MARYLAND STATE AND REGIONAL COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION PLANS FOR SAFETEA-LU

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1 MARYLAND STATE AND REGIONAL COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION PLANS FOR SAFETEA-LU WESTERN MARYLAND COORDINATED PUBLIC TRANSIT-HUMAN SERVICES TRANSPORTATION PLAN September 2007 Updated September 2010 Office of Local Transit Support 6 St. Paul Street Baltimore, MD

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3 PREFACE The Maryland Transit Administration s (MTA) Office of Local Transit Support tasked the Regional Coordinators for the five regions in the State (Baltimore, Western, Upper Eastern Shore, Lower Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland) with updating their respective region s Locally Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan. This update was completed prior to the MTA s FY 2012 & FY 2013 Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) and New Freedom solicitation. This document serves as the update to the Western Maryland Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan developed in 2007 by the KFH Group for the MTA. The 2007 Plan was prepared with input and approval by the Regional Coordinated Planning Committee. In an effort to update the 2010 Plan, it was decided to review the existing Plan and update major changes. Reference is made to the process used in 2007, where applicable. The updated 2010 Plan reaffirms the unmet transportation needs and strategies outlined in the 2007 Plan and reflects any modifications to these statements as presented by the Regional Coordinated Planning Committee. This was accomplished by performing a gaps in transit service assessment through: Conducting a public survey Meeting with the Western Maryland Regional Coordinated Planning Committee Reviewing local Transit Development Plans General institutional knowledge Process Developed for Update As recommended in the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) guidance, public outreach and a meeting with local stakeholders were scheduled. The following tasks were outlined: 1. Review 2007 Plan to determine major service updates. 2. Conduct a public survey to solicit comments to determine gaps in transit service for people with disabilities, low or limited incomes, and senior citizens in the Western Maryland region. 3. Reconvene a Regional Coordinated Planning Committee with the purpose of soliciting their comments in a team atmosphere. 4. Conduct research of any new unmet transportation needs and innovative strategies. 5. Reconfirm the unmet transportation needs/issues. 6. Update strategies, potential projects, and potential funding programs. 7. Establish a 30-day public review period. 8. Endorse the updated 2010 Plan.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page SECTION ONE: BACKGROUND/REQUIREMENTS Funding Program Information Coordinated Plan Elements Maryland s Approach to New SAFETEA-LU Requirements SECTION TWO: PLANNING PROCESS-OUTREACH/PARTICIPATION Western Maryland Coordination Transportation Planning Forum Western Maryland Regional Coordinated Planning Committee Public Comment on the Plan Project Website Public Comment on the Plan Plan Update SECTION THREE: TRANSPORTATION NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES, OLDER ADULTS, AND PEOPLE WITH LOWER INCOMES Census Data Transit Dependent Population Profile Future Trends and Issues Overall and Ongoing Transportation Needs SECTION FOUR: CURRENT TRANSPORTATION SERVICES AND RESOURCES Public Transit Non-Profit and Human Service Transportation Providers Private Transportation Providers Specialized Transportation Services Current JARC Projects in the Region Current Section 5310 Recipients in the Region SECTION FIVE: UNMET TRANSPORTATION NEEDS AND ISSUES Allegany and Garrett Counties Frederick County Washington County Western Maryland Unmet Transportation Needs and Issues Statement SECTION SIX: RECOMMENDED STRATEGIES AND POTENTIAL PROJECTS SECTION SEVEN: COORDINATION INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE AND ON-GOING ARRANGEMENTS SECTION EIGHT: PLAN ADOPTION

6 APPENDICES APPENDIX A: Final Guidance from FTA on Coordinated Planning Requirements for the Section 5310, JARC, and New Freedom Programs APPENDIX B: Western Maryland Coordinated Planning Committee Rosters APPENDIX C: Western Maryland Demographics APPENDIX D: Maryland Agency Transportation Survey APPENDIX E: Funding Program Information and Eligibility APPENDIX F: Section 5316 (JARC) and Section 5317 (New Freedom) Application APPENDIX G: JARC and New Freedom Reporting Forms

