Chapter 1.3: Challenges Presented in Job Access Planning
As committees, task forces, and other stakeholders begin to develop transportation initiatives, they will be faced with a number of challenges. Considering the diverse geographic characteristics of the country and the diversity of needs among low-income job seekers and welfare recipients, the task can seem overwhelming. Examples of these challenges are summarized below:
- New Partnerships - Job access planning must be a collaborative effort involving a variety of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. Resulting partnerships are often non-traditional; they may generate contradictory views and opinions, or create new, contrary perspectives on organizational roles and responsibilities.
- 2nd and 3rd Shift Workers - Developing transit alternatives to accommodate 2nd and 3rd shift schedules presents a challenge. Public transportation may not operate during late evening or early morning hours to meet unconventional start and end times. Public transportation providers may be aware of the need for additional service, but may be unable to afford the operational costs.
- Job Placement, Advancement and Retention - Transportation options must reflect the long-range prospects of employment. It is imperative to look beyond transporting an individual to his or her first day on the job. Flexible alternatives should be designed for those who need public transportation for their first job, and for those who need long-term public transportation.
- Personal Automobile - Vehicles owned by the target population are often aged and undependable. Programs can provide interim transportation solutions until they have sufficient income to purchase and operate a reliable vehicle.
- Appropriate Service Type - Transportation needs vary in urban, suburban and rural areas. The challenge lies in identifying locations of prospective employers and employees, the number of individuals who own vehicles, and the feasibility of public transportation.
- Specialized Transportation Programs - A vast number of transportation programs have evolved to meet the needs of a variety of populations. Social service agencies, schools, churches, civic and elderly organizations have come forward to provide transportation services.
- Existing Investments - Maximizing existing resources eliminates the duplication of services and reduces the number of uncoordinated new systems. Varying types of services, multiple origins and destinations, and unsuitable hours of operation make coordination a formidable task.
- New Program Strategies - Changes in values, lifestyles, economics, and demographics prompt innovation in transportation services.
- New or Additional Services - Creating new or additional services must take into consideration the time of implementation, acquisition of resources, and communication with prospective customers.
- Employer Support - Obtaining support from employers is crucial to the success of transportation programs directed to sustain longer-term employment, yet providing outreach to employers is labor intensive and never ending.