MassMobility logo bus 11.01.12  
MassDOT Rail _ Transit Division
In This Issue
Join Our Mailing List

These are exciting times in the field of transportation, with technology creating new opportunities and changing old patterns.  This month's issue features two recent events held to discuss opportunities for making sure older adults and people with disabilities benefit from these new transportation technologies.  Read on to learn about these events, as well as state updates, online and in-person courses, a funding opportunity, and  more news related to mobility for older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals in Massachusetts.

And we hope to see you in just a few weeks at the annual conference. Many of you are doing important work to improve mobility in your communities. The conference is an opportunity to learn from each other and connect with community transportation peers at sessions, over lunch, or in hallway conversations.

This newsletter is compiled by  MassMobility , an initiative of the 
Conference registration is open
The 2019 MassDOT Transportation Innovation Conference is just around the corner!  Like last year, this year's conference will feature a Community Mobility track with sessions related to improving mobility and transportation options for older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals in Massachusetts.
T ransportation Innovation Conference
April 9-10, 2019
DCU Center, Worcester, MA
Attendees are welcome to come to one or both days. Each day will offer breakout sessions on a range of topics. The second day will also feature a Mobility Management Networking lunch - a chance to connect with others who care about community transportation, meet a new potential partner, or compare notes with a peer from another region.

To register, learn about fee waiver opportunities, and see the full agenda, visit www.massdotinnovation.comHope to see you there! Contact us if you have questions.
Aging service providers participate in GoGoGrandparent roundtable
On-demand ride-hailing services can help improve mobility. But how can individuals without a smartphone access these transportation options? Aging service providers and interested stakeholders met on February 25 at Springwell - a non-profit serving older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers - to discuss potential solutions to this barrier. Convened by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the roundtable discussed tools such as  GoGoGrandparent , a ride-matching service for older adults. Elder Affairs serves as a champion for GoGoGrandparent as part of the MassChallenge HealthTech competition.
Started by Justin Boogaard, GoGoGrapdparent (GoGo)  provides an option for older adults who are unable to self-summon a Transportation Network Company (TNC) ride. Consumers can  call (855) 464-6872 to order the ride through GoGo, pressing 1 to summon a car to their home address, 2 to have a ride sent to their last destination, or 0 to speak with a GoGo operator, called "Professional Grandchild." The rides are monitored by GoGo, who assist if any challenges arise. GoGo charges a fee of 27 cents per minute in addition to the total trip cost.
Boogaard also presented on GoGo's capacity beyond individual ride summoning assistance, touching on partnerships it has with organizations and municipalities across the US. This "enterprise" model allows companies to use GoGo to manage rides for their consumers. Following the presentation, attendees shared their own experiences assisting older adults with Uber and Lyft.
Harvard hosts panel discussion on accessible autonomous vehicles
Connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology has the potential to improve mobility for traditionally transportation-disadvantaged populations. But what will ensure that the technology will be accessible for those with disabilities? On March 12, students at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) engaged a panel of CAV specialists and disability rights advocates to help answer this question.
Katie Monroe, a Master in Public Policy candidate at HKS, moderated the panel, which featured Carol Tyson, Government Affairs Liaison with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF); Henry Claypool, Tech Policy Consultant, American Association of People with Disabilities; and Gina O'Connell, Co-Founder of Comet Mobility, an AV company focusing on accessibility. Attendees included independent living center staff, aging service providers, employees from the Cities of Boston and Cambridge, and HKS students and staff/researchers.
Panelists discussed the potential barriers to fully accessible autonomous vehicles. Tyson touched on DREDF's Fully Accessible Autonomous Vehicles Checklist, which outlines the CAV technology, hardware, and policy considerations needed for individuals with disabilities to have equal access. Claypool encouraged individuals to join the We Will Ride Campaign, an advocacy coalition focusing on accessible autonomous vehicles. O'Connell provided an overview of CAV technology and its various applications in transportation today and possibilities for the future.
Q&A followed the panelists' remarks. Audience members drew on their experiences with shared, on-demand transportation providers (like Uber and Lyft) to discuss the ways new mobility can fail to serve all people. They inquired about the future of curb management and the role of CAV technology in complete streets planning. Monroe shares, " It was an honor to be able to bring people thinking about AV accessibility at the national level into conversation with Boston-area advocates. I'm excited to see what happens in the next few years."
Task force seeks public comment on RTA report
The Task Force on Regional Transit Authority Funding and Performance has published a draft report. Public comment is due March 29 and can be submitted by email. Three public meetings were held in mid-March in Worcester, Hyannis, and Amherst.
Calling all consumers who use HST transportation
EOHHS, MassHealth, and the Human Service Transportation Office are hosting public listening sessions for the Human Service Transportation brokerage program. We invite consumers to attend, share their experiences with the program, and make suggestions for improvement. Meetings will be scheduled for dates in April and May. Times and locations will be finalized soon and posted on the HST website.
State announces funding awards for municipal Complete Streets, Regional Transit Authorities
In late February, the Baker-Polito administration awarded Complete Streets grants to 11 municipalities , totaling nearly $3 million to improve local infrastructure for road users of all ages, abilities, and travel modes. From Great Barrington to Merrimac, the selected municipalities plan to use the funding to install accessible infrastructure, fill gaps in sidewalk networks, improve pedestrian safety at street crossings, and more.
On March 5, MassDOT announced $5.1 million in competitive awards to Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs), including $4 million from the state budget and an additional $1.1 million in MassDOT capital funds. Each RTA received one or more awards to pilot an innovation to increase ridership. Selected projects include pilots of late-night service, microtransit, and on-demand options, as well as marketing campaigns to promote awareness of services.
New grassroots group partners with Easterseals MA to fundraise for transportation
Better Mass Transit (BMT) is partnering with Easterseals Massachusetts to help youth with disabilities overcome transportation challenges that prevent them from participating in internships and leadership development programming. Every year, eligible individuals decline to participate in programs due to lack of access to transportation. To address this, BMT first launched a GoFundMe page. They recently institutionalized their campaign on an Easterseals MA webpage. Any funds raised will support participants in overcoming their transportation challenges, using whatever travel modes best meet their needs. For example, if someone lives in a community not served by public transit, the funding could pay for them to take an Uber, Lyft, or taxi to the closest transit route.
BMT emerged in early 2019 from conversations on social media. Their initial projects have primarily consisted of surveying riders about MBTA service, and then presenting the results to the MBTA and decision-makers. The Easterseals MA partnership grew out of BMT's desire to not only improve public transit, but also fill gaps in the system where transit is not available.
Funding opportunity