7 SECTION ONE: BACKGROUND/REQUIREMENTS In August 2005, the President signed into law the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), legislation that provides funding for highway and transit programs. SAFETEA-LU includes new planning requirements for the Federal Transit Administration s (FTA) Section 5310 (Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities), Section 5316 (Job Access and Reverse Commute JARC), and Section 5317 (New Freedom) Programs, requiring that projects funded through these programs must be derived from a locally developed, coordinated public transit- human services transportation plan. This provision is aimed at improving transportation services for persons with disabilities, older adults, and individuals with lower incomes, and ensuring that communities are coordinating transportation resources provided through multiple federal programs. In March 2006, FTA issued proposed circulars with interim guidance for use of Federal FY 2007 funding through the Section 5310, JARC, and New Freedom Programs, including the coordinated planning requirements. Circulars with final guidance were issued on March 29, 2007, with an effective date of May 1, The final guidance noted that all grant funds obligated in Federal FY 2008 must be in full compliance with the requirements of these circulars and the coordinated plan requirement. FUNDING PROGRAM INFORMATION Section 5310 The federal grant funds awarded under the Section 5310 program provide financial assistance for purchasing capital equipment to be used to transport the elderly and persons with disabilities. Private non-profit corporations are eligible to receive these grant funds. The Section 5310 grant provides 80% of the cost of the equipment purchased, with the remaining 20% provided by the applicant organization. The 20% must be provided in cash by the applicant organization, and some non-transportation federal sources may be able to be used as matching funds. Federal Section 5310 funds are apportioned annually by a formula that is based on the number of elderly persons and persons with disabilities in each state. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is the designated recipient for Section 5310 funds in Maryland, with the Interagency Committee on Specialized Transportation (ICST) providing management and overall policy direction of the Section 5310 program in Maryland. The ICST was established by Governor s Executive Order, and is specifically responsible for the review, evaluation, and selection of private, non-profit organizations for funding under the program, and the development of criteria and establishment of the process for candidate projects. The ICST is chaired by an appointee of the Governor, and its membership includes representatives of six state Western Maryland Coordinated Public September 2010 Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan 1-1

8 departments involved in programs affecting elderly persons and persons with disabilities and related transportation issues: the Departments of Aging, Disability, Education, Health and Mental Hygiene, Human Resources, and Transportation. Job Access and Reverse Commute The JARC Program provides funding for developing new or expanded transportation services that connect welfare recipients and other low-income persons to jobs and other employment-related services. The MTA is the designated recipient for JARC funds in the Western Maryland Region. From its inception in FFY99, Federal JARC funds were allocated to states through a discretionary process and Maryland received significant earmarks. A major impact to the JARC Program in the SAFETEA-LU legislation was a change to a formula program based on the number of low-income individuals in each state, significantly reducing the amount of funds that Maryland will receive through the program. In addition, the legislation specifies that through this formula method, 20% of JARC funds allocated to Maryland go to areas with populations under 200,000 persons. These changes will result in even more competition for JARC funding and the need for specific priorities to meet the transportation needs of people with low incomes as identified through the coordinated planning process. New Freedom Program The New Freedom Program provides funding for capital and operating expenses designed to assist individuals with disabilities with accessing transportation services, including transportation to and from jobs and employment support services. Projects funded through the New Freedom Program must be both new and go beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of Similar to the JARC Program, the MTA is the designated recipient for New Freedom funds in the Western Maryland Region. Twenty percent of the State s New Freedom funds are to go to areas of the State with populations under 200,000 persons. COORDINATED PLAN ELEMENTS FTA guidance defines a coordinated public transit-human service transportation plan as one that identifies the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities, older adults, and people with low incomes, provides strategies for meeting those local needs and prioritizes transportation services for funding and implementation. Required elements of the plan are: An assessment of available services that identifies current providers (public, private, and non-profit); Western Maryland Coordinated Public September 2010 Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan 1-2

