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Happy spring (soon, we hope)!

This March 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 veterans transportation in Berkshire County, forums on healthy aging and transportation, travel instruction opportunities, and more community transportation news from Massachusetts.

Applications double for Community Transit Grant Program

MassDOT received over 90 applications for the Community Transit Grant Program funding stream, double the number from last year. MassDOT plans to announce which organizations will receive funding in early April.

Registration full, waitlist active for statewide conference on May 5

MassMobility, in partnership with MassDOT Rail and Transit, is hosting the Massachusetts Community Transportation Coordination Conference on May 5 in Marlborough. Due to high interest from RCC members and other stakeholders across Massachusetts, registration for the conference is currently full, but anyone interested in attending should contact us to be added to the waitlist. If you previously planned to attend but are no longer able to, please let us know so we can offer your slot to someone else.


We are looking forward to a great event with panels on finding funding from public and private sources and on advocacy strategies to build support for mobility. Small group workshops will be offered on fostering connections among volunteer driver programs, different models of travel instruction, programs to facilitate car ownership by low-income individuals, and much more.

BRTA & Soldier On announce launch of veterans transportation call center

MassMobility thanks Sarah Vallieres, Assistant Administrator at the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority, for submitting this guest article. If you would like to submit an article or have an idea for a topic, please contact us.  

On March 6, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority and Soldier On hosted veterans, veteran-serving organizations, legislators, and the press for an event celebrating the launch of the Veterans & Families Transportation Call Center.


BRTA, in partnership with Soldier On, received a $2 million Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative grant from the Federal Transit Administration in 2012 to develop and operate a One Call One Click mobility management center. The mission is to improve the coordination of transportation for Berkshire County veterans and their families, while also creating a replicable national model.


The Veterans and Families Transportation Call Center is located on the first floor of the BRTA Intermodal Transportation Center and is open Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM. Veterans and their family members may create a transportation request by calling (413) 418-4300 or (855) 483-8743 or visiting


Soldier On veterans staff the call center, using scheduling software to help veterans and their family members find suitable options that meet their unique transportation needs. The call center coordinates trips to medical appointments, work, education, and shopping on services including Soldier On, BRTA fixed route, BRTA ADA/paratransit, MassHealth, Peter Pan, and Amtrak.

MassDOT provides free workshop for travel trainers, May 18-20

MassDOT, working closely with the Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network, has hired the Kennedy Center to offer a series of workshops for travel trainers. The workshops are targeted to new travel trainers, but experienced travel trainers who attended past sessions also reported finding it useful. The next workshop in this series is coming up May 18-20 in Framingham. To sign up, contact us to get an enrollment form.


The workshop covers key topics including determining whether an individual is ready for travel training, environmental assessment, stranger danger, safety of the travel trainer, outcomes measures, and more. Kennedy Center staff are skilled at travel training and at teaching travel trainers. The workshop is free to participants, and breakfast and lunch are included.


Travel training is the professional, individualized activity of teaching a senior or person with a disability to ride public transit independently and safely. Learning to ride transit can help a person achieve independence, get to work, and participate in community life. If your consumers would benefit from this service, contact us to learn more about this upcoming workshop.

Fourth annual summit on healthy aging draws large crowd

Advocates, elder services and Council on Aging staff, and other stakeholders - including Senator Pat Jehlen - traveled to Waltham from as far as Northern Berkshire County, Martha's Vineyard, and everywhere in between to attend the fourth annual Healthy Aging Summit on March 18. The Tufts Health Plan Foundation and The Boston Foundation hosted the summit, which was moderated by National Public Radio reporter Ina Jaffe.


The three-hour program included panel discussions, interactive audience polling, a presentation on the recently updated healthy aging report (including community profiles for each city and town in Massachusetts), engaging videos, and more. Panelists covered topics as wide ranging as the importance of cultural competency in aging services, collaboration and coalition building, and creating livable communities for seniors.


