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Transportation Coordination Toolkit


									             Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                                                Toolkit Introduction

What is the Toolkit?                                  of transportation coordination and
                                                      identifies best practices that can be used
This Toolkit is a compilation of briefs,              as models.
or short discussions on specific
coordination topics, which outline the                Who Should Use This Toolkit?
issues and obstacles to coordination. As
part of each discussion, best practices               Coordination is a partnership made up of
relating how issues were resolved and                 many different entities, therefore, the
obstacles removed by other agencies, as               information in this Toolkit applies to
well as any resources which can be used               State and local agencies, transportation
(e.g., websites, reports, manuals, forms,             providers and transportation purchasers,
contact persons, etc.) are included.                  both public and private. At the
                                                      beginning of each brief is a list of
The Toolkit is provided to you on a                   agencies identified as the target
compact disk (CD). The Toolkit Index                  audience. However, these lists are not
provides an alphabetical listing of all of            all inclusive. Even if your agency is not
the briefs, best practices by topic, and              on the list, there may be information that
resources contained on the CD. Where                  is pertinent to your situation.
possible, the web address for each
resource is provided so that you can                  How Do You Use the Toolkit?
access that particular document via the
Index or within the individual brief.                 The Toolkit consists of a series of ten
This should provide you with the most                 briefs on different topics. The briefs
up to date reference available at a click             discuss the topics most often cited as
of the mouse. Where a resource is not                 obstacles to coordination. These ten
available via the Internet, it has been               topics are:
provided in a separate Appendix to the
Toolkit on the CD.                                        1.  Insurance Coordination Planning;
                                                          2.  Fully Allocated Costs;
Why was the Toolkit Developed?                            3.  Maintenance Programs;
                                                          4.  Volunteer Programs;
The toolkit is just one piece of the                      5.  Coordination Planning;
overall Minnesota Coordination Study                      6.  Private/Public Sector
that was undertaken to assess                                 Partnerships;
transportation coordination in Minnesota                  7. Section 5310/5311 Coordination;
and to develop a comprehensive                            8. Motor Carrier Compliance;
implementation plan for taking                            9. Incentive Funding; and
coordination to the next level. The                       10. State Coordination Best Practices
toolkit is just that, a compilation of tools
and resources that supports the concept

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Introduction                              i
                                                      Good luck in your coordination effort!
Each Brief provides a short description
of the topic, target audience, goals, and
the specific issues associated with each.

There are many areas where
coordination can be effective, such as
training, joint purchases, grants writing
etc. Concepts and ideas presented in the
Maintenance and Volunteer Programs
can serve as the basis for coordination in
other areas.

Under each issue is a thorough
discussion including any obstacles and
steps to overcome them. Following the
discussion, Best Practices are cited to
provide insight on how others, in
Minnesota and across the country, have
dealt with the issues as they have
pursued coordination. In each citation,
there is a contact person and contact
information provided.

Remember, even if the Best Practice is
from Maine, Pennsylvania, or Oregon,
for example, the basic concepts and
principles can have application to your
system. Use the parts which will work,
or modify the concept to fit your
particular situation.

Specific resources such as reports,
manuals, spreadsheets, brochures, etc.
are also cited. These resources can be
used as a starting point on which to build
your particular project. You can use the
resources by themselves or together with
the information provided in the Briefs.

A CD will accompany the three-ring
binder and will include all of the
resources cited for easy reference. In
addition, websites and email addresses
are included as appropriate.

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Introduction                          ii


  •    Fully Allocated Costs
  •    Incentive Funding
  •    Insurance
  •    Coordination Planning
  •    Maintenance Programs
  •    Motor Carrier Registration Compliance
  •    Private/Public Sector Coordination
  •    Section 5310/5311 Coordination
  •    Volunteer Programs
  •    Transportation Brokerage


Note that the best practices in bold italics are examples from Minnesota.


  •    Dakota Area Resources and Transportation Services (DARTS) in Dakota County,

  •    Iowa Insurance Consortium, contact Donna Johnson, Iowa DOT Office of Public
       Transit, (515) 233-7875.

  •    Licking County Transit Board Coordination Project in Newark, Ohio, Service
       Brochure and Transportation Policy and Procedure Manual (Appendices A and B;
       contact Cathy Sheets, Coordinator, Licking County Transit Board Coordinated
       Services, at (740) 670-5180 or

  •    North Carolina Act to Remove Barriers to Coordinating Human Service and
       Volunteer Transportation was enacted. Contact Miriam Perry, Assistant Director
       for Administrative Services, at

  •    Paul Bunyan Transit, Bemidji, Minnesota, Greg Negard, Executive Director, at
       (218) 751-8765 or

  •    The Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP),

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Toolkit Index                  iii
Fully Allocated Costs

  •   Alabama Department of Transportation (ADOT), Joe Nix, Senior Transportation
      Planner, Multimodal Transportation Bureau, 1100 John Overton Drive,
      Montgomery, AL 36110, (334) 353-6421,

  •   Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), Kansas Rural Transit Assistance
      Program (RTAP), (785) 864-2595, or

  •   Maryland Department of Transportation, Nancy Noonan, (410) 767-3772, or

  •   Tri-Cap Transit Connection, St. Cloud, MN, Linda Elfstrand, Director, Tri-CAP
      Connection, (320) 202-7824, x217, or


  •   Illinois DOT Regional Maintenance Centers, contact David Spacek, Illinois DOT,
      Division of Public Transportation, 310 South Michigan, Room 1608, Chicago,
      Illinois 60604; (312) 793-2154 or

  •   St. Cloud MTC, Tony Kellen, Director of Operations, St Cloud MTC, 665 Franklin
      Ave NE, St Cloud MN 56304, or Office (320) 251-1499, x103, or via e-mail

  •   Tri-CAP Connection, Linda Elfstrand, Director, Tri-CAP Connection at (320) (202)
      7824, x217, or


  •   The Ride Connection, (503) 528-1720, email at or via mail at
      3220 N. Williams; Portland, OR 97227.

  •   Tri-CAP Connection, Linda Elfstrand, Director, Tri-CAP Connection at (320) 202-7824,
      x217, or

  •   Volunteer Drivers – A Guide to Best Practices -

Coordination Planning

  •   Rainbow Rider, 401 Florence Avenue, P.O. Box 136, Lowry, MN 56349, (800)
      450-7770, or via email at

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Toolkit Index                       iv
  •   SCALE, Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency, Lisa Kohner,
      Scott County Public Affairs Coordinator, (952) 496-8780,

  •   Washington State - Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation (ACCT), Robin
      Phillips, Administrator for Coordinated Transportation at (360) 705-7929,

Private/Public Sector Partnerships

  •   Voyageur Bus Company, 3941 E Calvary Rd., Duluth, MN 55803; Mike Krois,
      Owner/Operator, (218) 724-1707, Fax: (218) 724-2432

  •   MNET, Minnesota Non-Emergency Transportation,

Section 5311/5310 Coordination

  •   Three Rivers Hiawathaland Transit—Cannon Falls; Jean Meyer, MnDOT District 6
      Project Manager at MnDOT 2900 48th Street, N.W., Rochester, MN 55901-5848;
      (507) 280-3100 (507) 421-1162 cellular, (507) 285-7355 fax; St. Paul: (651) 296-
      3379 Fax: (651) 297-7252, or via e-mail at

Motor Carrier Registration Compliance

  •   American Red Cross, Sue Olson, 176 South Robert St., St. Paul, MN 55107, (651)
      291-4675, or via e-mail at

  •   Minnesota Masonic Homes, Joyce McIntosh, Director, (763) 592-2668 or

  •   Rochester City Lines (RCL),

Incentive Programs

  •   Cuyahoga County, Ohio Coordination Project, Paul Alsenas, Director, or
      Marionette Richardson, Transportation Specialist, Cuyahoga County Planning
      Commission, 323 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 400, Cleveland, OH 44113, (216) 443-

  •   North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Human Service Transportation
      Management (HSTM) Program, Miriam Perry, Assistant Director for
      Administrative Services, NCDOT Public Transportation Division,

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Toolkit Index                 v
  •   Ohio Department of Transportation, (ODOT) Ohio Coordination Program, Jane
      Smelser, (614) 644-8054,,


  •   Coordinated Transportation System 2004 Annual Report,

  •   Coordination Resources You Should Read,

  •   Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website,

  •   Federal Transit Administration, Innovative State & Local Planning for Coordinated

  •   Florida Transportation Disadvantaged Commission, Lisa Bacot, (850) 410-5711.

  •   The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in collaboration with members
      from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’
      (AASHTO) Multi-State Technical Assistance Program (MTAP), has gathered
      industry “best practices” for developing model state safety programs and state
      legislation necessary for the development of improved transit bus safety standards
      and practices. The guide will serve as a useful resource for developing bus safety
      plans. The sample plans, contacts, reference links, and checklists available at this
      site are adaptable for systems of any size but are particularly suitable for small
      urban and rural (section 5311) recipients.

  •   GAO-03-697 Report on Transportation Disadvantaged Populations, page 42,
      Appendix II: Inventory of Federal Program Providing Transportation Services to
      the Transportation-Disadvantaged, or

  •   Georgia coordinated transportation service delivery, Georgia Department of Human
      Resources (DHR) website,

  •   Georgia Department of Transportation, Steve Kish,

  •   Iowa Department of Transportation, Peter Hallock, Office of Public Transit, at
      (515) 239-1765, or via e-mail at

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Toolkit Index                       vi
  •   Maryland DOT Coordination Manual, see Toolkit for Rural Community
      Coordinated Transportation Services,,
      or contact Nancy Noonan,

  •   Mike McKay, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Office of Freight and
      Commercial Vehicle Operations (OFCVO), (651) 405-6096 or

  •   Minnesota Auditor’s Office Best Practices Report,

  •   Minnesota DOT’s Transit System and Security Workbook, Minnesota DOT Office
      of Transit, (651) 296-3379, or go to, click on “best practices.”

  •   Minnesota DOT’s Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations STS

  •   Minnesota DOT’s Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations Fact Sheets

  •   Minnesota DOT’s Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations website,

  •   MTAP Comprehensive Financial Management Guidelines Manual (Appendix C)

  •   MTAP Financial Management Course Brochure (Appendix D)

  •   North Carolina DOT Public Transportation Division, Miriam Perry, Assistant
      Director for Administrative Services,

  •   North Carolina DOT, Kathy McGhee, State HHS Coordinator, (919) 733-2100.

  •   Ohio DOT Coordination Handbook and Implementation Guide

  •   Ohio Transportation Coordination Insurance Brief,\

  •   Ohio Department of Transportation Equitable Contract Rates for Coordination
      Systems (Appendix E).

  •   Ohio Spreadsheets for Rural Transit Systems and Coordinated Transportation
      Systems (Appendices F and G).

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Toolkit Index                vii
  •   Pennsylvania DOT – Lottery funds used to support fixed route and shared ride
      service to make public transportation more affordable for seniors. Visit the
      ACCESS Program website, for
      more information on this program. For more information regarding PennDOT
      programs, contact LaVerne Collins, at (717) 783-8025 or

  •   The RTAP Risk Management for Rural Transit Systems Resource Handbook is a
      training kit that can be used for training or to develop an individual risk
      management program. Contact the Minnesota DOT Office of Transit or the
      National RTAP Office at (800) 527-8279 for information on how you can obtain a
      copy of this manual.

  •   RTAP Risk Management for Rural Transit Systems available through the Rural
      Transit Assistance Program (RTAP), (800) 527-8279.

  •   The Risk Manager Software for Bus Transit Systems, prepared by the Risk
      Management Center, is a Transit Cooperative Research Program document and can
      be accessed at

  •   Sample Contract Rate Policy (Appendix H).

  •   Sample Inventory for Transportation Funding Sources.

  •   Sample Letter for Transportation Funding Source Inventory

  •   Strategies to Increase Coordination of Transportation Services for the
      Transportation Disadvantaged, TCRP Report #105,

  •   Toolkit for Rural Community Coordinated Transportation Services,

  •   TCRP Report #91, Economic Benefits of Coordinating Human Service
      Transportation and Public Transit Services,

  •   Urban Transportation and Research website for Transit Bus Safety Resource Guide,

  •   Vermont Public Transit Association,

  •   Western Community Action, Jeannette M. Aguirre,Transportation Director,
      Western Community Action, 400 W. Main Street, Marshall, MN 56258. 507/537-
      1417 or 1-800-658-2448; Fax: 507/537-1849;;

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Toolkit Index                viii
             Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                                                    Fully Allocated Costs

Topic: Fully Allocated Costs                            •       Manage the system so that its goals
                                                                and objectives are met;
Target Audience: Human Service                          •       Know the true cost of operating the
Agency Transportation Providers,                                system so that costs may be billed
Section 5310 Agencies, and Section 5311                         or allocated appropriately to the
Public Transit Systems and State                                system’s users, and
Agencies.                                               •       Report to the funding sources or
                                                                purchasing agencies how money
Goal: To present the practice of                                was spent, what revenues were
determining the true cost of providing                          realized, and the financial status of
transportation service using Fully                              the organization.
Allocated Costs.
                                                      Issue: Calculating the Costs
Note: The sources for the information
for this brief came from the Multi-State              Average unit costs are calculated by:
Technical Assistance Program (MTAP)
Comprehensive Financial Management                          •    Determining the value of each
Guidelines Manual and fully allocated                            resource,
cost information from the states of                         •    Dividing the resource cost by the
Alabama, Kansas, Maryland, and Ohio)                             resource value to obtain the
                                                                 average unit cost, and
At the heart of financial management is                     •    Multiplying the hour and mile
understanding your revenues and                                  unit costs by the fixed cost
expenses in relation to your units of                            factor.
service provided (passenger trips,
vehicle miles, hours, etc.) so that you               In the example below, the values of the
have a true picture of what your service              resource variables are:
                                                              28,811 total annual vehicle hours
Rural, small urban, and specialized                          473,512 total annual vehicle miles
transportation systems operate in                           $146,978 of assigned fixed costs.
environments that pose special
challenges. Limited resources, multiple               The average unit costs are computed by
funding sources, and public                           dividing the total amount of expenses
accountability are among the challenges.              assigned to a given resource variable by
Transportation systems need complete                  the value of that resource variable. For
and accurate financial data in order to:              example, the $9.62 cost per vehicle hour
                                                      was derived by dividing the cost of

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Fully Allocated Costs                      1
$277,037 assigned to hours by 28,811                  2,400 hours of operation, the equation
vehicle hours.                                        would be:

The fully allocated cost model is a                   Annual Total Cost = [($12.70 X 2,400) +
relatively straightforward equation                   ($0.53 X 33,000)] = $47970.
involving multiplication and addition.
This model uses hours and miles as the                The cost of $47,970 is a good estimate
two service variables and distributes the             of the existing costs of this service.
fixed costs over these variables.                     This issue is important because it deals
                                                      with the distribution or allocation of total
Annual Total Cost = Fixed Cost Factor                 costs among funding services to the
X [(Cost Per Hour X Annual Hours of                   individual routes or services provided by
Operation) + (Cost Per Mile X Annual                  a local jurisdiction or non-profit agency.
Miles of Operation)]                                  Knowing the costs of individual routes
                                                      or services is useful for management
Applying this model involves calculating              purposes and for billing client agencies.
your cost per hour, cost per mile
(including vehicle depreciation), and                 Issue: Multiple Funding Sources
fixed cost factor and applying these costs
to the annual hours or miles of operation.            Assume that the transit system only
                                                      operates two services and that each is
In the example, the costs are:                        supported by several funding sources.
                                                      The problem is to determine the cost of
  $9.62 per hour of service                           service that should be provided by each
  $0.40 per mile of service                           funding source. The levels of service
                                                      during the last calendar year are shown
and the overhead factor is:                           below.

  1.32 (assuming that fixed costs are 32                          Svc. A  Svc. B  Total
  percent of the total of hourly costs and            Hours         2,400  29,360  31,760
  mileage costs)                                      Miles        33,000 440,512 473,512

The cost allocation equation can be                   As before, each average unit cost factor
converted to:                                         is multiplied by the appropriate resource
                                                      variable value in each case and then
Annual Total Cost = 1.32 X [($9.62 X                  summed to determine the cost estimate.
Annual Hours of Operation) + ($0.40 X
Annual Miles of Operation)]

Annual Total Cost = [($12.70 X Annual
Hours of Operation) + ($0.53 X Annual
Miles of Operation)

To find the cost of operating one vehicle
that traveled 33,000 annual miles in

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Fully Allocated Costs                  2
          Average Value of           Total                ♦ Government agency (DHS)
           Unit    Res.              Cost                 ♦ Non-profit human service agency
           Cost   Variable                                ♦ For-profit human service entities
Svc. A                                                      (i.e. nursing homes)
Hours     $12.70      2,400        $30,480                ♦ For-profit businesses
 Miles    $0.53       33,000       $17,490
 Total                             $47,970            1. Capital Costs
Svc. B
Hours     $12.70      29,360       $372,872           Capital costs must also be figured into
 Miles    $0.53       440,512      $233,471           your rates and can be done so easily by
 Total                             $606,343           dividing the cost of the vehicle (if
                                                      purchased with non-Federal or non-State
Thus, the cost of providing Service A is              funds) or the local share of the vehicle
estimated to be $47,970 while the cost of             (if purchased with Federal and State
providing Service B is calculated to be               funds) by the estimated useful mileage
$606,343.                                             life of the vehicle. For instance, for
                                                      Section 5311 purchased vehicles where
                                                      the local share may have been $3,600
The percent of the fully allocated cost               and the useful life is estimated at
that is charged to an agency or that serve            150,000 miles, the capital cost per mile
as the basis of the general public fare is a          would be $0.03 per mile. This cost
policy decision that should be made at                should be added to your contract rate,
the Board level. For example, the Board               and the revenue (each $0.03 collected)
may determine that non-profit social                  placed in a capital replacement fund.
service agencies should share in the
State transit subsidies and therefore                 Issue: Providing General Public
should only be required to pay 75% of                 Service V. Agency Sponsored Trips
the fully allocated cost. This Board
might also establish the policy that all              Section 5311 funding is to be used to
private for-profit agencies should not                provide public transportation to the
share in the subsidies and therefore                  general public. Communities must
would be required to pay 100% of the                  establish a service area and a base set of
fully allocated cost. This decision                   service hours in which to provide the
should be made at the policy level and                service. A fare must be established
should be based on a well-though out                  which is typically far lower than the
basis and not on an agency’s ability to               actual cost of the service. The difference
pay. Pricing decisions based on a case-               between the cost and the fare, or the
by-case basis often result in inequities              deficit, can then be paid for with Section
and cross-subsidization between                       5311 funds. Some states, like
agencies.                                             Minnesota, also provide state assistance
                                                      underwrite the cost of the service. The
When determining fare/pricing policy,                 remainder of the service cost must be
boards should consider rates for the                  paid for with local funds.
                                                      As part of its general public service,
    ♦ General public                                  however, communities are also

