      funds in urbanized areas with populations less       lyzing FTA and state JARC and NF grant awards.
      than 200,000 and in rural areas. In urbanized        NCHRP RRD 354 presents the findings of these
      areas with populations greater than 200,000,         tasks to assist states and grantees in identifying ways
      the designated recipient may be the designated       to enhance their processes. In addition to state and
      recipient of Section 5307 Urbanized Area For-        grantee best practices, suggestions made by respon-
      mula Program funds, Metropolitan Planning            dents for improving the accomplishment and effec-
      Organization (MPO), state, or another public         tiveness of the human services transportation grant
      agency. Eligible activities include capital, plan-   programs, Coordination Plans, and the related re-
      ning, and operating expenses.                        quirements are reported. No conclusions are ex-
    • Section 5317 New Freedom (NF) Grant Pro-             pressed regarding any of the suggested changes in
      gram (1). This program was created in 2005,          the programs or requirements; the state and local
      under SAFETEA-LU, to address the trans-              agency comments are reported without elaboration.
      portation mobility options available beyond              NCHRP RRD 354 is organized as follows. Chap-
      the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of         ter 1 provides an introduction to the research effort.
      1990 requirements. The focus of the program          Chapter 2 reviews the approach and findings of the
      is to assist persons with disabilities in over-      Internet survey of state DOTs. Chapter 3 summa-
      coming transportation-related barriers to em-        rizes the selection of states for further interview and
      ployment. States are the designated recipients       the results of the telephone surveys. Chapter 4 high-
      of NF funds in urbanized areas with popula-          lights the JARC and NF appropriations and obliga-
      tions less than 200,000 and in rural areas. In       tions by state and urbanized areas. Chapter 5 pre-
      urbanized areas over 200,000 in population,          sents a comparison of the level of effort and success
      the designated recipient may be the desig-           associated with the development of the Coordina-
      nated recipient of Section 5307 Urbanized            tion Plans as well as opportunities for improving the
      Area Formula Program funds or an MPO,                success and effectiveness of the plans and grant pro-
      state, or other public agency. Eligible activi-      grams. The Internet survey form, telephone interview
      ties include capital and operating expenses          questionnaire, and individual telephone interview
      that support new public transportation ser-          summaries are contained in the Appendices of this
      vices or alternatives beyond those required by       report, which are available online at http://www.trb.
      ADA, including job and job-related services          org/Main/Blurbs/165471.aspx.
    NCHRP Project 20-65, Task 26, entitled “An             Internet Survey
Analysis and Evaluation of States’ Implementation
of the FTA 5310, 5316 and 5317 Programs,” focused              As part of this study, the research team con-
on two key related, but separate, objectives:              ducted an Internet survey of state DOTs. The survey
                                                           used multiple choice questions and opportunities for
    1. Determine the level of effort and costs asso-       additional comments to help: (1) determine the ex-
       ciated with the development of coordinated          tent to which respondents believe this coordinated
       public transit-human services transportation        planning effort has met FTA goals of enhancing
       plans.                                              transportation access, minimizing duplication of ser-
    2. Determine the perceived success of the Coor-        vices, and facilitating the most appropriate and cost-
       dination Plans and the perceived success states     effective transportation possible with available re-
       and other grantees are having in awarding
                                                           sources; and (2) ascertain the cost of developing and
       FTA Section 5316 JARC and Section 5317
                                                           maintaining these Coordination Plans (in terms of
       NF funds and meeting the Coordination Plan
                                                           time and money) to ensure that resources are being
                                                           used wisely and effectively, resulting in the better,
    To meet these objectives, tasks included conduct-      more cost-effective and coordinated programs that
ing an Internet survey of state Departments of Trans-      the plans are expected to foster.
The “Human Services Transportation Plans and             that the coordination goals of the FTA, state, and lo-
Grant Program” Internet survey completed by 21 state          calities continue to be met, while the administrative
DOTs highlights several areas where the Coordination          burden these grant programs place on the state and
Plans have been relatively successful, such as enhanc-        local agencies is reduced. Nineteen of the 21 survey
ing transportation access for target populations, in-         respondents offered suggestions for improving
creasing commitment/participation in the plan devel-          these grant programs. All of the survey respondent
opment at both the state and local levels, improving          suggestions attempted to improve the management
coordination, and creating a general understanding of         of the grant programs and to find means to fund
eligible JARC and NF grants. However, the respon-             more projects, whether through proposing consoli-
dents stated that the federal requirement for the Coor-       dation with other grant programs, increasing fund-
dination Plans has placed a significant administrative        ing, reducing restrictions, lowering operating
requirement on already short-staffed state and local          matching requirements, or increasing flexibility.
agencies. Respondents felt that the coordination plan-        The suggestions from the survey respondents are
ning process is time consuming and many agencies              summarized in Figure 1.
stated they are not able to hire new staff or consultants         The most frequently suggested improvement for
to assist with the process. As a result, agencies feel that   the JARC and NF grant programs by the survey re-
the responsibilities often fall on existing staff, many of    spondents was the consolidation of the Section 5316
whom have already been asked to take on additional            JARC and Section 5317 NF grant programs with
responsibilities.                                             other federal grant programs such as Section 5310,
     In addition to the administrative responsibilities       5311, and 5307. With consolidation, the respondents
placed on state and local agencies, the survey respon-        indicated that the individual grant program goals
dents highlighted several areas of concern in regards         could still be reflected in program and planning re-
to obligating the JARC and NF grants. The responses           quirements, including dedicating percentages of
indicated that the obligation of these funds generally        funding to each program goal. Section 5310, Trans-
has not improved with the Coordination Plan require-          portation for Elderly Individuals and Individuals
ment. There frequently is a lag in funding JARC and           with Disabilities, was the most frequently mentioned
NF projects, and several respondents have had prob-           program for consolidating the JARC and NF grants,
lems obligating these funds before they expire. In            and several respondents indicated that these grant
fact, 24 percent of responding agencies reported that         programs could also be consolidated with Section
they have had JARC or NF funds expire before they             5311, the Rural and Small Urban Areas grant pro-
could be obligated. The agencies stated that one of the       gram. By consolidating the JARC and NF grants
primary reasons that obligating these funds is such a         with Section 5310 and/or 5311, the respondents felt
problem for the survey respondents is the difficulty in       that the states could manage the program more effi-
identifying local matching funds for projects. Local          ciently, while still developing a Coordination Plan
funds are limited and the higher matching require-            (as required for Section 5310) and serving similar
ments of the JARC and NF grant programs (particu-             target populations.
larly the 50 percent match for operations), coupled               Several respondents also felt that consolidating
with the uncertainty that these funds will be there in        Section 5316 and 5317 into one grant program
the future, make it more difficult to identify local          would allow more flexibility in transferring funds
funds for these projects. The majority of survey re-          and meeting the greatest transit needs. They be-
spondents (70 percent) stated that there is reluctance        lieved that this would allow the funds to be used to
in their states to start new services with JARC and           serve any one of the target populations and fund proj-
NF funds. The primary reason provided by the re-              ects that best meet the transit needs of the state. Ad-
spondents (79 percent) was the concern that these             ditionally, it was suggested by some that the obliga-
funds are not sustainable. They stated that they do not       tion by population size requirement be eliminated
want to introduce new services and then have to take          for the new consolidated grant program. The survey
them away when/if these grant programs or the ap-             respondents indicated that combining the JARC and
portionments received are reduced.                            NF grant programs would allow greater flexibility
     Given these concerns, the agencies were asked            in awarding projects and moving funds from one
if they had any suggestions to improve the use and            area to another, and would be more efficient for states
management of the JARC and NF grant programs so               to manage.
What suggestions do you have to improve the use and management of the Section
                         5316 and 5317 grant programs that could be considered as part of Reauthorization?

