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As 2018 comes to a close, we would like to thank all of you who have worked hard this year to improve mobility, access, and transportation for older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income residents here in Massachusetts. Working together, we can help people get to key destinations, such as medical appointments, jobs, or visits with friends and family.

Read on to learn about local, regional, and statewide transportation efforts to improve healthcare outcomes and ensure healthy aging for Massachusetts seniors. Check out new data and tools from local and national organizations to help you make the case or target your efforts. This month's issue also highlights initiatives to connect consumers with transit, assist consumers in using app-based transportation services, foster coordination among transportation efforts, and support volunteer driver programs.

This newsletter is compiled by  MassMobility , an initiative of the 
Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services with support from  MassDOT . We look forward to working with you in 2019 to further expand transportation options for seniors, people with disabilities, low-income individuals, and others in Massachusetts.
Present at this year's conference!
We are excited to announce that the 2019 Massachusetts Community Transportation Coordination Conference will again be held in conjunction with MassDOT's Transportation Innovation Conference. Please join us April 9-10 in Worcester!

This conference is a great opportunity to connect with transportation providers, human service agency staff, Councils on Aging, regional planners, advocates, and others around improving transportation options for older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals in Massachusetts. In addition, the Transportation Innovation Conference also offers the opportunity to network with municipal, state, and private roadway engineers about accessibility and mobility.   
Agenda - we want you!
Many of you are working on interesting, innovative approaches to improving mobility for older adults, people with disabilities, or low-income individuals in your communities. This conference is a great opportunity to share what you're learning with peers from across the state. We hope you will consider presenting. Submit a presentation proposal by January 4.

If you know of someone else who would be a good fit for the conference, encourage them to submit a proposal - or let us know and we will reach out to them. I f you are interested in presenting but not sure what to present or how to write an abstract, let us know and we'll be delighted to help you. For inspiration, check out past conference agendas from 2018 and 2017.
Vineyard Transit Authority pilots medical shuttle to Cape Cod
When a program offering subsidized taxi trips between Martha's Vineyard and medical facilities on the Cape lost its funding, the Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) stepped up to fill the gap. VTA began piloting a weekly medical shuttle to Cape locations in October, in addition to its weekly Boston hospital service. Current funding is in place to operate the pilot service for a year.
Seniors and people with disabilities receive priority, but others can ride if space allows. Passengers call in advance to book their trip. The shuttle travels by ferry to the mainland. From there, it follows a route planned by VTA staff based on the medical facilities requested by the week's passengers.
Although patients were able to book appointments any day of the week under the previous taxi program, riders are adjusting to the weekly schedule. An eye specialist in Sandwich - a common destination for Vineyard residents - is helping to group riders' appointments on Wednesdays. So far demand has been high: VTA originally designated a minivan for the service, but often substitutes a larger, 17-passenger van to accommodate all ride requests.
Medical students study rural transportation as a social determinant of health
In late October, five medical students immersed themselves in learning about the link between transportation access and community health in a rural, high-poverty area. Second-year students in the Population-Based Urban and Rural Community Health program at UMass Medical School's Baystate campus had the opportunity to choose a two-week clerkship focusing on one of the social determinants of health : social, economic, and environmental factors that affect health. Community partners in Springfield offered clerkships in food insecurity, veteran homelessness, and childcare, while the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation (QVCDC) offered a rural transportation clerkship in Ware featuring the Quaboag Connector . Long-time Connector supporter Michelle Holmgren, Public Affairs & Community Relations Specialist for Baystate's Eastern Region, connected QVCDC to the clerkship opportunity.
Gail Farnsworth French, Training Program Manager at QVCDC, served as the Community Faculty for the clerkship, while Dr. David Maguire, Chief Medical Officer of Baystate's Eastern Region, served as Medical Faculty. In structuring the clerkship, they sought to offer students both a high-level view of the issues, as well as access to firsthand accounts. Students began by attending a meeting of the hospital's Community Benefits Advisory Committee, which uses the community health needs assessment to determine how the hospital will support community initiatives addressing social determinants of health. Students also toured two hospitals, met with hospital leadership, and shadowed pediatricians - all the while focusing on the link between transportation and patient health. Students next went into the community for an introduction to QVCDC. They rode the Connector, spoke with riders about their lives, and met with the drivers. They also met with staff and clients at a local food pantry, the Ware Council on Aging, and a non-profit providing intensive in-home case management for at-risk families. "A key theme of the clerkship was that one primary role of a community doctor is to learn about and share what resources are available. It's right up there with medical advice," explains Farnsworth French. The clerkship also included a research component: students examined the potential for the Connector to pursue sustainability by adapting a microtransit approach.
In her final reflection, participating student Xu Wanlu emphasized the impact the experience had on her: "For the last couple weeks, this experience was all I could talk about. My medical school friends have mostly lived in cities, and the disparities we are used to are mostly among urban populations. I desperately wanted them to understand what I have learned during this clerkship, but unfortunately, I don't know if that would be possible until they also experience it for themselves or meet people from these communities. I went into the clerkship with the understanding that transportation has a huge effect on daily life, but having lived in or near a city my entire life, I had no comprehension of just how extreme the need for transportation was until I spent these last two weeks in the Quaboag Region. I had previously considered myself to be lacking in transportation access compared to most of my friends. Nevertheless, I was always able to eventually get to where I needed to go, even if I had to walk 20-30 minutes to get to a bus stop. Even if the bus was delayed, it would usually get there within 30 minutes. I always had the option of calling for an Uber as a last resort if I really needed to get somewhere on time. I never appreciated that safety net until I came here and talked with some of the passengers of the Quaboag Connector. Without the Connector, they literally had no other options. For one person, getting a ride from a friend was entirely dependent on whether that friend could keep their job or if they could remain healthy. Walking to work took roughly four hours and was really not an option for an older person, especially in the winter. And getting to work or buying food often took priority over medical appointments, of course. How can physicians work in a bubble and not have resources for getting their patients to them? Access to healthcare should be a human right, and transportation access should be included in the conversation along with health insurance coverage and drug prices."
AARP conference highlights age-friendly efforts from Massachusetts
MassMobility  thanks James Fuccione, Senior Director of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, for submitting this guest article. If you would like to submit an article or have an idea for a topic,  please contact us.