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Fully Allocated Costs                 3
permitted within the Section 5311                     •   General public service is first come
guidelines to provide contract service to                 first served – No guarantees;
groups and agencies desiring public                   •   no additional reporting;
transportation for their clientele. In                •   no billing; and
general, the transit industry makes a                 •   no special service requests.
general differentiation between general
public trips and agency trips based on                If agencies have requirements that
whether the trip is made at the discretion            exceed those provided to the general
of the individual or the agency.                      public, the service should be considered
                                                      agency sponsored contract trips.
Individuals who are clients of social
service agencies, but who use public                  Although provided within the context of
transit services for their own personal               the general public service, it is expected
mobility needs independent of the                     that agency trips will not detract from or
agency, are considered part of the                    negatively impact the general public
general public. Additionally, trip                    service and that it should “pay for itself”
requests made by an agency on behalf of               or at a minimum, pay for the local share.
an individual for their own personal                  Ideally, the contracting agency would
mobility needs independent of the                     pay for the entire cost of the service.
agency are also considered general                    Further, in cases where a Section 5311-
public.                                               funded transit system may be submitting
                                                      a proposal or bid to provide a contract
However, trip requests made by an                     service, the proposal or bid must reflect
agency that is service for the agency                 the fully allocated cost of the service,
that would be provided by the agency if               since Section 5311 funds cannot be used
the transit system was not available are              to unfairly compete with private for-
considered agency trips. If an agency                 profit providers.
chooses to use general public service at
the regular transit fare rather than to               Issue: Fares V. Cost
contract for service for its customers,
you should apply all of your system’s                 In order to provide agency sponsored
general public policies, including no                 service as part of your general public
show, reservation and wait times                      service, the first step is to determine the
policies, etc. Individual trip requests for           contract rate to be charged. You will
an agency’s client should be handled the              need to know the true or actual cost in
same as any other request made by a                   order to do this.
member of the general public, without
any deference to the agency. Therefore,               As stated above, general public transit
if an agency using general public service             fares are typically subsidized. In
makes a request, ask yourself if the same             Minnesota, the fully allocated cost of a
request would be honored for individuals              general public trip is offset by passenger
in the general public. Some sample                    fares, Federal (Section 5311), State
checklist items to categorize a task as               transit assistance, and local (Minnesota
general public service policy are as                  Motor Vehicle Sales Tax) subsidies.
follows:                                              Service provided to agencies should also
                                                      recoup the full cost of the service. The

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Fully Allocated Costs                      4
purchasing agency may offset the trip                 categories of passengers and service
cost through passenger fares/fees/                    provided (see below, Establishing Fair
donations, agency program funds that                  and Equitable Rates). However, the
can be used for transportation or other               rates you charge should be part of an
Federal/State subsidies available to the              overall policy based on your funding
agency purchasing service.                            agencies, the subsidies you receive and
                                                      the rules and regulations that govern
Public systems, and in particular human               each. Having an overall policy will
service transportation systems, typically             provide the transit manager with the
have a difficult time costing their service           necessary guidance and direction to
because they don’t account for all of the             negotiate contract rates without having
expenses.                                             to return to the board for each routine
To determine a rate based on your
expenses, use a computer spreadsheet                  Issue: Implementing Fully Allocated
application that allows you to list all of            Contract Rates
your expenses and data and then, using
that data, actually calculate a rate using a          How do you charge fully allocated costs
standard 2-variable cost model. It can be             to agencies which have traditionally paid
updated very easily from year to year as              only the transit fare or a small portion of
your data changes. You should use the                 the actual cost? Although you could
information in your Uniform Standard                  simply inform the agencies that they will
Chart of Accounts that serves as the                  now have to pay a new, substantially
basis for your Section 5311 budget. The               higher rate for the service they receive,
cost model developed as part of the                   a “phase-in” plan can take the sting out
MTAP Comprehensive Financial                          of the higher costs, yet still result in your
Management Guidelines Manual is the                   system receiving more of the cost of
one most commonly used by many                        your service, and eventually, the full cost
States and transit systems. There are                 of the service. In the plan, provide the
also excellent examples of actual                     details of the rate (or fare) currently
spreadsheets that have been developed,                being charged, the difference between
e.g., the Ohio Department of                          the rate and the actual cost, and the time
Transportation Rural Contract Rates                   span over which the rate will be
White Paper and Spreadsheet which is                  increased until the fully allocated
based on the MTAP model.                              amount is reached, typically only over a
                                                      3-5 year period depending on the gap.

Issue: Establishing a Contract Service                Make the contracting agency aware of
Rate Policy                                           the actual cost of the service even during
                                                      the “phase-in” plan goal, the time it will
If your board has decided that you will               take to get to there, and the steps that
provide contract service as part of your              will be taken to attain the goal.
overall transportation service, a policy
should be established to establish your               You will be asked “why should we pay
contract rates. There is no requirement               this higher amount when the public only
for only one contract rate for all services.          pays $1.00 (or $2.00, etc.) for the same
Rates can be established based on the                 service? Be prepared for this question.

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Fully Allocated Costs                   5
Show them your spreadsheet and what                   consideration the total cost to provide the
the service costs. Explain that the                   service, including labor, fringes, fuel,
Section 5311 funds are to be used for                 maintenance, insurance, etc. For this
general public service and that contract              contract rate, Tri-CAP not only schedules
service is expected to generate its own               and provides the service to the
revenue at the rates established by the               contracting agency’s clients, but also
Board. Tell them what the rate is paying              tracks and invoices the agency by the
for, i.e., well-trained drivers, record               hour for the time spent transporting those
keeping, scheduling, etc. and that, as                passengers. Tri-CAP estimates that it
service that is guaranteed to be provided,            captures approximately 70% of its total
it will be given priority to ensure that it           expenses, dollars which then become part
is provided in accordance with their                  of the required match for the MnDOT
contract.                                             grants. Tri-CAP monitors its revenues
                                                      and expenses using the MnDOT Section
Phasing-in the costs to agencies who                  5311 monthly reports and spreadsheets
have been receiving a discounted rate is              that are a part of the annual Section 5311
strongly recommended. If you charge a                 application. Originally, Tri-CAP based
discounted rate, you must be prepared to              its rate on what the contracting agency’s
cover the “gap” between the actual cost               calculated costs were, however, since
of the service and the amount the agency              that time, Tri-CAP has implemented a 3%
is paying with funding from another                   per year increase to keep pace with
source. A transit system must exercise                inflationary increases.
extreme care both in determining from
where the subsidy is derived, and in                  For further information, please contact
documenting the use of those funds.                   Linda Elfstrand, Director, Tri-CAP
                                                      Connection at (320) 202-7824, x217, or
Accurate financial data is critical to the            Kansas Department of Transportation
development of fully allocated costs.                 (KDOT)
Once their true service costs are known,
transportation providers gain not only                When the Kansas Department of Social
the complete picture of the service they              and Rehabilitation Services (SRS)
provide, but also the necessary tools they            modified its rules to allow federally-
need to negotiate fair and equitable                  funded vehicles to be used in the
contracts.                                            transportation of Medicaid clients, the
                                                      door was opened for increased funded
            Best Practices                            ridership for Kansas transit systems.
Tri-Cap Transit Connection, St. Cloud,                Developing a contract to provide these
MN                                                    services, however, required careful
                                                      allocation of funding resources.
Tri-CAP Transit Connection provides
contract service as part of its Section               The Kansas Department of
5311 service in Benton and Stearns                    Transportation (KDOT), SRS, and the
Counties for a contract rate that is over             University of Kansas Transportation
and above the regular fare and takes into             Center worked together to provide

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Fully Allocated Costs                  6
guidance to Kansas transit agencies and               Finally, cost allocation can be used to
area SRS managers to develop valid cost               help determine the revenue-to-costs ratio
allocated contracts. The procedures                   and overall deficit for each service.
developed can be used in developing
rates for any fee-for-service contract,               The basis for the Kansas model is the
subject to specific rules or regulations of           AASHTO (American Association of State
the funding agency. The basis for the                 Highway and Transportation Officials)
Kansas model is the Comprehensive                     Multi-Sate Technical Assistance Program
Financial Management Guidelines for                   (MTAP) developed the Comprehensive
Rural and Small Urban Public                          Financial Management Guidelines for
Transportation Providers developed by                 Rural and Small Urban Public
the American Association of State                     Transportation Providers, a fully
Highway and Transportation Officials                  allocated cost model which accounts for
(AASHTO) Multi-Sate Technical                         all costs of providing transportation
Assistance Program (MTAP). The MTAP                   service, is a simple equation which uses
program is a fully allocated cost model               hours and miles as the two service
which accounts for all costs of providing             variables. As Kansas is using the model,
transportation service using a simple                 three steps are involved: 1) assembling
equation of hours and miles as the two                the expense, revenue, and operations
service variables.                                    data; 2) assign line item expense
                                                      accounts, and 3) calculating the average
The allocation model can be used to                   unit costs. A detailed chart of accounts is
determine the cost of services provided.              essential in following this model. A
Allocating costs in a fee-for-service                 sample is provided in the MTAP
contract requires the transportation                  guidelines.
provider to ask, “how much will the ride
cost?” before it can decide the amount to             For further information, please contact
be charged.                                           the Kansas Rural Transit Assistance
Cost allocation can serve several                     Program (RTAP), (785)864-2595, or
purposes. First, it allows the              
determination of the actual cost of
providing the service so that the                     Alabama Department of Transportation
transportation provider can be assured                (ADOT)
that the full cost of providing the service
is covered. Second, it provides for the               Since the state of Alabama provides no
distribution of costs among funding                   state match to Federal transit grant
sources when more than one funding                    funding, the burden for providing the
agency is involved. Cost allocation                   non-Federal match relies solely on the
models can also be used for a true cost               local transit operators. The “life blood”
comparison when offering service that is              for these operators has been third party
also provided by private for profit                   contract revenue, which in turn, required
providers. When multiple jurisdictions                the development of uniform allocation of
are involved in financially supporting a              costs, billing, and record keeping.
transportation service, cost allocation
can be used to determine the fair share of            In order to facilitate the use of fully
costs attributable to different entities.             allocated rates in their third party

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Fully Allocated Costs                  7
contracts, the Alabama Department of                  operated on their behalf. The state
Transportation provided training to their             provides training on the use of the cost
Section 5311 providers to assist them in              allocation model and tailoring the best
the development of a unit cost rate that              application to the particular system or
allowed them to fully recoup the cost of              organization. Supplemental training is
their service provided to third parties.              also provided via RTAP training sessions
This unit cost rate and pricing structure,            and within the state’s annual transit
developed approximately fifteen years                 association conference when additional
ago, is still in effect and working                   support is necessary.
                                                      For additional information, contact
For further information, please contact               Nancy Noonan, Maryland DOT Mass
Joe Nix, Senior Transportation Planner,               Transit Administration, (410) 767-3772,
Alabama Department of Transportation,                 or
Multimodal Transportation Bureau, 1100
John Overton Drive, Montgomery, AL
36110, (334) 353-6421,

Maryland – Standardized Cost

The Maryland Transit Administration
requires that its rural and small urban
transit systems have an approved plan for
allocating costs among funding programs
and services. The objective of requiring
cost allocation is to fairly represent the
actual cost of providing the service. The
MTA provides each rural and small
urban transit system the cost allocation
model in Microsoft Excel, along with
instructions for its use. The model
requires two inputs: 1) expenses by cost
category and 2) miles and hours of each
route or service.

The model employs a straightforward
process to group costs into three
categories: fixed costs, variable costs
dependent upon hours of service, or
variable costs dependent on miles of
service. The model can then be used to
allocate costs to various
routes/services/grants, offering some
control by jurisdictions over services

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Fully Allocated Costs              8
             Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                                    Incentive Funding for Coordination

Topic: Incentive Funding For
Coordination                                          You may also want to identify and group
                                                      the sources of funds by local, state, and
Target Audience: Local agencies                       national. Compiling this list may help
seeking funds to support transportation               you to think of other sources of funding
coordination activities.                              that aren’t currently being used.
                                                      Examples of local funds that typically
Goal: To provide steps and process for                are reported by agencies are American
identifying and accessing funding for                 Red Cross and United Way, as well as
transportation coordination.                          any funds that might flow directly
                                                      through your county, city or village.
Issue: Locating Sources of Funding                    However, some agencies may be
                                                      receiving funds through a private
Begin your search for available sources               foundation that could also be utilized for
of funding to support transportation                  the coordination effort.
coordination by inventorying the funding
sources currently used by local agencies              State sources include funds from the
participating in your coordination effort.            Minnesota Departments of
Use the sample letter and inventory form              Transportation (DOT) (for example
included as part of the toolkit to obtain             Section 5310, Section 5311, State transit
the required information. Request that                funds), Human Services, Aging, etc.
each agency, if possible, provide a copy              Some of these programs might offer a
of the eligibility requirements for each.             coordination incentive that you are not
                                                      aware of.
Once all of the inventory forms have
been collected, make a list of all of the             Federal sources of funding include Title
different funding sources currently used.             XIX (Medicaid) and Title XX (Social
Then, group agencies by their current                 Services Block Grant) funding from the
sources of grant funds. If an agency                  U.S. Department of Health and Human
receives funding from two or more                     Services (HHS). Title III-B funds from
sources, place that agency in each                    the Older American’s Act, U.S.
grouping.                                             Department of Transportation (USDOT)
                                                      funding for the Sections 5303, 5307,
Make another list, grouping each agency               5309, 5310, 5311, 5313, and Job Access
under all funding sources for which they              and Reverse Commute Programs; and
are eligible. You will need to use the                funding programs through the U.S.
information from the inventory form                   Department of Education, Office of
along with the specific grant eligibility             Special Education and Rehabilitative
requirements to make this decision.                   Services, and Department of Housing
                                                      and Urban Development, Office of

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Incentive Funding for Coordination      9
Community Planning and Development.                   Next, get a local champion, someone
A complete list of Federal funds may be               who is known to, and active in, the
found in Appendix II: Inventory of                    community and may be aware of the
Federal Program Providing                             financial resources available. This
Transportation Services to the                        person may also be able to “open doors”
Transportation-Disadvantaged, page 42                 to which your effort alone could not do.
of the GAO-03-697 Report on
Transportation Disadvantaged                          When you’re preparing to approach a
Populations available at                              funding organization, be cognizant of the                 fact that many foundations and
df or at                        organizations which provide funding
                                                      support do not wish to enter into a long
Once you have compiled your list of                   term commitment. They are typically
funding sources, compile a checklist                  interested in providing “seed” or start up
with these questions: Are there any                   funds for 2-3 years to get a project
programs that provide incentive or                    started, but then want to see how you
additional funding for transportation                 can continue the project beyond their
coordination? When are the                            initial commitment. Be prepared to
applications due? What are the                        address this issue with a plan for
eligibility requirements? How can the                 continuing once you receive your initial
funds be used, i.e., for operating or                 funding.
capital? There may be other questions
that apply specifically to your situation             The following best practices are
that you will want to add to this                     examples of funding used to support
checklist. Honestly answering the                     transportation coordination.
questions on this checklist will help you
to decide whether or not these funds can                              Best Practices
be used as a source of support for your
coordination effort.                                  U.S. Department of Transportation
                                                      (USDOT) - United We Ride Initiative
Issue: How Can You Become Aware of
Other Potential Sources of Funding?                   The USDOT, with its partners at the U.S.
                                                      Departments of Health and Human
There may already be funding programs                 Services, Labor, and Education, launched
available in your community or state for              a new program designed to enhance
which your coordination project is                    transportation coordination. United We
eligible. Know your community and                     Ride (UWR), a five-part initiative to
become involved in its activities. Using              improve the coordination of human
your inventory information, identify                  services transportation; break down
those organizations that have historically            barriers between programs; and set the
identified and supported community                    stage for local partnerships that generate
initiatives that promise to solve a                   common sense solutions, is actually an
problem or improve the quality of                     outgrowth of the Federal Interagency
residents’ lives, such as United Way,                 Coordinating Council on Access and
hospital foundations philanthropic                    Mobility (CCAM). The CCAM included
organizations, or private foundations.                eleven Federal Departments working

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Incentive Funding for Coordination   10
together to simplify access; reduce                   implementing plans and submitting grant
duplication; and enhance cost                         applications on behalf of other
efficiencies within existing resources.               participating local agencies. Only
UWR takes this inter-departmental effort              human service transportation systems
to a new level by identifying five areas              which do not receive Section 5311 funds
for coordination: coordinated                         but which demonstrate a high level of
transportation planning; vehicle sharing;             coordination with human service
cost allocation; reporting and                        agencies in their counties are eligible to
evaluation; and consolidated access                   receive HSTM funds.
transportation demonstration programs.
The Federal Transit Administration is                 HSTM funds can be used for up to 75
charged with the administration of a                  percent of the cost of the salary and
grant program that seeks competitive                  benefits of a full-time transportation
proposals from States under the United                coordinator, not to exceed $18,750
We Ride Initiative that will fund projects            annually. Part-time coordinators can be
that plan for and implement the five areas            approved for smaller transportation
described above as well as other                      systems where a full-time coordinator is
coordination activities.                              not needed.

It is hoped that these grants will be the             For more information, contact Miriam
incentive States need for the development             Perry, Assistant Director for
and implementation of long-term                       Administrative Services, NCDOT Public
strategies which will bring about                     Transportation Division,
transportation coordination at the State    
and local levels.
                                                      Ohio Department of Transportation
Further information on United We Ride                 (ODOT)
is available at
                                                      ODOT’s Ohio Coordination Program
North Carolina Department of                          provides state funds to cities and counties
Transportation (NCDOT)                                working to coordinate transportation
                                                      services. Major requirements of the
The North Carolina Department of                      program include 1) hiring a fulltime
Transportation’s Human Service                        project coordinator, and 2) the money
Transportation Management, or HSTM,                   cannot be used for capital or planning, 3)
Program is a State program to help                    the project must be up and running within
provide safe and reliable transportation              90 days of grant execution, 4) all projects
for human-service agency clients. HSTM                must demonstrate some level of
funds can be used to pay for staff to                 interagency coordination in their local
support human service transportation                  area.
systems in their coordination efforts.
Lead agencies identified by locally                   Programs goals are to improve and
adopted transportation development                    expand transportation services in Ohio
plans are the designated recipients for               counties with no public transportation
HSTM funds. Lead agencies play an                     system; increase efficiency and
important role in coordinating services,              effectiveness of transportation service

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Incentive Funding for Coordination   11
delivery; and develop interagency                     Cleveland Regional Transit Authority,
coordination models which can be                      Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging,
applied to other communities.                         and the Ohio Department of
                                                      Transportation. Funding for the project
Applicants can apply for up to 75% of a               includes a local foundation grant, Section
project, not to exceed $80,000 per year               5307 earmark, and an Ohio Coordination
for the first three years. For year four              Program grant. Future plans include
and beyond, applicants may apply for up               folding in Section 5310 program funding
to 50% of their project, not to exceed                and local aging funds.
                                                      For further information, contact Paul
In addition, ODOT sets aside                          Alsenas, Director, or Marionette
approximately $300,000 each year of its               Richardson, Transportation Specialist,
Section 5310 allocation for coordination              Cuyahoga County Planning Commission,
projects. In addition to meeting all over             323 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 400,
Section 5310 requirements, applicants                 Cleveland, OH 44113, (216) 443-3700.
must document their collaborative efforts
with other agencies and how this project
will further those efforts. Consequently,
Section 5310 applicants that aggressively
pursue coordination are in a position to
compete for additional vehicles.