                         Consolidate with 5310
                                Increase funds
                      Combine 5316 and 5317
               Consolidate with 5310 and 5311
                         Consolidate with 5311
                    Lower the operating match
                            Lessen restrictions
         Eliminate obligation by population size
                 End the local coordinated plan
                  Consolidate with 5307, 5311
            Consolidate with 5307, 5310, 5311
                      Combine 5317 and 5310
            Consolidate with 5309, 5310, 5311
    Better coordination between 5316 and 5317
          Allow moving funds from area to area

                                                   0              1                  2                   3             4
                                                                           Number of Respondents

    Figure 1 Responses on improving the use and management of JARC and NF grant programs.

Telephone Survey                                                      to contact a cross-section of agency types, including
                                                                      MPOs, RPOs, transit agencies, human services trans-
    As part of this study, the research team conducted                portation providers, and Non-Governmental Organi-
telephone surveys with contacts in six states. Based                  zations (NGOs).
on the results of the Internet survey conducted in late                   The purpose of the interviews was two-fold:
2009, six states were selected to participate in follow-
up discussions via telephone interviews. Only state                      1. Determining the extent to which the respon-
DOT representatives that indicated a willingness to                         dents believe coordinated public transit/human
discuss their responses further were contacted, and                         services transportation plans have met FTA
the six states were selected with the goal of having a                      goals of enhancing transportation access, min-
mix of geographic locations, urbanized versus rural                         imizing duplication of services, and facilitat-
states, and states indicating varying levels of satisfac-                   ing the most appropriate and cost-effective
tion with the human services Coordination Plan                              transportation possible with available re-
process and results. The states selected for further dis-                   sources; and
cussion were: Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South                        2. Ascertaining the cost of developing and main-
Carolina, Virginia, and Washington.                                         taining these Coordination Plans (in terms of
    Each state DOT representative was contacted for                         time and money) to ensure that resources are
the purpose of further discussion of their responses to                     being used wisely and effectively, resulting in
the Internet survey, clarification of their responses (if                   the better, more cost-effective and coordinated
needed), and identification of agencies and contact                         programs that the plans are expected to foster.
persons within the state for further discussion. The ob-
jective was to identify a set of agencies within the state                A cross-state comparison highlighting some of
to interview for their perspectives on the human ser-                 the key differences between the states is described
vices Coordination Plans and the associated grant pro-                in the following section. It is important to note that
grams. Within each state, the study team attempted                    the cross-state comparisons are based on generaliza-

