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In This Issue
Community Transit Grant Program opens
Commuters get a seat on community transportation
CrossTown Connect wins CIC grant
MBTA GM rides paratransit
Regional Coordinating Council forms in Central MA
Littleton, MassDOT recognized for Complete Streets policies
MA colleges promote alternatives to driving
Cambridge recognized for preserving mobility in snow
BusPlus brings new service to Southeastern MA
Share your successes with a national audience
Transportation coordination meeting April 17
From the desk of the Statewide Mobility Manager
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This February 2014 issue of the MassMobility newsletter contains news of interest to anyone who is interested in community transportation, human service transportation coordination, or mobility management in Massachusetts.


MassMobility is compiled by the Human Service Transportation (HST) Office of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), as part of our federally funded grant to develop a Mobility Management Information Network across Massachusetts.

Community Transit Grant Program opens for applications

MassDOT's annual request for proposals for community transportation vehicles and initiatives is accepting applications through March 3 at 5 PM. The Community Transit Grant Program combines federal funding streams, such as 5310, with state funding through the Mobility Assistance Program (MAP). For instructions and the link to the application, visit MassDOT's website. To request training on how to apply through the MassDOT online system, please call (857) 368-9555.


Did you know? If you receive a MAP vehicle through MassDOT's Community Transit Grant Program, you can use volunteer drivers as long as they receive required training. Visit to learn about training opportunities for your volunteer drivers, and check out our volunteer driver resource page for ideas about setting up a volunteer driver program.
Commuters get a seat on community transportation

SCM Elderbus is a non-profit transportation provider turning 40 this year. As a subcontractor of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority, its primary mission is to provide transportation to seniors (age 60 and older) and people of all ages who have a disability within 21 towns in the WRTA service area, generally west of Worcester. On weekdays between 8 and 4, riders use Elderbus to get to medical appointments, the senior center, employment, shopping, or other purposes - even just a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts.


Tim O'Day, Executive Director of Elderbus, says that the majority of these towns have no fixed route service, and some have no cabs or livery, so the service that Elderbus provides is critical. For some riders, Elderbus is their only contact with the outside world. However, Elderbus does not meet everyone's transportation needs. Attending public meetings hosted by WRTA and the Chamber of Commerce, O'Day increasingly heard people asking about employment transportation, and the Elderbus call center was also receiving similar requests from non-disabled people under age 60. O'Day realized that Elderbus had some unused capacity and proposed opening service to the general public for in-town transportation to a work site in four towns: Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, and Webster. WRTA was supportive of the pilot, and READYBUS launched in September 2012.


To ride READYBUS, individuals call and reserve their ride at least two days in advance. The fare is $1.25 one-way. Riders travel to jobs at Walmart, grocery stores, factories, the community college, and other employment sites. Many riders reserve a week or month of rides at a time, as soon as they get their work schedule. READYBUS riders ride alongside Elderbus riders. Because this service uses vehicles and drivers already on the road, the only cost to Elderbus is any fuel for additional trips.


Elderbus originally launched READYBUS as a four-month pilot and monitored it closely to ensure that the program did not take away from the core service to seniors and people with disabilities. Although some regular customers had expressed concern about riding with READYBUS riders, no conflicts emerged once the program was operating. Ridership on READYBUS started slowly but grew over time through word of mouth. Elderbus extended the pilot through the end of fiscal year and then for another year. Current ridership tops 200 trips per month - much higher than initial projections.


Because READYBUS has no dedicated funding, the hours are limited to the hours when Elderbus operates its core service for seniors and people with disabilities. Thus, while some riders commute round-trip on the READYBUS, most riders go only one-way. Elderbus is currently considering pursuing additional funding to be able to offer READYBUS employment transportation for longer hours and in a larger geographic area. In the meantime, READYBUS is helping residents of four Central Massachusetts towns get and keep their jobs - at minimal cost and with no adverse impact to the non-profit's core service for seniors and people with disabilities.

CrossTown Connect wins third CIC grant

Congratulations to CrossTown Connect on receipt of its third Community Innovation Challenge grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance. These grants encourage towns to collaborate on innovative, regional approaches to shared challenges. CrossTown Connect is a regional transportation partnership that counts the towns of Acton, Boxborough, Concord, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, and Westford along with local employers as members. The grant will help these partners launch the next phase of the municipally-led Transportation Management Association (TMA) they are developing. They plan to identify Transportation Impact Zones, where clusters of small businesses could participate jointly in the TMA. They also plan to develop software to give the public up-to-date information about vehicle location and make the service more accessible to riders who speak languages other than English. The CrossTown Connect winning application is featured in a video on the CIC website, and a list of all CIC applications selected for funding is also available.

