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Happy New Year from the MassMobility team! This January issue of MassMobility contains news about community transportation, human service transportation coordination, and mobility management in Massachusetts. This newsletter is compiled by the MassMobility team, which is housed in the Human Service Transportation (HST) Office of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Read on to learn about funding opportunities, upcoming forums on volunteer driver programs and transportation coordination, and updates from regions around Massachusetts. This month's issue also includes guest articles from the Franklin Regional Transit Authority, the Easter Seals Transportation Group, and MassRIDES.


Do you have a resolution related to transportation coordination or mobility management for 2015? Please share it with us or tweet us @MassMobility.

Funding available from MassDOT

MassDOT announced that Community Transit Grant Program (CTGP) funding applications will open on February 2, with applications due March 2. Funding is available for vehicles, operating funds, or mobility management projects.


Statewide Mobility Manager Aniko Laszlo discusses the CTGP opportunity in her most recent blog post: From the Desk of the Statewide Mobility Manager.

Welcome to Secretaries Sudders and Pollack

Governor Baker has named Marylou Sudders as Secretary of EOHHS and Stephanie Pollack as Secretary of Transportation. Welcome! We look forward to working with you to expand mobility for seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, low-income commuters, and others across the Commonwealth.

You are invited to a statewide conference!

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 5, 2015, for the Massachusetts Community Transportation Coordination conference. Members of all Regional Coordinating Councils, original transportation coordination teams, and others interested in community transportation coordination are welcome.


Statewide coordination meetings have occurred every year since 2009, and this year's promises to be the biggest yet, with workshops, presentations, exhibits, and time for networking. The meeting is hosted by MassMobility in partnership with MassDOT and will be held at the Best Western Hotel and Conference Center in Marlborough from 9 AM to 4 PM. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. If you would like to join the event's email list or suggest topics for the agenda, please contact us. 

MVRTA launches travel training

The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) has recently launched a new program to offer travel training to people who would like to learn to use their fixed-route system. MVRTA previously offered travel training and is glad to be able to offer this service again.


Over the past few months, the Kennedy Center has offered workshops, funded by MassDOT and designed in partnership with the Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network, to provide an opportunity for staff of transit authorities and human service agencies to learn how to do travel training. Recently, MVRTA's administrator, Joe Costanzo, sent two staff members to the Kennedy Center training. Both travel trainers started as bus operators, so they know the system very well.


The new travel training program is free of cost, and is open to anyone who would like help using the fixed-route system. MVRTA is hoping that area agencies who work with people with disabilities and others who may benefit from travel training will refer consumers to MVRTA, which will then conduct an intake assessment to determine whether travel training is right for that person. Then, the trainers will work one-on-one with the individual by accompanying them on the system and helping them learn key skills until the individual feels comfortable using the bus on their own. MVRTA is also willing to send a trainer out to organizations and schools to do group trainings to explain the transit system.


If you are interested in learning more or participating in the MVRTA travel training program, please email Joe Costanzo. If you or your staff would like to attend upcoming Kennedy Center workshops on how to conduct travel training, please fill out this survey.

Regional Coordinating Councils address mobility needs

Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) around Massachusetts bring community transportation stakeholders together to improve mobility. Each RCC defines its own priorities and strategies. In the past couple months, RCCs have been busy planning their approaches and taking action: 

  • Berkshire County RCC is exploring opportunities to offer a One Call One Click center to help people understand their options and arrange their trips.
  • Greater Franklin County RCC is finalizing an inventory of community transportation services in the region.
  • The Hilltowns Transportation Group is applying for funding to hire a part-time coordinator to do community outreach, build municipal support, conduct an inventory of vehicles and services in the region, and assess needs. The ultimate goal is to develop a pilot program to increase mobility.
  • Central Massachusetts RCC is researching opportunities to improve employment transportation in rural parts of the region.
  • North Central RCC met and discussed successful models from other parts of the state, such as the BerkshireRides employment transportation service, the CrossTown Connect TMA model, and travel instruction. They also discussed gaps in the current transportation system, such as the need for transportation to educational opportunities.
  • Merrimack Valley RCC heard a presentation on the MVRTA's new travel training program (see article above). The group also discussed partnering with a school on a video contest to promote transit.
  • A Metrowest RCC working group is applying for funding to increase paratransit options in the region.
  • South East and Southcoast RCCs merged to form the South East Regional Coordinating Council on Transportation (SERCCOT) and formed working groups to increase awareness of Ride Match and to increase coordination in the Wareham area.

To learn more about RCCs, visit our webpage on RCC accomplishments. To get involved with your local RCC, contact us.

Project ACTION ends federal contract, opens consulting practice

MassMobility thanks Rachel Beyerle, Communications Director for the Easter Seals Transportation Group, for submitting this guest article. If you would like to submit an article or have an idea for a topic, please contact us.  