tions made about each state that were derived from        ciated funding and the lack of desire by most states
the four or five interviews conducted in each state.      to use available funds to establish new services, for
                                                          fear of not being able to continue funding them
Perceived Effectiveness of Plans                          when the grant money ran out. The Missouri, Penn-
                                                          sylvania, and Virginia DOTs all indicated that their
    One key finding that was fairly consistent            preferred projects do not include new operating
across all six states interviewed is that, on the         services.
whole, all found the Coordination Plans to be ef-
fective. While some states had individual agencies        Indication of Redundant or Burdensome Elements
that reported mixed or negative feelings about the        of Plan Development
plan requirement, the overall assessment by all
states interviewed was positive.                              There were a wide variety of issues raised with re-
                                                          gard to parts of the Coordination Plan or planning
Plan Development and Costs                                process that the states find redundant or burdensome.
                                                          The challenges discussed by the respondents ranged
    The methods used to develop the Coordination          from how projects are prioritized at the local versus
Plans varied from state to state. Except for Washing-     state level to concerns about the public meeting and
ton State, most agencies did some combination of          Spanish translation requirements. Some states felt
in-house plan development along with the use of           that the administration of the plan is burdensome, and
consultants, and in some cases the level of assistance    some did not; there was no real consensus between
used by the agencies varied by whether the agency         the states on this issue.
was in an urban or rural area. In addition, many local
agencies had a difficult time quantifying the Coor-       Project Identification, Prioritization, and Selection
dination Plan development costs, particularly if the
                                                               A few states noted that while prioritization is done
plan was developed in-house and the main expense
                                                          at the local level, the state makes the final decision on
was staff time. Often the best cost estimate avail-
                                                          what to fund, taking away some of the control from
able was an estimate of the number of staff people        the locals. Respondents indicated that this is done
or the percentage of a person or team’s time devoted      more often in rural areas for which the state DOT is
to the Coordination Plans. As a result, the overall       the designated recipient for grant funds, whereas in
costs associated with the development of the Coor-        urban areas the designated recipient is more likely to
dination Plans at the local level vary significantly in   be a local agency or government. Most states noted
level of detail, ranging from $10,000 to $85,000 or       that the prioritization of projects is based on gaps in
one to six staff members working on all aspects of        service and where the proposed grant fits into the
the human services transportation grants, including       goals and objectives of the Coordination Plan.
Coordination Plans, sub-recipient agreements, con-
tracts, legal, and engineering.                           Perceived Project Continuation Needs/
                                                          Impediments to Using the Grant Programs
Perceived Coordination Plan Results
                                                              A common theme across all states interviewed
    Most of the states interviewed emphasized im-         was that the lack of money available for local matches
proved relationships between public and private           becomes a burden in the continuation of projects
agencies as a result of the Coordination Plan, par-       funded through the grant programs, as well as an im-
ticularly Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Penn-         pediment to using the grant programs in the first
sylvania, Virginia, and Washington indicated that         place. The lack of money for the local match seemed
the plans built upon existing coordination that they      to be more of an issue in rural areas than it was in
were already doing regarding human services trans-        urban areas. Finally, the NF regulation that it be used
portation. Finally, many of the states noted either       for new service was also an impediment to using the
that they believe human services transportation did       Section 5317 grant program for many respondents,
not necessarily improve because of the plan, or it        because these agencies did not feel that they would be
was difficult to tell if it had. One reason for this      able to continue to sustain new service when the grant
was the respondents’ concern for the lack of asso-        money ran out.

Sources of Matching Funds                                                            they are uncomfortable about reviewing new proj-
                                                                                     ects and the continuation of old projects simultane-
    Sources of the local match requirement for the
                                                                                     ously, and that the grant awards do not necessarily
grant programs varied by the state interviewed and by
                                                                                     account for project sustainability beyond the initial
area within these states, with some states providing
                                                                                     grant funding.
the local match and some agencies relying on local
                                                                                         Numerous states interviewed expressed a desire
governments or even local organizations. Often urban
                                                                                     to have the same criteria and rules for both JARC
areas were required to find a local match, while the
state provided the match in rural areas. Pennsylvania                                and NF, with some respondents suggesting that the
and Washington, however, were two states that pro-                                   programs be combined. However, one state, namely
vided the local match to recipients regardless of their                              Ohio, suggested that rather than combine the two
location in the state. In a few creative cases, such as                              very similar programs, the NF program could be dif-
in Ohio, agencies used other federal grants to match                                 ferentiated further to make it more applicable to se-
the Section 5316 and 5317 FTA grant programs.                                        niors who do not have physical limitations that keep
Other states found it was not possible to coordinate                                 them from driving but simply do not feel comfort-
between the human services transportation grant pro-                                 able doing so. Finally, several states expressed a
grams and other federal grant programs.                                              desire for more standardized, outcome-based perfor-
                                                                                     mance measures to review the programs.
Performance Measures
    Some states interviewed were more diligent than                                  FTA Grants Data
others in utilizing performance measures for deter-                                      Using data from the FTA website, Fiscal Year
mining grant funding allocations. Missouri, Ohio,                                    (FY) 2006 and FY 2007 FTA Statistical Summaries
Pennsylvania, and South Carolina seemed to have                                      (the FY 2008 FTA Statistical Summary was not
the most consistent processes for utilizing perfor-                                  available at the time of the analysis), and the U.S.
mance measures. These states primarily use standard                                  Government Accounting Office’s (GAO) Report:
service indicators to gauge performance of the pro-                                  Progress and Challenges in Implementing and Eval-
grams funded by the grants.                                                          uating the JARC Program (May 2009), the follow-
                                                                                     ing tables examine the portion of JARC and NF
Major Concerns/Desired Changes Expressed                                             funds that have been appropriated to and obligated
    A consistent area of concern expressed by the                                    by the states. These tables help identify the extent to
states interviewed was the desire to remove the local                                which states and their grantees are having difficulty
match requirement due to the difficulty in identify-                                 obligating the appropriated funds before they expire,
ing and sustaining local matching funds. Another                                     as these grants must be obligated within 3 years of
common concern expressed was the lack of under-                                      appropriation. Any funds not obligated after 3 years
standing regarding the requirements for NF grants.                                   will be reapportioned among all recipients in the
A few states also indicated they are unhappy with                                    next FY appropriations, e.g., lapsed FY 2006 funds
the grant administrative process, including the length                               are reapportioned as part of FY 2009.
of time it takes to apply for and receive the grant                                      Table 1 and Table 2 summarize the total appropri-
money. In addition, some respondents indicated that                                  ated funds (for all states and urbanized area designated

              Table 1 Summary of total JARC funds appropriated and obligated between
              FY 2006 and FY 2008.
                                             Obligated      Obligated in     Obligated in        Out (as of                             %
                   FY     Appropriated        in FY 06         FY 07            FY 08            9/30/08)1         Remaining        Unobligated
                  2006    $136,620,000       $5,291,004     $22,731,680       $87,374,069         $2,621,612       $18,603,175            13.6%
                  2007    $144,000,000                       $7,204,231       $47,596,190         $1,909,878       $87,289,701            60.6%
                  2008    $156,000,000                                        $22,376,472           $859,596      $132,763,932            85.1%
                  Total   $436,620,000       $5,291,004     $29,935,911      $157,346,731         $5,391,086      $238,656,808            54.7%
              1States are allowed to transfer JARC funds to Section 5307 Urbanized Area formula grant program and Section 5311 Rural Transit Assistance
              Source: FTA, .

