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Service Gap Analysis

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Mobility Management Center

Analyzing gaps in service is an important first step in understanding how to design a system that responds to consumer preferences. Service gap analysis can take place at the local, regional or state level. Some of these analyses have been mandated by federal legislation (MAP-21, FAST) or state law, (Chapter 46 of the Acts of 2013), others are a product of a community initiative and undertaken by the Regional Coordinating Councils.

Policy Update

Coordinated Human Service Transportation Plans

A Coordinated Human Services Transportation (CHST) Plan is a unified and comprehensive strategy for public transportation service delivery that identifies the transportation needs of older adults, individuals with disabilities and low-income individuals; lays out strategies for meeting needs by filling service gaps; and prioritizes services for these target populations by region. Federal funding is tied to unmet needs being documented in CHST Plans. In Massachusetts, plans are created and periodically updated by each of the thirteen regional planning organizations. The latest plan update occurred in 2014 and plans are posted below.

Comprehensive Service Assessments (CSA)

The Massachusetts Transportation Finance Act - Chapter 46 of the Acts of 2013 (Section 63) - directed each regional transit authority to develop a comprehensive regional transit plan. The objectives of the plan were to conduct a comprehensive assessment of transit services; analyze ridership trends; evaluate service performance; develop alternative service scenarios; provide recommendations of how to better align services with local and regional demand; assess fare structures and collection methods; and determine whether the regional transit authority’s service is deployed in the most effective way possible to accommodate the transit needs of the region’s workforce. The RTAs conducted CSAs in 2014-2015. Reports will be posted as they become available

Transportation needs as seen by the Regional Coordinating Councils

Among the first activities RCCs undertook after formation was an assessment of local transportation needs as seen by RCC member organizations, their professional network and individuals that responded to surveys. Although results of RCC needs assessments had been incorporated into each CHST plan at a high level –e.g. lack weekend and holiday service on the fixed route – studying results of local needs assessments will provide you more specific information about the population that needs the service, the purpose of trips, and the time and day when service is desired. Please contact your RCC lead for a copy of local needs assessments,.

Complete Streets Funding Program 2016-2017

The most widely reported accessibility issue identified by 7 of 13 regional planning organizations –from the Pioneer Valley to Cape Cod- in their updated CHST plans was related to deficiencies of the pedestrian infrastructure (e.g. broken or lack of sidewalks, walkways, curb cuts, or cross walks) that prevent people from easily and safely accessing transit services.

The Complete Streets (CS) policy and funding program is a remedy for this long-standing need. A Complete Street is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes – walking, biking, transit, and motorized vehicles – for people of all ages and abilities. Designing streets with these principles contributes toward the safety, health, economic viability and quality of life in any community.

The Complete Streets Funding Program offers Massachusetts municipalities incentives to adopt policies and practices that provide safe and accessible options for all travel modes.

The Funding Program was created by legislative authorization through the Transportation Bond Bill of 2014 and total of $12.5 million was allocated for FY2016 and FY2017. For municipalities that meet eligibility requirements up to $50,000 is available for technical assistance and up to $400,000 for construction. Applications are accepted early-2016. Funding beyond FY17 will be determined based on the success of the program.

To increase the understanding and adoption of a Complete Streets design approach, and help with applications, MassDOT is sponsoring a series of workshops statewide.

Practice Brief

Statewide transit need profile

This analysis compares transit needs of transportation disadvantaged populations identified by each of the 13 Coordinated Human Services Transportation (CHST) plans. This comparative perspective allows for a broader understanding of the most common transit needs in the state and identifies similarities and differences across regions in the Commonwealth.

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