For further information, see the ODOT
website, and
click on funding programs, coordination,
or contact Jane Smelser, Public Transit
Manager, at (614) 644-8054, or

Cleveland, Ohio

As part of the United Way of Greater
Cleveland’s visioning process, senior
mobility was identified as a major issue
facing Cleveland’s senior population. In
response, Mt. Sinai Health Care
Foundation funded a study of senior
mobility and transportation and from this
planning study, a major transportation
coordination project has evolved.
Working together in this private-public
partnership along with United Way and
the Foundation, are the Cleveland Jewish
Federation a consortium of Cleveland
hospitals, Cuyahoga County, the Greater

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Incentive Funding for Coordination   12
             Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                                                        Insurance

Topic: Insurance                                     clearly and knowledgably about what it
                                                     is you intend to do.
Target Audience: Agencies working
together to coordinate transportation                Below are some of the most common
services whose vehicle insurance                     issues that arise regarding insurance and
coverage is not provided by a city or                coordination, a few of the most
county insurance consortium                          frequently asked questions, and the steps
                                                     you can take to meet the challenge of
Goal: To provide coordinating agencies               providing insurance for your
with the tools to achieve the best                   coordinated services.
possible insurance coverage at the
lowest possible cost.                                Please note that this document deals
                                                     with the possible impact to an agency’s
Transportation Coordination: Solving                 insurance as a result of coordinating
Insurance and Liability Issues                       the transportation of passengers with
                                                     other transportation providers. There
When two or more agencies decide to                  can still be issues relative to the
work together cooperatively to transport             registration requirements with the
their mutual clients, inevitably one of the          Minnesota Department of
first questions asked is, “Will                      Transportation’s Office of Freight &
coordinating transportation services                 Commercial Vehicle Operations. All
affect my insurance coverage?” If you                questions regarding this issue should be
have done your homework with your                    directed to the OFCVO at
agency’s insurance coverage and policy,    , or you
then the effects on your coverage as well            can visit their website at
as that on the other coordination          
participants can be minimized.                       r/passenger/index.html
However, it will take planning, patience,
and perseverance to achieve this goal.               Issue: Joint Use Arrangements
Your insurance carrier(s) can be a
resource as you put together your                    Joint use of vehicles occurs where two
coordination effort and address the                  or more agencies share the use of a
various insurance issues. Establishing a             vehicle. The vehicle may be operated by
good working relationship with your                  one or more of the agencies, with paid or
agent can be an advantage. However,                  volunteer drivers. In joint use
be prepared before you make the first                arrangements, participants must:
contact. Know what your coordination
program will be and how you plan to                  Step 1: Determine the participants in the
operate so that you can communicate                  coordination effort and the vehicles to be
                                                     used. Designate which agency will act

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                          13
as the lead agency, e.g., it may be the                   •   General Liability
agency with the largest fleet, or one with
the administrative capability to manage              A brief definition of some of these terms
the project.                                         are provided below:

Step 2: Invite the various insurance                 Liability: The portion of a policy that
representatives that will be affected by             pays for bodily injury or damage that
the coordination effort to a meeting of              your vehicle does to others as the result
the coordination partners. Explain the               of an accident. This is the most
coordination project and describe the                important part of any vehicle insurance
steps you intend to follow to formalize              policy. Example: Your vehicle hits a
your coordination arrangement, and                   legally parked car with two people in it.
invite their input into your next steps.             There is substantial damage to the car
Note: although inviting insurance                    and both people suffer neck injuries.
representatives early in the process can             This would be covered under your
be helpful, only invite them after you               liability coverage.
have formulated your program and are
able to answer some basic questions                  Medical Payments: Limited payments
about your project. See the section                  (generally $1,000 to $5,000) for medical
“When Should I Contact My Insurance                  treatment made to persons injured either
Carrier?” for further discussion.                    on or by your vehicle. These payments
                                                     are made regardless of fault to deter
Step 3: Develop policies and procedures              people from filing a liability claim.
for the coordination effort, including but           Example: Mrs. Jones trips over her
not limited to administration; cost                  loose shoe lace and falls on your bus.
sharing; service area, accident, incident,           She then has a doctor’s visit to bandage
and emergency procedures, and driver                 a bruised knee.
standards and training, and where the
vehicles will be housed.                             Uninsured Motorists: Provides coverage
                                                     to you and your passengers should an
Step 4: Your insurance representative                uninsured motorist be at fault in an
may have additional thoughts and topics              accident. Your insurance company pays
to add, but at a minimum, the following              on behalf of the uninsured drier. This
insurance coverage should be                         also applies in hit and run situations.
specifically addressed:                              Example: Another driver rear ends your
                                                     vehicle causing damage and injury to
    •   Liability                                    two passengers, then leaves the scene
    •   Uninsured/under-insured                      without stopping. He leaves so quickly
    •   Additional insureds                          that you cannot get his license number.
    •   Physical damage
    •   Comprehensive and collision                  Collision: Coverage which pays for
        (note: you must specific which               damage to your vehicle as the result of a
        agency is responsible for the                crash with another vehicle or fixed
        deductible)                                  object. Example: Your driver hits a tree
    •   Medical Payments Coverage                    causing $2,500 in damage to your
    •   Worker’s Compensation                        vehicle.

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                           14
                                                     well as that of the respective
Comprehensive: Comprehensive                         participating agencies.
coverage provides payments to repair or
replace your vehicle as a result of                  Step 8: After incorporating any
virtually all other causes, (except                  comments and recommendations as a
collision), such as fire, theft, flood, or           result of Step 7, have each agency
vandalism. Example: Several of your                  execute the contract.
vehicles are spray painted by a graffiti
artist requiring repainting at a cost of             Issue: Mixing Client Populations
                                                     Insurance carriers have at times hesitated
Step 5: Develop standard (and                        to insure agencies that serve a variety of
objective) driver selection criteria that            client populations, i.e. serving
can be used by all participating agencies.           populations other than their specific
One agency should be designated to                   client group, because of the perceived
oversee the process. Standard criteria               increased risk.
should include driving records and the
number of points considered acceptable,              It is important to understand that the
criminal background checks, any past                 risks are different for different client
employment history where either pre-                 populations. Transporting the senior
employment or random drug testing was                population is different from transporting
performed. You may wish to follow the                school children. To adjust to this risk,
driver standards for Special                         and calm your insurance carrier’s fears,
Transportation Service (see brief), as               you should:
these are recognized as standard industry
practice. Samples of driver applications             Step 1: Become as knowledgeable as
are available on the Center for Urban                you can about your insurance coverage.
Transportation and Research website at               Learn the proper insurance terms so that             you can correctly describe the
elect.htm.                                           transportation service to be provided by
                                                     the coordination effort. The amount of
Step 6: When vehicles are being                      your insurance premium will be directly
shared, it is important to formally spell            proportional to the amount of risk your
out the rights and responsibilities for              carrier foresees in providing coverage.
each agency, and to incorporate these                The higher the risk, the higher the
provisions into a formal contract.                   premium. Livery, taxi service, for hire,
                                                     community transportation, and school
Step 7: Hopefully your insurance                     bus transportation all have specific
representative(s) have been working                  meanings to insurance carriers. Find out
with you throughout the process and will             what they are. Refer to the insurance
have already provided input and                      terms in the previous section.
recommendations into the process. If
not, contact your local insurance                    Step 2: Educate your current insurance
representative(s) to review the insurance            carrier. Invite the various insurance
coverage of your proposed contact as                 representatives that will be affected by
                                                     the coordination effort to a meeting of

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                          15
the coordination partners. Explain the               incorporating the driver selection
coordination project and your proposed               criteria, training requirements, and risk
operating plan. Describe the process                 management procedures as indicated
you intend to follow to formalize your               above, incorporating any comments
coordination arrangement, and invite                 from your insurance representative(s)
their input into your next steps.                    from Step 5. (Refer to the steps under
                                                     Joint Use Arrangements.)
Step 3: Educate member agencies about
not only the differences, but also the                               Best Practice
similarities of their particular client              The Dakota Area Resources and
population.                                          Transportation Services (DARTS) in
                                                     Dakota County, Minnesota operates 37
Step 4: Develop standard (and                        vehicles, providing co-mingled (i.e.,
objective) driver selection criteria and             client mixing) demand-responsive service
training requirements, and designate the             to Metro Mobility customers: ADA trips
agency responsible for overseeing the                in Dakota County; senior residents of
process. Selection criteria can include              Dakota County; and clients of other
background checks and drug and alcohol               human service agencies that purchase
testing. If one of your participating                service through DARTS. Because these
agencies happens to have a risk                      trips are coordinated, productivity and
management plan, adapt it to reflect the             hence cost-efficiency is improved, and the
special needs of different client groups             sponsors funding can purchase more
that will be served and adopt it as part of          trips (than if separate fleets were used).
the coordination effort. This, along with
your other selection criteria and                    In addition, DARTS shares the operation
requirements, go a long way to show                  of a Section 5310 vehicle with two other
insurance carriers you are doing your                entities, the City of Farmington Senior
part to hire quality drivers and are                 Center and St. Michael’s Church.
addressing the special needs of all
individuals that may be transported.                 DARTS applied for and received the 5310
Suggestions for developing a safety plan             vehicle, paid the local match, and is
are presented later in this brief.                   responsible for the insurance and
                                                     maintenance. DARTS operates the
Step 5: Hopefully your insurance                     vehicle in its regular service Monday
representative(s) have been working                  through Thursday. The City of
with you throughout the process and will             Farmington Senior Center operates the
have already provided input and                      vehicle on Fridays as well as for special
recommendations into the process. If                 events after hours and on weekends. The
not, contact your local insurance                    Senior Center provides the driver and
representative(s) to review your                     pays for the fuel as well as a fee for
proposed contact as well as the                      maintenance and insurance. St.
respective participating agencies’                   Michael’s church operates the vehicle on
insurance coverage.                                  weekends using volunteer drivers, pays
                                                     for the fuel, but pays no other fee for the
Step 6: Develop and execute a formal                 use of the vehicle.
contract among all members

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                               16
The vehicle is titled to, and is insured by,         However, as stated previously, contact
DARTS. All drivers, including those of               the broker with the description and
the Senior Center and the church, must               overview of the proposed project.
complete DARTS drivers’ training
program and be certified to drive by                 Issue: Transportation Brokerage
                                                     A transportation brokerage system is not
Note: DARTS has received the United                  a consolidated system, but more than
We Ride Leadership Award for 2005, one               just vehicle sharing or joint use
of five communities “that are leading the            agreements. A transportation brokerage
way with common-sense approaches to                  is a mechanism to match ride requests
serving those who need help with                     with available transportation resources,
transportation.”                                     typically all existing transportation
                                                     providers in the area. The coordinator or
For more information regarding the                   “broker” matches the ride requests to the
mixing of clients and vehicle sharing best           transportation providers. Typically, this
practices, contact Mark Hoisser,                     broker is an independent and objective
Executive Director at (651) 234-2228 or              party that performs the matches based on                             the best transportation (mode and
                                                     timing) for the lowest cost, but there
                                                     have been some cases where the broker
Issue: Consolidation
                                                     also provides some of the trips itself. A
Consolidation is the most comprehensive              variety of transportation modes can be
type of coordination, defined as the                 used, for example, taxis, volunteers,
joining or merging of transportation                 fixed route bus service, demand-
resources for the benefit of all                     responsive dial-a-ride type services, etc.
                                                     The broker usually standardizes driver
participants. In a consolidated
                                                     standards, training, operating policies
transportation system, the services of
                                                     and procedures, and risk management
two or more providers are combined into
                                                     practices to ensure a consistent quality of
a single system. Consolidation requires
one of the participants or a new entity to
assume the role of coordinator. In the
                                                     In these cases each participating
cases of using an established
                                                     provider carries its own insurance
transportation provider, insurance is
                                                     coverage. In addition insurance
already in place, however, you should
                                                     coverage is also needed for the broker
still contact your insurance broker and
                                                     which will be directing or coordinating
provide them with a description and
                                                     trips among the service providers. The
overview of the new system, driver
                                                     broker may also be able to provide
standards, training, operating
                                                     umbrella liability coverage for
procedures, and risk management
                                                     transportation providers.
techniques. In the cases of a new
provider, chances are great that the
insurance broker for one of the existing
providers that will be folded into the
consolidated system will be able to
provide the insurance coverage.

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                             17
Issue: When Should I Contact My                      coordination effort and the policies
Insurance Carrier?                                   followed by all members.

A good relationship with your insurance              For a flyer and/or passenger guide,
carrier can be a major advantage to                  contact Cathy Sheets, Coordinator,
coordination. As you can see from the                Licking County Transit Board
recommended steps listed under Joint                 Coordinated Services, at (740) 670-5180
Use and Mixing Clients, early contact                or
with your insurance representative can
be a valuable resource in your
                                                     Issue: Will My Insurance Costs
coordination efforts and obtaining an
                                                     Increase if I Coordinate?
accurate assessment of your risk.
However, be prepared. Take the time to               The amount you pay for insurance will
educate your insurance representative                be directly related to the amount of risk
about your project. Develop an                       your insurance carrier/underwriter
information sheet or folder of                       assigns to your system. Being classified
information that describes the goals of              correctly and taking steps to minimize
the project and the proposed operating               your risk are two steps you can take in
plan, including the training program,                controlling your insurance costs.
safety program and policies, and other
preventative activities that directly affect
                                                     1. Be Classified Correctly
a system’s risk. Describe the process
that will be followed to formalize the
                                                     Insurance carriers are experts in
coordination arrangement, and invite
                                                     insurance and risk, not necessarily
input into the next steps. In addition to
                                                     transportation. It’s your job to educate
the description and procedures for your              them about your agency and the
project, compile risk and insurance
                                                     coordinated transportation service.
information for each member of your
                                                     Often insurance carriers assume that if
coordination effort. The list of
                                                     an agency is carrying clients other than
documents you should include is                      their own, they automatically become
itemized under the discussion of “Has                “for hire” and as such the risk in
Your Agency Been Classified Correctly                providing this type of service may be
for Your Insurance Coverage?” later in               greater (see the Best Practice on Motor
this document.                                       Carrier Registration for further
                                                     information and requirements on for hire
              Best Practice                          transportation). However, if you provide
The Licking County Transit Board                     only agency-sponsored trips and do not
Coordination Project in Newark, Ohio, is             provide any charter services, the “for
a coordinated effort of Licking County               hire” classification is inappropriate and
social service agencies that work                    corresponding higher premiums
together to provide transportation                   unjustified.
services for member agency clients.
Member agencies have developed a                     The first step in being able to
Service Brochure as well as a                        communicate clearly to your insurance
Transportation Policy and Procedure                  carrier is to specifically define your
Manual which describes their                         proposed coordinated service. Who will

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                          18
be the lead agency? Whose drivers will               insurance carriers as increasing the
be used? What type of policies and                   agency’s risk and could result in
procedures are in place for hiring? For              increased insurance premiums. If this is
training? Answering these questions and              the case, these additional costs would
developing a sound operating plan will               then be included in the fully allocated
assist you in communicating your                     costs of the agency (again, refer to the
project and getting the right insurance              Fully Allocated Cost discussion) and
classification and the right coverage.               allocated appropriately to all contracting
                                                     agencies. We should point out that it is
 Tort Liability Limitations and                      entirely possible that operating more
     Uninsured Motorists                             miles as a result of coordination may
                                                     have no impact at all on an agency’s
There are two other insurance issues                 insurance rates if they are already
which may require further review as they             correctly categorized by their insurance
relate to coordination. The first is the             carrier.
issue of tort liability limitations. If, in
one coordination example, agency “A” is              The following is a list of information
protected by the award caps, but agency              you should plan to compile for each
“B” with whom they coordinate is not,                participating agency:
there is question as to whether agency
“A” is now liable for agency “B’s”                        •   Organizational documents, such
higher recovery awards . If it is                             as articles of incorporation,
determined that this is the case, these                       bylaws, and financial statements;
costs must be included in the fully                       •   A description of your system:
allocated cost model for developing the                       fleet size and type, annual miles,
contract rate to be charged. (See the                         and annual passengers;
Fully Allocated Cost discussion in this                   •   A claims history for the past
Toolkit). The contract rate would then                        three to five years, and the rate of
reflect all costs of the service, including                   actual payments;
the higher costs due to the tort liability,               •   A summary that relates losses to
and these costs would be borne equally                        exposures (i.e., property damage
by all contracting agencies. Another                          or personal injury occurrences
option, however, would be to develop                          per miles of revenue service);
separate contract rates for agencies “A”                  •   A description of large losses
and “B” and to include the additional                         (over $10,000) and measures you
costs in the rate of the agency to which                      have taken to prevent future
the higher costs are attributable.                            occurrence of such losses;
                                                          •   Information on your agency’s
The second issue is in regards to the                         reserves for losses;
insurance costs related to uninsured
                                                          •   Forecasted losses specifying
motorists and the impact this could have
                                                              claims-made on an occurrence
on the cost of insurance for coordinating
agencies. If, because of the coordination
                                                          •   A summary of the replacement
efforts with other agencies, an agency
                                                              value of all real and personal
now operates substantially more miles of
                                                              property including descriptions,
service, this could be perceived by some
                                                              and maps, if appropriate; and

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                             19
    •   A summary of business                        dwindling resources, no one wants to
        interruption values from the loss            pay any more for insurance than they
        of facilities.                               have to. However, there are ways to
                                                     help control your insurance costs.
               Best Practice                         Documented and thorough hiring,
To help facilitate the coordination of               training, and safety programs are tools
human service transportation in North                you can employ that help reduce your
Carolina, a statute was enacted. The                 risk and reduce or control insurance
North Carolina Act to Remove Barriers                premiums.
to Coordinating Human Service and
Volunteer Transportation recognizes                  The amount of insurance premiums is
human service and volunteer                          directly proportional to the amount of
transportation as separate but                       risk a carrier foresees in providing
contributing components of the North                 coverage. Insurance is about limiting
Carolina transportation system and                   liability and risk, which in turn is about
removes barriers to low-cost human                   safety.
service transportation. The law clarifies
that transportation services cannot be               A good first step, then, in controlling or
regulated as commercial transportation               limiting risk, and ultimately controlling
and allows human service agencies to                 and/or reducing your insurance costs, is
purchase insurance for people who                    to develop a safety plan. A safety plan
provide volunteer transportation. It also            can address all aspects of your service,
exempts specialized transportation                   including driver standards, selection and
services from special taxes or licenses              hiring, background checks, training,
imposed by local governments. For more               drug and alcohol testing, safety incentive
information, contact Miriam Perry,                   programs, and accident/incident
Assistant Director for Administrative                procedures and record keeping. A
Services, at                 safety plan goes a long way in telling
                                                     your Board, your staff, and your
                                                     insurance carrier that safety and
                  Resource                           reducing risk to the maximum extent
The RTAP Risk Management for Rural                   possible is a priority at your agency.
Transit Systems Resource Handbook is a
training kit that can be used for training           Everyone has a role in safety. Board
or to develop an individual risk                     members must approve safety policies
management program. Contact the                      and plans and promote safety throughout
Minnesota DOT Office of Transit or the               the agency. The role of the managers
National RTAP Office at (800) 527-8279               and supervisors is to develop safety
for information on how you can obtain a              guidelines and procedures, see that they
copy of this manual.                                 are implemented, oversee accident
                                                     investigation and record keeping, ensure
2. Minimizing Risk through Safety                    that every employee knows safety rules,
                                                     train (and retrain) employees and
Insurance costs can often be a “deal                 volunteers in safety, conduct safety
breaker” when it comes to coordination.              inspections of facilities, vehicles, and
In today’s economy of rising costs and               equipment, and hold safety meetings for

