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THE MILEPOST
July 2016
 
A monthly update from   

This newsletter commences an ongoing communication to our key constituents, community organizations, and other interested individuals in or near our five-county service area. It will include periodic updates on mobility and transportation related issues and initiatives. We offer it as a step in our efforts to educate and inform people about mobility - what's out there; what's going on; what we are doing; future plans and aspirations. 
 
This edition will be longer than most, in an effort to provide some history and background for our newest contacts. Our goal is to provide news and updates that are brief but salient - quick and easy to read or scan for items of interest. This will be accomplished by including concise elements and linking electronically to other sources that can be accessed easily by those who want further information.
Rural Transportation 1987-2016
As I reflect on 30 years of health and human service work in the region, not much has changed regarding transportation need. I'm guilty of repeating myself in saying so. When I began working as Executive Director at Opportunities for Chenango in 1987, transportation was cited as the highest need or a high priority need in meetings and forums on issues associated with poverty, health care access, employment, etc. Most recently, the results of a year-long, five-county population health improvement project to gather information on health needs and health disparities identified transportation as one of the most significant needs/disparities in the region ( Southern Tier Population Health Improvement Program, 2016 ). Not much has changed. While we have some basic data (e.g., the number of car-less households by zip code through the census) we collect little, if any, information on rural transportation need and associated impacts on health, employment, and the ability of seniors to maintain independence.
Much of our region has a sparse population spread across large geographic areas; significant numbers of low income individuals/families; increasing numbers of older people struggling to "age in place" while aging out of driving; and historic trends centralizing retail, services, and employment in larger population centers. Over my lifetime, I have watched as many rural village centers throughout the region have lost retailers, including grocery stores and pharmacies, health care services, and/or employers. While we may retain or restore some essential services in rural communities that help mitigate the need for affordable transportation, it is clear that for most rural people, most of the time, they will be travelling long distances to access essential goods, services and employment.
Clearly there is an important role for mobility and affordable transportation services to ensure that transportation-disadvantaged residents in our region can live healthy, safe, and productive lives. Mobility Management of South Central New York (MMSCNY) was established to maximize the transportation resources that exist and to work collaboratively, across sectors, to improve mobility and affordable transportation services. THE MILEPOST will be one way to keep you informed of our work. We encourage you to share your
Jack Salo 7.2016
Salo reflects on 30+ years of observing transportation needs in the region, "Not much has changed." 
feedback, including ideas for future articles and information that would be of interest, by e-mailing
MMSCNY . We also ask that you inform us of others who should be included in the mailing list for THE MILEPOST. 
Jack Salo
Executive Director, Rural Health Network of SCNY
What is Mobility Management?
 
Mobility management, as defined by the
"... the good use of a great variety of existing transportation resources, the use of less expensive alternatives, and the creation of inter-agency partnerships, all with the primary goal of providing customized service to residents and communities."
  
Transportation is a universal need. Accessing the services and opportunities that make possible a healthy and productive lifestyle is a critical component of healthy living. Some people can accomplish this easily, others hardly at all. Mobility management, as a
field of practice, exists because traditional transportation solutions fall short in their
goal to ensure that critical access for all members of the community. 
(L to R) Nick Cecconi, Kayla Jack (MTA), Janice Parker (RHN Technical Adviser), and Wm. (Bill) Wagner. Absent from photo: Meggan Bush (MTA)
Mobility Management of South Central New York -
Who Are They? What Do They Do?
 
Connecting people of traditionally transportation-disadvantaged groups like the elderly, disabled, low-income, and geographically isolated, with the things they need improves quality of life for individuals and their communities. Without transportation, access and services are difficult to obtain, and can be impossible. Without access and services, life is less than healthy.
  
In operation since January 2012, Mobility Management of South Central New York (MMSCNY) is an ongoing collaborative partnership of eighteen not-for-profit, volunteer and public transportation providers; health care and human service providers; and mobility and transportation professionals in Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Otsego, and Delaware Counties. Together, they work to address the mobility gaps and improve transportation access and coordination in South Central New York, with particular regard to the area's rural communities. Their services are available primarily to the SCNY region but, in reality, are available to anyone free of charge. The Rural Health Network of South Central New York is lead agency for MMSCNY.  
  
William Wagner is Program Director for MMSCNY; Assistant Director is Nick Cecconi; and two AmeriCorps representatives serve as Mobility & Transportation Advocates (MTAs), with shared responsibility for conducting the day to day operations of MMSCNY and advancing their goals and objectives.   
Their Goals
  • Helping individuals, families, and organizations navigate the area-wide transportation landscape
  • Serving as a forum and facilitator for individuals and organizations with transportation needs
  • Working with partners to identify, develop, and enhance solutions to improve transportation in SCNY
  • Maintaining up-to-date information on the transportation options available in the area.
  • Identifying opportunities to create a more coordinated, comprehensive, and accessible transportation system in the region
GetThere
 
The cornerstone of MMSCNY's ability to offer transportation assistance is the call center, named GetThere. It is located in the United Way of Broome County facility in Vestal, N.Y. The GetThere staff works together to solve transportation cases, which can vary from relaying simple bus schedule information to providing complex trip planning assistance. Staff members often involve MMSCNY partner organizations and other community resources in solving problems posed by challenging transportation cases. It seems that every day, new partnerships are formed and new resources are identified that help provide more options for meeting transportation needs in South Central New York.
Both MMSCNY and  GetThere operate under the same premise: that transportation is essential to ensure that residents of South Central New York can access essential goods, services, and employment opportunities. They focus on efficiency and coordination.
Connection to Care

Connection to Care (CTC) is one of MMSCNY's important initiatives. It focuses on rural, medically-related transportation issues that are non-emergency in nature for individuals with financial need. These are issues that don't require an ambulance and a trip to the hospital, but are critical to the health and well-being of our communities and their residents nonetheless.
  