During the summit, The Boston Foundation announced that it will begin funding aging in place. The foundation has set aside $500,000 for this purpose. Grants will be by invitation only.

Mystic Valley Elder Services hosts Boston North RCC launch

On March 11, stakeholders from Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea, and north up to Burlington and North Reading gathered to launch a Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) in the northern region of Greater Boston. After a brief presentation on Executive Order 530 and RCCs across the state, attendees heard presentations on a sampling of efforts currently underway in the region. Heather Hume presented on the MBTA, THE RIDE, and some innovative programs the MBTA is piloting to help meet trip needs above and beyond what the MBTA can offer. John Keegan presented on Door 2 Door by SCM and the Ways2Go travel training program. Vida Poole discussed Mystic Valley Elder Service's TRIP program and mobility management initiative, and Dawn Folopoulos discussed the transportation that the Melrose Council on Aging offers, as well as a local FISH volunteer driver program run in partnership with Action Ambulance. After the panel, the group began an open discussion, touching on topics as varied as employment transportation needs and traffic congestion in Burlington to lack of transportation options in North Reading. A second meeting will be held this spring.


If you are interested in getting involved in this RCC or another RCC, please contact us. To learn more about what RCCs are working on, check out our webpage on RCC accomplishments.

100 attend transportation forum in Northern Berkshire County

Nearly 100 people, including Representative Gail Cariddi, members of the Berkshire Interfaith Organizing, staff from local nonprofits, and area residents gathered in North Adams on March 13 for the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's monthly forum. The theme for the March meeting was transportation. After introductions and announcements, a panel presented on existing transportation services. Panelists included Erica Girgenti of the Adams Council on Aging and co-chair of the Berkshire County Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), Lynn Penna of Elder Services of Berkshire County, Bob Malnati of the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA), Jana Hunkler of BerkshireRides/Berkshire Community Action Council, and Doug Plachcinski of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC). Panelists discussed existing transportation services available through BRTA and MassHealth, travel training for individuals and train-the-trainer services available through BerkshireRides/BCAC, the Ride Guide recently updated by the RCC, and BRPC's regional transportation plan process.


Following the panel, attendees broke out into four small groups to discuss gaps in the transportation system and opportunities to improve mobility. The Berkshire County Regional Coordinating Council will work on addressing the questions generated by the forum.


"Transportation comes up as a suggested topic for the NBCC forums each year, and every year we try to address it. The running theme seems to be general information sharing and education around the opportunities individuals have for transportation," explained Erica Girgenti. "Many great ideas came out of this year's forum, and the RCC is going to work diligently to address as many of our communities' needs and suggestions as possible."

MCDHH presents to travel trainers

Travel trainers from around Massachusetts gathered on March 9 for a presentation on working with trainees who are deaf or hard of hearing. Jonathan Odell, Assistive Technology Manager from the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, presented to members of the Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network on techniques and technology that can help facilitate communication with trainees who have hearing impairments. The presentation stemmed from a discussion at the previous network meeting, where a travel trainer described challenges encountered when working with a consumer who was hard of hearing and also had a cognitive disability.


The network is open to any travel trainer in Massachusetts, as well as anyone looking to start a travel training program. For more information, contact us.

SCCCT & RCCs mentioned in national report

The National Conference of State Legislatures has updated its report on state and regional coordinating councils across the country. The profile of Massachusetts discusses the Statewide Coordinating Council on Community Transportation and Regional Coordinating Councils. Read the report to learn about coordination models in other states.

Coming up in April

April 7 is the final day to submit poster ideas for the June 16 Older Driver Safety Summit. If you have original research to report or want to share innovative projects and programs that promote older driver safety and community mobility, submit a poster!


TranspoCamp comes to New England on April 11. Attendees determine the agenda at this "unconference," so bring your ideas and questions.


Many RCCs have meetings scheduled for April. To get involved, contact us, and we will be happy to connect you.


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.

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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.