In November, leaders from age-friendly efforts in Massachusetts joined communities and organizations from across the country to learn and share best practices at the AARP Livable Communities Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Massachusetts hosts nearly 40 cities and towns designated as Age-Friendly by AARP and the World Health Organization, and is one of only three states to have statewide age-friendly designations.

AARP Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa moderated a panel of Age-Friendly States with Robin Lipson of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs representing the Commonwealth. New York and Colorado were also on stage to share their approaches to creating livable communities and states for all. Lipson described how Massachusetts is currently working on an action plan following a statewide tour of listening sessions hosted by the Governor's Council to Address Aging, as well as engaging a broad set of organizations for their input and ideas.
Nora Moreno Cargie, President of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, was on a plenary panel focused on engaging anchor institutions. She discussed  the collaborative approach in Massachusetts to advancing the movement with the Governor and a broad set of organizations. She also emphasized the importance of listening to the community to understand their needs rather than pushing an agenda on them.
Other Massachusetts presenters included Andrea Burns, Director of the Age-Friendly Boston initiative, who spoke at a session about the process of writing an Age-Friendly action plan. I joined AARP Florida and United Way of Miami-Dade to present a workshop session on creating livable communities for all.
Videos and presentation slides from the multi-day event are available on the AARP Livable Communities Conference webpage.
New reports offer updated data on healthy aging, transportation
Researchers at UMass Boston released an update to the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Reports on December 10. Funded by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, the report includes profiles for each of Massachusetts' 351 municipalities, plus an additional 28 covering neighborhoods within Boston, Springfield, and Worcester. Each profile presents 179 indicators of individual and community health listed alongside state averages for easy comparison. The reports offer a rich resource for local needs assessments, as well as data to cite in grant applications.

