Chapter 6.8: Examples of Regional Approaches
The following Welfare to Work initiatives developed in Wisconsin were based upon analyses of spatial relationships between target population residences, employer locations and existing transit services:
- Expanded Service Hours
Specific Milwaukee County Transit routes were expanded to provide early morning, late night, and weekend service.
- Route Extensions
Extended Milwaukee County Transit routes to provide central city residents access to job opportunities in the downtown business district and in a suburban industrial park.
- Shuttle Service
Added shuttle service connecting central city bus routes to business and industrial parks in Milwaukee County; implemented shuttle service in adjacent County to provide connection for Milwaukee County residents to suburban employers. Shuttle service was co-sponsored by employers and by the adjacent County.
- Employer Coordination
Milwaukee County Transit worked with a private company to implement limited stop express service between central Milwaukee and businesses within and around Milwaukee County. Service is limited to one trip per shift, seven days a week, with limited stops. The employer pays for a portion of the service.
Greater Philadelphia Works (GPW) initiatives included a $1.3 million media campaign to increase awareness of transportation programs among employers and the target population. The campaign included printed advertising, radio, television and billboards with messages that targeted the interest of employers and the target population. A phone number or "hotline" was temporarily set up as a response mechanism for individuals to call and learn more about GPW programs.
Other initiatives include:
- Dramatic Improvements in Public Transit to Improve Job Access
The City of Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) worked together to improve transportation services to major employment centers including the Airport Activity Center and express buses to UPS.
- Transitional transit subsidies - SEPTA Pass Program
In an effort to promote job retention and self-sufficiency, GPW provides transit passes as a supplement to special transportation allowances offered by the Department of Public Welfare. TANF recipients involved in job search or training activities initially receive allowances to assist with their transportation needs, however, upon receiving their first paycheck the allowance ends. Recipients who get a job and are working at least 20 hours a week, are eligible for four weeks (spread out over two months) of additional transit subsidies.
- Emergency Ride Home
Operated by the Delaware County and Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Associations (TMAs), the "Emergency Ride Home" program offers parents a ride home from work in the event of a medical or family emergency.
- Transit Information Centers
Transit Information Centers, located in each of the seven Regional Service Centers throughout the city, offer in-house resources to assist with job search and placement activities. In addition to SEPTA timetables and systems maps, on-site job placement specialists and employment advisors have customized maps showing suburban transit routes, major suburban industrial parks and other major employment centers.
- Transportation / Jobs Roundtables
Coordinated by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), job placement specialists and transportation experts meet monthly to identify transit-accessible entry-level jobs. The group also serves as a link to SEPTA assisting in identifying ways to improve job access through route and schedule modifications.
As part of the Job Access and Reverse Commute program, Southeast Pennsylvania received $1.3 million in funding that along with the local match totaled $2.6 million. The funding will support approximately eleven programs, over half are augmentations of existing SEPTA routes. Other programs include van-based projects operated by non-profit organizations and designed to serve the population in areas offering job development or retention services.
New Jersey Initiatives
Planning efforts in New Jersey involved regional coordination and coordination at the county level. Each county was responsible for developing a Community Transportation Plan to identify gaps in existing service and coordinate existing services to better meet the transportation needs of the area.
Examples of initiatives identified in the Community Transportation Plans include the following:
- Employer shuttle services.
- Transit pass and voucher programs.
- Priority on information sharing and marketing.
- Vanpools and carpools in highly populated areas.
- New fixed route shuttle services.
- Technology utilizing transportation trip planning capabilities.
- Fixed route service expansion.
Examples of initiatives developed as a result of regional coordination include the following:
- Local Demonstration Projects
New Jersey has funded two county demonstration projects to serve as models for other counties. One project integrates job and job-training trips with existing transit services for people with disabilities and the elderly. The second project provides a feeder service operating as a shuttle from home to transit hubs or from transit hubs to work locations.
- NJ Transit WorkPass Program
The WorkPass program enables participants who have access to public transportation to receive monthly passes for bus or train travel. The passes may be used for any travel purpose. NJ Transit sponsors the program and also offers training for county WFNJ staff in purchasing passes, understanding bus schedules, determining fares and evaluating transit options.
- Get a Job, Get a Ride!
As an extension of the WorkPass program, "Get a Job, Get a Ride!" offers an additional month of free transportation to newly employed WFNJ participants.
- Transit Use Training Video
NJDOT, NJ Transit and NJDHS educate individuals on using public transportation in New Jersey through a videotape. The video explains how to board a bus or train, how to read a schedule, understand fares and other information in both Spanish and English.
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
GIS is used as a tool to identify where participants live in relation to job locations, child-care facilities and public transportation. Data is represented geographically on a map enabling planners to use the information to determine where additional transit services may be needed in a specific area.