Table 2 Summary of total NF funds appropriated and obligated
                     between FY 2006 and FY 2008.
                                                  Obligated      Obligated     Obligated in       Total           %
                        FY      Appropriated       in FY 06       in FY 07        FY 08         Obligated     Unobligated
                       2006      $77,200,000      $1,269,027     $6,786,605    $59,556,856      $67,612,488         12.4%
                       2007      $81,000,000                     $2,537,311    $28,079,915      $30,617,226         62.2%
                       2008      $87,500,000                                   $12,233,883      $12,233,883         86.0%
                       Total    $245,700,000      $1,269,027     $9,323,916    $99,870,654     $110,463,597         55.0%

                     Source: FTA, .

recipients) for the JARC and NF grant programs for                            New Freedom (NF)
FY 2006 through FY 2008. They reveal that nearly
                                                                                  As shown in Table 2, by the end of FY 2007,
45 percent of the FY 2006 through FY 2008 JARC
                                                                              only 6.6 percent of FY 2006 and FY 2007 NF appro-
and NF appropriations have been obligated; however,
                                                                              priations had been obligated. However, it is impor-
nearly 14 percent of FY 2006 JARC appropriations
                                                                              tant to note that by the end of FY 2008, an additional
lapsed and more than 12 percent of FY 2006 NF ap-
                                                                              $87.6 million of FY 2006 and FY 2007 NF appro-
propriations lapsed. Additionally, roughly 40 percent
                                                                              priations were obligated, bringing the percentage of
of FY 2007 JARC and NF funds have been obligated                              FY 2006 and FY 2007 appropriations that had been
and 15 percent of FY 2008 JARC and NF funds have                              obligated up to 62 percent. The relatively recent in-
been obligated.                                                               troduction of the Section 5317 program and the
    While the tables indicate that there were some                            changes in requirements that have taken place have
initial delays in obligating JARC and NF funds,                               caused some confusion among planning organiza-
they also demonstrate that the amount of JARC                                 tions and transportation providers. As experience
and NF funds obligated in the appropriation year                              with the programs and coordinated planning process
is increasing and the amount obligated in each                                continues to grow, more applications are likely to be
successive year is also increasing as states and                              submitted, further reducing the amount of lapsed
grantees gain familiarity with the required coordi-                           funds.
nated planning process and grant administration
associated with the new NF program and the new
formula-based allocation of JARC funds under                                  Conclusions and Findings
SAFETEA-LU.                                                                        The findings from the Internet survey of state
                                                                              DOTs and the telephone interviews with local coor-
Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC)                                         dinated planning participants in Missouri, Ohio,
    As shown in Table 1, the states and urbanized                             Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wash-
areas have obligated (or transferred out) $118 mil-                           ington helped identify the perceived costs and bene-
lion of FY 2006 JARC appropriations (approxi-                                 fits associated with the human services transportation
mately 86 percent), $57 million of FY 2007 appro-                             Coordination Plans and grant programs. An evalua-
priations (approximately 39 percent), and $23 million                         tion of these costs and benefits resulted in the devel-
of FY 2008 appropriations (approximately 15 per-                              opment of several findings in regards to the respon-
cent). While the obligation percentages increased                             dents’ perceived accomplishment and effectiveness
during the 3-year obligation period after appropri-                           of the Coordination Plans and the related require-
ation, FY 2006 still had $18.6 million (or 13.6 per-                          ments for states. The findings from respondents iden-
cent) in JARC appropriations lapse at the end of                              tified in the following section revolve around three
FY 2008. However, based on discussions with                                   central themes: flexibility, administrative burden,
FTA staff, the amount of JARC funds lapsing con-                              and transparency.
tinues to decline as states and grantees become                                    • Several respondents suggested the conso-
better acquainted with the process, have identified                                  lidation of Section 5310, 5316, and 5317
appropriate grant recipients, and have gained com-                                   grant programs. The most frequently sug-
fort with the Coordination Plan development.                                         gested improvement for the human services
transportation grant programs was the consoli-         several aging and disability organizations have
    dation of the Section 5316 JARC and 5317 NF            expressed concerns that the consolidation of
    programs with other grant programs such as             these programs could have unintended con-
    Section 5310, 5311, and 5307. Respondents              sequences, including reducing the quality of
    noted that with consolidation, the individual          Section 5310 services because the target popu-
    grant program goals could still be reflected in        lations of these grants programs do not neces-
    program and planning requirements, including           sarily have the same transportation needs (2).
    dedicating percentages of funding to each pro-         In addition, the AARP study highlights that
    gram goal. Section 5310 Transportation for             there are some major issues associated with the
    Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Dis-          consolidation of these grant programs that have
    abilities was the most frequently mentioned            not been evaluated sufficiently, including the
    program for consolidation with JARC and NF             identification of designated recipients and how
    and was viewed as the most logical by respon-          the grant money would get to providers. Under
    dents, given the similar target populations and        the current grant programs, the designated re-
    requirement for the Coordination Plan. Section         cipient is the state for Section 5310 and either
    5307 Urbanized Area Formula Program and                the state or local agency in large urban areas for
    5311 Rural and Small Urbanized Area Pro-               JARC and NF. As a result, the suggestion to
    gram provide funding for more traditional tran-        consolidate these grant programs would need
    sit services for general populations, contradict-      to be evaluated more closely.
    ing the intentions of the Section 5310, 5316,        • Suggested federal grant process improve-
    and 5317 grant programs. As a result, there was        ments. The study respondents indicated that
    general agreement by those surveyed and inter-         they felt the federal grant process could be im-