Thank you for partnering with and reaching out to Easter Seals Project ACTION over the past 27 years as you've worked to deliver and expand accessible community transportation services at the national, state, and local levels. As of December 31, 2014, Easter Seals' cooperative agreement with the Federal Transit Administration to provide training, resources, research, and outreach on accessible transportation formally ended. Despite the change in program status, Easter Seals will keep the website live so that you can view and download our publications. For the immediate future, Easter Seals will maintain a toll-free technical assistance number at (800) 659-6428 and provide free technical assistance. 

Easter Seals, Inc. will provide webinars, in-person and distance learning events, and customized training on a contractual basis through Easter Seals Project Action Consulting (ESPAC). Whether your interests are the Americans with Disabilities Act, customer service, community planning, or accessible paths of travel, we can provide or recommend the tools you need. 

To find out more about Easter Seals Project Action Consulting offerings or to discuss hosting an ESPAC-facilitated training session in your state, visit, call toll-free (844) 227-3772, or email

All of us at Easter Seals support your efforts to provide transportation options for people with disabilities, older adults, students, and travelers of all ages. We look forward to hearing from you and continuing to collaborate with you. Let's work together to build accessible communities for all!

Travel trainers share strategies

Travel trainers from around Massachusetts convened in Somerville on December 16 for a meeting of the Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network, an informal peer network for anyone involved in travel training in Massachusetts. Travel trainers work one-on-one with people with disabilities and seniors to help them learn to ride public transit safely and independently.


Linda Shepard Salzer, travel trainer at Ways2Go, presented on working with trainees with Autism. While she stressed that each trainee is an individual, she shared some tips and strategies that can be helpful, such as talking through possible stressors before traveling and engaging trainees in creating their own tools. Attendees also shared their own experiences and observations.

The Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network offers an email discussion list and quarterly in-person meetings that give travel trainers a chance to share successful strategies with peers and brainstorm solutions to shared challenges. The network's next meeting will focus on working with trainees with hearing loss. To get involved or learn more, contact us.

FRTA welcomes Hatfield to service area

MassMobility thanks Michael Perrault, Assistant Administrator at FRTA, for submitting this guest article.


Effective May 15, 2014, the Town of Hatfield was approved to join as a member town of the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA). The FRTA has been working with town officials and representatives from C&S Wholesale Grocers, Hampshire Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, and Danco Modern Furniture and Accessories to discuss improvements for the FRTA's Route 31 that passes through the Town of Hatfield. Some of the initial discussions include installation of bus stops/bus shelters at high traffic businesses along the existing fixed route and route extensions and/or employment shuttles for those businesses not in close proximity to the existing fixed route. FRTA looks forward to working with the Town, its residents, and businesses in the coming years to improve public transportation access in Hatfield.

Research from 2014

2014 was a busy year for community transportation researchers, who published on a wide range of topics. For example, the Government Accountability Office and National Center for Transit Research each published a report on measurement and evaluation of coordination efforts. The Transit Cooperative Research Program published a report on community tools to improve mobility for veterans (which cites MassMobility webpages and our volunteer driver report), as well as a handbook and research study on travel training and a report on strategies for promoting use of fixed-route services by people with disabilities. Researchers at the Volpe Center highlighted the Massachusetts Healthy Transportation Compact in a report on statewide transportation planning for healthy communities.


What were you reading in 2014? Let us know, or tweet us @MassMobility.

NuRide exceeds 25,000 participating commuters

MassMobility thanks Rebecca Cyr, Marketing and Communications Manager at MassRIDES, for submitting this guest article.  


NuRide, the Commonwealth's ridematching and commuter rewards program, reached a milestone in December 2014 when it exceeded 25,000 participants. This is good news for Massachusetts commuters since the more participants who use NuRide, the better the opportunities for finding rideshare partners.


For four years, individuals living or working in the Commonwealth have had the opportunity to join NuRide in an effort to save money, reduce vehicle emissions, and decrease traffic congestion through reducing single-occupancy vehicle traffic. According to the EPA, transportation-related emissions make up 28 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions released in our nation's air. NuRide is a free, state-sponsored program that allows individuals and companies to view the environmental impact of their commutes, find potential rideshare partners, receive rewards at local and national retailers, and participate in statewide environmental goals to reduce emissions and decrease traffic congestion. 


Since NuRide's introduction in Massachusetts, participants have recorded more than seven million trips, resulting in 93 million miles reduced, $52 million in cost savings for commuters, and 42,000 tons of reduced emissions. An additional 6,000 commuters registered for NuRide this past year alone and redeemed over $32,000 in commuter rewards.


For more information, visit

Transportation makes headlines

In the last days of 2014 and the early days of 2015, transportation issues made the news several times:

Coming up in February

On February 2, the Community Transit Grant Program application opens (see article above).

On February 4, volunteer driver program coordinators, drivers, and anyone interesting in starting a volunteer driver program are invited to a forum on volunteer driver programs at the Council on Aging in Plymouth. This forum follows a similar forum held last fall in the Berkshires. Get the details and RSVP.


Many Regional Coordinating Councils have meetings scheduled for February, including the Central Massachusetts, Boston Core, Minuteman, and Berkshire County RCCs, as well as SERCCOT. To connect with your local RCC, contact us.


For more upcoming events related to community transportation and coordination, check out our calendar.

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.