The two major transit operators in the Detroit area (the Suburban Mobility Authority on Regional Transit - SMART and the Detroit Department of Transportation - DDOT) are working in collaboration with private corporations, non-profit human service agencies, chambers of commerce and government agencies. This collaboration has designed several types of services to assist individuals with moving from welfare to work. These services include:
Suburban Mobility Authority on Regional Transit (SMART)
- Job Express
Provides reverse commute in the morning and evening hours from the center city of Detroit to jobs in the suburbs.
- Park and Ride
Connects Detroit with the suburban areas where new park and ride lots are located.
- Suburb to Suburb Routes
Network of routes operate throughout the day between suburbs.
- Flex Routes
Service operates along an industrial corridor dropping off and picking up passengers at work sites.
- Get a Job - Get a Ride
Newly hired employees are eligible for a free one-month bus pass.
- Buses to Work
Collaborative planning effort made up of local chambers of commerce and businesses bringing employers together to assist in directing new SMART services.
- SMART JOBLINE
Free service 7 days a week 24 hours a day for job recruiter and individuals to access job openings.
Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT)
- Flexed to Fixed Route
Participants can reserve rides for themselves and their children to be taken to work and daycare; transports children to after school activities without requiring a parent to accompany them.
- Interface with Other Transportation Providers Works cooperatively with other transit providers (public and private) to provide efficient and easy transfers.
- Offers 20 and 24-hour per day routes in addition to extensive service throughout Detroit.
In addition to the transit agencies, the metropolitan planning organization, SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, helped form a consortium of non-profit organizations and public agencies as well as human service agencies and employers. Several of the newly created programs are described below:
Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG)
- Extended Service Hours
Enabled transit providers to extend several routes service hours providing service to individuals working evening and weekend shifts in addition to more suburban locations.
- Office of Mobility Management
Coordinates transportation for the target population to get to work.
- Taxi Coupons
Distributed to the target population for work related trips.
Van service provides subscription service to and from daycare and training facilities, linkages to other routes, and late night transportation.
Transit routes and daycare facilities were plotted on maps using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
- Regional Task Force
Working cooperatively with transit providers, human service agencies, faith-based groups, private van services, taxi companies, educational service providers and job placement specialists, SEMCOG developed a transportation to work task force.
- Technical Assistance
Provides technical assistance for grant writing, data analysis, demographic analysis and GIS.
SEMCOG frequently acts as a liaison between transportation funders and implementing agencies.
City of Detroit, Department of Employment and Training
- Mobility Management
A Mobility Management Office was created and funded. This office coordinates transportation for the target population. Transportation services include bus routing, private van service, van service for children, developing subscription service, and marketing to new employers.
- Emergency Ride
Provides emergency rides to and from work.
- Car Ownership Program
Works with used car dealerships, banks, and the Family Independence Agency to secure funds and insurance to help the target population purchase reliable used cars.
- Commuter Benefit Program
Developed promotional campaign directed at employers to use federal tax credits to help underwrite transit costs of employees.
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Used GIS to develop a series of maps showing where clients live, where childcare and employment sites are located. Used maps to plan subscription van service.
Another agency playing an innovative role is the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition (MAC), a regional coalition of business, labor and government formed in 1958 to address public policy issues affecting the economic vitality of the region. MAC is a private non-profit civic organization housed within the Southeast Michigan council of Governments (SEMCOG), the Detroit area MPO. MAC's efforts geared toward transportation and employment include:
Metropolitan Affairs Coalition (MAC)
A vision focused on restructuring public transportation services in Greater Detroit through the use of technology, significantly increasing community-based transportation and combining major transportation functions at the regional level.
- EZ Ride
EZ Ride is a transportation system designed to coordinate transportation services provided by community-based organizations, human service agencies, health care providers and employment related organizations, through an automated scheduling and dispatch system. EZ Ride has been created to serve Detroit's Empowerment Zone.
SmartMatch is a job placement resource using GIS to match employment corridors well served by public transportation with job seekers. SmartMatch is a cooperative effort with SMART and the Southfield Career Center.
- Empowerment through Car Ownership Program
The program focuses on educating job seekers on issues such as insurance, car purchasing and car maintenance, making car ownership a more realistic option for individuals. The program is also designed to assist in purchasing a car by offering grants, low-interest loans and money saving techniques.
San Luis Obispo Initiatives
Initiatives in the San Luis Obispo County area range from short-term and fairly low cost alternatives to long-term and more expensive programs. Because data showed more than 70% of the target population lived within ¼ mile of a busline, a number of programs offer financial support for individuals to utilize transit services. The promotion and education of transit service is also important not only for members of the target populations, but job placement specialists, caseworkers and employers as well. Initiatives developed for the San Luis Obispo County area include the following:
- Regional Transportation Guide - SLOCOG and the Regional Rideshare Program Coordinator develop a "how to" guide explaining transit routes, schedules and services.