    viewed that the planning requirements for Sec-         proved to be more transparent, timely, sustain-
    tion 5310, 5316, and 5317 programs are very            able, and flexible. Planning organizations ob-
    similar, and that a combination of these grant         served that the multiple levels of prioritization
    programs would make planning and adminis-              and project selection may interfere with trans-
    tration easier for all concerned.                      parency to local officials and stakeholders,
         The respondents stated that by consolidat-        which would adversely impact the commit-
    ing the three grant programs, state administra-        ment and perceived benefits of the coordinated
    tors would have greater flexibility to meet            planning process. These respondents suggested
    local customer needs without the multiple re-          that more guidance from FTA on the grant se-
    quirements associated with each of the indi-           lection and prioritization process could im-
    vidual grant programs. Many respondents in-            prove the understanding of all stakeholders
    dicated that they believe the administration of        (local and state) in what the federal priorities
    multiple funds that are relatively small in            are and how grant awards match up with the in-
    funding levels is time-consuming and requires          tention of the Section 5310, 5316, and 5317
    significant staff resources for state and local        programs.
    agencies that are already short-staffed. Since              In addition, respondents stated that im-
    many agencies are unable to hire additional            provements to the administrative process, par-
    staff or consultants to assist with the process,       ticularly the length of time it takes to apply for
    the responsibilities often fall on existing staff,     and receive grant money, are desired. They
    many of whom have already been asked to                noted that the year it can take between grant
    take on additional responsibilities.                   application and receipt of funds also impacts
         While the Internet survey and telephone in-       the link between planning efforts and the pro-
    terview respondents highlighted the benefits           jects. In addition, they believe annual com-
    associated with the consolidation of Section           petition for funding of long-term, ongoing
    5310, 5316, and 5317 grant programs, other or-         projects is redundant and wasteful; several re-
    ganizations have indicated that there could be         spondents felt that distribution of funds on a
    potential drawbacks to consolidation as well. A        longer schedule (i.e., funding for 4 years) or
    recent AARP study on Policy Options to Im-             on a programmatic basis would be more effec-
    prove Specialized Transportation noted that            tive for these types of projects. Many respon-
dents added that greater flexibility for state and         link between the planning process and the
  local recipients to redirect at least portions of          grants would be appreciated by both the plan-
  the grant money to meet emergent needs or                  ning organizations and the service providers;
  redirect funds from projects that no longer need           this could be accomplished by providing more
  or cannot use the funding in a timely manner               technical advice, tying grant money to perfor-
  could also improve the grant administration                mance measures, and rewarding cooperative
  process.                                                   efforts.
• Requests for additional federal guidance                       Many respondents suggested that some
  on performance measures. Study respon-                     funding could be tied to the planning process
  dents expressed a strong desire and need for               and performance measures, preferably those
  additional federal guidance on performance                 identified at the federal level to help improve
  measures that look beyond basic service in-                the perceived transparency and equity of fed-
  dicators and consider the effectiveness of                 eral grant distribution. This could include
  funded projects in promoting job sustainabil-              consideration of the existing conditions and
  ity; effectiveness of the providers in supply-             backgrounds of areas. Some respondents indi-
  ing these services against the baseline condi-             cated that performance measures should also
  tions (such as unemployment, senior/disabled               go beyond basic service indicators or cost data
  population, and distribution of customers and              to be more results-oriented or outcomes-
  destinations); and measuring the number of                 based. They felt that data should be collected
  customers graduating from the need for JARC                on the success of projects in getting customers
  transportation. Quantitatively, relatively few             to the services they need and in the effective-
  interviewees mentioned performance measures                ness of the providers in supplying these ser-
  playing a significant role in evaluating the ef-           vices against the baseline conditions.
  fectiveness of projects, primarily because they                The respondents’ support for performance
  believe customer-focused measures have been                measures and the perceived opportunity for an
  lacking.                                                   improved federal grant process comes back to
       Those states interviewed that did utilize             the effectiveness of the coordinated planning
  performance measures in some manner primar-                process. These respondents believe that by
  ily relied on standard transportation service in-          using performance measures and data, and link-
  dicators to gauge the performance of the pro-              ing federal funds to the results of this process,
  grams funded by the grants. However, many                  coordinated planning could make better use
  respondents believe the use of standard perfor-            of quantitative information and link plans to re-
  mance measures fails to sufficiently measure               sults more closely. They believe that stakehold-
  the human services aspect of the projects and              ers making use of a performance-driven coordi-
  often favors urban areas over rural because                nated planning process would get even more
  often rural areas have higher transportation               out of the process of developing and working to
  costs due to longer distances, dispersed cus-              implement the Coordination Plan.
  tomers and destinations, and little other infra-
  structure to support human services customers,
  which may make rural transportation appear in-       CHAPTER 2 INTERNET SURVEY OF
  effective or inefficient.                            STATE DEPARTMENTS OF
• Requests for additional federal guidance             TRANSPORTATION (DOTs)
  that strengthens the link between the plan-              As part of the research effort, the research team
  ning process and grant funding. There was            conducted an Internet survey of state DOTs. The sur-
  concern expressed by some planning organi-           vey used multiple choice questions with opportunities
  zations interviewed that providers do not            for additional comments. The purpose of the survey
  always see the benefit of coordinated planning       was to help: (1) determine the extent to which respon-
  efforts, given the distinction between the           dents believed their coordinated planning effort had
  planning process and the grant approval and          met FTA goals of enhancing transportation access,
  disbursement process. Those interviewed felt         minimizing duplication of services, and facilitating the
  that federal guidance that strengthened the          most appropriate and cost-effective transportation