On December 7, the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center ( NADTC) released the results of a national study assessing the transportation needs of older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers. Researchers surveyed over 500 older adults and over 500 people with disabilities ages 18 to 59, weighting both samples to be demographically representative. In addition, researchers surveyed over 600 caregivers who provide transportation assistance to an older adult or a person with a disability. Among other findings, the study found that most older adults and people with disabilities rely on family and friends for information about transportation, instead of other information sources. In response, NADTC developed  "Every Ride Counts" campaign tools that local organizations can customize to help potential riders and their caregivers learn about transportation options.
MBTA publishes collection of travel training curricula
To assist educators and transition specialists who are helping students learn safe and independent travel on public transit, the MBTA Travel Training program has compiled a collection of travel training curricula . The collection includes curricula developed by organizations around the country, as well as tools that MBTA travel trainers use to reinforce key concepts related to riding transit. "It's not all inclusive, but it's comprehensive, and we hope that educators will be able to pick and choose to find materials and strategies that will work well in their classrooms and for the individual students they are working with," explains Kelley Campbell, Director of the MBTA Travel Training program.
Campbell compiled the collection with local and national feedback. In March, she and her staff presented early drafts to the Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network to receive input from Massachusetts-based travel trainers and educators. She also discussed the project with national experts at the Association of Travel Instruction conference in August.
Educators with questions or suggestions for additional materials should contact
Worcester-based non-profit gives the gift of transportation year-round
Tasks for Transit (TFT), a non-profit organization in Worcester, is helping the city's economically disadvantaged individuals access transportation with free bus passes. Each month, TFT donates 10 day passes to each of 25 local partner charities to be dispersed to clients. By providing free transportation on the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA), the passes offer a lifeline to critical services. Since its founding in 2015, TFT has donated over 5,000 passes.
The idea stemmed from the Art of Science and Learning's Worcester Incubator . In 2014, the incubator brought together various industry sectors to integrate arts-based and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning, creating a unique approach to problem solving. Participants developed innovative ideas for improving the city's transportation infrastructure. As part of the project, participants Steve McClure and Brian Manning came up with the idea of free transit fare for low- or no-income residents to provide greater connectivity to the city and its services.
In order to make the idea a reality, McClure and Manning founded TFT. To demonstrate the need for such a program, they conducted an online survey of 60 charities in the region. Ninety-three percent of respondents reported that transportation was extremely important to really important for the fulfillment of their mission. With this data in hand, TFT leveraged funding from various corporations and individual donors to purchase the bus passes in bulk from the WRTA and donate them at no cost to charities.
McClure, CEO of Tasks for Transit, selects the charities where the passes are donated based on various criteria. To be eligible, entities must be non-profits that provide basic services for economically disadvantaged, but whose services do not include transportation services. Of the passes used by consumers in 2017, the top two trips destinations were employment-related and medical/healthcare.
This year, in addition to distributing day passes, TFT created a Job Fare program in order to assist recent hires with their expenses while they wait for their first paycheck. The kit contains a 31-day bus pass; voucher for free haircut; and information about free health care facilities, food pantries, and meal programs. Any of TFT's 25 partner charities can request a Job Fare kit for eligible clients.
Programs assist older adults in using ride-hailing apps
Two programs in Massachusetts, TRIPPS and Lexington at Home , are providing training to help older adults learn how to use mobile apps to summon rides with transportation network companies (TNCs) Uber and Lyft . The TRIPPS (Transportation Resources, Information, Planning, and Partnership for Seniors) program is based in Brookline and offers resources and programs for older adults who are no longer able to drive. Lexington at Home is an association of older adults living in Lexington who provide social support for one another to age in place. 
The TRIPPS training originated with volunteer Jane Gould, who recognized that many older adults would need in-depth classes to be able to utilize either the Uber or Lyft platform. A single session training quickly morphed into a multi-day instructional series of three 90-minute classes. The first class introduces attendees to TNCs, providing information about ride-hailing to alleviate any apprehension about the service. At the end of the first session, participants download either the Uber or Lyft app. The homework after the first meeting is to download the app of the other TNC provider at home using detailed instructions with screenshots. The second class covers logistics for using the app (ordering a ride, understanding the map and GPS, etc.). The third class provides the opportunity to participants to put into practice what they've been learning, with a rideshare "graduation field trip" to a local dining establishment to celebrate. 
Lexington at Home is comprised of around 160 older adults. This past year, member Mike Friedman and a few others with experience using TNCs thought that members could benefit from a training that would familiarize them with this transportation option. Friedman created a PowerPoint presentation with detailed instructions and screenshots that highlighted the ease of using the Lyft app, and emailed it to members. There was an overwhelmingly positive response from recipients and requests for a follow-up workshop. Friedman obliged and offered an in-person training, with participants learning how to download, set up, and book a ride on the app. This session was so successful that Lexington at Home coordinated with Lexington Transportation Manager Susan Barrett to expand the class to cover all older adults in town. An advertisement ran in the senior services newsletter, garnering enough sign-ups for two large workshops. The last one had 22 participants; eight trainers from Lexington at Home volunteered to help attendees learn how to download and navigate the Uber and/or Lyft applications. Like TRIPPS, Lexington supplements the in-person training with detailed instructional handouts. They look forward to continuing these sessions in the future.
Both organizations note the importance of a low ratio of participants to trainers in order to provide customized instruction to each individual. Gould adds, "It's important to set expectations and motivate participants in a way that causes excitement."
National center visits Massachusetts regions to promote transportation coordination
Judy Shanley, Co-Director of the National Center for Mobility Management , visited Massachusetts in early December to assist two regions in expanding their transportation coordination. Shanley presented in Ware at the Quaboag Valley Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) meeting on December 3, and in Norwood at the Neponset Valley RCC on December 4.
Both RCCs are looking to increase regional transportation coordination. The Quaboag Valley RCC is looking to invite additional local stakeholders and transportation providers to partner with the Quaboag Connector service that RCC members operate, while the Neponset Valley RCC is looking to foster some new coordinated initiatives in its region. At both meetings, Shanley discussed the value of coordinating transportation and participating in coordination initiatives, and offered suggestions for how to measure the outcomes of coordination. "We are so grateful to Judy for taking the time to meet with us and for sharing resources. We look forward to building on her suggestions and using her tools to bring in more partners and improve mobility in our rural area," shares Gail Farnsworth French, Chair of the Quaboag Valley RCC.
For more resources on transportation coordination - including a toolkit developed by the Neponset Valley RCC co-chairs - visit MassMobility's transportation coordination webpage.
Statewide walking advocacy network convenes
On December 1, walking advocates from across the state gathered in Worcester for the first meeting of the WalkMassachusetts Network . An initiative of WalkBoston, this new network seeks to amplify collective impact and strengthen local voices by connecting and supporting local groups working on improving walking conditions and promoting walkability.
Twenty-five attendees converged on Worcester from the Pioneer Valley, Worcester and Westborough, and Greater Boston. The day began with an exercise in which each attendee listed five potential discussion topics. Participants then ranked each other's suggestions, and the top six became the day's agenda. In two one-hour sessions, attendees broke into small groups and discussed low-cost infrastructure improvements, outreach strategies, accessibility for people with disabilities, tools to incentivize behavior change, enforcement of lower speed limits, and best practices in gaining support from people who are not already involved in bike or pedestrian advocacy efforts.
WalkBoston plans to host gatherings twice a year. Network membership is free and is open to any group interested in working on walking.
MassMobility supports and promotes volunteer driver programs
In recognition of the important services provided by volunteer driver programs across the Commonwealth, MassMobility has been working to assist existing programs and help new programs form. In August, we relaunched statewide Volunteer Driver Program Network by inviting staff of programs from across the state to attend a presentation from a long-standing volunteer driver program from New Hampshire. In October, we presented on volunteer driver programs at the Massachusetts Council on Aging 2018 Conference. Attendees learned about factors to consider when establishing a volunteer driver program, including recruiting and managing a volunteer driver pool, scope of service, funding resources, insurance, and program structure.
We have also helped two Regional Coordinating Councils put together meetings on this topic. In October, we recruited two volunteer driver programs to present at the Berkshire Regional Coordinating Council on Transportation: Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires, and Elder Services of Berkshire County. In December, MassMobility presented at the quarterly meeting of the South East Regional Coordinating Council on Transportation, covering the steps for starting a program and providing information about insurance and liability issues.
The next statewide Volunteer Driver Network Meeting will be held on January 31 in Weston. We'll facilitate a discussion around barriers and concerns associated with operating a volunteer driver program in an effort to help programs overcome these obstacles. If you're interested in attending or have more questions related to volunteer driver programs, please contact Jenna Henning.
"Arc Tank 2.0" competition grants funds to transportation initiative
On November 27, the Northeast Arc and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation hosted the second annual " Arc Tank " competition. Participating teams pitched their ideas for an innovative service to improve the lives of people with disabilities. A panel of judges - including Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders - selected three winning proposals to be awarded a combined total of $200,000.
One winner was Stronger Community Opportunities through Organized Transportation (SCOOT) by New Star in Chicago. SCOOT is a mobile app that provides both on-demand and scheduled transportation for people with disabilities. Unlike other ride-hailing services, all SCOOT drivers are direct service professionals, and all fees are based on a low or no cost mileage reimbursement rate.

