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Welcome to the January 2017 issue of MassMobility, covering news about community transportation, human service transportation coordination, and mobility management in Massachusetts.

This month's issue offers an update on the timing of MassDOT's Community Transit Grant Program, highlights a national grant awarded to the Berkshires, describes creative ways that groups in Greenfield and Brookline are increasing awareness and fundraising for transportation, and more.

We also invite you to mark your calendars for this year's Massachusetts Community Transportation Coordination Conference, coming up on May 2. Attending this conference is a great way to learn about best practices and creative approaches to improving mobility and access - and network with peers from around the state.

This newsletter is compiled by MassMobility, a joint initiative of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services and MassDOT. Above, we have added the MassDOT Rail & Transit logo to the newsletter to emphasize the joint nature of the mobility management work between EOHHS and MassDOT and the close working relationship between MassMobility and our colleagues at MassDOT Rail & Transit.
Save the date! Massachusetts Community Transportation Coordination Conference is coming up May 2
Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 2, 2017 for this year's Massachusetts Community Transportation Coordination Conference! The conference will be held in Worcester. Registration will open in March.

We invite you to share your suggestions for topics and presenters you would like us to consider for the 2017 conference agenda. Please submit any ideas by January 31.

This conference is an opportunity for human service agency staff, transportation providers, advocates, planners, consumers, and others to connect with each other and hear about innovative and effective approaches to improving mobility for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income commuters. Check out conference materials from 2016 and 2015 .
Community Transit Grant Program schedule changes
MassDOT will not be opening the annual Community Transit Grant Program (CTGP) application process in January this year. An updated timeline is still being finalized, but MassDOT expects the program to open in April or May. Once a date has been established, we will publish it in this newsletter.  You can also visit the   CTGP webpage   for updates.
Age Friendly Berkshires wins national grant
The Berkshires won one of only six grants in a national competition sponsored by the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC). Age Friendly Berkshires was the lead applicant, in partnership with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA), Elder Services of Berkshire County, and local Councils on Aging (COAs).
The grant will fund a one-year demonstration project to expand medical transportation into towns that do not currently have any BRTA or COA transportation. COAs from nearby towns that do have transportation will have the chance to provide trips to residents of the towns without transportation, with funding from the grant. "I'm excited about this prospect because my vehicles do have some excess capacity, and this would be a way to leverage that to generate some revenue for Adams - while helping seniors from other towns in the region," says Adams COA Director Erica Girgenti.
The one-year pilot will provide data on demand for medical transportation in towns that currently have no service. The data will help the BRTA, Age Friendly Berkshires, and other stakeholders determine level of need and make the case for expansion of service after the one-year pilot concludes.
Mayor and constituents ride the bus in Greenfield
As part of a year-long "Ride the Bus" campaign to raise awareness of public transit  in Franklin County, the Franklin Regional Transit Authority  and its Transit Advisory Committee invited Greenfield Mayor William Martin to ride the bus around Greenfield on December 15, and invited constituents to ride along with the Mayor. As a result, the Mayor had the chance to see the route and connect with regular riders, and residents who do not typically ride the bus had the opportunity to try the bus out and talk with their Mayor. During the ride, many riders praised public transit, but highlighted the need for weekend service .
Training helps transportation staff work with seniors who have dementia
For her final project for the Organizing and Managing Senior Transportation Options course from UMass Boston, Pamela Campbell, Director of Littleton's Elder and Human Services Department, created a training on dementia for anyone who works with seniors. The training includes a transportation component relevant to drivers and schedulers. Campbell has already offered the training to the Littleton Council on Aging's transportation staff, and also plans to offer it to the CrossTown Connect dispatchers who take ride reservations for Littleton's seniors.
The training begins with an overview of dementia that dispels common misperceptions. The transportation section illustrates how the symptoms of dementia can affect individuals' behavior during transportation, such as forgetting the time of their appointment or ride pickup, getting lost when finding the pickup spot or getting from the drop off to their destination, or becoming suspicious of the driver. Campbell provides recommendations for how staff can address these challenges, including answering questions clearly, being sure to ask only one question at a time, and maintaining a sense of humor.
For more information about the dementia training, please contact Pamela Campbell.
Brookline Senior Center dances to fundraise for transportation
Looking for a creative way to raise funds for transportation in your community? Try dancing! In November, the Brookline Rotary Club hosted its fourth annual " Dancing with the Brookline Stars " fundraiser. Eight contestants each choose a local charity to support, and receive 10 dance lessons before performing in front of a live audience. This year's event raised nearly $200,000. Brookline Senior Center Director Betsy Pollock fundraised for the center, and earmarked the funds for senior transportation: "We have seniors living in town who are living much longer than they drive, and we want to keep them engaged in our community...people have to keep living - it's not just getting groceries." Watch Pollock talk about senior transportation - and dance .
The funds will support the TRIPPS initiative, a Brookline/Newton program to help seniors learn about and use the transportation services available to them. TRIPPS hopes to use the funds to explore the possibility of using ride-hailing services to facilitate spontaneous, non-medical trips for seniors who don't use smartphones, inspired by a similar program piloted by the Needham Community Council.
Electric vehicle helps Natick's seniors get to medical appointments
Last spring, Karen Edwards - Volunteer Coordinator at the Natick COA - learned about the Barnstable COA's electric vehicle . Edwards was excited about the potential to save on fuel costs and make her town's transportation service more environmentally-friendly, so she reached out to Natick's Sustainability Coordinator to find out whether Natick could procure an electric vehicle for the COA. As it turned out, the town was in the midst of applying for grants for electric vehicles, and was able to cover all but $9,500 of an electric Ford Focus for the COA. The nonprofit Friends of the Natick COA contributed the difference. The town's grants came from the Mass Electric Vehicle Incentive Program and the Department of Energy Resources' Green Communities program.
The car arrived in December. To date, both staff and volunteers have driven it, primarily to help seniors get to medical appointments, but the vehicle will also serve as backup for Meals on Wheels. "It's just like driving any other car. It's not a difficult thing for people to do," Edwards explains. Unlike the COA's two vans, the electric vehicle is not limited to local or regional trips, so COA staff will be able to schedule trips to Boston.
While the Barnstable COA has a charging station onsite, the Natick Senior Center does not, so staff have had to schedule time to take the vehicle to other charging stations nearby. They are planning on installing a charging station at the Senior Center this spring.
FTA answers questions about shared mobility services
As interest increases in partnering with on-demand, shared mobility services, the Federal Transit Administration has released a set of FAQs on how federal grantees can partner with these services and what these services need to do to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Job posting
Innovative Paradigms is hiring a full-time travel trainer for the MBTA system.
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