Research Archive

Research Overview

ITS technologies have the potential to transform paratransit and other human service transportation, improving travel for all Americans, including those with mobility challenges.

Through the Mobility Services for All Americans (MSAA) initiative the U.S. DOT fosters partnerships among service providers, local governments and other public, private, and non-profit organizations to share data and better manage resources to improve mobility.

The Transportation Coordination Problem

According to the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility, specialized transportation services for seniors, persons with disabilities, and the economically disadvantaged are provided through more than 80 federal programs. Locally, this often results in fragmented, hard to use services. Often, services are restricted by geographic barriers, trip purposes and a variety of eligibility restrictions. As a result, customers contact multiple case workers for multiple types of trips, which must be booked far in advance. Trip times can be inconvenient, with long pick-up windows and circuitous routes.

These inefficiencies waste money and reduce quality of life for travelers. There’s a better way forward, toward Mobility for All.

The Opportunity

As part of its drive to apply technology to solve problems, and unite transportation and health and human services researchers, the U.S. DOT launched the MSAA initiative.

MSAA promotes effective and efficient coordination of community mobility resources, in the form of a (physical or virtual) Travel Management Coordination Center (TMCC), enabled by proven technologies with a demonstrated significant return on investment. To learn more about possible MSAA applications of ITS and TMCC technology click here.

TMCC Developer Resources/Digital Toolbox

The MSAA program developed a set of materials that support regions looking to develop a TMCC through every stage in the process. Sample documents and other tools cover planning, development, design, procurement, implementation, testing, and deployment. See the MSAA Developer Resources page for more. Developers can also access TMCC sample documentation on the MSAA Project Overview page.


One Call Chart

Source: U.S. DOT - MSAA Integrated Vision

Research Approach

Initial phases of MSAA used a five-phased approach to advance the quality and efficiency of human service transportation (HST) delivery:

  • 1: Coalition building
  • 2: Foundational research
  • 3: Planning and design of ITS-enhanced HST
  • 4: Deployment and evaluation of ITS-enhanced HST models
  • 5: Documentation and outreach

For additional details on the initial phased research approach click here

MSAA Development and Design Projects

In 2005, 8 regions were selected for the first System Development and Design phase of MSAA:

  • Aiken, South Carolina
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Camden County, New Jersey
  • Fitchburg, Massachusetts
  • Kent, Ohio
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Paducah, Kentucky

The original MSAA Initiative developed eight innovative approaches to coordinating and delivering human services transportation.

While each had their own vision, they held common expectations for improved, expanded service, additional partnerships, and more efficient operations. For more details on the results of the development and design projects click here.

In 2009, 3 Phase One communities (Aiken, SC, Camden, NJ, and Paducah, KY) were awarded additional funding for a second phase -- Model Deployment, Evaluation, and Technology Transfer.

Phase 2 model deployment sites were evaluated based on efficiency, cost, coordination and customer satisfaction, and shown to offer increased numbers of rides, reduced operating costs, improved coordination, and customer satisfaction. For more details on the results of the deployment planning projects click here.

For additional details of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects click here.

2015 MSAA Deployment Planning Projects

In 2015, MSAA funded additional deployment planning projects to further develop  and prove the validity of the TMCC concept, setting communities on the path to implementing transformations in their human service transportation delivery.
Projects partners are:

  • VIA Mobility Services, Denver, CO
  • United Cerebral Palsy San Louis Obispo/ Ride-on Transportation, San Louis Obispo, CA
  • Atlanta Regional Commission, Atlanta, GA
  • Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Madison, WI

These projects are now concluding their work. Findings will be shared here as they become available. For more details on these projects click here.

MSAA Moving Forward

MSAA envisions a phased approach for the deployment of increasingly sophisticated mobility services for all, including those with mobility impairments. The following story boards show the development of such future services.

The person-centric transportation systems of the future depend on greater data-sharing, system interoperability, institutional coordination, and technology integration. Accomplishing this requires innovative research and management tools.

MSAA and Mobility on Demand

With its focus on leveraging diverse transportation resources, serving a broad range of travelers and vision of Mobility for All, the experience and resources of the MSAA initiative support USDOT’s Mobility on Demand (MOD) efforts.

For more information on the overarching MOD program, including the MOD Sandbox Demonstration projects, click here.

Research Findings and Important Results

MSAA Phase 1

Photo of person in wheelchair




Research Contacts

Rik Opstelten
Mobility Innovation Program Analyst
Federal Transit Administration

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

Robert Sheehan, P.E.
Program Manager, Multimodal ITS Research and Deployment
ITS Joint Program Office
(202) 366-6817