possible with available resources and (2) ascertain the                     Table 3 Survey
cost of developing and maintaining these Coordina-                          responses by region.
tion Plans (in terms of time and money) to ensure that                          Northeast                       4
resources are being used wisely and effectively, result-                        Delaware
ing in the better, more cost-effective and coordinated                          New Hampshire
programs that the plans are expected to foster.                                 Vermont
    The questions in the survey were divided into                               Midwest                         5
four sections:                                                                  Minnesota
     1. Perceived Success of the Public Transit/                                Pennsylvania
        Human Services Coordination Plans                                       South Dakota
     2. Cost of Public Transit/Human Services Coor-                             South                           5
        dination Plan Development                                               Kentucky
     3. Awarding Section 5316 JARC and Section                                  Missouri
        5317 NF Grants                                                          South Carolina
     4. Please Tell Us About Yourself                                           Virginia
                                                                                Southwest                       3
     Once a survey was created using SurveyMonkey.                              Arizona
                                                                                New Mexico
com, an e-mail invitation to the survey was sent to                             Nevada
the American Association of State Highway and                                   West                            3
Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Com-                                 Alaska
mittee on Public Transportation members by Shayne                               Washington
Gill, the AASHTO Public Transportation Program                                  Unknown1                        1
Manager. The e-mail invitation described the pur-                               Total Responses                 21
                                                                            1    One survey respondent declined provi-
pose of the study and the Internet survey, and pro-                             ding any information about the state in
vided a web link to the survey. The web link could be                           order to remain anonymous.

forwarded to others within the agency for assistance
with the survey; however, the link created a new sur-
vey response for each person.                              variety of responses from states throughout the coun-
     This chapter summarizes the findings of the           try provided a good pulse on the major issues encoun-
“Human Services Transportation Plans and Grant             tered with the human services transportation plans
Programs” Internet survey. The results and responses       and grant programs. The results of the survey pro-
for each section of the survey are summarized in the       vided a solid starting point for the more detailed tele-
following section, “Summary of Survey Responses.”          phone interviews conducted during late 2009 and
The final section in this chapter, titled “Conclusions,”   early 2010.
highlights the coordination planning successes and              The responses for each of the three remaining
challenges reported by survey respondents and iden-        sections of the Internet survey are summarized as
tifies respondent suggestions that might alleviate or      follows: (1) Perceived Success of the Public Trans-
reduce these challenges. The blank survey form is          portation/Human Services Coordination Plans, (2)
contained in Appendix A, which is available online at      Cost of Public Transit/Human Services Coordina-                tion Plan Development, and (3) Awarding Section
                                                           5316 JARC and Section 5317 NF Grants.
Summary of Survey Responses
                                                           Perceived Success of the Public Transportation/
Please Tell Us About Yourself                              Human Services Coordination Plans
    Of the agencies contacted, 21 state DOTs com-              The first section of the Internet survey focused
pleted the survey, for a response rate of 42 percent.      on the perceived success of the Coordination Plans,
Responses represented a valuable mix of regions            specifically in meeting FTA goals, as well as state
throughout the country. Table 3 summarizes the re-         and/or local goals. The survey attempted to identify
sponses received by region.                                lead participants in the Coordination Plans, the level
    While the sample size of the survey was slightly       of success achieved, and whether this level of suc-
smaller than the desired 50 percent response rate, the     cess could have been achieved without the plans. All
Have the Coordination Plans been successful in
                             enhancing transportation access to target populations?

                        Significant Success

                        Moderate Success

                         Average Success

                             Little Success

                               No Success

                                              0   2        4         6          8        10
                                                       Number of Respondents

                       Figure 2 Perceived enhancement of transportation access for target

21 survey respondents completed this section of the        State or Local Goals. In determining whether addi-
survey. A few questions were skipped, but there were       tional state or local goals were met as a result of the
no fewer than 19 responses to any question in this         federally required Coordination Plans, the survey
section of the survey.                                     first explored whether states had any local and/or
FTA Goals. In general, the majority of survey re-          state planning requirements already in place that
spondents (62 percent) felt that the Coordination Plans    were used to satisfy the federal requirement. Over
were achieving average to moderate success in meet-        one-half of the respondents (57 percent) already had
ing FTA’s goal of enhancing transportation access for      some local and/or state planning requirements, indi-
the target populations (the collective group of persons    cating that the federal requirement did not represent
with disabilities, older adults, and individuals with      a completely new process for all states. Figure 5
lower incomes) in their state. However, respondents        summarizes the type of state and/or local planning
indicated that the plans have achieved average to little   requirements already in place for some of the re-
success in meeting FTA’s goals of minimizing the           sponding states. It should be noted that not all states
duplication of transportation services (81 percent)        provided an explanation or description of their state
and facilitating the most cost-effective transportation    and/or local planning requirements.
possible with available resources (76 percent). Figures         Even with more than one-half of respondents in-
2, 3, and 4 highlight the respondents’ opinions on how     dicating that they had similar state or local planning re-
well the Coordination Plans have met FTA goals.            quirements already in place, 52 percent of respondents

                             Have Coordination Plans been successful in minimizing
                                duplication of transportation services for target

                       Significant Success
                        Moderate Success
                         Average Success
                             Little Success
                              No Success

                                              0   2         4         6         8          10
                                                       Number of Respondents

                       Figure 3 Assessment of duplication of transportation services for
                       target populations.

