The name of the committee is a little unwieldy and will likely soon change but the Coordination Committee on Specialized Transportation is chugging along.
The committee started out about four years ago as the Specialized Transportation Subcommittee to the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments' Transportation Advisory Committee. Specialized transportation is also known as Human Services Transportation, a broad category that covers “persons with disabilities, elderly persons, low-income job seekers and newly-hired individuals, and other persons who may qualify for such services.”
“A few years ago it was renamed and transformed into a full committee that reports directly to the PPACG Board of Directors,” said Lisa Thomas, Area Agency on Aging program services and contract administrator for the council.
The committee's purpose is threefold:
To advise the PPACG Board of Directors and staff on current and emerging issues, goals, and plans relative to coordination of public, human service, and job access transportation services in the Pikes Peak region.
To provide recommendations to the PPACG Board of Directors for coordination of public, human service, and job access transportation services in the Pikes Peak region.
To provide a forum for coordinating the services of those agencies providing public, human service, and job access transportation services in the Pikes Peak region.
The definition of “Pikes Peak region” changes with the agency or committee. For the Area Agency on Aging, the region includes all of El Paso, Teller and Park counties but for the specialized transportation committee the region is defined by the PPACG's Metropolitan Planning Organization and includes only El Paso and Teller counties.
Currently, the committee is working on creating a job description and hiring criteria to be used by the PPACG to hire a new mobility manager.
“A mobility manager is a job title kind of like `lawyer,'” Thomas said. “Lawyers specialize in Real Estate or water, for example, and mobility managers also specialize. Some of them are `big-picture' and some are detail oriented.”
According to Guy Dutra-Silveira, director the agency on aging, what the committee will be seeking is someone to coordinate transportation needs, create efficiencies, remove duplication and get “buy-in” from players in the community, including transportation providers, user advocates and funders.
“We are seeking a grant through the city of Colorado Springs from the Federal Transit Administration,” he said. “If we get the grant we'll be hiring a mobility manager in April.”
The ultimate goal for the committee is to create a transit brokerage where people can go to fill all their transportation needs, Thomas said. “They'll be able to make one phone call or visit one website, kind of a one-stop shop,” she said.
“The idea is to simplify service for consumers and maximize resources by looking at the big picture of when, where and who participates in transit,” Dutra-Silveira said. “It will probably take us 10 years to get there from here but we'll take it one step at a time.”
In the meantime, the public can help local human services provider agencies meet the needs of elderly and disabled populations by volunteering. These agencies include Silver Key, Comcor Inc., Community Intersections, Tri-Lakes Cares, Rocky Mountain Health Care Services and many others.
Results of a recent human services transportation study can be found at http://www.ppacg.org/files/TRANSP/LRTP-Jan2012/appenc_human_serv.pdf.