- Trip Planner Database Enhancements - The Regional Rideshare Program Coordinator and the County Department of Social Services (DSS) caseworkers provide a city-to-city trip planner via the Internet.
- Guaranteed Ride Program - The County DSS and Ride-On Transportation work together to provide guaranteed rides to and from work to former CalWORKs participants in jeopardy of losing their jobs due to a temporary lack of transportation.
- Minor Changes in Transit Services -Transit agencies work together to identify transit improvement that could be easily implemented including evening and weekends service, a collector service to malls and major destinations, and increased service to high demand areas.
- Other initiatives include training for caseworkers and participants on transit services, continued promotion of employer transportation demand management programs, and unclaimed bicycle donations.
- Universal Transit Pass - SLOCOG implements a debit card that deducts appropriate fare amounts when swiped through the farebox. The pass also provides seamless transfers between services.
- Origin/Destination Data - SLOCOG in cooperation with the County DSS creates a process to track home-origins and employment destinations of participants. The data is incorporated into the County's Unmet Needs Process.
- Shuttle Services - Transit operators throughout the County and Ride-On add service to provide feeder service to fixed route transfer points and other common destinations.
- Community Work Unit - The County DSS assigns teams of CalWORKs participants to a single job location in which transportation to work, child-care and school is coordinated and provided by a van.
- Other initiatives include car loan, repair, and maintenance programs.
- One-Stop Shop - The PIC develops a process enabling participants to receive job training, job leads, transit information and child-care at a single location, while meeting with their case manager.
- Land Use and Transportation Coordination - SLOCOG, transit agencies and the cities coordinate efforts to eliminate barriers to walking and using transit caused by development patterns and design.
- Childcare Transportation - SLOCOG works with public agencies to eliminate barriers to providing transportation to childcare.
- School Transportation Services - SLOCOG works with public agencies to conduct research to eliminate barriers to providing child care transportation.
- Reserving Park-and-Ride Spaces - SLOCOG and local agencies worked together to reserve parking spaces at childcare centers served by transit.
Welfare to work transportation planning efforts focus primarily on the seven-county metropolitan area in Minnesota. Each county was responsible for development and implementation of transportation initiatives. Initiatives in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area include the following:
- Employment Service-Provided Transportation
The Saint Paul Rehabilitation Center and Wilder Foundation have developed relationships with employers in suburban areas not served by fixed route. These organizations have acquired used vans to transport the target population to jobs from the Rehabilitation Center. Most of the individuals walk to the center or take a short bus ride; second shift clients are taken directly home after work.
- Reverse Commute
Local fixed route providers operate reverse commute service between downtown Minneapolis to the southwest suburbs. Service operating during the day has been popular, however, securing adequate ridership to support service accommodating second and third shift workers is difficult. These transportation providers have been working with employers to implement subsidized transit pass programs and attend job fairs.
- Demand Responsive
A shared ride taxi service offers discounted trips within the City of Minneapolis. The cost is $3 for the first four miles and $1 for each additional mile. A similar service, available to low-income individuals with special needs, operates in three metropolitan counties offering rides at a fare of $4 per person.
Anoka County Human Services contracted with the demand response provider in the county to provide door-to-door transportation service for a flat fee per day based on clients' trip origins and whether they required a daycare stop.
- Donated Cars
St. Croix Valley Christians in Action offers free vehicles that have been donated and repaired by volunteers. The cost of insurance and auto parts is paid by the Washington County Workforce Center. Recipients of the free cars must prove they attended a six-session financial planning class and be matched with a mentor that assists them in their budgeting.
- Improved Fixed Route Transit
The metropolitan transportation provider has added "night owl" service to its existing routes to accommodate second and third shift worker schedules. Many transit operators in the region have implemented new transit hub facilities with waiting areas and space for vehicle transfers. Plans include co-location of daycare and job services at transit hubs.
- Employer-provided Transportation
Several employers have become active in providing van service to their employees. Some employers require passengers to come to a centralized collection point while others provide door-to-door service. The employer may use the vans for business purposes at other times.
- Interim Transportation
The proposed program suggests that a fleet of cars owned by the counties be loaned to MFIP clients while their own vehicles are being repaired or they are applying for the car purchase loan program. The cars must be used for work or emergency purposes only.
- Commuter Services
New vanpool services for journey to work trips are provided by Metro Commuter Services (MCS), a division of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Funded by the MPO, MCS matches riders with carpools in coordination with human service agencies that do not provide transit services.
Human Service Transportation Delivery (HSTD) Program
The goal of the program is to operate 16 transportation regions statewide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with one single broker or a broker/provider for each region. Twelve regions are operating at this time. Brokers coordinate and subcontract transportation in addition to accessing the eligibility data of the target population.
Each transportation provider is paid a flat rate for each member of the target population residing within the designated service area, whether they use the service or not. The provider is responsible for guaranteeing transportation to all individuals receiving public assistance and/or Medicaid.