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Happy fall from MassMobility! This September 2017 issue covers news about community transportation, human service transportation coordination, and mobility management in Massachusetts. Read on to learn about a partnership between the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and transit authorities to help consumers access discounted transit fares, the launch of a new and innovative travel training program in North Central Massachusetts, funding opportunities and upcoming conferences, and more.

This newsletter is compiled by MassMobility, an initiative of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, with support from MassDOT.
Transit authorities help MRC consumers access discounted fares
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) consumers can more easily get discounted fares on fixed-route public transit, thanks to a partnership between transit authorities and MRC. In Massachusetts, seniors and people with disabilities are eligible for reduced fare on all transit authorities through the statewide Transportation Access Pass (TAP). The TAP Identification Card grants riders approximately 50 percent off bus, subway, and commuter rail fares. Each transit authority determines its own application and eligibility criteria for the TAP.
Over the summer, MRC hired a Transportation Coordinator as a part of the Transition Pathway Services (TPS) project, a five-year, federally-funded demonstration project seeking to increase post-secondary employment and enrollment outcomes for 651 high school students with significant disabilities in Lawrence, Roxbury, and Springfield. The Transportation Coordinator began approaching transit authorities as to whether they would consider giving current MRC consumers automatic eligibility for the discounted card since all MRC consumers have been determined to have significant disabilities. To date, 11 transit authorities, including the MBTA, have agreed. MBTA shared its updated application with all Regional Transit Authorities and encouraged them to adopt automatic eligibility for current MRC consumers, as well as consumers of the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Developmental Services.
To date, the MBTA, Cape Ann Transit Authority, Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority, Lowell Regional Transit Authority, Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority, MetroWest Regional Transit Authority, Montachusett Regional Transit Authority, Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, Southeastern Regional Transit Authority, and Worcester Regional Transit Authority have committed to implementing automatic eligibility for current MRC consumers.
Organizations partner to provide travel training in North Central Massachusetts
Under the auspices of the North Central Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), human service agencies have partnered with the Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART) to launch a new travel training program. Instead of a sole travel trainer based at one agency, this program is decentralized, with travel trainers available at a number of partnering agencies in the region. Along with MART, partner agencies include GAAMHA, Seven Hills Family Center, the Department of Developmental Services, Luk Inc, and the Arc of Opportunity.
Individuals who are consumers of partnering agencies can sign up for travel training as part of the services they receive. Seniors and people with disabilities who are not consumers of any partnering agency can get a referral for travel training from GAAMHA when they apply for the statewide Transportation Access Pass at MART's facility at 1427R Water Street in Fitchburg. Others who are interested can contact MART for opportunities to participate in group trainings.
Prior to launching the program, the RCC worked together to recruit partnering agencies and develop a referral system. Participating agencies sent staff to introductory and intermediate travel training workshops offered by the Kennedy Center through a statewide series funded by MassDOT. MART's travel trainer, who will provide group sessions, helped familiarize the new travel trainers to MART's system. Moving forward, the RCC hopes to recruit additional agencies to participate. As a second phase of the program, the RCC is working to procure videos about the MART system that can be used to promote and supplement the travel training.
MassDOT announces Community Transit Grant Program awards
Earlier this month, MassDOT contacted applicants to the Community Transit Grant Program to let them know if their application was selected. This year MassDOT has awarded 153 vans and buses to 37 organizations. In addition, $1,802,197 was awarded to 18 organizations for 25 operating and mobility management projects. Award recipients include Regional Transit Authorities, municipal Councils on Aging, and eligible nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts. The awards went to projects that are working to improve mobility for seniors and people with disabilities across Massachusetts.
Ride Match enhances online search features
Online trip planning with Ride Match , a searchable transportation website, just became easier thanks to updates announced by the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) earlier this month. Enhancements include the utilization of Google Transit data for real-time transit schedules and step-by-step route information for increased accuracy and ease.
RideMatch launched in 2012 and expanded statewide in 2016 thanks to the joint efforts of GATRA, Massachusetts Regional Transit Authorities, and MassDOT.
In addition to the improved search function, enhancements to the Ride Match website include updated content with hundreds of new providers and important service information, multi-language support that allows non-English speakers access to transportation information, and links to additional resources to connect users to programs across the Commonwealth (including MassRides commuter options and the Mass 2-1-1 assistance programs). 
National organizations honor GLSS
In July, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) awarded  Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS) second place in the 2017 Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards. These awards recognize successful, replicable programs that support older adults, people with disabilities, and their family caregivers. GLSS was recognized for the Kiosk for Living Well , an interactive, mobile initiative that offers tools and information on health and community engagement via touch-screen technology, travel trainers leading balance exercises and sharing transportation information, nurses, and community health workers. GLSS embeds the kiosks in places where seniors naturally congregate, such as senior centers or community health centers.
In August, the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) selected a photo from a travel instruction group trip organized by GLSS to win honorable mention in their photo contest. See GLSS's winning photo and others from around the country on the NADTC Facebook page.
Please join us in congratulating GLSS!
Mobility managers study Design Thinking techniques
On September 13 and 14, approximately 25 mobility managers, Regional Coordinating Council leaders, and other stakeholders gathered at Worcester Union Station for a two-day Design Thinking for Community Transportation Workshop. The workshop, hosted by the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, funded by MassDOT, and delivered by the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), drew attendees from nearly every region of the Commonwealth .

