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This July 2019 issue of the MassMobility newsletter  features three initiatives that have identified a barrier to mobility and taken steps to address it. Read on to learn how a startup is helping individuals overcome technological barriers to using ride-hailing services; how a transit authority is helping older adults overcome cost barriers; and how a coalition is helping local residents and visitors overcome safety barriers to walking.

We also highlight a new initiative addressing transportation as a social determinant of health, as well as two new services targeting commuters in the MetroWest and North Shore regions - and more news about transportation for older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals in Massachusetts.

This newsletter is compiled by  MassMobility , an initiative of the  Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services .
Apply for funding
Grant season is in full bloom this summer! The National Center for Mobility Management recently announced two grant opportunities - a planning grant to improve mobility for low-income individuals, and funding for a " limited launch" of a healthcare transportation innovation. Get the details on these - along with opportunities from the  Tufts Health Plan Foundation Federal Transit Administration , and  Arc Tank - on our funding webpage . Bookmark this page so you can stay up to date as new opportunities arise!

Applying for a grant? Check out these data sources to help you make the case.
Transportation startup wins MassChallenge award
On June 25, the MassChallenge HealthTech 2019 accelerator awarded a platinum award to GoGoGrandparent (GoGo). By calling GoGo, older adults and riders of all ages can summon a ride through a Transportation Network Company (such as Uber or Lyft), without having to own or use a smartphone. GoGo also screens the vehicles and drivers based on riders' unique needs. For example, if rider cannot step up into an SUV, GoGo will book a lower vehicle; if a rider needs assistance, GoGo will alert the driver and rebook if the driver is not interested in going above and beyond.
MassChallenge HealthTech selects startups based on an application and judging process and then helps them connect with champions. Upon hearing GoGo's initial pitch, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA), the City of Boston, and the Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) partnered to serve as the startup's co-champions. "We all want to be able to get where we want, when we want - and not just to medical appointments - and we know this is an important quality of life factor for older people too," explains Amanda Bernardo, EOEA Director of Policy. "We also know that family caregivers are spending a lot of time coordinating transportation, so we saw it as an opportunity to help reduce caregiver burden while also improving access to innovative transportation options."

