Mobility Services for All Americans - Transportation Challenges and Benefits

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) MSAA initiative aims to improve access to employment, education, healthcare, and other social activities by using intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies and applications to coordinate transportation resources. The initiative was launched in 2005 after a Presidential Executive Order (#13330) on Human Service Transportation Coordination was issued. The order established the Interagency Transportation Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM) to enhance accessibility and mobility for persons who are transportation disadvantaged.

The MSAA initiative supports CCAM’s goals around increased mobility and access to transportation for all Americans and the more efficient use of Federal transportation funding. To meet these goals, MSAA works to:

  • Enable the provision of services that meet a full range of transportation needs for all, including low-income individuals, older adults, and persons with disabilities by coordinating human service and general public transportation resources
  • Simplify consumer access to transportation services from various programs to secure complete trips (rural, suburban, and urban) for all Americans across the United States
  • Use ITS to enhance transportation service delivery and system accessibility through holistic and integrated mobility innovation.

By supporting the coordination and increased availability of transportation resources, the MSAA initiative benefits a broad range of stakeholders.

MSAA works to address some of the biggest coordination challenges, including availability and knowledge of a service as well as its accessibility, reliability, and flexibility to meet consumer needs.

How MSAA Works

ITS technologies allow customers, agencies, and transportation providers to seamlessly connect through a single access point, greatly enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of mobility services offered to both specialized groups and the general public.

The MSAA initiative leverages ITS to realize the concept of the Travel Management Coordination Center (TMCC). A TMCC is a physical or virtual system that uses proven ITS technologies like:

  • Fleet scheduling, dispatching, and routing systems
  • Enhanced telephone- and internet-based traveler information and trip planning systems, particularly for customers with accessibility challenges •
  • Automatic vehicle location and other systems that assist the operations of demandresponsive, door-to-door service
  • Integrated fare payment and management (payment, collection, and processing) systems.

MSAA Benefits

A successful TMCC provides:

  • Customers with simplified points—or even a single point—of access to unified mobility services to learn about and/or arrange for transportation services
  • Service across wider geographic areas and/or hours of service through the coordination of transportation assets across providers and modes, including human services, public transportation, and other agencies
  • Tools and resources for transportation providers to match schedules and capacity with customer demand, efficiently process financial transactions, eliminate redundancies, and ensure security and customer eligibility to use the system.

MSAA has provided a better understanding of how to implement this vision in real circumstances.

MSAA Latest Results

The most recent Planning and Development Grant projects were successful in defining their project needs and documenting a concept of operations, system architecture, requirements, system design, and high-level implementation plans. These resources and others are available on the MSAA website at: research_archives/msaa/index.htm. Those interested in deploying MSAA in their region will find resources to assist with many stages of MSAA planning, development, and deployment.

The Future for Mobility Services

Understanding the background of the MSAA Initiative underscores its connection to the concept of mobility management and the USDOT’s Mobility on Demand (MOD) program. MOD envisions a “Mobility for All” future in which America’s communities are made stronger by ensuring the ability of Americans, wherever they live and whoever they are, have access to carefree, safe, and reliable transportation. (View the MOD fact sheet to learn more: https:// MSAA uses technological solutions, partnerships, and processes to leverage the human service transportation field and support the Mobility for All vision.

MSAA Goals

  • Enhance the coordination of transportation resources to meet the needs of all
  • Simplify consumer access to transportation services
  • Use ITS to enhance service delivery and system accessibility

MSAA Stakeholders

  • Public transportation agencies
  • Human service transportation and paratransit, or demandresponse transit, service providers
  • Faith-based transportation providers
  • Human service agencies with involvement in mobility programs
  • Regional planning or workforce development agencies
  • State or local transportation funding agencies
  • Local governments
  • Other public, private, and non-profit assistance organizations

For more information about this initiative, please contact:

Robert Sheehan
Program Manager
Multimodal ITS Research and Deployment
(202) 366-6817

Rik Opstelten
MSAA Program Manager
Federal Transit Administration
(202) 366-8094

Murat Omay
MSAA Program Manager
Federal Transit Administration
(202) 366-4182