MBTA General Manager becomes paratransit customer

In late January, MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott announced that she has been approved as a customer of THE RIDE. According to the Boston Globe, Scott needs to wear a walking boot for three months for medical reasons, which prevents her from her typical commute on the 55 bus. Scott is using a pseudonym and keeping a diary of her experiences on THE RIDE so that she can share her impressions with staff. 

Regional Coordinating Council forms in Central Mass

On February 6, the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission and Worcester Regional Transit Authority convened 20 people from area senior centers, human service agencies serving people with disabilities, employment boards, anti-poverty organizations, and transportation providers at the launch of the Central Massachusetts Regional Coordinating Council. Attendees shared information with each other about transportation services available in the region and brainstormed unmet needs. They decided to develop a survey to identify transportation services in the region to increase awareness of existing options and have scheduled their next meeting for early March. Initial meetings of stakeholders in Merrimack Valley and the Pioneer Valley were also scheduled for this month, but were thwarted by snow and will be rescheduled.


Regional Coordinating Councils are developing across Massachusetts as part of the implementation of the Governor's Executive Order 530, which seeks to improve quality and efficiency of paratransit and human service transportation across the Commonwealth. To learn more, check out the EO530 report or contact us to get involved in your region.


These regional councils will complement and work with the Statewide Coordinating Council on Community Transportation (SCCCT), which held it second meeting on January 24. At the meeting, council members who are involved with regional councils provided updates from their regions, and the group discussed additional stakeholders to invite to participate. The next SCCCT meeting is scheduled for May 9, and details are available from MassDOT's calendar.

Littleton, MassDOT recognized for Complete Streets policies

The National Complete Streets Coalition released a new report ranking the best Complete Streets policies of 2013. Complete Streets policies account for the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users - as well as drivers - in transportation policy and planning. The report ranks policies on ten factors, including vision, inclusivity of all users and all modes, scope, and implementation steps. Out of all eighty-three Complete Streets policies adopted around the country, Littleton, MA received the highest score, and MassDOT placed eleventh.

Massachusetts colleges promote alternatives to driving

A new report from the U.S. PIRG discusses the role that colleges and universities around the country can play - and are playing - in promoting alternatives to driving. The report cites a number of examples from Massachusetts, including partnerships between the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority and the five colleges, Harvard University and Hubway bike share, and MIT and Zipcar. In Massachusetts, higher education institutions with over 1,000 commuters are required by law to take steps to reduce the number of people who drive alone, but compliance is only one of many reasons that colleges get involved. The report argues that providing transportation options can benefit the school, the students, and the surrounding community, with potential for a long-lasting effect if students continue to use these transportation alternatives after graduating. 

Cambridge recognized for preserving access and mobility despite snow

Here in Massachusetts, we have already had quite a winter for snow - and the weather shows no signs of letting up soon. Last month, Easter Seals Project ACTION published a new report on the importance of snow clearance for transit riders and people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. The report profiles the City of Cambridge for its strong snow clearance policies, active enforcement of those policies, and resources to help residents who need assistance. In addition to highlighting what municipalities can do, the report also discusses the role that community groups and private associations can play and provides examples from programs in the U.S. and Canada. 

BusPlus brings new transportation to Southeastern MA

MassDOT announced that its BusPlus partnership with private operator DATTCO will bring additional commuter bus service to Southeastern Mass, starting later this month and in early March. Service will increase between Fairhaven, New Bedford, Taunton, and Boston. UMass Dartmouth will get its first direct connection to Boston. And in Central Mass, Uxbridge will get commuter service for the first time.

Share your successes with a national audience

The National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) is collecting information on promising practices that have improved transportation, and they would like to hear from you! Share your practice with them here. They specifically ask for details about the context in which you implemented this practice and the impact it had on your community, to help other organizations throughout the U.S. that might be interested in replicating your program or policy.


In addition, NCMM is studying coordinated planning processes. They invite transit agencies and community transportation providers to fill out a survey about coordinated transportation planning.

Transportation coordination meeting April 17

Save the date! The semi-annual transportation coordination meeting is scheduled for April 17 in Natick. These meetings are a chance for members of original transportation coordination teams from 2009 to update each other on their progress and challenges and for new coordination efforts - including Regional Coordinating Councils - to get involved and network with peers from across the state. Look for more information by email. If you have not previously attended and are interested in joining the mailing list, please let us know.


To learn about additional upcoming events, check out our calendar. 

From the desk of the Statewide Mobility Manager 

Aniko Laszlo, Statewide Mobility Manager at MassDOT, blogs monthly on topics related to community transportation in Massachusetts. Check out her current posting and archives to learn about ongoing efforts around the state.

Follow us on Twitter 

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. Comments, questions, and feedback are also welcome.

Please share this newsletter

We'd love it if you would forward this newsletter 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 archive editions of all MassMobility newsletters.