Recognizing that cost is a barrier for many older adults, GoGo entered the MassChallenge in order to expand its "enterprise" model, which allows municipalities, healthcare organizations, and other agencies to subsidize trips for older adults. EOEA and the City of Boston each hosted a roundtable , convening stakeholder organizations to learn about GoGo and talk about their consumers' needs. These two roundtables generated a high level of interest. Since starting MassChallenge, GoGo has increased the number of subsidized rides provided by 10 percent or more each month. "We're seeing broader recognition that health care starts at the patient's door, not the clinic's door, and that transportation is a critical part of people's lives," notes Justin Boogaard, Co-Founder of GoGo. GoGo's solution and progress impressed the accelerator judges, who awarded the company one of two platinum prizes: $40,000 in unrestricted funds. GoGo plans to use the prize funds to explore how it might offer door-through-door service to riders who request additional assistance.
PVTA pilots fare-free Tuesdays for seniors
On July 2, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) launched a two-year pilot offering free rides on fixed-route buses every Tuesday to riders age 60 and older. To take advantage of the fare-free Tuesdays , seniors need a PVTA Senior ID - which also qualifies them for half-fare rides the rest of the week - and a fare-free Tuesday access card. Both are available at Union Station in Springfield or the Holyoke Transportation Center, and PVTA has also partnered with Councils on Aging to make them available locally. In addition to outreach at area senior centers, PVTA is reaching out to housing authorities and planning an outreach campaign on buses. Seniors who are not familiar with the buses can sign up for travel training .
When talking with older adults at senior centers, PVTA staff kept hearing that cost was a barrier to transportation - especially in Springfield, where one centralized venue recently replaced a network of community-based senior centers. When PVTA Administrator Sandra Sheehan heard about the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority's fare-free Wednesdays for seniors, the idea for the pilot clicked into place. Offering free bus fares once a week could help seniors on a fixed income make ends meet, while also encouraging seniors who do not already ride to try the bus. "If you really give the fixed-route bus a try, you might find that it is very convenient," Sheehan explains. "Our intent is to have them try the buses and see how easy it is and how friendly the drivers are."
Sheehan ran the idea by audiences at senior centers, and people expressed interest. She then presented it to her Board, who enthusiastically endorsed it and approved a two-year pilot. They chose Tuesdays to coincide with discount days offered by local stores for seniors - though Sheehan is quick to point out that the bus can also take you to the library, to a volunteer engagement, and to other destinations - all helping reduce the isolation that older adults can face.
Neon vests highlight pedestrian safety in Southern Berkshire County
Three years since their debut, neon yellow safety vests sporting the phrase "Be Seen, Be Safe" remain popular in Southern Berkshire County. A coalition of local law enforcement, town Councils on Aging, and Fairview Hospital originally funded and distributed the vests in response to a fatal crash in which a driver failed to see a pedestrian in a motorized scooter crossing the street in a crosswalk, on his way from senior housing to the grocery store. On May 29, a "Safety for Seniors" event at the Great Barrington Senior Center featured the vests, along with a demonstration of self-defense techniques for older people and other resources. Over 75 people attended, enjoying a barbecue picnic along with the safety tips.
The county-wide Age Friendly Berkshires (AFB) initiative features "Be Seen, Be Safe" in their new video, which highlights concrete examples of programs that exemplify what it means to be age-friendly. "'Be Seen, Be Safe' is a relatively cheap and easy solution to a scary problem, and it's a good partnership that really worked," explains Peg McDonough, AFB Coordinator. "Wherever we show the video, people want the vests." The video officially premiered on June 24 at AFB's annual meeting, which featured a keynote from Elder Affairs Secretary Elizabeth Chen.
Public health coalition wins grant for transportation initiative
In June, the Tufts Health Plan Foundation awarded a two-year grant to the Blue Hills Community Health Network Alliance (CHNA 20 ) to research and address transportation as a social determinant of health. Serving 13 cities and towns in the Greater Quincy area, the Blue Hills CHNA is a coalition of public, non-profit, and private sector organizations working together to build healthier communities.
Transportation is a relatively new focus area for the Blue Hills CHNA. Once its Health Equity Subcommittee recognized transportation as a critical barrier to healthcare, the issue seemed to pop up everywhere: in the community health needs assessments conducted by local hospitals, in discussions of other social determinants of health activities (employment, housing, food access), in anecdotal conversations with stakeholders, and in complementary local initiatives, such as the City of Quincy's age-friendly efforts. In response, the CHNA chose transportation as one of its focus areas, and began forming the Blue Hills Regional Coordinating Council (RCC). Program Director Kym Williams latched on to the RCC structure as soon as she first heard about it: "The RCC was such a natural fit. It's essentially what our CHNA model is, bringing multi-sector partners together to address regional issues."
The CHNA has identified a four-phase process to explore and address transportation barriers: assessing needs, developing a regional action plan, piloting a solution in a few selected cities and towns, and then expanding the pilot. The Tufts grant will cover the first two phases, with a focus on older adults. "The grant is helping us orient around healthy aging and think differently about access and mobility," Williams says. "At all phases, we will be engaging the older adult community in a comprehensive way."
New service connects MetroWest towns to MBTA
On June 10, the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) launched a pilot commuter shuttle running down Route 20 in Marlborough through Sudbury, Wayland, and Weston; the shuttle then briefly travels on the highway to connect to the MBTA Riverside station. Offering three roundtrips each weekday morning and again each afternoon, MWRTA hopes the service will be useful not only for MetroWest residents but also for Boston-area commuters looking to access jobs along the Route 20 corridor - similar to MWRTA's Route 1, which connects Natick with the Woodland MBTA station. Funded through a MassDOT grant promoting innovative Regional Transit Authority service , the pilot is scheduled to run through June of 2020.
Representative Carmine Gentile joined MWRTA, town officials, the Sudbury Senior Center, the Sudbury Transportation Committee, and local business officials for a ribbon-cutting on June 24 at the Sudbury Shaw's, which hosts one of the bus stops. Visible from Route 20, the ceremony drew attention from drivers passing by.
"We're really excited to see this come to fruition and glad that MassDOT saw the potential and gave us the opportunity to put this on the road," shares Emily Van Dewoestine, Administrative Assistant/Operations at MWRTA. MWRTA plans to continue conducting outreach to housing developments and local businesses whose residents, employees, or customers could benefit from the pilot service.
New shuttle addresses first, last mile gaps in North Shore
At 7am on May 20, the   North Shore WAVE   made its first run from the Beverly Depot train station to business locations in Beverly and Danvers. A project of the   North Shore Transportation Management Association   (TMA) in partnership with local employers, the City of Beverly, and the Town of Danvers, the shuttle operates Monday through Friday, making three runs in the morning and three in the afternoon. The schedule allows the shuttle to connect with both inbound and outbound trains, serving workers who live in Boston and well as those who live further into the North Shore. The shuttle is free to ride and is open to the general public.
The launch was the culmination of years of planning. In 2017, the North Shore Coalition, which consists of mayors, town administrators, and town managers of almost 20 municipalities in the region, engaged MAPC to conduct a mobility study to identify regional mobility challenges and opportunities. This shuttle was one of the report's recommendations. Follow-up surveys and focus groups corroborated the value. In 2018, the region received an Efficiency and Regionalization grant to pilot the service. The North Shore TMA worked with partners to identify member organizations to help fund the service, meet with area employers, and interview potential riders about their needs in order to plan a route and schedule that would yield high ridership. "We took our time in planning to make sure the shuttle would be successful when it launched," explains TMA Director Andrea Leary.
Four employers - American Renal Associates, Axcelis Technologies, Cell Signaling Technology, and the Cummings Center - as well as the City of Beverly and the Town of Danvers are funding the pilot. A strong supporter of the shuttle, Beverly's Mayor held meetings with business leaders and employees to make sure that the service aligns with their needs, and the City of Beverly is also providing in-kind support for the service. For example, the DPW is creating signs to mark the shuttle stops.