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                             20
all staff. Finally, employees and                    developing bus safety plans. The sample
volunteers must obey safety rules, report            plans, contacts, reference links, and
unsafe conditions to their supervisor, and           checklists available at this site are adaptable
immediately report accidents.                        for systems of any size but are particularly
                                                     suitable for small urban and rural (section
Don’t think you have time to develop a               5311) recipients.
safety plan? You probably have most or
                                                     The Minnesota DOT’s Transit System and
all of the components already in place.
                                                     Security Workbook as well as other best
If not, there are several models and                 practices and model safety plans can also be
templates ready for you to use. The                  accessed at the Center For Urban
Minnesota DOT has developed a safety                 Transportation Research website,
plan template that is available for your   
use. The Risk Manager Software for
Bus Transit Systems was developed by
the Risk Management Center for the
Federal Transit Administration and is
                                                     Issue: What Types of Insurance
also an excellent resource for developing
                                                     Coverage Are Available for
risk management programs and safety
                                                     Coordinated Services?
                                                     There are three basic types of insurance
                Resources                            coverage: commercial insurance, self-
•   Minnesota DOT’s Transit System and               insurance, and insurance pools.
    Security Workbook, Minnesota DOT
    Office of Transit, 651.296.3379.                 Commercial insurance is the type with
•   RTAP Risk Management for Rural                   which most of us as individuals and
    Transit Systems available through the            agencies are familiar. The financial
    Rural Transit Assistance Program                 responsibility for accidental losses is
    (RTAP), 800-527-8279.                            transferred to an outside organization,
•   The Risk Manager Software for Bus                i.e. insurance company, in exchange for
    Transit Systems, prepared by the Risk            a premium. Insurance can be purchased
    Management Center, is a Transit                  to cover liability from the operation of
    Cooperative Research Program                     buses and automobiles (automobile
    document and can be accessed at                  insurance); legal liability from harm to                         third persons (general liability), to
                                                     compensation to employees for
The Florida Department of Transportation             occupational injuries or disease
(FDOT), in collaboration with members from           (workers’ compensation), loss or
the American Association of State Highway
                                                     damage to leased or owned property
and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO)
Multi-State Technical Assistance Program             (property insurance), as well as alleged
(MTAP), has gathered industry “best                  wrongful acts, errors, omissions,
practices” for developing model state safety         misstatements, neglect, or breach of
programs and state legislation necessary for         duties by public officials (public
the development of improved transit bus              officials liability); and liability
safety standards and practices.                      rising from the provision of professional
                                                     advice and related services (professional
The guide will serve as a useful resource for        liability). The premiums are based on

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                               21
the amount of risk assigned to a                     pool contributes to a trust fund and in
particular business or operation by the              turn receives coverage. Typically an
insurance industry. Any steps taken by               insurance broker will be retained to
an agency to minimize their risk in the              negotiate insurance rates on behalf of
eyes of their insurance carrier can result           pool members. As in all situations, there
in reduced or discounted premiums.                   are advantages and disadvantages to
                                                     pooling. Pooling can spread the risk to
Self-insurance is the assumption of all or           an extent that a single self-insured
partial responsibility for payment by an             system cannot. For example, while a
agency whose operations create the risk              large loss could be catastrophic to a
of accidental losses.                                single agency, it would not be to a group
                                                     of agencies. Pooling also allows you to
Agencies who make the decision to take               spread the costs among several parties,
on this financial responsibility for all or          and allows you to have more control
a portion of their losses typically set              over the services connected with
aside a self-insurance reserve, but can              insurance. On the other hand, you will
also pay for the losses from operating               be part of a group. And in all group
budgets. In these cases, excess                      situations, there may seem to be some
insurance to cover catastrophic losses is            winners and some losers. Since you
usually purchased commercially. Self-                share the risk of fellow pool members,
insured systems must also assume the                 you will pay for the losses of any
responsibility for the legal and                     member particularly prone to loss. Still
administrative costs of claims handling.             self-insurance pools have been very
                                                     successful across the country in
For many small agencies this degree of               controlling insurance costs and
self-insurance is not a viable option                providing a viable option to commercial
because of the lack of discretionary                 insurance.
budgets or reserves needed to cover
losses. However, many small agencies                 The bottom line to solving the insurance
can afford deductibles, which are a form             dilemma is to persevere. If you find that
of self-insurance. You can effectively               you don’t fit under a certain insurance
lower your premiums by increasing the                model, for example within the county or
amount of your deductible. This, along               city’s insurance consortium, research
with a strong risk management and                    what their requirements and definitions
safety plan, is a very reasonable solution           are and redefine your services so that
to controlling your insurance costs.                 they do fit. If one insurance carrier
                                                     won’t work with you, look for one that
A third approach to insurance is a form              will. Research the possibility of joining,
of self-insurance, however, instead of               or forming an insurance pool. Review
assuming the total financial                         your current insurance policy to
responsibility for losses, agencies share            determine if self-insuring more of your
the responsibility by pooling resources.             deductible can significantly lower your
                                                     insurance premiums.
Self-insurance pools are formed when a
group of agencies agree to jointly fund              And, don’t be afraid to challenge and
each other’s losses. Each agency in the              question the information you receive.

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                           22
Be your own advocate, but more                       Western Iowa banded together to obtain
importantly be an advocate for the                   fleet insurance through an insurance
people that will benefit from the                    consortium. A total of 300-500 vehicles
coordinated service.                                 were insured through the consortium.
                                                     The consortium’s success is attributed to
If for any reason your current insurance             the perseverance of an independent
carrier cannot, or will not, provide                 insurance broker who negotiated with a
insurance coverage for your joint use                variety of insurance companies on behalf
arrangement or if you are coordination               of the transit system consortium.
project that includes mixing client
populations, find one that will. Be                  For more information, please contact
prepared to shop around. Don’t give up               Donna Johnson, Iowa DOT Office of
just because your first carrier says no.             Public Transit, 515-233-7875.

            Best Practices                           Washington State
Minnesota - Paul Bunyan Transit,
Bemidji, Minnesota                                   On January 1, 1989, eight public transit
                                                     systems united to form a self-funded
When the City of Bemidji and Beltrami                liability only pool: the Washington State
County transit services, under a Joint               Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP). The
Powers Board, allowed Paul Bunyan                    initial combined contribution was
Transit to contract directly with the                $1,204,205. At the outset, the Pool
Minnesota Department of Transportation               offered $10 million in limits per
for State and Federal funding, Paul                  occurrence on a first dollar basis with a
Bunyan, a 501(c)(3) agency, found itself             $250,000 self-insured layer. Members
no longer eligible for insurance under the           were assessed based on their exposure of
Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust                   miles and boardings. The actuarial
(MCIT). This meant a potentially                     expected losses were $460,000 and the
devastating increase in Paul Bunyan’s                administrative expenses were $168,500.
insurance premiums. A change to its by-              Today, WSTIP’s membership has
laws to open Paul Bunyan’s meetings to               increased to 18 public transit
the public and give the Joint Powers                 organization, and three associate
Board some project oversight, such as                members. The current annual budget is
requiring a majority vote of the Board to            approximately $7.6 million. WSTIP
approve State and Federal applications,              provides auto liability, general liability,
allowed the operator to remain eligible              public officials (errors and omissions),
for insurance under MCIT and retain the              all risk property, crime, and boiler and
lower insurance premiums. For more                   machinery. Members may select
information, contact Greg Negard,                    deductibles from $0 to $10,000. WSTIP
Executive Director, at (218) 751-8765 or             provides optional Auto Physical Damage                              up to $500,000 and Uninsured
                                                     Motorists/Under Insured Motorists
Iowa                                                 (UM/UIM) to $60,000/occurrence. The
                                                     current loss fund is actuarially set at
In response to skyrocketing insurance                $3,550,000 and the administrative
rates, a group of transit systems in                 expenses are $1,350,000. Current

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance                           23
member equity is in excess of $7.2

WSTIP is accredited by the Association
of Governmental Risk Pools.
For more information, visit the WSTIP
website at

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Insurance   24
             Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                                                Coordination Planning

Topic: Planning for                                   requirements and human service
Coordination                                          program requirements.

Target Audience: State Agencies,                      Transit and human service program
Human Service Agency Transportation                   requirements provide states and
Providers, Section 5310 Agencies,                     localities with the flexibility to design
Section 5307 and 5311 Public Transit                  transportation systems to meet unique
Systems                                               state and local needs. Each state
                                                      determines how the coordination
Goal: To present the benefits of, and                 planning will be administered and which
tools and resources for, coordination                 public agencies will be responsible for
planning.                                             program development, implementation,
                                                      and evaluation. Local responsibilities
(Note: Parts of the following discussion              for leading or participating in plan
are taken from the document, Innovative               development will vary from community
State & Local Planning for Coordinated                to community with each selecting
Transportation by the Coordinating                    participant agencies and service delivery
Council on Access and Mobility which                  options.
is available in its entirety at                     Transit Requirements
                                                      The planning and coordination
Issue: Planning: Transit                              requirements for FTA transit programs
Requirements vs. Human Services                       in DOT are specified by statute. The
Requirements                                          1998 reauthorization of highway and
                                                      transit legislation, the Transportation
Funding effective coordinated                         Equity Act for the Twenty-first Century
transportation services requires a                    (known as TEA-21), creates a context
planning process that melds service                   for establishing FTA's procedures at the
needs, available resources, and agency                state and metropolitan level for planning,
commitments. Planning for                             designing, and delivering transportation
transportation services can also involve              services that are coordinated with
satisfying the planning requirements of               services provided by non-DOT agencies.
a myriad of programs funded by
different federal and state agencies.                 TEA-21 provisions created a much
                                                      stronger basis for coordinated planning
The two main sets of requirements                     and service delivery between recipients
which come into play when planning for                of DOT and HHS funds. DOT-funded
transportation coordination are transit               recipients must include "the non-DOT
                                                      agencies with planning functions to the

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Planning for Coordination             25
maximum extent practicable," and non-                 participate in a 10-year planning process
DOT-funded transportation providers are               targeting health outcomes for the general
"to participate and coordinate with DOT               population and for specific target
recipients to the extent feasible." Such              populations.
language is the clearest expression to
date of Congressional interest in the                 Applications for funding for eight of the
coordination in the planning and                      twelve HHS programs that fund
delivery of specialized transportation                transportation services are submitted to
services.                                             federal officials at the regional or
                                                      headquarters level from the state level.
In general, coordination projects which               For grants for Native Americans, Head
involve public transit services funded by             Start, Community Services Block
Sections 5310, 5311 or 5307 will have to              Grants, and Community Health Centers,
take into account any Minnesota                       the local agency or tribe is the recipient
Department of Transportation (DOT)                    and is responsible for detailed program
planning requirements such as the                     planning. The Administration on Aging
submission of a multi-year operating or               uses a more detailed planning process
capital plan. Urban transit systems                   that begins with the local area agencies
(Section 5307) will also have to satisfy              on aging, feeds into a state plan and ends
the planning requirements of their                    with submission to the Federal office.
metropolitan planning organizations
(discussed later in this brief).                      Issue: Who are the “Players” in
                                                      Coordinated Transportation Planning?
Human Service Requirements
                                                      Planning for transportation coordination
Department of Health and Human                        involves a host of different “players” at
Services (DHHS)-funded programs                       the federal, state and local levels:
respond to planning requirements based
on the individual health or social service                    Federal DOT or HHS officials
missions of those programs. The                               State DOT or HHS officials
planning period, scope and structure of                       Local elected officials – county
the planning process, and plan                                commissioners, city council,
review/approval process will vary                             mayors, township trustees, etc.
significantly from program to program.                        Public transit systems
This variation in planning processes                          Social service agencies
reflects the differing statutes authorizing                   Local transportation advocacy
these programs and the wide range of                          and advisory groups
health and social needs addressed by the                      Metropolitan planning
programs. For example, Head Start                             organizations (MPO’s)
agencies submit program reports each                          Regional planning commissions
year which address their program                              (rural areas)
intentions for subsequent years. The                          Local businesses/industries
state agencies funded under the Older                         Private transportation providers
Americans Act choose a planning period
of 3 to 5 years for their service planning
process. A number of health agencies

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Planning for Coordination            26
Issue: The Transportation Planning                    regarding the selection of grantees for
Role of State Agencies                                Section 5310 vehicles. MPOs may also
                                                      provide technical assistance to small
State agencies exercise their planning,               urban areas and rural communities on
program management, and oversight                     transportation planning. In some areas,
responsibilities over local agencies who              MPOs also lead other types of planning
plan for transportation coordination at               such as human services and housing.
the local level. Experience has shown
that states generally support coordinating            MPOs are appropriate organizations to
transportation services, but that financial           prepare plans, collect and analyze data,
assistance to plan and implement                      develop strategies, and allocate funds.
coordinated human service                             MPOs participate in the prioritization of
transportation may be difficult to obtain.            projects that span over a variety of
With the recent pressures on                          highway, transit, mobility and
transportation services that have been                coordination needs in a given region.
created by welfare reform (including                  They can play a significant role in
pressures on states to meet Temporary                 stimulating regional cooperation among
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)                  agencies and help minimize the
participation rates), some states are                 fragmentation of services provided in a
becoming more proactive in providing                  community or region. MPOs often take a
planning support.                                     multi-jurisdictional approach to
                                                      coordination planning and problem
Issue: The Transportation Planning                    solving, engaging a wide range of
Role of Metropolitan Planning                         groups including human service and
Organizations                                         transit providers. Therefore, MPOs play
                                                      a lead role in coordinating specialized
For transportation coordination planning              transportation services in a metropolitan
projects in urbanized areas and which                 area.
include an urban transit system or
Section 5310 grantees, the designated                 An example of an MPO in Minnesota
metropolitan planning organization                    involved in transportation coordination
(MPO) will most likely become involved                activities is the Metropolitan Council,
in the planning process.                              the designated MPO for the Twin Cities
                                                      metropolitan area. The Council is
Metropolitan planning organizations                   responsible for preparing a long-range
(MPOs) have the federally-mandated                    (20-year) transportation plan for the
responsibility for regional transportation            region every three (3) years. It is also
planning including planning for public                responsible for the selection of projects
transit-type services. An MPO is an                   for federal funding (including transit)
organizational entity with lead                       and the preparation of a three-year
responsibility for developing short-term              transportation improvement program
and long-range transportation plans and               (TIP). This is done through a planning
transportation improvement plans (TIPs)               process involving the Council’s
in urbanized areas of 50,000 or more in               Transportation Advisory Board (made
population. MPO’s may also provide                    up of local elected officials) and its
recommendations to the state DOT                      Technical Advisory Committee. The

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Planning for Coordination            27
process to develop the Council’s TIP                  Transportation Planning of the
includes broad citizen and interested                 Transportation Coordination Toolkit.
group input.
                                                      The coordination planning checklist
Issue: The Planning Role of Local                     below provides a representative
Providers and Agencies                                synthesis of coordinated guidance from
                                                      states and localities around the country.
Most coordination planning occurs at the              In recognition of these guidelines and
local level. This is where the actual                 the wide variation of needs from
delivery of transportation services takes             community to community, it is
place and agreements between agencies                 recommended that the checklist outlined
are formulated. This is also where most               in the next section be used as an overall
of the coordination project’s policies and            framework. Those who are interested in
procedures will be developed                          implementing or enhancing coordination
                                                      in states and communities would be well
Usually, coordination planning begins                 advised to review the list and the
with the formation of a local committee               resource guide included in the
or task force made up of human service                Transportation Coordination Toolkit
agencies, public transit systems, and                 to fine tune their approaches.
local elected officials, and other
interested organizations, businesses or               Checklist of Transportation Planning
citizens. In rural areas, this committee              Steps
will most likely need to be created. In
urban areas, the metropolitan planning                Following the eleven (11) steps below
organization’s committee structure may                can help create successfully coordinated
be utilized.                                          transportation services. It is important to
                                                      remember that coordination takes place
Issue: What is the Planning Process?                  at both the state and local level. Use this
                                                      checklist to make sure that you have
Once a transportation coordination                    covered all the bases. Come back and
committee/task force has been                         review it from time to time for a clear
established, the planning process can                 perspective on the planning process and
begin. To start the coordinated planning              its linkage to operations.
process, review the sequence of
transportation planning steps outlined in             Communities are encouraged to include
the checklist below. Pay close attention              the following steps in coordinating their
to the following section about working                specialized transportation planning
through specific goals and objectives,                activities:
because establishing these goals and
objectives early in the planning process                  •   1. Identify stakeholders;
will greatly increase your chances of
success. Finally, if you run into                         •   2. Organize initial meeting of
problems, ask for help. Technical                             coordination committee/task
assistance resources are listed in the                        force;
Resource Guide for Coordinated

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Planning for Coordination             28
    •   3. Establish commitments and                  or adjusted services will be offered. New
        form partnerships;                            systems must determine what services
                                                      will be provided, how they will be
    •   4. Specify goals, objectives, and             delivered, when services will be offered,
        constraints;                                  and what price will be charged to
                                                      passengers or their sponsors. Service
    •   5. Jointly identify client needs;             planning determines the operations,
                                                      maintenance, administrative, and capital
    •   6. Identify transportation                    requirements of the transportation
        resources;                                    system according to the system's adopted
                                                      goals and objectives. The seven key
    •   7. Design detailed service and                elements of a transportation service plan
        financial options;                            are:

    •   8. Select and recommend a plan                    •   Service modes,
        of action;                                        •   Service availability,
                                                          •   Organizational and institutional
    •   9. Confirm agency and                                 context,
        community commitments;                            •   Service pricing,
                                                          •   Personnel and labor
    •   10. Develop implementation and                        requirements,
        funding plan for selected                         •   Rolling stock, and
        alternative; and                                  •   Other capital requirements.