Design Thinking is a creative, person-centered approach to problem solving with the goal of creating a better product for consumers by understanding their individual experiences and specific needs. Amy Conrick, Assistant Director at CTAA, facilitated the workshop, sharing tools and techniques that mobility managers and community transportation stakeholders can use to create effective and responsive transportation solutions. Attendees left thinking about how they can bring their newfound Design Thinking knowledge back to their communities to innovate community and public transit.

To learn more about Design Thinking, check out these free online learning modules on Creating Innovative Transportation Solutions from the National Center for Mobility Management.
Travel trainers discuss group sessions
On August 29, the Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network (MATIN) gathered in Quincy for their quarterly meeting. MATIN is an informal network for travel trainers to share successful strategies with their peers and get advice on challenges.

The meeting featured Betsy Harvey, Transportation Equity Program Manager at Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Before coming to Boston MPO, Harvey worked at Rutgers University, where she helped conduct an evaluation of group travel instruction sessions in New Jersey. Her presentation, Achieving Mobility Access of Older Adults through Group Travel Instruction, discussed the group travel instruction sessions developed by the New Jersey Travel Independence Program at Rutgers. The study concluded that a combination of classroom and field trip sessions are more effective than just one method for increasing public transit use, that transportation plays a vital role in contributing to older adults' quality of life, and that exposing trainees to public transit in their neighborhoods can help improve accessibility.

Following the presentation, attendees shared updates on their programs.  Contact us  if you are interested in joining the MATIN mailing list or learning more about travel instruction.  
COA conference offers transportation sessions
The agenda for this year's Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging (MCOA) Conference - to be held October 18-20 in Danvers - includes many transportation-related sessions. Over the course of the three days, MassDOT, MassMobility, TRIPPS, Uber, and AAA will be offering workshops on various aspects of transportation.

The conference also offers some sessions related to vehicles. On October 18, Seon will offer a video surveillance workshop, and Q'Straint/Sure-Lok will offer a workshop on wheelchair securement. Shepard Brothers, which offers training on paratransit vehicles, will be exhibiting on October 19.

Check out the preliminary agenda or register for the conference.
Funding opportunity for healthcare transportation
The National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) is offering grants of up to $30,000 to teams to use a Design Thinking approach to plan or design impactful and sustainable solutions to healthcare challenges. Applications are due October 5. Learn more.
Job Posting
The Town of Lexington seeks a part-time  Transportation Service Manager in the municipal Human Services Department.
Save the date for next year's conference!

In order to better integrate mobility management with other transportation initiatives, the 2018 Massachusetts Community Transportation Coordination Conference will be held in conjunction with the Innovation and Tech Transfer Conference, scheduled for April 10 and 11 at the DCU Center in Worcester. An entire track will be devoted to mobility management, with panels and breakout sessions on topics relevant to improving mobility and access for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income commuters in Massachusetts. Attendees will also have access to many general conference sessions on emerging technologies and other innovations.


Check out materials from the 2017 conference to get a sense of what types of sessions we'll be offering, and let us know if you have suggestions for what you'd like to see on the 2018 agenda.

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