Have Coordination Plans been successful in facilitating
                              the most appropriate and cost-effective transportation

                        Significant Success

                         Moderate Success

                          Average Success

                             Little Success

                               No Success

                                              0             2        4         6         8        10
                                                                Number of Respondents

                        Figure 4 Perceived facilitation of most appropriate and
                        cost-effective transportation possible.

indicated that additional state or local goals had been                  While additional state and local goals have been
met by the federal Coordination Plan requirement. For                met by the federal Coordination Plan requirement,
some states the federal requirement tied their local Co-             only 26 percent of respondents indicated that the plans
ordination Plans to funding or brought the coordina-                 have led to additional state funds being allocated to
tion effort up to the state level. These varied additional           public transit. Of the five respondents who stated that
goals included the following (one response each):                    additional funds were allocated, two indicated that the
     • State coordination, rather than local                         additional funding was an indirect result of having the
     • Tied coordination plans to funding                            right people involved in the planning process, which
     • Mobility Management projects in areas with-                   fostered the identification of other sources of match-
                                                                     ing funds. Additionally, two respondents stated that
       out transit
                                                                     the plans made better use of JARC/NF funding, and
     • Developed regional coordination councils
                                                                     one did not provide an explanation.
     • Interagency Committee on Special Transporta-
       tion goals                                                    Participation in Coordination Plans. In general, a
     • Governor created transportation committee                     wide variety of agencies and groups were involved
     • Did not have state/local specific goals                       in the coordination planning process. The most com-
     • Demand response state-funded program                          monly listed lead participants in the process were
     • 5317 provides alternative to paratransit                      the state DOT (33 percent), MPOs (25 percent), and

                                      Local Planning

                                      MPO Planning

                                State Fund Planning

                                Multimodal Planning

                                    Job Access Plan

                      Coordination for Appropriations

                                  Medicaid Planning

                                                        0        1        2        3         4         5
                                                                     Number of Respondents

                      Figure 5 State and/or local planning requirements used to satisfy
                      federal Coordination Plan requirement.

Which state and local agencies are taking the lead on
                                           the Coordination Plans?

                            State transit office


                              Transit agencies


                     Interest/community groups

                                                   0       5             10             15           20
                                                                Number of Respondents

                     Figure 6 Lead agencies for the Coordination Plans.

transit agencies (21 percent). Figure 6 highlights the            respondents used the opportunity to describe the situ-
lead participants in the planning process for the re-             ation in their states. The two most common explana-
sponding states.                                                  tions (with two responses) were that the state paid
    The agencies identified by the respondents as                 for and supported the planning, resulting in higher
“other” included regional planning agencies (three                levels of commitment and participation, and that it
respondents) and 5310 recipients, counties, Native                was impossible to include all participants in the
American tribal governments, private sector, public               process, particularly in terms of attracting new agen-
transit provider, state planning bureau, and transit              cies to the process. Respondents felt the funding
districts (each mentioned by one respondent).                     level and restrictive federal requirements for the
    The survey respondents acknowledged that the                  JARC and NF grant programs often make it difficult
level of commitment/participation in the develop-                 to attract participants to the process. To increase par-
ment of the Coordination Plans has been relatively                ticipation of Section 5310 participants, one state of-
strong at both the state and local levels. Over 70 per-           fered an incentive for the participating agencies’ ap-
cent of the survey respondents indicated that the level           plications for vehicle grants. The explanations for
of commitment/participation at the state and local
                                                                  levels of commitment and participation at the state
levels was average or better, as shown in Figure 7
                                                                  and local level are summarized in Figure 9.
and Figure 8.
    When asked to provide an explanation of the                   Perceptions of Level of Coordination Achieved. The
ratings for state and local commitment/participation,             last two questions of this section asked whether the

                             What level of commitment/participation has been seen
                                 in the Coordination Plans at the state level?

                            Full Participation

                       Moderate Participation

                        Average Participation

                           Little Participation

                             No Participation

                                                  0    1   2       3     4     5       6     7   8
                                                               Number of Respondents

                       Figure 7 Reported state commitment/participation in the
                       Coordination Plans.

What level of commitment/participation has been seen
                                     in the Coordination Plans at the local level?

                                Full Participation

                          Moderate Participation

                            Average Participation

                               Little Participation

                                 No Participation

                                                      0    1         2      3      4       5     6        7
                                                                     Number of Respondents

                          Figure 8 Reported local commitment/participation in the
                          Coordination Plans.

state achieved the same level of coordination on                         state requirements. Additionally, one respondent ex-
transportation for the target populations before the                     planation indicated that, to date, the achievement of
federal requirements were introduced and whether                         the plan primarily has been pointing out what ser-
the same program objectives could be achieved                            vices are lacking.
without the Coordination Plans. Sixty-seven percent                          While most of the respondents indicated that the
of the respondents believed that the level of coordi-                    level of coordination had improved after the federal
nation was not the same as before the federal re-                        requirement for Coordination Plans, 62 percent of
quirement, as shown in Figure 10. Of the 11 respon-                      respondents believed that the same objectives could
dents that provided an explanation for their answer,                     be met without the plans, as shown in Figure 11. Of
six (55 percent) indicated that the coordination is                      the 10 respondents that provided an explanation for
better now, two (18 percent) indicated that there is                     their answer, five indicated that their state already
now increased awareness and additional stakeholder                       had the same type of planning requirement in place,
participation, and two (18 percent) stated that the                      but not the funds to pay for it; two stated that the fed-
federal requirement duplicates or overlaps existing                      eral requirement sped up the process; two responded

                           State paid for and supported planning

                            Impossible to include all stakeholders

                    FTA guidelines too specific for local agencies

           Non-transportation agencies informed but not involved

                            Not enough funding to engage locals

         Some conflict of interest with local agencies and funding

                                          State provided template

              State personnel reviewed the plans for compliance

                                                  Varies by region

                                Consultant helped local agencies

                                                                     0                 1              2               3
                                                                                   Number of Respondents

         Figure 9 Explanation of levels of commitment/participation at the state and local levels.