    •   11. Measure, monitor and                      Coordination is applicable to all of these
        evaluate performance.                         key elements. Sharing information,
                                                      facilities, and resources across this broad
All of these planning steps are crucial to            spectrum of activities can lead to
success in the operational phases of                  coordination benefits, including access
transportation service. The planning                  to more funding sources, higher quality
process needs to be seen as continuous                and more cost-effective transportation
and iterative: plans are made, tested,                services, and transportation services that
refined, and retested in a repetitive cycle           are more visible to consumers.
until they meet the system’s goals and
objectives in an efficient manner before              (Note: a complete description of each of
operations begin. Nevertheless,                       the steps is included in the
operating procedures may need to be                   aforementioned CCAM report.)
evaluated and modified several times
before goals and objectives can be met                References/Resources:
most effectively.
                                                      Many individuals and organizations have
Transportation systems must                           been involved in the area of coordinated
continuously plan for the efficient and               transportation planning for some time,
effective delivery of services. Existing              and are available to help. A list of
systems must decide whether services                  coordination resources is provided in the
should remain the same or whether new                 Resource Guide for Coordinated

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Planning for Coordination             29
Transportation Planning of the                        service in the four counties. In 2000, the
Transportation Coordination Toolkit                   transit board took over direct operations
which is available at:                                of the system. This coordination effort                among the four counties helps contain
crp_rpt_101.pdf.                                      administrative costs and assures that the
                                                      service provided is the right mix and
The National Transit Resource Center                  most cost effective for the area served.
includes a wide range of materials on                 Wheelchair lift equipped buses along
transportation coordination strategies                with a volunteer driver program are used
and experiences. The Resource Center                  to provide route deviation, dial-a-ride,
may be contacted at 1 (800) 527-8279 or               and subscription service Monday -
on the web at:                     Friday on a first come, first served basis.
                                                      The service is provided as one, seamless
The Office of Family Assistance/HHS                   system, although service is tailored to the
has published and disseminated joint                  individual counties and local
guidance on the use of TANF, Welfare-                 communities. In addition to its stated
to-Work (Department of Labor) and Job                 service area, Rainbow Rider also
Access (FTA) funds to provide                         coordinates with other counties outside
transportation services that is available             its service area to provide service
on the following website:                             primarily through its volunteer driver                   program. It also contracts with the
.htm.                                                 majority of the schools in its service area
                                                      to provide special need transportation as
Also, you may find answers to your                    well as all of the Head Start
questions on the web page for the                     transportation in the four county area.
Coordinating Council on Access and
Mobility. If you don't find the question              Each county appoints two county
directly, there are discussion groups on              commissioners to serve on the joint
that web page to which you may post                   powers board, which meets monthly to
your particular question. The address for             conduct business. The board approves
the Council’s web page is                             any new service that is needed, but relies                                 on the Rainbow Rider management staff
                                                      to make the call if more or less service is
               Best Practices                         needed in an area.
Rainbow Rider, Lowry, MN
                                                      Each county also has a Transit Advisory
Coordinated Planning and                              Committee or TAC, appointed by the
Administration                                        respective counties, which meets
                                                      quarterly to provide input regarding the
Rainbow Rider is a consortium of                      service to the Transit Board. Human
Douglas, Pope, Stevens, and Traverse                  service representatives, senior
Counties, formed under a Joint Powers                 coordinators, commissioners,
Board in 1995. Since its inception, the               representatives from cities, nursing
Rainbow Rider Transit Board has                       homes, churches, and riders are
coordinated the planning, oversight,                  represented on the TAC.
administration and operations of transit

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Planning for Coordination            30
Rainbow Rider is financed from State and
Federal transit funding, as well as
contracts, donations, and fares. From
1995 to 2001 the counties contributed
from their general funds to the local
share according to population and hours
used. Since that time Rainbow Rider has
been able to fund itself without the county
appropriations, however, each county
[department] purchases service through
the system as needed for its own clients
with fares.

Rainbow Rider is currently developing a
strategic plan and working with
MnDOT on a long range plan for the

For additional information contact
Rainbow Rider, 401 Florence Avenue,
P.O. Box 136, Lowry, MN 56349, 800-
450-7770, or via email at

               Best Practices
Scott County Association for Leadership
and Efficiency (SCALE) – Scott County,

Planning & Leadership

The Scott County Association for
Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE) was
formed in the spring of 2003 to
encourage greater efficiencies and
leadership in public service through
enhanced communication, collaboration
of services and sharing of resources.
Members include the mayors and
administrators from cities within Scott
County, School Superintendents,
Township Officers, representatives of the
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux
Community (SMSC), as well as the
County administrator and County board

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Planning for Coordination   31
As a further testament to SCALE’s
applicability as a model, in its December
2004 report, Best Practices Review,
Cooperative Efforts in Public Service
Delivery, the Minnesota State Auditor’s
Office recommended, “…the creation of
organizations similar to Scott County’s
SCALE in every county in Minnesota.”

The report went on to say “this
recommendation requires non legislative
action or expenditure of dollars. All it
requires is a desire by local officials to
create a formalized process to foster
coordination in the community.” The
State Auditor’s full report can be
accessed at this website.

            Best Practices
Washington State

The Agency Council on Coordinated
Transportation (ACCT) is a partnership
of members from the legislature, state
agencies, transportation providers, and
consumer advocates. ACCT’s mission is
to direct and promote activities that
efficiently use all available state and
community resources for special needs
transportation across the state of

ACCT’s vision is to remove
transportation as a barrier to
participation in community activities; its
mission is to facilitate a statewide
approach to coordinated transportation
to fulfill this vision. ACCT activities
focus on increasing service to special
needs populations by removing barriers
to transportation coordination between
agencies. Coordinated transportation
can increase service availability and
quality without increasing costs for the
state. One of ACCT’s first goals was to

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Planning for Coordination   32
            Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                                 Coordinated Maintenance Programs

Topic: Coordinated Maintenance
Programs                                            How you go about establishing this
                                                    program, however, is your choice. A
Target Audience: State Agencies,                    coordinated maintenance program can
Human Service Agency Transportation                 provide,
Providers, Section 5310 Agencies,
Section 5307 and 5311 Public Transit                  •   Standardized procedures and
Systems                                                   practices,
                                                      •   Compliance with all applicable
Goal: To present the benefits of a                        regulatory requirements, and
coordinated maintenance program.                      •   An effective maintenance and
                                                          quality assurance program.
Issue: Why Coordinate?
                                                    This last point is particularly important
  •   Coordination does not have to be              as it can be a critical factor in your Risk
      limited to vehicle and trip sharing.          Management Plan (see the brief on
      Maintenance costs, for example,               Insurance).
      can be reduced or contained
      through coordination. Just as                 Issue: Who Can Coordinate?
      important, the quality of the
      service can be increased when                 There is no size requirement for a
      conducted cooperatively with an               system that wants to coordinate
      established maintenance program.              maintenance services. If you are a large
      A good maintenance program can                system with a sound, quality
      greatly improve system safety and             maintenance program, offering your
      reliability through regular and               services to smaller systems can be a
      standardized maintenance                      “win-win”, generating revenue for your
      practices. Vehicle downtime can               system and offering cost savings to the
      be minimized. Coordination can                other. Smaller systems also benefit from
      solve the problem of local vendors            not having to shop around for
      not interested in warranty work as            maintenance services or developing
      well as those not experienced with            lengthy proposals.
      public transit vehicles. It can also
      offer “loaner vehicles” that are              There is also no requirement that all
      appropriate to public transit                 maintenance services must be
      agencies. And finally, a                      coordinated. Systems or agencies may
      coordinated maintenance program               wish to coordinate only vehicle
      can help ensure that State and                inspections or heavy vehicle repairs or
      Federal guidelines are met.                   body work, etc. The amount and type of
                                                    work which is coordinated will depend

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordinated Maintenance Programs     33
upon the existing maintenance resources             The technology used for record keeping
and staffing of the system or agency.               is also changing. Maintenance managers
                                                    are required to keep much more detailed
An example of a system which offers its             records. Taking advantage of an
maintenance services to other                       established, well-organized maintenance
coordination partners is Dakota Area                program can help you solve these
Resources and Transportation for                    problems and save money.
Seniors (DARTS). DARTS offers their
Vehicle Maintenance System (VMS) to                 Issue: Elements of a Preventative
other non-profit transportation systems             Maintenance Plan and Program
to “decrease vehicle operating costs,
reduce vehicle downtime, and improve                Whether your agency/organization
vehicle safety for riders whether they be           performs its own maintenance or
young or old, healthy or frail, mobile or           whether it contracts maintenance work
wheelchair dependent. DARTS VMS                     to a coordination partner or private
will allow nonprofits to expand the reach           vendor, it should have a preventative
of public dollars and better serve their            maintenance plan or ensure that its
clients -- a true social return to the              provider has an adequate one.
community that furthers the mission of
DARTS.”                                             Preventative maintenance (PM) is an
                                                    essential element of every effective
Issue: Reducing or Containing Costs                 maintenance program, as it helps to
                                                    ensure maximum vehicle reliability,
Regardless of the size of a transportation          safety and longevity. It entails
agency, reducing and/or containing costs            performing regularly scheduled
is especially important in this day of              maintenance procedures in order to
dwindling resources. Every one wants                minimize malfunctions, rather than
to get more for less. Coordination of               simply making repairs when something
maintenance services can help achieve               goes wrong. It also involves performing
that, providing better service for the              necessary repairs promptly to prevent
same or lower cost.                                 further damage and maintain vehicle
                                                    safety. While PM may be more
Issue: Service Quality and System                   expensive in the short-run, it will likely
Safety and Reliability                              result in the lowest overall life-cycle
                                                    costs when all vehicle-related expenses
Reliable, safe, and well-maintained                 are considered.
vehicles and equipment can be the
hallmark of a transportation system and             Replacement Versus Repair
speak volumes about the service that is
provided. Organizations often include               “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” is a time-
program goals such as safe, efficient,              honored cliché and if we could always
and reliable service as part of their               predict the exact point of any component
mission statement or goals and                      failure, it would be a reasonable way to
objectives. The organization’s                      operate. However, without such
maintenance program is one tool used to             predictability, it makes sense to replace
meet these goals.                                   or rebuild certain components prior to

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordinated Maintenance Programs      34
failure (whenever there is the data or
experience to justify doing so without              You should also be aware that in many cases
incurring extraordinary costs).                     involving heavy-duty items, such as starters
                                                    and compressors, a trade-in (core) unit is
While this routine replacement concept              required. This “core” generally is not used
can be applied to a wide variety of                 in your rebuilt unit; instead, it goes on to
components, it does require that you                become the rebuilt product for another
gain experience with your particular                operation.
vehicles in your unique environment.
                                                    Like rebuilt parts, after-market parts (i.e.
Routine replacement is typically applied            parts built by a company other than the
to those components where little if any             original equipment manufacturer - (OEM))
diagnostic aid is available, other than             may offer an up-front cost savings. They
visual inspection. These include items              may claim to be built to the same or superior
such as:                                            specifications as the OEM part, but only
                                                    through monitoring can you determine
        •   fluids (except windshield               whether the part’s life is truly comparable.
            washer and coolant)
        •   hoses                                   Through experience you will gain the
        •   belts                                   background necessary to make informed
        •   wiper blades                            decisions in the future. Good maintenance
                                                    records and purchasing documentation are
Monitor Suppliers                                   essential and must be addressed when you
                                                    first begin operation, or introduce a new
Tracking your suppliers’ performance                type of vehicle into service.
(price, quality and reliability) is another
essential element of a successful                   Documentation
preventative maintenance program. For
instance, the quality of your fuel can have a       Another key to any successful
significant impact on the service and repair        maintenance program is up-to-date,
level required for various parts of your            accurate record keeping. While
engine, including the electronic controls,          documentation is necessary for purposes
fuel injection and catalytic converter.             of budget and control, good records will
                                                    also enable you to optimize your PM
One area that requires close monitoring is          program by providing:
the performance of rebuilt and after-market
parts. Rebuilt parts, such as alternators and               •    the database to enable you to
pumps, may offer up-front cost savings.                          establish proper intervals for
However, such parts may have a shorter                           routine maintenance and
operational life than new parts. By                              servicing;
monitoring the life of rebuilt parts, you can
determine whether true savings are realized,                •    information on repetitive
or whether total cost is actually greater, once                  failures to establish repair or
you factor in the cost of another rebuilt unit                   replacement intervals, and on
and the labor associated with multiple                           the performance of

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordinated Maintenance Programs     35
            rebuilt/after-market parts and          In situations where maintenance is
            consumables suppliers;                  contracted to a third party or
                                                    coordination partner, good
        •   early warning of impending              documentation is key to minimizing
            problems through tell-tale              disputes. Under this scenario,
            signs, such as increased oil            management should make the extra
            consumption;                            effort to review repair bills and
                                                    develop/maintain the database required
        •   back-up information for                 for adjustments to the preventative
            warranty claims (particularly           maintenance program. Maintenance is
            marginal claims near the end            never “out of sight, out of mind” to the
            of the warranty period where            smart operator.
            supporting documentation
            can often be the “clincher” in          Maintenance Program Monitoring
            claim payment);
                                                    Once your maintenance program is in
        •   information that can later be           place or you have contracted
            used in the selection and               maintenance work to a coordination
            procurement of new vehicles.            partner agency or transit system, you
            Does a particular type of               will want to monitor vehicle
            vehicle require more frequent           performance and maintenance cost
            repairs or have recurring               information to ensure that your or your
            repairs on the transmission,            partner agency/system’s program is
            engine or body? Does a                  working. Performance measures which
            certain brand of vehicle or             are commonly used to monitor
            component type require more             maintenance programs are listed below:
            frequent repairs? When
            compiling this information,                     Maintenance cost per vehicle
            your agency should involve                      mile;
            your mechanics in vehicle                       Maintenance labor cost per
            specifications and selection.                   vehicle mile;
                                                            Maintenance cost per vehicle;
        •   backup information for any                      and
            litigation or lawsuits that                     Number of roadcalls per 100,000
            might result from an accident                   miles.
            in which your agency’s
            vehicle or driver was                   Monthly “vehicle availability reports”
            involved in; and                        may also be prepared to monitor
                                                    maintenance programs. A vehicle
        •   documentation of any                    availability report shows the percent of
            personnel related patterns              the vehicle fleet that was available and
            (e.g. more frequent tire or             ready for service during the month. In
            brake replacement on one                other words, it is measuring how much
            driver’s vehicle versus fleet           “down time” there was for the fleet.
            average).                               This information provides a
                                                    transportation coordinator or director

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordinated Maintenance Programs      36
with a summary from which he or she                      the spreadsheets referenced in the
can quickly determine whether or not a                   Toolkit brief on Fully Allocated
problem in fleet availability exists or is               Costs and provided as part of the
developing.                                              Toolkit Resources.
                                                      4. With your legal advisor, develop a
Issue: State and Federal Regulation                      contract or agreement outlining the
Compliance                                               your agency’s requirements, any
                                                         stipulations to the service, etc.,
Federal and State guidelines (e.g., 49                   such as labor and parts costs,
CFR Part 18, “The Common Rule”;                          downtime, insurance, liability, etc.
Section 5310; Section 5311; Section                   5. Network with other systems to
5307; Federal Motor Carrier Safety                       determine your opportunities and
Administration; Minnesota Office of                      their needs.
Freight and Commercial Vehicle
Operations) require that vehicles be                If your system is looking for
operated in a safe and sound manner and             maintenance services,
typically require a structured
maintenance program. Taking                           1. Pull together all of your
advantage of a program that already                      maintenance information,
meets these requirements is not only                     including forms, samples of
smart, but saves you time and money                      records, lists of State and Federal
and can provide you with standardized                    requirements, past maintenance
forms and reports to aid you in your                     agreements or RFPs, etc.
recordkeeping.                                        2. Network with other systems to
                                                         determine what services they offer
Issue: Next Steps                                        that can meet your needs.
                                                      3. Interview all prospective systems
If your system has maintenance services                  to determine which program best
that can be of benefit to other systems,                 meets your needs.
                                                      4. Have your legal advisor review any
  1. Develop a description of the                        agreements or contracts you enter
     services you can offer and add this                 into prior to contract execution.
     information to your brochure and
     website.                                                   Best Practices
  2. Include any information such as                St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit
     awards, citations from Motor                   Commission
     Carrier or FTA audits, etc.
  3. Develop a rate structure based on              The St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit
     your fully allocated maintenance               Commission provides vehicle
     costs (other FTA systems will need             maintenance and storage facilities to the
     this information). These costs will            Tri-CAP Connection for its Section 5311
     include, at a minimum, parts, labor,           fleet. The agreement stipulates the
     and overhead. To ensure you are                number and size of vehicles to be housed
     capturing all of your maintenance              and the fee per month per vehicle as well
     costs, use the MnDOT Section                   as when the fee is to be paid. The rental
     5311 budget spreadsheet or one of              fee includes all utilities and public

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordinated Maintenance Programs   37
liability and property damage insurance             about a third of storage fee costs.
covering the leased premises, the
building, and other improvements. St.               For further information, contact Tony
Cloud also provides routine and                     Kellen, Director of Operations, St Cloud
occasional major vehicle maintenance                MTC, 665 Franklin Ave NE, St Cloud MN
services for Tri-CAP at an hourly rate.             56304, or Office 320-251-1499 Ext 103,
Tri-CAP communicates directly to the St.            or via e-mail, or
Cloud’s Maintenance Manager regarding               Linda Elfstrand, Director, Tri-CAP
vehicle maintenance needs. The                      Connection at (320) 202-7824, x217, or
Maintenance Manager also serves as        
maintenance "consultant" in instances
where outside, subcontract specialty (e.g.          Dakota Area Resources and
major engine, transmission, body, etc.)             Transportation for Seniors (DARTS)
work is required. St. Cloud provides
monthly, unless requested more often by             DARTS, the Section 5311 operator for
Tri-CAP, printed invoice work orders,               Dakota County, Minnesota, offers a
maintenance history, and any other                  variety of services to other nonprofit
vehicle maintenance information                     organizations, including DARTS' many
generated by St. Cloud’s computerized               innovations in transportation services
maintenance record keeping program. In              such as planning and operations
addition to the vehicle maintenance                 consulting, driver training, vehicle
service per hour rate, there is a vehicle           maintenance, and support services. See
parts inventory mark-up rate for parts              DARTS current brochure detailing
purchased with St. Cloud’s funds and                DARTS' ride service and specialized
stored in its premises, a shop                      transit solutions.
supplies/materials per hour fee for full
Preventative Maintenance (PM) activities            DARTS VMS program provides a state-
(not applicable to non PM, repair                   of-art garage ready to serve your
activities and mini PM [oil change]                 organization's vehicle needs, offering
activities), and an exterior bus washing            service for vehicle engines, wheelchair
charge of per automatic bus washer or               lift repair, brake and tire replacement,
hand pressure washer activity.                      and much more.

