Mobility management in Minnesota gets federal technical assist

workshop Post-It notes

The National Center for Mobility Management is providing technical assistance for mobility management in Minnesota, including a mobility managers workshop, a dialysis transportation workshop, and strategic planning for MCOTA.

NCMM is a national technical assistance center funded through a cooperative agreement with the Federal Transit Administration and operated through a consortium of three national organizations — the American Public Transportation Association, the Community Transportation Association of America, and Easterseals.

The Minnesota Mobility Managers Workshop, held September 13, 2023, in St. Cloud, focused on the new NCMM Mobility Management Sustainability Assessment Tool (MM-SAT). The workshop was led by NCMM technical assistance consultants Judy Shanley, Easterseals Director of NCMM, and Steven Workman, consultant for the NCMM at Easterseals and director of Transport New Hampshire. 

Minnesota mobility managers workshop
Minnesota mobility managers with the MnDOT GO Van, September 13, 2023

Workman and Shanley led the mobility managers through exercises during small group discussions using the MM-SAT to assess and fine-tune each of their workplans. One of the insights from the workshop is how many policy barriers and opportunities mobility managers identified through their discussions with community members. Because mobility managers hear issues and concerns directly from community partners, they are in an essential position to help shape the future direction of transportation access in Minnesota.

The workshop discussion reiterated that, at its heart, mobility management is mobility for people by people. The focus is serving people with the greatest need, barriers, and challenges. The RTCCs and TCAPs, with MCOTA, form a dynamic network of mobility managers, developing and sharing solutions in their own communities and with each other — a network to improve transportation access and mobility throughout the state.

NCMM also is assisting Arrowhead RTCC mobility managers Beverly Sidlo-Tolliver and Gavin Buckovich, who have been working with a dialysis center that is struggling with patient transportation. NCMM deputy director Bill Wagner facilitated a workshop, requested by the RTCC and attended by 30 participants representing transportation providers, health-care providers, and service coordinators. 

Arrowhead RTCC dialysis workshop
Participants at Arrowhead RTCC dialysis workshop, September 26, 2023

The goal of the workshop, held September 26, 2023, was to bring everyone involved together to identify ways to improve transportation for dialysis treatments in St. Louis County. The county has three centers and two hospitals that provide dialysis. A high percentage of county residents need dialysis, especially among Medicare recipients, and 50% of those needing treatment do not have access to regular transportation options. Dialysis treatment schedules are not flexible and transportation options also are not flexible. The workshop helped to identify ideas and develop pathways for next steps to improve transportation for dialysis patients.

Finally, MCOTA also will seek NCMM assistance through the federal Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM) and state and local partners such as the RTCCs and TCAPs to update its strategic plan for 2025–2029. CCAM coordinates transportation services on a federal level to meet diverse transportation needs, like MCOTA efforts on the state level. CCAM’s 2023-2026 strategic plan offers a framework for MCOTA moving forward.

This report is provided by Michelle Lichtig, MCOTA program manager and MnDOT Mobility Management project manager.