July 31, 2018

Connie Long
VAPDC Administrator

Roanoke - The Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions (VAPDC) presented the Robert M. deVoursney Best Practices Award to the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission for the Foothills Area Mobility System (FAMS) partnership at the Association's Summer Conference in Roanoke last week.

The Foothills Area Mobility System (FAMS) partnership was initiated by the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission (RRRC) and Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services (RRCS) in 2009 based on a recommendation from the Rappahannock-Rapidan Coordinated Human Services Mobility (CHSM) Plan. The CHSM plan produced a regional vision for human services mobility and identified short, medium, and long-term strategies to address mobility problems of older adults, disabled, and low-income residents of the region. The Rappahannock-Rapidan CHSM plan identified five goals and strategies to address mobility issues including enhanced regional mobility coordination, information and education on mobility options, support for existing transit providers, expanded use and coordination of volunteer transportation services, and expanded inter-county and inter-regional transit routes, where feasible.

The formation of the FAMS partnership was a direct result of the planning process, and allowed for development of additional transit routes within and outside the region, as well as the implementation of the FAMS Call Center with funding received from numerous partners, including the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration. The FAMS Call Center provides free, person-centered information and referral on all available public, private and volunteer transportation, in addition to free travel training, trip planning, gas card vouchers and taxi cab vouchers. FAMS has also coordinated with various local volunteer transportation programs within the Rappahannock-Rapidan region to streamline the volunteer driver application process, enhancing efficiency and collaboration of locally-run programs.

The FAMS partnership has created a holistic mobility resource that provides information and referral to transportation options, offers travel training to senior citizens and persons with disabilities, and identifies gaps in transportation services. The FAMS Call Center received more than 2,100 requests for transportation assistance in FY 2017, provided travel training for over 450 citizens, and directed requests to public transit providers (one in the region), private providers, and volunteer transportation programs in each of the region's five counties.

The FAMS partnership can be replicated in other regions, including those with well-developed transit and mobility operations and those with limited transportation resources. CHSM plans were developed in all regions within Virginia and provide a foundation for enhancing transit and mobility partnerships and coordination between public transportation providers, private transit operators, and volunteer networks.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission was Patrick Mauney, Executive Director of RRRC.

The Robert M. deVoursney Best Practices Award recognizes organizations that have initiated regional activities which have contributed significantly to the effectiveness of a region. The award recognizes innovation, excellence, commitment and/or service to the advancement of regional planning and multi-jurisdictional cooperation. The award showcases the creative work and ability to leverage resources and services of Virginia's PDCs.

Planning District Commissions were established by the General Assembly in 1969. There are 21 PDCs and Regional Commissions in Virginia made up of elected officials and citizens appointed by local governments. The purpose of the Planning District Commissions is to encourage and facilitate regional solutions to problems of area-wide significance. This is done by promoting the efficient development of the physical, social, and economic policies of all districts by assisting local governments to plan for the future. The PDCs of Virginia have joined together to create the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions to share best practices, and further regionalism across the commonwealth. For more information about VAPDC visit the website at www.vapdc.org.

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