There is nothing within this agreement              DARTS received top honors at the Yale
preventing Tri-CAP from procuring                   National Business Plan Competition
vehicle maintenance services from an                for Nonprofits. Out of 20 finalists, the
outside maintenance vendor. In the event            DARTS business plan for DARTS VMS
outside maintenance services are                    (Vehicle Maintenance Services) was one
obtained, complete vehicle repair                   of four grand-prize winners.
invoices from outside vendors shall be
copied and provided to St. Cloud’s                  For more information about DARTS
Maintenance Manager.                                programs, see their website at
This coordinated arrangement has been     
in place since 1997. Tri-CAP estimates
that it pays about 60% of what it would             Illinois Department of Transportation
pay for maintenance on the market, and              (IDOT) - REGIONAL MAINTENANCE

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordinated Maintenance Programs   38
CENTER PROGRAM                                        2.   Brakes,
                                                      3.   Electrical and interlocks,
IDOT created the Regional Maintenance                 4.   Air Conditioning, and
Center Program in response to obstacles               5.   Transmissions.
transit agencies were experiencing, such
as                                                  Obstacles that have been encountered
                                                    include (solutions provided in
  •   Small agencies being unfairly taken           parentheses):
      advantage of by local repair
      centers,                                        •    Legal authority for RMC to work in
  •   Repairs not getting properly                         non-RMC vehicles (RMC’s
      diagnosed and fixed correctly the                    persevered with the necessary
      first or second or third time,                       authorities and this did not become
  •   Local vendors not interested in                      a barrier to coordination),
      warranty work,                                  •    Use of federally-funded facilities
  •   Vendors with no in-depth                             and equipment for either non-
      knowledge of paratransit vehicles.                   federally funded agency vehicles or
                                                           vehicles purchased and used by
The goals of the program were to have                      other federal programs (expenses
                                                           and revenues are all tracked
  •   The state’s paratransit fleet operate                separately; facility must be
      under the highest possible safety                    primarily used for the purpose for
      and maintenance standards, and                       which it was built, i.e. transit
  •   Every part of the state within 60                    purposes),
      miles of a RMC.                                 •    Insurance on loaner vehicle
                                                           (agency using the loaner vehicle
Two Centers were established initially; a                  must show proof of insurance),
third center has been added. Non-routine              •    Union mechanics working on non-
maintenance is provided to agencies                        agency vehicles (project was
within a 60 mile radius of the center.                     promoted as way to provide
Other assistance provided includes:                        assistance to agencies without the
                                                           necessary expertise), and
  •   Toll free help line,                            •    Excessive use of loaner vehicle by
  •   Email help line,                                     an agency (continues to be an issue
  •   In Springfield, a loaner vehicle for                 on a case by case basis, but has not
      agencies to use while theirs is in                   proven to be a barrier to
      being repaired,                                      coordination).
  •   Warranty claim assistance, and
  •   Quality service performed correctly           All of the above obstacles have been
      the first time at a reasonable cost           worked through and have not been a
                                                    barrier to coordination.
The top five maintenance repairs over the
history of the program are                          Both Section 5310 and 5311 systems are
                                                    tremendously supportive of this program,
  1. Wheelchair lifts,                              which has continued to grow from its
                                                    inception. A total of 32 agencies

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordinated Maintenance Programs   39
participated in 2003; 44 in 2004. A third
center has been added, and the program
has received the 2002 APTA Innovation
Award and the 2002 National RTAP
Outstanding Achievement Award.

For more information, contact David
Spacek, Illinois DOT, Division of Public
Transportation, 310 South Michigan,
Room 1608, Chicago, Illinois 60604;
312-793-2154 or

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordinated Maintenance Programs   40
             Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                               Motor Carrier Registration Requirements
                                                      organizations, and private nonprofit
Topic: Motor Carrier                                  transportation companies that engage in
                                                      interstate transportation, regardless of
Registration Compliance
                                                      whether the entity is a recipient of
                                                      Federal funds. Minnesota Statute
Target Audience: Section 5310
                                                      221.031 adopts these same requirements,
agencies, Section 5307 and 5311 Public
                                                      Therefore, they apply for most intrastate
Transit Systems
                                                      operations as well.
Goal: To understand the Federal Motor
                                                      The following is a summary of the
Carrier Safety Administration Safety
                                                      specific Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulation Requirements and the State
of Minnesota’s motor carrier registration
requirements for interstate and intrastate
travel.                                                 •    For vehicles designed to transport
                                                             8 to 15 passengers including the
Issue: Federal Safety Regulations                            driver
                                                             o 390 Federal Motor Carrier
While this brief is written to primarily                         Regulations, General
address Minnesota’s state requirements                       o 391 Qualifications of Drivers
for registration of commercial motor                         o 392 Driving of Commercial
vehicles, it is also important to note the                       Motor Vehicles
Federal requirements as well.                                o 393 Parts & Accessories
                                                                 Necessary for Safe Operation
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety                             o 395 Hours of Service
Administration (FMCSA), created by                           o 396 Inspection, Repair,
Congress by the Motor Carrier Safety                             Maintenance
Improvement Act of 1999 (Pub.L.106-                     •    For vehicles designed to transport
159), is charged with the regulation and                     16 or more passengers including
safety oversight of motor freight                            the driver
transportation companies. This agency                        o all those above plus
also has regulatory oversight over                           o Commercial Driver's License
passenger carriers as well. The FMCSA                            (CDL)
assumed responsibility previously                            o 382 Controlled Substances and
administered by the Federal Highway                              Alcohol Use and Testing
Administration (FHWA) and the
Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).                 Issue: State Registration
The FMCSA’s regulatory coverage over                  Requirements
passenger transportation carriers extends
to public entities, private, for-profit               In the late 1970’s early 1980’s,
                                                      transportation providers were emerging

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Motor Carrier Reg. Requirements        41
in Minnesota at a rapid pace to meet
growing needs for non-emergency                       The OFCVO has distinguished vehicles
transportation to medical and social                  designed to transport 8 or more
services. Prior to 1979, there were no                passengers from "Small vehicle
rules governing the safe provision of                 passenger service," which, by their
these transportation services other than              definition, is a service provided by a
vehicle inspections required by the State             person engaged in the for-hire
Highway Patrol. There were no                         transportation of passengers in a vehicle
minimum requirements for driver                       designed to transport 7 or fewer persons
eligibility and training other than those             including the driver.
that might have been required by
insurance carriers. In 1979, the first                Small vehicle passenger service is
statute was passed by the Minnesota                   regulated by the cities in which they
Legislature to address the safety of these            operate and also by the Metropolitan
transportation services; the first                    Airport Commission. (Note: how the
rulemaking to implement the statute                   different cities regulate this service
followed in 1982. Since that time,                    appears to vary. For further questions on
revisions have fine tuned, clarified, and             this issue, contact the OFCVO staff at
increased the requirements and timeline               (651) 405-6096).
for training as well as specified the
providers and services that fall under the            For purposes of this document, we will
statute.                                              only be referring to transportation in
                                                      vehicles of 8 or more (except for those
The Minnesota Department of                           operators required to register as
Transportation, Office of Freight &                   Specialized Transportation Services
Commercial Vehicle Operations                         (STS). STS providers are addressed
(OFCVO) oversees the rail, freight,                   later in this document).
ports, waterways, and commercial
vehicle operations in the State and                   Minnesota’s state motor carrier
regulates adherence to these rules,                   requirements are set forth in Minnesota
including the requirement for                         Statutes 221.0252. In addition, the
registration by certain motor carriers                OFCVO has issued an excellent series of
operating in or through Minnesota. A                  Fact Sheets describing both the Federal
legislative change in 2000 eliminated the             and State requirements for Motor
previous “regular route” and “charter                 Carriers of Passengers (for hire).
passenger” classifications of for-hire
passenger service and replaced them                   Note: In general, all passenger carrier
with “Motor Carrier of Passengers” and                operations are subject to the Federal
“Small Vehicle Passenger Service.” The                Motor Carrier Safety Administration
OFCVO defines Motor Carrier of                        safety regulations (see previous section
Passengers, as “…persons engaged in                   on Federal Requirements) as adopted in
the for-hire transportation of passengers             state statutes or their equivalent,
in vehicles designed to transport 8 or                whether registration is required or not.
more passengers, including the driver.” –
OFCVO’s Motor Carrier of Passengers
Fact Sheet.

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Motor Carrier Reg. Requirements     42
Issue: Application of Minnesota’s                    service being provided and are therefore
Motor Registration Requirements to                   subject to the registration requirements.
Section 5307, 5311, and 5310 Systems                 However, there are exemptions to the
                                                     registration requirements. An agency
  Section 5307 and 5311 systems                      may be exempt from the registration
                                                     requirements if 1) an agency provides
Any Section 5307 or 5311 system under                transportation to only its clients and 2) is
contract to, and receiving operating                 one of the following types of
assistance from, either the MetCouncil               organizations:
or Minnesota Department of
Transportation (MnDOT) Office of                       •   A nursing home licensed by the
Transit to provide transportation service                  Minnesota Department of Health;
is not required to register for the service            •   A board & care facility licensed by
provided as part of the MetCouncil or                      the Minnesota Department of
MnDOT contract. Any “for hire”                             Health;
service provided in vehicles designed to               •   A day care facility licensed by the
transport 8 or more persons, including                     Department of Human Services;
the driver, outside the MetCouncil and                 •   A group home facility licensed by
MnDOT service agreement must follow                        the Department of Human
the regulations for registering, training,                 Services; or
inspections, etc. (see MN Stat.                        •   A day training and habilitation
§221.022).                                                 service licensed by the Department
                                                           of Human Services.
 Specialized Transportation Services
    and Section 5310 agencies                        A recent exception was also added for
                                                     operations where a day training and
The OFCVO also oversees the provision                habilitation service (DTH) licensed by
of Specialized Transportation Services to            the Department of Human Services may
the general public. Specialized                      provide service for another DTH if they
Transportation Services is defined in                transport 15 or fewer persons, including
MN Stat. §174.30 to mean “…motor                     passengers and driver. This exemption
vehicle transportation provided by a                 does not exempt the DTH from
person on a regular basis designed to                registering as a motor carrier of
serve individuals who are elderly,                   passengers.
handicapped, or disabled and are unable
to use regular types of transportation.”             Note: Refer to MN Stat §174.30, subd.1
—OFCVO STS Fact Sheet. The terms and                 for the specific exemptions).
conditions of these rules can be found in
the Minnesota Department of                          The OFCVO has developed a
Transportation’s Special Transportation              questionnaire to assign the classification
Services Rules, parts 8840.5100 through              of applicants and determine those who
8840.6400.                                           may fall under one of the five
                                                     exemptions. This questionnaire is a
Section 5310 systems are generally                   requirement of the MnDOT Section
considered to provide STS service by the             5310 application and can be found on
nature of the grant and the type of                  both the MnDOT Office of Transit

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Motor Carrier Reg. Requirements       43
website as part of the Section 5310                  regulations, not to impede the provision
application,                                         of transportation services, either directly             or in cooperation with other agencies.
application_packet.pdf and the OFCVO
website,                                             As such, there are no specific               requirements for coordinated services. It
r/applications/sts_questionnaire.pdf.                is the responsibility of each agency to
                                                     work with the OFCVO and determine
Another excellent resource is the STS                their level of compliance with the
Fact sheet developed by the OFCVO                    appropriate regulations. Contact Mike
which can be found at                                McKay, OFCVO, at (651) 405-6096 or     
                                                                  Best Practices
Issue: Transportation Providers                      Rochester City Lines (RCL)
Receiving Reimbursement for
transportation under the Minnesota                   RCL is a private transportation provider
Department of Human Services or                      operating as a sub-contractor to the City
other State or Federal sources.                      of Rochester (which has a contract with
                                                     the Office of Transit). As the service
The requirements to register apply to                provider for the City service, RCL is not
providers of Special Transportation                  required to register through the OFCVO.
Service (STS) who receive grants or                  However, they are registered with the
other financial assistance from either the           OFCVO to provide separate private
state or the federal government, or both,            service that is outside their city
to provide or assist in providing that               operation.
                                                     Laidlaw Transit Services, Inc. is a private
Transportation providers receiving                   transportation provider operating as a
reimbursement for transportation under               sub-contractor for Anoka County (which
the Minnesota Department of Human                    has a contract with the Met Council). As
Services (also referred to as Specialized            the service provider for the county
Transportation Services or STS) or other             service, Laidlaw is not required to
State/Federal source must be registered              register through the OFCVO. However,
as an STS through the OFCVO unless                   they are registered with the OFCVO to
they meet one of the exceptions                      provide STS service for the county in
mentioned earlier. See the OFCVO STS                 their elderly/disabled dial-a-ride service
Fact Sheet referenced above.                         and for their own for-hire service that is
                                                     outside their county general public
Issue: Applicability of the Motor                    transit operation.
Carrier of Passenger Regulations to
Coordinated Services                                 American Red Cross – St. Paul, MN
It is the intent of the OFCVO to ensure              The American Red Cross is a private non
that motor passenger service is provided             profit organization located in St. Paul,
in compliance with all applicable safety             Minnesota. They operate 5310 vehicles

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Motor Carrier Reg. Requirements      44
and are classified as a Specialized                  Specialized Transportation Service (STS).
Transportation Service (STS) both as it              However, to ensure that their vehicle is
relates to Minnesota’s Motor Carrier                 used to the maximum extent possible, MN
regulations and as a Medicaid provider.              Masonic coordinates the use of its vehicle
                                                     with the local city, two area churches,
To meet the training requirements as part            three senior co-op’s, and a hospital,
of their Motor Carrier classification as             providing service for seniors to shopping
an STS, the Red Cross has developed a                medical appointments, and social and
training program to meet the specific                recreational activities.
Motor Carrier requirements, including
but not limited to, training for First Aid,          MN Masonic has successfully navigated
CPR, abuse, Passenger Assistance, and                the Motor Carrier STS Registration
Defensive Driving. These training                    process to be able to provide their
classes are posted on the Red Cross                  coordinated service. Any questions that
training website and are available to the            have arisen are answered by its MnDOT
public for a modest fee. Many agencies,              Transit and Motor Carrier
including those which operate Section                representatives. MN Masonic obtains all
5310 vehicles, take advantage of this                training except CPR and First Aid from a
training.                                            local American Red Cross chapter and
                                                     DARTS. CPR and First Aid training is
For additional information, please                   obtained from providers closer to the MN
contact Sue Olson, American Red Cross,               Masonic location to reduce travel costs
176 South Robert St., St. Paul, MN                   (Red Cross and DARTS are 45 minutes
55107, (651)291-4675, or via e-mail at               and 60 minutes, respectively, from the                                    MN Masonic’s location.)

Minnesota (MN) Masonic Homes – New                   For additional information, contact Joyce
Hope, Hennepin County, Minnesota                     McIntosh, Director, Minnesota Masonic
                                                     Homes, at (763-592-2668 or
Minnesota (MN) Masonic, New Hope,          
Hennepin County, Minnesota, is a
nonprofit, adult day care organization               References/Resources:
providing adult day and transportation
services to seniors. They currently                  Federal Motor Carrier Safety
operate nine Section 5310 vehicles seven             Administration website,
days a week providing transportation to    
not only their participants, but                     regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsr
participants of other organizations in the           guide.htm

As an adult day center serving only their
participants, MN Masonic would not
have to register with the Minnesota
Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
Office of Freight and Commercial
Vehicle Operations (OFCVO) as a

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Motor Carrier Reg. Requirements    45
             Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                                     Private/Public Sector Partnerships

Topic: Coordination with the                           technology can be used to improve and
        Private Sector                                 increase service.

Target Audience: Private and public                    Regardless of who is providing the
agencies working to achieve                            service, private or public, we must
coordination.                                          constantly look at how we can provide
                                                       more and better service.
Goal: To educate state and local
agencies on the opportunities and                      Issue: Bringing Everyone to the Table
strengths of a partnership between the
private and public sectors.                            The involvement of the private sector in
                                                       local coordination efforts varies, largely
Over the course of public                              dependent upon the personalities of the
transportation’s history, we have seen                 individuals involved from the private
public transportation services shift from              operator and the other organizations, as
privately owned and operated, to                       well as the past “history” between the
publicly owned and operated, to, at least              private and public sectors as discussed in
to some extent, publicly owned and                     the previous section.
privately operated. Today, in addition to
transportation, private-public                         Metropolitan Planning Organizations
partnerships are being developed in                    (MPOs) must consider the private sector
many other areas of service, including                 in their planning efforts and, as such,
waste water management, public safety,                 typically have a committee of private
and education.                                         transportation providers, which may be a
                                                       potential resource for coordination
Both private and public entities bring                 planning.
many things to the table. From a private
provider standpoint, they can offer cost               Issue: Different Ways the Private
savings that can be used to address                    Sector Can Be Involved in
unmet need; quicker response times and                 Coordination
decreased waiting times.
                                                       There are typically three (3) ways that
The public sector brings to the table                  the private sector can become involved
legal operating authority, personnel                   with local transportation coordination
dedicated to service, infrastructure, and              projects: referrals for trip “overflow”;
often grant or funding opportunities.                  transportation brokerage partners; and as
Public providers also have a growing                   contractors to actually provide
interest in technology and how that                    transportation service for an agency,
                                                       political subdivision, or a coordination
                                                       project (multiple agency partners).

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordination with the Private Sector    46
                                                       this broker should be an independent and
Transit systems and coordination                       objective party that performs the
projects many times have too many trip                 matches based on the best transportation
requests to handle, especially at peak                 (mode and timing) for the lowest cost.
times. In this regard, systems/projects                A variety of transportation modes can be
may refer clients/passengers to other                  used, for example, taxis, volunteers,
transportation providers in the area in                fixed route bus service, demand-
order to assist them in getting a trip.                responsive dial-a-ride type services, etc.
This referral type of system usually
works best when there is only one or two               Brokerages can yield a number of
private providers (usually taxicab                     benefits. First, efficiency can be
companies or non-medical transportation                achieved by a clearinghouse for each
companies) available in the area. You                  ride request to be matched with the
must be careful not to show favoritism to              lowest-cost trip that meets the needs of
certain providers if there are multiple                the individual requesting the ride. Other
providers in the area. In this type of                 benefits can include improved quality
referral system scenario, there are no                 and safety of the ride, and increased
contracts or financial arrangements                    capacity.
between the transportation
system/coordination project and private                Oregon, Vermont, and Florida are just a
providers.                                             sample of the states that are successfully
                                                       using transportation brokerages of both
The next two issues below will address                 the public and private sectors to provide
transportation brokerages and                          not only Medicaid transportation, but
contracting for service with a private                 also public transportation services in
provider.                                              general. Minnesota’s own MNET is an
                                                       excellent example of a brokerage being
Issue: Transportation Brokerages                       used to provide Medicaid nonemergency
In communities where both the public
and private sectors are already providing              Issue: Identifying and Choosing
some level of transportation, these                    Private Providers
services can offer a strong base from
which to build a coordinated                           Often an agency or a political
transportation network. One of the most                subdivision will decide to contract with a
common forms for this coordination is a                private provider to provide a new
transportation brokerage. The brokerage                transportation service. This is usually
concept is not new, but has gained new                 due to the fact that the private provider
interest in the last few years because of              already has vehicles available to
its use with Medicaid transportation. A                accommodate new services and has the
transportation brokerage is simply a                   transportation administration and
mechanism to match ride requests with                  infrastructure (dispatching, scheduling,
available transportation resources.                    maintenance, etc.) in place. The agency
Someone, an individual or agency, must                 or political subdivision does not have to
manage or “broker” the ride requests to                purchase vehicles or equipment or hire
the transportation providers. Typically,               additional employees. This is especially

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordination with the Private Sector   47
important if the future of the new                     to a common purpose, under a single
transportation service to be provided is               contract, and at a fixed charge.
uncertain and the agency/political
subdivision does not want to assume a                  The charter service regulations prohibit
large amount of risk by purchasing                     any FTA (5311 or 5307) recipients from
equipment and adding additional staff.                 providing any charter service using FTA
                                                       funded equipment or facilities if there is
Once an agency or a political                          at least one private charter operator
subdivision determines that contracting                willing and able to provide the charter
with a private provider for service is the             service that the recipient proposes to
desired option, it must begin the process              provide. The regulation applies to both
of identifying potential private providers             buses and vans.
and selecting one.
                                                       Service provided under contract to a
To minimize the feelings of competition                social service agency would usually be
and to ensure a level playing field                    considered as eligible public service, not
among public and private providers,                    charter service, provided:

    1. Public transit systems must bid                         The service is under the control
       fully allocated costs in                                of the grantee;
       competitive bidding situations.                         Is open door; and
    2. The private sector should be                            The grantee can put any rider on
       included in, to the extent                              the vehicle in addition to the
       possible, in any plans for new                          agency’s clients.
                                                       The charter service regulations should
Issue: Charter Service                                 not discourage Section 5311 or 5307
                                                       grantees from using FTA-funded
Any time FTA Section 5311 or Section                   equipment in coordinated transportation
5307 funds are used to provide                         systems/projects or from providing
transportation, transportation systems                 service under contract to social service
must be careful to follow FTA charter                  agencies.
service requirements (49 CFR Part 604).
However, Section 5310 grantees do not                                Best Practices
fall under these requirements, provided                Voyageur Bus Company is a full service
they do not receive any 5311 or 5307                   private for profit transportation company
monies. The charter service                            serving the Duluth, Minnesota area since
requirements were implemented to limit                 1971. In addition to school and charter
the types of transportation services that              transportation service, Voyageur
FTA-funded systems could provide and                   provides daily transportation services for
allow the private sector to provide true
“charter” service.