CTC was recognized by the  National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM), for its demonstrated innovation and creativity in solving transportation problems utilizing fundamental mobility management concepts (2015). See the full article on this recognition.
MMSCNY's Metrics Quick View


Calls from Jan. 1 - June 30        //             Total Calls


Calls 2014, 2015, 2016 through June

 
Our many dedicated partners have helped MMSCNY's ability to take on increasing numbers of cases, while maintaining service at little to no cost to those being assisted, but funding is a constant concern. If you'd like to help fund assistance to residents in our area who may need help from GetThere or CTC, use this online link, or send a check to us c/o the RHNSCNY. Please n ote your designation in the memo section.
Announcing Request for Proposals

The RHNSCNY is now accepting proposals for Support and Development of Rural Transportation and Mobility Services from not-for-profit organizations or local government service providers to serve each of the following counties: Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Tioga. One grant award is anticipated for each county. Services to include county-level outreach and public education, conducting an inventory of transportation services and needs, and development of increased transportation capacity and coordination.
For more information and/or to receive a copy of the RFP e-mail Cindy Martin, or call
607-692-7669. Direct questions to William Wagner , Director, MMSCNY, no later than August 19, 2016, at 4:30 PM.
 
Proposal deadline is 4:30 pm on August 31, 2016.  
Recapping Ithaca Mobility Solutions Summit
June 2016
 
There can be no denying that the recent Mobility Solutions Summit met all of the usual expectations, and more. Dwight Mengel, Chief Transportation Planner at Tompkins County D.S.S., hosted this three-day learning opportunity in Ithaca on the first Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of summer. It was engaging; it was fresh; it was fun. Topics were loosely grouped into two categories, shared-use mobility (bike share, apps, Uber, etc.), and better practices. The sessions dealing with car-sharing programs around New York State were excellent, albeit slightly foreboding. It seems traditional insurers are becoming less and less willing to carry organizations that engage in the risky business of innovation. In better practices, the conversations about rural mobility and more transit-centric models vs. volunteer-centric models were thought-provoking. Shouldn't we think about: What is transit's role in rural mobility? What should it/will it be?
 
Standout features of the Summit included:
  • 5 minute rapid-fire talks about various germane topics
  • Enlightening and sobering discussions about vehicle insurance
  • An extra-curricular evening session featuring short films and movie trailers about bicycles and cycling (very cool)
Saturday featured Transportation Camp, an unconference. Employing this format, attendees spent 30 minutes coming up with ideas for sessions, and the rest of the day leading those sessions. The concept is that a less formal, less restrictive format encourages more creativity and different ways of thinking. In my opinion, one of the best sessions of the three-day stretch was the first one that day. It resulted in ten people building an entirely new model for rural transportation from the ground up - rough and idealized, but potentially feasible. For me, the exercise of creating an entirely new transportation model from scratch can serve as a microcosm for mobility work, in general. Often, the problem one confronts is not best-resolved using the tool or strategy that is currently in use, even if that tool is a serviceable one. Once ideas are established and become practice, it is important to question and re-evaluate them periodically, incorporating the recognition that the best tool might not even exist right now. Questioning what we are doing and why we are doing it is important, but to effect positive change, it is critical to follow this with an eye to the future by considering what might be better; what might we try? My experience with Transportation Camp was good. I found it engaging, entertaining, and not at all a bad way to spend a Saturday!
 
Rumor has it there will be another Mobility Solutions Summit in Ithaca in the near future, possibly next year. Don't miss it. You can view the full article on our website.
 
By Nick Cecconi, Assistant Director, MMSCNY
Did You Know?  
  • You can get a bus from Whitney Point to Binghamton (Coach USA/Shortline) for $3.75 / (link)
  • Bus transportation is available to the Health & Human Services Building on Route 38 in Owego / C Tran Route 10 to HHS. This is a pilot project. Spread the word.
Upcoming
Events, Conferences, Workshops, Save-the-Date
 
Aug. 8, Tioga Transportation Group Meeting, CCE, Owego, 11 am
 
Aug. 18, MMSCNY Advisory Committee Meeting, STIC, Binghamton, noon

Sept. 13-14, Walk-Bike New York Symposium,   
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Syracuse (For Information )

Oct.18-20, NYPTA Conference & Expo, Transit Technology and Smarter CommunitiesDesmond Hotel & Conference Center, Albany (For Information)

Oct. 22, Tioga County Medical Mission, Owego Free Academy, Owego

Oct. 26, Transportation & Health Forum , Binghamton Doubletree
Tioga County Medical Mission  Oct. 22 @ Owego Free Academy
How You Can Help
 
A milepost is a marker that indicates how distant a particular place is. There is much work to be done to gather and consolidate the opinions and feedback of community members and partners to build a platform for effective, consolidated response and action. This milepost may be far off; with your help, we can move it within view and then within grasp.
 
We ask you to join in promoting our cause. You can help spread the word and gather feedback. Share this communication with others who may be interested or let us know who to add to the distribution list. Share your ideas and those you hear from others with us.  

 

 

To make a donation to MMSCNY online, please use this online link, or send a check to us c/o the RHNSCNY, PO Box 416, Whitney Point, NY 13862. To earmark your gift to CTC and/or GetThere, please note your designation(s) in the memo section.

Contact information:

Mobility Management of South Central New York (MMSCNY)

phone: 607-240-2033 

William Wagner, Director, e-mail: wwagner@rhnscny.org

Nick Cecconi, Assistant Director, e-mail: mmscny@rhnscny.org

 

GetThere Call Center phone: 1-855-373-4040

 

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