Ridership is growing steadily from two passenger trips on the first day to an average of 13 passenger trips per day, and the TMA is continuing to do outreach; the brightly colored vehicle also draws attention. In addition, the TMA is exploring opportunities to expand the service, such as through offering a park-and-ride option for commuters.
New reports make great beach reads
Looking for the perfect summer reading to bring to the beach? Check out these short, readable, and informative new reports from June 2019:
  • Innovations in Volunteer Transportation - this new MassMobility report by Jenna Henning highlights examples of volunteer driver programs in Massachusetts and other states using technology to increase their capacity
  • Mobility Managers - this AARP report defines mobility management, identifies the value mobility managers can provide, and profiles examples of different structures for mobility management
MassDOT invites high school students to promote roadway safety
MassDOT invites high school students to submit roadway safety videos to the annual Safe Streets/Smart Trips contest. Submissions are due October 4. Video submissions must align with MassDOT's "scan the street for wheels and feet" campaign, highlight crash statistics, and offer tips for how to avoid crashes. Winners will receive prizes and will be recognized at this year's Moving Together Conference.
Online course explores senior transportation
Registration is open for  Organizing and Managing Senior Transportation Options , a fall 2019 course offered through the Gerontology Institute and the College of Advancing and Professional Studies at UMass Boston. This online course is co-taught by Helen Kerschner, former Director of the National Volunteer Transportation Center, and Nina Silverstein, Professor in the Gerontology Department at UMass Boston. Kerschner and Silverstein, who are now in their seventh year of offering the course, also authored the course textbook:  Introduction to Senior Transportation .
Ginny Salem, Administrator of Northern Essex Elder Transport, took Silverstein and Kerschner's course last year and highly recommends it: " This program provided me with the information needed to grow our volunteer driving network with excellent outreach suggestions."

Her classmate Susan Marancik,  Senior and Community Services Director for the Town of Sandwich , agrees: "As a newer Council on Aging director, I found the class tremendously helpful in learning ways to improve our existing transportation program. I also gained a broader knowledge of aging issues as they relate to transportation. I have used that in developing a five year strategic plan for the Sandwich Council on Aging, as well as managing our combined volunteer and paid driver transportation program."
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