Did your state achieve the same level of coordination on
                                   transportation for the target populations before the
                                              requirements came into being?



                             0        2       4         6       8       10         12        14    16
                                                      Number of Respondents

                      Figure 10 Reported change in level of coordination achieved.

that they did not have a similar state planning re-              fewer than 19 responses to any question in this sec-
quirement; and one stated that coordination requires             tion of the survey.
                                                                 Cost of the Coordination Plans. While the cost may
                                                                 vary by region/locality, the questions in this portion
Cost of Public Transit/Human Services
                                                                 of the survey were focused on the total cost for the
Coordination Plan Development
                                                                 development of all Coordination Plans throughout
    This section of the Internet survey focused on the           the state. The intent of the questions was to arrive at
cost of developing the Coordination Plans, specifi-              a total dollar amount (including both state and local
cally in terms of a dollar amount and/or time spent on           money); however, many respondents could only re-
the initial plan development and maintaining the                 port how much the state spent on the plans (exclud-
plans. The survey attempted to identify where the                ing local expenses) because they did not know how
money and time for the Coordination Plan develop-                much the MPOs and regions spent. As a result, the
ment is coming from, whether other projects have                 cost of the plans of responding states was largely less
been curtailed or eliminated to fund the plans, and              than $250,000 (57 percent) as shown in Figure 12.
whether any additional costs have been incurred, in-             For those states spending more money on the initial
cluding hiring new employees or consultants. All 21              plan development, many indicated that the state was
survey respondents completed this section of the sur-            providing a significant portion of the money for the
vey. A few questions were skipped, but there were no             Coordination Plan development.

                                  Could the same program objectives be achieved in your
                                          state without the Coordination Plans?



                             0            2       4         6       8         10        12        14
                                                      Number of Respondents

                       Figure 11 Estimated achievement of program objectives without
                       the Coordination Plans.

How much money is being spent for the initial public transit/human services
                                   Coordination Plans in your state (statewide total)?

                More than $1,000,000




                  Less than $250,000

                                       0           2        4            6        8          10           12    14
                                                                    Number of Respondents

                Figure 12 Cost of initial Coordination Plans (statewide total).

    Similarly, Figure 13 demonstrates that most of                     Source of Funding for Coordination Plans. The
the projected annual state costs for maintaining the                   primary sources of funds for the development of
Coordination Plans are expected to be less than                        the Coordination Plans for the responding states
$250,000 (86 percent). As mentioned previously,                        were federal planning/administrative funds (48 per-
many respondents could only indicate how much the                      cent) and state funds (30 percent). Figure 14 sum-
state is expected to spend on the maintenance of the                   marizes the funding sources mentioned by survey
Coordination Plans because they were not aware of                      respondents.
how much the MPOs and regions expect to spend.                             In addition, five of seven survey respondents in-
    Many respondents indicated that the Coordina-                      dicated that these revenue sources are not sustainable
tion Plans have a “shelf life” of 4 years for non-                     for Coordination Plan development. The respondents
attainment areas and 5 years for attainment areas, and                 concerned with sustainability of the revenue source(s)
they do not anticipate that the costs will be in excess                primarily depended on state grants. Respondents in-
of $250,000 (at least for the state). Additionally,                    dicated that many of the state funds came from a one-
while some states paid for the cost of initial Coordi-                 time source (such as an Executive Order) or were
nation Plan development, no state responded that the                   taken from funds (both state and federal) that would
state would pay for the maintenance of the plans,                      have gone toward providing services. These responses
which likely contributed to the lower projected costs                  indicate that funding for the plans may become increas-
for plan maintenance.                                                  ingly a local responsibility.

                             What is the projected annual cost for maintaining the public transit/human
                                     services Coordination Plans in your state (statewide total)?

                       More than $1,000,000




                          Less than $250,000

                                               0                5            10             15             20
                                                                    Number of Respondents

                       Figure 13 Cost of maintaining Coordination Plans
                       (statewide total).

Where is the money to develop these plans coming from in your state?




                        Executive Order

                            UWR Grant

                        Planning Funds

                                          0       2            4        6         8          10       12
                                                           Number of Respondents

                        Figure 14 Sources of funds for Coordination Plan development.

    While some respondents were concerned about                    participation from either planning commissions or
sustainability of funding sources for the Coordina-                service providers.
tion Plans, only two respondents (10 percent) indi-                    However, when the Internet survey probed fur-
cated that other projects had been curtailed or elim-              ther into the additional implementation costs, nine
inated to fund the plans. One respondent stated that               respondents (43 percent) had hired consultants or
services were cut or curtailed to fund the plans; the              additional employees to help meet the Coordination
other respondent did not describe the project(s) that              Plan requirements at the state level, and 53 percent
had been reduced or eliminated.                                    had hired consultants or additional employees at the
                                                                   local level. In addition, one respondent indicated
Additional Costs or Issues with Preparation of the Co-             that they are not allowed to expand staff, even if the
ordination Plans. The majority of survey respondents               position is 100 percent grant funded. As shown in
(68 percent) did not identify additional implementa-               Figure 15, most of the additional hiring has been for
tion costs or issues with the preparation of the Coor-             consultants.
dination Plans. Of the six respondents that identified                 In addition to hiring consultants or new employ-
additional costs or issues, four were cost related (find-          ees, the responsibilities for preparing the Coordination
ing consultants, insurance, additional staff time, and             Plans have fallen largely on existing staff. Eighteen
workshops for MPOs and regional planning commis-                   respondents (86 percent) indicated that the plans have
sions) and two were issues with receiving adequate                 placed an additional burden on the state transit office.


                          Mobility Manager

                        County Association

                                              0    1       2       3        4     5      6        7    8
                                                               Number of Respondents

                        Figure 15 Additional hiring to meet requirement for Coordination

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