Charter service is defined as
transportation using buses, vans, or
facilities, of a group of persons pursuant

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordination with the Private Sector   48
UDAC, Inc., a day activity center in                   the use of special transportation services
Duluth, Minnesota. UDAC provides a                     and thereby reduce costs, the Department
variety of services for people with                    of Human Services opted to contract with
disabilities in the Duluth area, including             a single broker in the seven-county metro
community-based employment,                            area—Medical Transportation
vocational training, senior programs,                  Management, Inc.,(MTM) a private for
recreation and leisure activities, and                 profit entity. The single-broker model
transportation. As part of UDAC’s                      allows for better screening of clients in
transportation program, Voyageur                       order to determine the most appropriate
provides management services and                       level of transportation, ranging from
drivers for seven UDAC vehicles,                       special transportation services to mileage
purchased with Section 5310 funding, to                reimbursement for individuals able to get
transport UDAC clients daily to and from               a ride from someone such as a neighbor
the UDAC center.                                       or relative.

In addition to operating the seven routes,             Under MNET , transportation assistance
Voyageur maintains the passenger listing               to health care appointments is provided
and route data, adding and deleting                    for individuals who have Medical
riders, revising stops, etc. as needed.                Assistance (MA) or General Assistance
Voyageur uses Edulog, a computerized                   Medical Care (GAMC) and for pregnant
routing system jointly purchased by                    women and children covered under
UDAC and Voyageur, to assist with the                  MinnesotaCare in Carver, Dakota,
routing.                                               Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington
                                                       Counties. Transportation assistance
Voyageur and UDAC work together well                   can include mileage reimbursement to
and meet regularly to discuss the service,             drive your car or have a friend, neighbor,
problem solve, and institute changes to                or relative drive you in their car; a ride
improve service quality and efficiency.                from a certified volunteer driver,
                                                       arranged by MNET; a bus pass; a ride in
For further information, contact Voyager               a taxi; a ride in an MNET vehicle; a ride
Bus Company, 3941 E Calvary Rd.,                       in light rail transit; or service from a list
Duluth, MN 55803; Mike Krois,                          of Special Transportation Service (STS)
Owner/Operator, Rudy Lundahl,                          providers if MNET approves your use of
Operations Manager, (218) 724-1707,                    STS.
Fax: (218) 724-2432,, or Roberta                 The program began in mid-July 2004 and
Lenz, Executive Director, UDAC, Inc.,                  provides services for the following
500 E. 10th St., Duluth, MN 55805, (218)               Minnesota health care populations: 1) all
722-5867,                              clients using fee-for-service medical
                                                       transportation services, and 2) all
             Best Practices                            eligible clients requesting medical
                                                       mileage reimbursement through the
The Minnesota Department of Human
                                                       Prepaid Medical Assistance Program
Services implemented a medical
transportation broker program called
MNET, Minnesota Non-Emergency
                                                       Previous programs throughout the metro
Transportation. In an effort to reduce

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordination with the Private Sector    49
area lacked many features that MNET
will provide. In general, these programs
offered no quality control, no official
method for clients to share concerns
about services received, and no
guarantee that drivers had undergone
background checks. MTM will track
complaints, check drivers' credentials,
and provide medical transportation 24
hours per day.

For more information on this program,

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Coordination with the Private Sector   50
             Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                        Sections 5310 and 5311 Program Coordination

Topic: Section 5310 and 5311,                       transportation for the elderly and disabled
Program Coordination                                in both urbanized and nonurbanized areas.

Target Audience: State Agencies, Human              Section 5310 allows and encourages
Service Agency Transportation Providers,            coordination to the maximum extent
Section 5310 Agencies, and Section 5311             possible including vehicle sharing, ride
Public Transit Systems                              sharing, operations sharing including joint
                                                    dispatch/scheduling, maintenance,
Goal: To explain the opportunities and              administration, and information. The FTA
mechanisms for coordination between                 Circular 9070.1E also goes on to
FTA transit programs.                               specifically address the coordination
                                                    potential between the Section 5310
(Note: This brief discusses only Sections           Program and the Section 5311 Program
5310 and 5311 since responsibility for              (public transit in non-urbanized areas).
implementing these two programs is                  The Circular points out the parallels
delegated to the States by FTA. In almost           between the objectives of the two
all cases, FTA directly administers Section         programs and encourages states to
5307 projects, and therefore, the States            “consider both resources and plan for their
have no direct responsibility for this              use in a complementary way.” FTA
program. However, coordination can and              encourages participation of Section 5310
does occur between 5310, 5311, and 5307             and Section 5311 recipients in
projects. Although there is no specific             coordination efforts and made the program
language in the FTA Section 5307                    guideline for both programs as consistent
Circular which governs this program                 as possible in order to simplify program
regarding coordination with 5310 or 5311            administration.
funded projects, the TEA-21 requirements
for coordination apply to 5307.)                    With the evolution of the Section 5310 and
                                                    5311 programs, FTA’s increased emphasis
Issue: Coordination of FTA-funded                   on coordination and revised guidance has
Programs                                            resulted in more interest by the States in
                                                    aligning and coordinating the two
The Sections 5310 and 5311 programs are             programs. Although Mn/DOT currently
administered by the U.S. DOT Federal                has no specific guidelines for coordinating
Transit Administration to provide public            Section 5310 vehicles with 5311 transit
and specialized transportation in rural and         systems, there are a few noteworthy
urbanized areas. Section 5311 is allocated          examples of where this coordination is
for general public service in nonurbanized          occurring, one of which is showcased as a
areas (rural and small urban), while                best practice later in this document. In the
Section 5310 is to be used for                      best practice example where the two
                                                    programs have been used to complement

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Sections 5310 and 5311, Prog. Coord.   51
one another, the resulting coordination of          between each individual subrecipient and
resources has resulted in significant               Mn/DOT.
benefit to their respective communities,
thus demonstrating the opportunities and            Policy is established at the main office and
possible benefits that can be realized when         shared with the District representatives
the flexibility provided by the Section             during frequent meetings, conversations,
5310 and Section 5311 programs is                   and correspondence. The program
utilized. By embracing the                          administration and grants administration
complementary nature of the two                     processes are standardized, but the district
programs, options for coordination at the           representatives are given a certain degree
local level can be expanded and the                 of latitude in the implementation of the
benefits of both programs enhanced.                 programs to reflect the unique nature of
                                                    the districts and transit agencies they
Issue: Mn/DOT Administration of the                 serve.
Section 5310 and 5311 Programs
                                                    The discretion afforded the district
Administration of the Section 5310 and              representatives is apparent in the way that
Section 5311 Programs varies greatly                coordination is viewed in each district and
across the country. Some states                     the manner in which various components
administer the two programs together,               of the Section 5311 and 5310 programs are
using one application for both sources of           administered. This not only facilitates the
funding. Others have separate                       development of 5310/5311 coordination
applications, but limit the applicants for          projects, but encourages it by its nature of
Section 5310 funds to Section 5311                  developing projects which best meet the
systems, or at least place the responsibility       needs of the individual Districts by the
for distributing the funds on the 5311              DPMs.
systems. There is no right or wrong way
of program administration, but rather what          In areas where it is believed that public
works best in the individual state.                 transit can serve most if not all needs of
                                                    the district residents, efforts and guidance
In Minnesota the 5310 program is a                  are placed on strengthening the public
statewide program with applicants from              transit system and promoting coordination
the nonurbanized and urbanized areas.               by consolidating transportation services at
The 5310 and 5311 programs are                      the public transit system. In other areas,
administered separately. One of the                 coordination is not perceived as a viable
strengths of Mn/DOT’s method of                     option and therefore, coordination efforts
program administration is the                       are minimal. In yet other areas,
decentralization of the day-to-day                  coordination of service delivery and
administration for both programs to the             operational functions (i.e., maintenance,
district level. Each Mn/DOT District has a          training) are encouraged as a means of
District Project Manager (DPM) who is               improving the effectiveness of the public
responsible for the day-to-day                      transit system and transportation network
administration of the Section 5310 and              as a whole.
5311 projects in each District.
Decentralization enhances the                       While the overall objectives of the Section
communication, oversight, and guidance              5311 program differ from that of the

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Sections 5310 and 5311, Prog. Coord.   52
Section 5310 program, there are parallels,          Issue: Coordinating Section 5310
which make it desirable for states to               Vehicles with Section 5311 Transit
consider all of the resources and to plan           Systems: Getting Started
for their use in a complementary way.
                                                    If you are considering applying for a
Issue: Coordinating Section 5310                    Section 5310 vehicle and wish to use it
Vehicles with Section 5311 Transit                  cooperatively with a Section 5311 transit
Systems: Why Coordinate?                            system to enhance or expand your
                                                    operation, your first contact (after that
There are a number of obvious reasons for           with the transit system!) should be with
a Section 5310 agency to pursue                     your DPM. However, do some initial
coordination with a Section 5311 transit            homework to give your DPM an idea of
system (or vice versa), but here are a few:         what you are proposing so that he or she
                                                    can tell you whether or not you are on the
    1. Coordination with a Section 5311             right track. This will also tell your DPM
       transit system can take advantage            that you are serious.
       of an infrastructure (both staff and
       equipment) that is already in place,         Together with the Section 5311 system,
       thus saving time and dollars                 develop a list of all of the areas that are
       needed for start-up;                         potential for coordination, for example
    2. Coordination can result in
       expanded service (number of                      •   Vehicle sharing, including back-up
       vehicles available, including back-                  vehicles,
       up vehicles, expanded service area,              •   Maintenance
       and service hours);                              •   Dispatching/Scheduling
    3. Many other services can be                       •   Training (including training needed
       enhanced or expanded through                         for Motor Carrier compliance),
       coordination, such as training,                  •   Purchasing,
       grants writing, joint purchases, and             •   Insurance,
                                                        •   Grants Writing
    4. System safety can be improved
                                                        •   Record keeping and Invoicing,
       through coordination because of
       improved or enhanced training,
                                                    Begin by prioritizing those areas that
       maintenance, and safety programs,
                                                    would be the simplest to implement (for
       as indicated in #3 above; and
                                                    example, providing a back-up vehicle or
    5. System efficiency and
                                                    sharing schedules to determine trips or
       effectiveness can be improved by
                                                    services that are potential for linking or
       coordinating and/or consolidating
                                                    coordinating) but could provide some
       scheduling and dispatching
                                                    immediate results. For example, what
       activities, either through the use of
                                                    areas could you coordinate right now,
       800 numbers or computerized
                                                    before you receive your Section 5310
       scheduling programs.

                                                    From this list, develop an outline of the
                                                    areas for coordination along with a
                                                    projected timeline, which takes into

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Sections 5310 and 5311, Prog. Coord.     53
account when the Section 5310 application           invoices are maintained. Section 5311
is due. Again, this will show the DPM               trips are reported to and reimbursed by
that you are serious about your proposed            Three Rivers. Section 5310 trips are paid
effort. Ask the DPM for input and                   for by Cannon Falls and reported
guidance of developing your proposal into           quarterly to MnDOT. This coordinated
a successful Section 5310 application.              system takes advantage of a service and
                                                    infrastructure that was in place for
If your proposal includes coordinating              clients of Cannon Falls Hospital as part
trips, you will need to begin thinking how          of an approved Section 5310 application,
you will account for and report the                 but allows it to be expanded to the
coordinating trips to meet both the Section         general public. Cannon Falls operates
5310 and Section 5311 reporting                     one vehicle; back-up vehicles are
requirements. Your DPM can provide                  available through Red Wing and the
guidance in this area.                              MnDOT District 6 office. After much
                                                    consultation with the MnDOT Office of
             Best Practices                         Freight and Commercial Vehicle
Three Rivers Hiawathaland Transit—                  Operations, Cannon Falls, operating this
Cannon Falls, Minnesota                             vehicle primarily for their clients, is not
                                                    required as a result of this contract to
Although the Minnesota DOT administers              register as a Specialized Transportation
its Section 5310 and 5311 programs                  Service with the OFCVO.
separately, there is an excellent example
of coordination between the two                     For more information, please contact
programs underway in the state. Three               Amy Kuchera, Transportation Director
Rivers Community Action, Inc. is the                Phone 507-732-8558 or email:
Section 5311 grantee for the Three Rivers 
Hiawathaland Transit service in Cannon
Falls, Elgin, Kellogg, Lake City,                               Best Practices
Plainview, Red Wing, Wabasha, and
surrounding townships. Dial-a-ride and              Martin Luther Manor – Bloomington,
fixed route deviation service is provided           Minnesota
6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Saturday
under contract with four separate third             Martin Luther Manor operates three
party operators. Three of the four                  adult day care centers, two in
services are provided solely with Section           Bloomington and one in Richfield,
5311 funds and vehicles. In Cannon                  Minnesota using five Section 5310
Falls, however, the service is operated by          vehicles to transport participants to and
the Cannon Falls Hospital, a Section                from the day care centers, doctor’s
5310 agency. Under their contract with              appointments, shopping, etc.
Three Rivers, Cannon Falls, provides 24-
hour advanced reservation, dial-a-ride              At the same time that the Manor was
service to Cannon Falls and surrounding             applying for a Section 5310 vehicle, the
township residents. Calls come in                   Richfield Community Center was
directly to the Cannon Falls dispatcher,            contemplating the discontinuation of
who logs the trip as either 5311 (general           transportation to and from their
public) or 5310. Separate records and               congregational meal site because of

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Sections 5310 and 5311, Prog. Coord.   54
financial reasons. Responding to the
Manor’s Section 5310 public notice, the
Community Center approached Martin
Luther Manor with a proposal: Pick up
and deliver participants to the
congregate meal site at the same time
they are picking up Manor participants to
take them to various activities and the
Community Center would reimburse the
Manor for its (the Center’s) portion of
the service. The Community Center
would not have to hire a driver nor
maintain a vehicle. The Manor could use
its existing resources to provide the
additional service. Through
coordination, one organization was able
to meet the needs of another resulting in
cost savings for one agency and
additional revenue for the other.

Today the service is working well with
The Community Center taking requests
for the service and providing the
schedule to Manor drivers. Martin
Luther Manor currently transports
approximately eight passengers daily to
the congregate meal site.

For more information, please contact
Sally Peterson at (952) 948-5182 or

            Best Practices
10/15 Regional Transit
Agency/Ottumwa Transit Authority –
Ottumwa, Iowa

The 10/15 Regional Transit Authority, an
intergovernmental agency that, as a
regional transit system, under Iowa law,
is responsible for coordinating all
publicly-funded passenger transportation
services within the ten counties in Iowa
Region 15. (Note: Recently the 10/15
adopted an eleventh county into their
service area.)

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Sections 5310 and 5311, Prog. Coord.   55
it will provide and the types of capital
projects, if applicable, it will pursue. It
is then the responsibility of OPT to
review the project and award the type of
funds that best meets the project, Section
5310 or Section 5311, or any
combination of these two sources. It is the
10/15’s role as a “public entity responsible
for coordinating human service
transportation” and its contract arrangement
with Ottumwa Transit that makes it eligible
for 5310 “purchase of contracted services”

For further information regarding the
10/15 Regional Transit Authority, contact
Pam Ward at (641)683-0608, or via e-
mail at You can
also visit their website at .

For further information on Iowa DOT’s
programs and consolidated application
process, contact Peter Hallock at (515)

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Sections 5310 and 5311, Prog. Coord.   56
             Transportation Coordination Toolkit
November 2005                                                                 Volunteer Programs

Topic: Volunteer Programs                              •   Can represent a significant cost
Target Audience: State Agencies,                       •   Bring a variety of skills and
Human Service Agency Transportation                        experience to the workplace.
Providers, Section 5310 Systems, Section               •   Can be a strong advocate for your
5307 and 5311 Public Transit Systems                       system in the community.

Goal: To address the issues of                       According to the Network for Good, a
establishing and maintaining a                       nonprofit organization that connects
successful volunteer program.                        individuals with their favorite charities,
                                                     the following are some national
Why use volunteers?                                  volunteer statistics:

Volunteers can not only help “fill in the              •   Approximately 109 million
gaps” in many areas, including driving,                    American adults volunteer
dispatching, administrative duties, etc.,                  annually — that's 56% of all
but can also extend or expand service                      adults.
that otherwise would be cost prohibitive.              •   Volunteers contribute an average
For example, volunteer drivers can be                      of 3.5 hours per week — totaling
used to add to or supplement traditional                   20 billion hours with an estimated
bus service by offering door to door,                      dollar value of $225 billion.
demand responsive service. Because                     •   59% of teenagers volunteer an
drivers use their own vehicles and are                     average of 3.5 hours per week —
reimbursed based on mileage, transit                       that's 13.3 million volunteers
systems are able to offer this expanded                    totaling 2.4 billion hours at a total
service without incurring additional                       value of $7.7 billion.
labor and capital costs. Since most
volunteers are doing so to “give back” to            Benefits cited by the Network for Good
the community, and as such they are                  as a result of volunteering which may be
often open to new challenges and                     helpful for you to keep in mind as you
opportunities, this provides a winning               look to recruit and retain volunteers:
combination for the transit systems, the
volunteers, and the passengers they                    •   Volunteering can make an
transport.                                                 individual feel needed and
Pros                                                   •   Volunteering can offer a way to
                                                           learn new skills.
  •    Typically have flexible schedules               •   Volunteering is a way to give back
                                                           to the community.

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Volunteer Programs                    57
Minnesota and other states such as                   days are “snow birds” and spend their
Oregon and Vermont have a strong                     winters in warmer climates.
network of volunteers as part of their
overall transportation network. These                Finally, keep them informed about the
volunteers save hundreds of thousands                organization and what’s going on. Ask
of dollars each year.                                for their input, and listen to their ideas.
                                                     They, just like paid staff, are on the front
For a successful volunteer program,                  lines and probably know before you do
remember the 3 R’s: Recruiting,                      if there are problems or issues that need
Retaining, and Relying.                              addressed.