SCOOT plans to use the Arc Tank funds to add a GPS feature to the app, so that users can track their location in real time, as well as a profile of both the rider and driver. Kara Pierce, Director of Indiana Services at New Star, shared that this app will "increase the quality of life for the individuals we serve by expanding their transportation options. Having greater freedom and flexibility in travel will allow them to stay involved in the community and have a rich social life." Although the app is currently not publicly available, SCOOT hopes to make the software available for purchase in the future.  
Rides for Health wins Aging Achievement Award
In July, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) presented Aging Achievement Awards to 29 effective and replicable programs serving older adults. Rides for Health, a volunteer driver program offered by LifePath of Franklin County, received one of the awards. Through Rides for Health, volunteers provide door-through-door transportation to help home care clients access medical and healthcare-related appointments. LifePath developed this program in response to a community need for more transportation services in this rural region.
Volunteers receive comprehensive training on topics such as providing physical assistance safely, communication, physical changes of aging, dementia, and maintaining professional boundaries, as well as HIPAA and mandated reporting. In 2017, seven Rides for Health volunteers provided service to 18 LifePath clients with a critical unmet need for transportation. In total, drivers provided 83 trips to medical and healthcare-related venues, logging 3,543 miles of travel, and 176 hours of service.
Job postings
The Human Service Transportation Office is seeking a Transportation Procurement and Program Manager .

Transportation for Massachusetts is seeking a Program Associate.
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