Coordinating special needs transportation in the central puget sound
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Coordinating Special Needs Transportation in the Central Puget Sound. Human Services Transportation Summit Atlanta, GA June 1, 2007 Benjamin Brackett, Transportation Planner Puget Sound Regional Council. What is the Puget Sound Regional Council?. Established in 1991

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Coordinating Special Needs Transportation in the Central Puget Sound

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Coordinating Special Needs Transportation in the Central Puget Sound

Human Services Transportation Summit

Atlanta, GA

June 1, 2007

Benjamin Brackett, Transportation Planner

Puget Sound Regional Council

What is the Puget Sound Regional Council?

  • Established in 1991

  • Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

    • Regional decision making and planning forum

      • Growth Management

      • Transportation

      • Economic Development

      • Regional Data and Forecasts

  • WA State Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO)

Where is the PSRC?

  • 4 counties

    • King

    • Pierce

    • Snohomish

    • Kitsap

  • 93 member jurisdictions

    • 75 cities and towns

    • 4 counties

    • 4 ports

    • 2 state agencies

    • 2 tribes

    • 6 transit agencies






PSRC Special Needs Planning Prior to SAFETEA-LU

  • Environmental Justice

    • VISION 2020

    • Planning to avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on minority and low-income populations

  • Area-Wide JARC Plan

    • Last revised in 2002

    • Summary coordination efforts, welfare reform transportation challenges, and projects to address them

Past Regional Special Needs Transportation Planning

  • WA: A national model for coordinated planning

    • Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation

      • Created in 1998

      • Housed at WSDOT

      • Cross-agency and cross-disciplinary

  • Countywide Coalitions

    • Initial Funding through ACCT

    • Focus on local (intra-county) transportation

  • Sound Transit (RTA)

    • Regional Special Needs Coordinated

      Transportation Coalition

    • “United We Ride in Puget Sound”, 2005

      • Focus on long-range, regional trips

Countywide Coalitions as Building Blocks for Regional Planning

  • Focus on coordination within the county

  • Ability to isolate county issues

  • Comprehensive representation

    • Human service agencies

    • Transit

    • Advocacy groups

    • Transportation providers

    • School districts

    • Transportation brokerages

    • Others (WSDOT, DSHS)


Two New Responsibilities

  • Coordinated Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan

    • Builds on “United We Ride in Puget Sound“ (Inter-county)

    • Incorporates local planning efforts from King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties (Intra-county)

    • Includes past PSRC work from Area-Wide Job Access Reverse Commute Plan

  • Competitive selection program for Job Access Reverse Commute (5316) and New Freedom (5317) Funds

- Area Agencies on Aging

- Transit Providers

Transportation Operators Committee

Special Needs Transportation Committee

- Workforce Development Councils

- County Coalition Representative

Voting Agencies

- Open Seat to be chosen by coalition: Provider or consumer advocate

- Medicaid brokerages

- WA State Ferries

Special Needs Transportation Committee

  • Recently formalized

  • Composition

    • Balanced between who was already at the table and what FTA suggests

    • Not all agencies are allowed to vote on all issues

    • Many invited in an “informative” capacity

  • Purpose

    • Steering committee for Coordinated Plan

    • Provides initial funding recommendations for:

      • WSDOT

      • PSRC

Local and Regional Plans


Coordinated Transit - Human Services Transportation Plan

PSRC / WSDOT Competitive Processes

Sound Transit: "United We Ride In Puget Sound"

Kitsap County Data

Pierce County Coordinated Special Needs Transportation Plan

Snotrac: Special Needs Transportation 5-Year Strategic Plan

King County Special Needs Coordinated Transportation Plan

Pierce County Coordinated Transportation Coalition

Kitsap County Human Services

King County Coordinated Transportation Coalition

Snohomish County Coordinated Transportation Coalition

Special Needs Transportation Funding in Central Puget Sound

  • WSDOT Consolidated

  • Grant Program

  • PSRC Competitive Selection Program

  • State Funds

    • - Paratransit Special Needs

    • - Rural Mobility

    • - Vanpool

  • Federal Funds

    • - JARC

    • - New Freedom

  • Federal Funds

    • - FTA Sec. 5310

    • - Rural Transit

    • - JARC

    • - New Freedom

Urbanized Areas and JARC/ New Freedom Funding









WSDOT Consolidated Grant Program

PSRC Competitive Selection Program





School Districts



Contracts With

Contracts With

















Transportation Brokerage Model

Brokerage contracts with State and other agencies to arrange transportation for eligible clients

Provides centralized call center and scheduling

Contracts with service providers

Travel paid for by program for which client is eligible


  • Creating a new network for the dissemination of information/ calls for projects etc.

  • Getting everybody on board

  • Keeping balance between transits and non-profits

  • Coordinating competition with WSDOT

  • New Freedom project eligibility

  • Managing non-profit concerns that complementary paratransit not overtake the planning process

  • How do we (MPO) fit into this whole process?

  • Navigating complex jurisdictions and boundaries


  • Incorporate human services or special needs planning into all aspects of growth management and transportation planning

  • Ensure adequate outreach when creating decision making or recommending forums

  • Be diligent in contacting representatives and be involved at all levels

  • Coordinate all funding competitions with state/other

  • Find your program’s niche

  • Promote the brokerage system

Current Projects

  • JARC and New Freedom recommendation process (public comment)

  • Targeted Evacuation/ Emergency Management for special needs populations

  • Examining background checks and what agencies look for – possible simplification and coordination

  • Study transit/ paratransit connections with ferries

  • Scoping update to Coordinated Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan


Contact: Benjamin Brackett at 206-389-2162 or

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