Applications are due April 17 for AARP Community Challenge grants, which offer funding for community-based, "quick-action" projects related to housing, transportation, smart cities, and public spaces. Projects selected for funding must be completed by November 4. Last year's winners included the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, which used the funding to install benches at bus stops in Springfield.

Keep up to date on grant opportunities by visiting our community transportation funding webpage.

New online courses strengthen mobility management and coordination skills
The National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) has added two new courses to its e-learning offerings. Reaching Consensus among Coordination Partners discusses different factors that come together to make a coordinated effort successful. Targeted to organizations already involved in collaborative efforts, the course identifies common challenges that arise when different organizations try to work together, offers recommendations, and provides illustrative examples. Modules cover the "seven Ps" of successful coordination: partners, passion, patience, performance, perseverance, practical expectations, and promotion. Mobility Management Basics II includes modules on structuring and running effective meetings, effective and appropriate advocacy to local and state officials, and understanding a rider's complete trip from planning through arrival at their destination.
Two additional courses, developed previously, are also available. One covers mobility management basics, such as creating inventories, identifying partners, and measuring performance. The other covers how Design Thinking strategies can help organizations create innovative and effective transportation solutions. All NCMM courses are free.
Learn to offer travel training
Staff of transit authorities, human service agencies, special education classrooms, and transition programs who are interested in offering travel training are invited to sign up for a workshop. Learn from expert travel trainers about the components of a travel training program and important considerations in offering travel training. Travel training is the professional activity of helping older adults, people with disabilities, and others learn the skills and information they need to use fixed-route public transit independently and safely.

Staff from the Kennedy Center in Connecticut will be offering a three-day introductory workshop in Fitchburg in June, and a two-day intermediate workshop in Framingham in May.  These workshops are available free of charge thanks to funding from MassDOT. Please note that if you have previously attended the Kennedy Center introductory or intermediate workshops, you do not need to register as these are same workshops being offered again.

To receive announcements of future workshops and other professional development opportunities related to travel training, please join our Travel Instruction Network email list.
College scholarships for teens working with seniors on transportation
College scholarships are available to high school juniors and seniors in New England who are creating multi-generational connections with older adults around transportation, livable communities, and other key issues. Winners will receive a $1000 scholarship, as well as a $1000 donation to their initiative. The MIT AgeLab and AARP are providing the funding. Students should apply by March 31.
Follow us on Twitter 

Are you on Twitter? If so, follow us @MassMobility for links to community transportation resources relevant to organizations and agencies here in Massachusetts. If you aren't on Twitter, you can still see our posts online at

We want to know your stories

If you have suggestions for news items or topics to cover in future newsletters, please contact us or submit a guest article. Comments, questions, and feedback are also welcome.

Please share this newsletter

Please forward this newsletter widely to others who are interested in mobility management, community transportation, or related topics and encourage them to subscribe to receive future newsletters and publications.


You can also read past issues of all MassMobility newsletters.