Issue: Recruiting                                    Issue: Relying

Recruiting volunteers should be a                    The 3rd “R” is relying. Relying on
continual activity. Whether you choose               volunteers can be both a blessing and a
to actively recruit via newspaper                    curse. On one hand, they provide a
advertisements, through other local                  valuable service and can be a
organizations, or word of mouth, making              tremendous cost savings. On the other,
sure that you have a steady pool of                  if you were to have to replace all or a
volunteers to draw from is critical.                 large portion of your volunteers with
Develop a recruitment plan and schedule              paid staff, this could be financially
that includes regular advertisements in              devastating to your system. Make sure
both local newspapers as well as key                 that you know at all times what your
newsletters from other local                         budget is and the portion of it that
organizations. Get on the agendas of                 budget that is accounted for with
your local rotary, chamber of commerce,              volunteer time. While the cost of your
senior centers, etc. Make sure that you              volunteer staff maybe zero or very
spread the word about volunteer                      minimal, the cost if you were to have to
recognition (either through volunteer of             replace them with paid staff would not.
the month, annual recognition events,                Many agencies have found that
etc.)                                                providing a balance of paid and non-paid
                                                     drivers works best.
Issue: Retaining a Pool of Volunteers

The next step after recruiting is to retain                  Best Practices--Minnesota
the volunteers you have. Typically                   Tri-Cap Transit Connection, St. Cloud, MN
volunteers have either other jobs and
responsibilities or have retired from                Volunteer Programs: Scheduling &
other jobs and responsibilities and want             Recruitment
to retain some flexibility. Some may be
doing it for the small reimbursement                 Tri-Cap Transit Connection is the Section
they receive. If so, the ever increasing             5311 transit provider for Benton and Stearns
                                                     Counties, providing route deviation, dial-a-
and fluctuating fuel and insurance costs
                                                     ride, and subscription services to county
could be a problem. Try and offer other              residents. In addition, however, Tri-Cap
regular incentives or recognition to make            coordinates the volunteer programs for the
sure they know they are valued as part of            counties, including scheduling and recruiting
the team. Be as flexible as you can with             activities under the Tri-CAP Volunteer
their schedules. Many volunteers these               Driver Program. Each county faxes their
Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Volunteer Programs                    58
daily trip requests to Tri-CAP throughout the        program.
day by the case worker who is requesting the
trip at the county level. The Tri-CAP                For further information, please contact Linda
dispatch center then assigns the trips to            Elfstrand, Director, Tri-CAP Connection at
volunteers, who provide the trips using their        (320) 202-7824, x217, or
own private vehicles to the residents of   
Benton and Stearns counties. Volunteer               .
drivers are reimbursed at the Federal IRS            Rainbow Rider – Douglas, Pope, Stevens,
rate and may also be eligible for some meal          and Traverse Counties, Minnesota
reimbursements. At the end of each month,
all rides completed are billed back to the           Volunteer Programs: Expanding Service
county of origin at the actual cost of               Through Volunteers
providing the trip, i.e., mileage, meals, and
startup. The county then pays Tri-CAP.               Rainbow Rider provides public
Each county pays Tri-CAP an administrative           transportation in the Greater Minnesota
fee for administering and coordinating the           counties of Douglas, Pope, Stevens, and
volunteer programs, including the                    Traverse. In addition to the route
recruitment of volunteers. Both Benton and           deviation, dial-a-ride, and subscription
Stearns Counties have indicated that many of
their residents, particularly the low-income,
                                                     service it offers, Rainbow Rider operates
elderly and disabled, depend upon this               an extensive volunteer driver program for
volunteer program our services to help them          residents who cannot utilize the bus
stay independent.                                    service or who need transportation
                                                     outside of the four counties. Rainbow
The success of Tri-CAP’s Volunteer Driver            Rider volunteer drivers are unpaid
Program depends on available volunteers.             volunteers who dedicate their time and
In 2004, faced with a dwindling volunteer            efforts to helping others. These
pool due to health and age issues, the               volunteers, using their own vehicles to
assistance of the Tri-CAP Human Services             provide transportation every day of the
Director was enlisted to develop its first           year, are reimbursed for their mileage.
annual advertising campaign for volunteer
recruitment. Advertisements were run in the
                                                     Rainbow Rider volunteer drivers are
classifieds of six weekly papers, encouraging        subject to criminal background checks
participation in the program as “helping             and annual motor vehicle record checks.
your neighbor” while also earning additional         All drivers have good driving records
income. (Volunteers are reimbursed at the            and must annually provide proof of
IRS mileage rate, plus for those that qualify        insurance. A round trip fare for the
under the RSVP program, $3.00 per day                Rainbow Rider volunteer driver program
stipend. Meals can be reimbursed if they are         is based on an actual cost recovery
out over a certain amount of hours each              formula. (Aides for passengers needing
day.)                                                assistance travel at no charge.) The
                                                     current rate is $2 for .1 to 5 miles and $3
This series of ads brought in 22 applications
and seven of those applicants were brought
                                                     for 5.1 to 10 miles. Volunteer drivers
into active service. Prior to this ad                provide door-to-door service.
campaign, Tri-CAP’s pool of volunteers was           Passengers needing additional assistance
dwindling due to health and age issues. As a         including scheduling appointments,
result of this ad campaign, Tri-CAP was able         filling out forms, getting dressed, etc.
to bolster their pool of volunteer drivers to a      must provide their own aides. People
total of 24 active volunteer drivers. This           using wheelchairs or scooters must be
campaign will be repeated as needed to               able to independently transfer themselves
ensure a stable base of volunteers for the           to the volunteer driver's vehicle. For
Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Volunteer Programs                   59
more information, contact Rainbow Rider
at (800)450-7770 or via e-mail at

               Best Practices
Ride Connection, Oregon Volunteer

Ride Connection is a non-profit, community
service organization established to link
accessible, responsive transportation with
community need by:

 •   Serving those without viable
     transportation alternative giving
     priority to elderly and persons with
 •   Coordinating transportation services
     in Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah, and
     Washington Counties; Coordinating
     system-wide training and safety
 •   Developing and securing financial,
     volunteer and equipment resources for
     Ride Connection's network;
 •   Developing and maintaining provider

Service is provided to persons with
disabilities and senior citizens without
alternative transportation in Clackamas,
Clark, Multnomah and Washington Counties,

The Ride Connection was incorporated as a
private nonprofit organization in May of
1988 after the need for transportation for the
elderly and persons with disabilities was
recognized by the local communities. There
was a vision to serve this frail population
with a more adaptable, accessible service
than traditional public transit allows.
Through a citizen committee's
recommendation and with the support of Tri-
Met, it was decided that a volunteer
program, Ride Connection, could meet these
special needs. From that start seventeen
years ago, Ride Connection has grown to
include a network of over 30 agencies and
over 370 volunteers.
Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Volunteer Programs   60
      Transportation Coordination Best Practices
November 2005                                            Best Practice – Transportation Brokerage

Topic: Creating a Transportation                     matches based on the best transportation
Brokerage                                            (mode and timing) for the lowest cost.
                                                     A variety of transportation modes can be
Target Audience: Human Service                       used, for example, taxis, volunteers,
Agency Transportation Providers,                     fixed route bus service, demand-
Section 5310 Agencies, Section 5307 and              responsive dial-a-ride type services, etc.
5311 Public Transit Systems                          Brokerages can yield a number of
                                                     benefits. Efficiency can be achieved by
Goal: To present the steps necessary to              a clearinghouse for each ride request to
form a transportation brokerage                      be matched with the lowest-cost trip that
                                                     meets the needs of the individual
Issue: Why Form a Transportation                     requesting the ride. Other benefits can
Brokerage?                                           include improved quality and safety of
                                                     the ride, and increased capacity.
In communities where both the public
and private sectors are already providing            Brokerages can be formed by cities,
some level of transportation, these                  counties, state or local human service
services can offer a strong base from                agencies, transportation providers or any
which to build a coordinated                         combination of these entities. In any
transportation network. One of the most              case, it is important to the brokerage’s
common forms for this coordination is a              long-term success to establish both the
transportation brokerage. The brokerage              reporting mechanism or hierarchy to
concept is not new, but has gained new               which the broker is accountable and the
interest in the last few years because of            guidelines and procedures which must
its use with Medicaid transportation. An             be followed. This oversight entity could
excellent example of a transportation                be a new advisory council or brokerage
brokerage is Minnesota’s own MNET                    board or an existing body, such as a
system (see the Private/Public                       subcommittee of a city council or county
Partnerships write up in this Toolkit to             commission.
read more about MNET).
                                                     Issue: Establishing the Broker’s Role
A transportation brokerage is simply a
mechanism to match ride requests with                Defining the role of the broker, or
available transportation resources.                  mobility manager as it is often referred
Someone, an individual or agency, must               to, and the services you wish to be
manage or “broker” the ride requests to              delivered is your first step to establishing
the transportation providers. Typically,             your transportation brokerage. The
this broker should be an independent and             duties and responsibilities of a broker
objective party that performs the                    includes, but is not limited to, 1)
                                                     building on the existing transportation

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Transportation Brokerage             61
services in the area, 2) facilitating and            existing agency or transportation
incubating coordination efforts among                provider, or some combination of these
the existing service providers, 3)                   two. For example, an individual could
encouraging regional services, where                 be hired but housed and supported by an
available, 4) encouraging a “team                    existing agency or provider that will be
approach” to service provision, working              participating in the coordination effort.
to minimize unproductive competition,
and duplication, which could include                 The advantage of using an individual,
working with local and state officials to            especially someone that may be new to
change legislation, policies or practices            the area or the project is that they come
that have institutionalized exclusive-ride           to the project with no preconceived ideas
service and which prohibit lower cost                or biases. The disadvantage, obviously,
coordinated service delivery, 5) working             is that they will not be familiar with the
to promote the use of the most efficient             resources available or some of the
and appropriate (in terms of service                 nuances or particular needs of the area.
type) service provider, including public             The advantage of using an existing
transit services, 6) providing technical             agency is that its staff would be familiar
assistance, which could range from the               with the area and the services that
development of a plan and strategy to                already exist. They would most likely
identify opportunities for coordination in           be aware of local issues and how those
areas such as information and referral,              issues can best be addressed. The
joint procurement, risk management and               disadvantage might be the perception
others, to developing joint training                 that the agency is biased toward a certain
events, providing assistance with                    population or provider. Bias, perceived
technology and automation, vehicle                   or otherwise, can end a coordination
inspections, and scheduling and                      effort before it begins, therefore, it is
dispatching, to regulatory compliance,               paramount that any hint of bias is
and 7) creating a regional information               addressed.
clearinghouse for consumers to access
up-to-date information on the                        Can an existing transportation provider,
transportation services available and                e.g., the local transit system, be fair and
how to access these services.                        objective? Another, or perhaps better,
                                                     question might be, can a local transit
Before you can carry out these activities,           system dispel the perception of bias
however, you must retain the services of             toward its own service? These are
a transportation broker to lead your                 questions that must be addressed. The
efforts.                                             answer to the first question, we believe,
                                                     is yes, as long as the rules and
Issue: Retain a broker/mobility                      procedures for assigning trips have been
manager.                                             established first. Typically, these
                                                     procedures will have been established by
Now that you’ve established what it is               the advisory council or board (discussed
you want the broker to do, your next step            earlier in this document), which will
is to retain the broker that will lead your          work to ensure that any misconceptions
coordination effort. Your broker can be              or inaccuracies regarding the brokerage
an individual (with support staff) or an             or the broker’s duties are addressed.

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Transportation Brokerage             62
                                                         3. Be an advocate for the brokerage,
Why would a local transit system want                       the services offered, and the
to act as the broker? Some might say to                     guidelines by which those
maintain “control” of the service being                     services are provided. The
provided. Actually, many transit                            broker should be available to
systems are just better equipped, with                      speak to individuals and groups
the staff and resources already trained                     about the benefits and services of
and available and knowledgeable of the                      the brokerage.
area. Having the transportation                          4. Be a diplomat. A major part of
brokerage succeed will only strengthen                      the broker’s role will be to
the transit system’s position in the                        encourage and facilitate
community, therefore, the transit system                    coordination efforts in the area,
will be committed to performing this                        minimizing competition and
function as objectively and responsibly                     duplication which can effectively
as possible.                                                thwart coordination.
                                                         5. Be vigilant in the need for
Regardless of whether you hire an                           services and other support for the
individual and/or set up a new brokerage                    brokerage members. Could one
office or use an existing agency or                         member benefit from drivers
provider, here are a few of the attributes                  training? Is dispatching and
that you will want to look for in a                         scheduling assistance needed? A
broker.                                                     good broker identifies the areas
                                                            where help is needed, then works
The transportation broker must:                             to put together a plan to fulfill
                                                            those needs.
    1. Be fair and objective. The
       broker will be responsible for                Now that you’ve established the broker’s
       assigning trips among various                 role, hired the right individual or
       transportation providers in the               organization, you’ll need to expand on
       brokerage. The perception of                  those areas and duties that you wish the
       bias or “playing favorites” could             broker to carry out.
       create hostile feelings among the
       providers which is not conducive              Issue: Build on the Existing
       to cooperation. Having a process              Transportation Services in the Area
       and a set of guidelines in place
       for taking and referring trips can            The strength of a transportation
       help ensure this objectivity.                 brokerage is that it is built on a structure
    2. Be familiar with the                          that is already in place. The time
       transportation providers and                  normally spent on hiring and training
       services available. This does not             drivers, purchasing vehicles, etc. will be
       necessarily mean the broker has               spent on assessing the capabilities and
       to be a local individual or                   resources available from the existing
       agency, but does mean he or she               providers. For instance,
       must become thoroughly familiar
       with the services to be offered.                  •    How many drivers are available?
                                                              What training have they had?

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Transportation Brokerage              63
    •   How many vehicles and at what                transportation providers. This provides a
        times and days of the week are               structured mechanism for addressing
        they available?                              issues that will affect the group as a
    •   What types of maintenance                    whole.
        services are available?
    •   Do any of the providers have                 Issue: Encourage Regional Services,
        trainers on staff that are available         Where Appropriate
        to the brokerage?
                                                     Transportation brokerages most often
    Next, brokerage policies and service             operate within a designated municipality
    guidelines must be developed for                 or county. However, today, few
    such items as:                                   transportation services are limited to
                                                     such a finite area. There is always need
    •   Who will be responsible for                  to access services outside the city or
        dispatching and scheduling?                  county limits. If there are already
    •   How will calls for service be                transportation providers operating in
        received (800 number or other                these areas, the broker should investigate
        centralized number, etc.)?                   these services for the potential of
    •   Will providers be directly billed,           coordinating with the brokered system.
        or will the broker handle the
        billing?                                     Issue: Encourage a “Team Approach”
    •   How and when will participating
                                                     In addition to being objective and
        providers supply their schedules
                                                     facilitating coordination among its
        to the broker?
                                                     providers, the transportation broker
    •   What training will be required?
                                                     should adopt a team approach for service
    •   How will training be monitored?              provision, working to minimize
                                                     unproductive competition and
Issue: Facilitate and Incubate                       duplication. This might include working
Coordination Efforts Among the                       with local and state officials to change
Existing Service Providers                           legislation, policies or practices that
                                                     have institutionalized exclusive-ride
Concurrent with trying to build a                    service and which prohibit lower cost
network from your many individual                    coordinated service delivery. To this
transportation services, coordination                end, the broker will want to be a part of
among the providers must be facilitated.             other planning groups or task forces in
This is a major role for your                        the area looking at transportation issues,
transportation broker. Typically, regular
                                                     and cultivate good working relationships
meetings are held both as a group and
                                                     with those organizations as well as with
individually with the various providers.
                                                     local and state officials.
It’s important for the transportation
provider to develop a good working
                                                     Issue: Promote the Use of the Most
relationship with each of the providers,
                                                     Efficient and Appropriate Service
and for them to be able to communicate
                                                     Provider, Including Public Transit
their needs and concerns. In most
coordination efforts, an advisory council
or task force is convened to represent the

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Transportation Brokerage           64
In a transportation brokerage, all                   Issue: Create a Regional Information
transportation providers are not created             Clearinghouse
equal. In addition to the standard
divisions of public, private for profit,             A brokerage is only as good as the
and private nonprofit providers, there are           consumers who request its service. If no
also different levels, and costs, of service         one is aware of the service, or aware of
within these divisions. The job of the               how to access the service, then the
transportation broker is to match these              services will go unused. There are two
services with the passenger to provide               issues for consumers accessing
the best service at the least cost. These            information. First, it must be easy to
two characteristics are not mutually                 access. Second, the information has to
exclusive. The “best” service for one                be readily available and kept up-to-date.
client might cost more than that for                 Brokerages use tollfree numbers and
another. It is the role of the                       websites most often today to meet the
transportation broker to make these                  information needs of consumers. These
matches, as fairly and objectively as                should not take the place, however, of
possible. Again, the need for the                    printed materials such as flyers,
brokerage guidelines and procedures to               brochures, and posters to get the word
have been developed early by the                     out. These types of materials should be
brokerage advisory council or board is               available in human service offices,
paramount. It is, then, the role of the              senior centers, grocery stores,
transportation providers to provide the              pharmacies, and other frequented
best service they can for the lowest cost.           businesses. Transportation brokerages
                                                     also make great human interest stories
Issue: Provide Technical Assistance                  for local newspapers.

A transportation broker will wear several                            Best Practices
hats: leader, facilitator, administrator,
planner, negotiator, trainer, and more.              Winston-Salem Transit Authority
It will be the broker’s role to be                   (WSTA)/Trans-AID
constantly aware of which “hat” is
needed at designated times. For                      Trans-AID is one of the longest,
example, in areas where no coordination              continuously operated paratransit systems
exists, the broker may need to develop a             in North Carolina. Moreover, the system
plan and strategy to identify                        has successfully coordinated urban and
opportunities for coordination in areas              rural paratransit needs in Forsyth County
such as information and referral, joint              throughout its history, one of the few
procurement, risk management, joint                  examples of integrated service delivery,
training, insurance coverage, technology             using a transportation brokerage, or
and automation, and more. He or she                  mobility management, model.
may need to actually develop training or
arrange for it to be conducted. Or,                  Trans-AID was established in 1978 to
assistance might be needed for                       transport elderly and disabled citizens in
streamlining or automating dispatching               Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
and scheduling activities.                           Trans-AID was operated as a division of
                                                     the Winston-Salem Transit Authority that

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Transportation Brokerage           65
provided advance reservation, curb-to-
curb demand response transportation to
eligible individuals in the service area.
The system has grown from providing a
few thousand trips per year to over
100,000 unlinked passenger trips per year

Trans-AID operates from a “mobility
management” center located on the
second floor of the downtown transit
center in the heart of Winston-Salem. All
customer service functions are provided
at this center including, but not
necessarily limited to:

    ♦ Reservations for ADA service
    ♦ Information on WSTA fixed route
    ♦ Information on all other
      paratransit services
    ♦ Information regard ADA
      eligibility certification
    ♦ Paratransit trip information and
      trip cancellation

Trans-AID coordinates virtually all
human service agency transportation. It
is a direct recipient of Title III
transportation funds for older adults and
provides most of the Medicaid
transportation in the county. The
organization has service contracts with
more than 15 other social service
agencies, operating a non-dedicated fleet
of vehicles to serve all paratransit needs.
State-of-the-art computerized scheduling
and dispatching technology is an integral
component of the Trans-AID program.

For more information on the mobility
manager project, contact Winston-Salem
Trans-AID at (336) 727-2648.

Minnesota DOT Transportation Coordination Best Practices Transportation Brokerage   66

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