9 An assessment of transportation needs for individuals with disabilities, older adults, and people with low incomes; Strategies, activities and/or projects to address the identified gaps and achieve efficiencies in service delivery; and Relative priorities for implementation based on resources, time, and feasibility for implementing specific strategies/activities identified. The final guidance from FTA on the coordinated planning requirements for the Section 5310, JARC, and New Freedom Programs can be found in Appendix A. MARYLAND S APPROACH TO NEW SAFETEA-LU REQUIREMENTS To respond to the new federal requirements, the MTA Office of Local Transit Support that administers the State s public transit and human service funding programs, including the Section 5310, JARC, and New Freedom Programs, led the development of statewide and regional Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plans. This is the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan for the Western Maryland region that includes Garrett, Allegany, Washington, and Frederick Counties. The region is shown in Figure 1-1. With this plan in place, future projects funded through the Section 5310, JARC, and New Freedom Programs will be derived from this locally developed plan. Frederick County, as a member government of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (WashCOG), has also been included in the locally developed plan for the WashCOG region. The coordinated planning effort was not solely limited to the Section 5310, JARC, and New Freedom Programs. As noted in the federal guidance, while the plan is only required in communities seeking funding under one or more of the three specified FTA programs, a coordinated plan should also incorporate activities offered under other programs sponsored by federal, state, and local agencies to greatly strengthen its impact. Therefore, this plan includes information on the myriad of transportation services offered in the region, and not just those funded through the three programs for which the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan is required. Western Maryland Coordinated Public September 2010 Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan 1-3

10 Friendsville McHenry Grantsville Frostburg Cresaptown La Vale 68 Cumberland Allegany Hancock 70 Washington Williamsport Hagerstown Smithsburg Emmitsburg Thurmont 219 Oakland Garrett!( 135 Westernport 220 Martinsburg Boonsboro Sharpsburg 70 Frederick Walkersville!( 972 Middletown Frederick 70 New Market Point of Rocks Brunswick Urbana Mt. Airy Legend Places 15 Major Highways MARC & Amtrak Rail Urban Areas Urban Clusters Water Miles Data Source: Census 2000, ESRI Data CD Figure 1-1 WESTERN MARYLAND, GENERAL MAP

11 SECTION TWO: PLANNING PROCESS OUTREACH/PARTICIPATION FTA guidance notes that states and communities may approach the development of a coordinated plan in different ways. Potential strategies suggested by FTA included community planning sessions, focus groups, and surveys. The MTA s approach was broader and incorporated multiple strategies to ensure appropriate and comprehensive involvement and participation, including regional forums, regional planning committees, public meetings, and a project website. The development of the Western Maryland Coordinated Transportation Plan has provided a framework for future regional coordinated planning activities. The process has resulted in a new partnership between the MTA and the Tri-County Council of Western Maryland (TCCWMD). The TCCWMD is the regional planning organization for Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties and is a conduit to a variety of federal funding agencies. The TCCWMD will serve as the regional body for the annual grant application process for the three funding programs. WESTERN MARYLAND COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION PLANNING FORUM On March 14, 2007, the MTA hosted a regional forum to engage a variety of organizations at the local level that are aware of transportation issues in regard to people with disabilities, older adults, and people with lower incomes. The forum attracted 53 participants, including representatives from: Local transit operators Human service agencies (including those that provide transportation) Private transportation providers Departments of Social Services Departments of Aging Adult day care providers Health departments Rehabilitation service providers Developmental disability providers Disability advocacy organizations Disability program navigators Independent living programs Consumers Workforce development programs Mental health providers Medicaid transportation administrators Public school transportation providers Western Maryland Coordinated Public September 2010 Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan 2-1

12 Head Start transportation providers State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene State Department of Transportation The forum featured discussion of the new federal coordinated transportation planning requirements, the State s approach to meeting these requirements, and a review of existing transportation resources and demographics in the region. Forum participants provided input on the unmet transportation needs in the region during three breakout groups one for Garrett and Allegany Counties (combined), one for Washington County, and one for Frederick County. Each group developed a list of unmet transportation needs for older adults, people with disabilities, and people with lower incomes, and identified priorities as documented in Section Five. WESTERN MARYLAND REGIONAL COORDINATED PLANNING COMMITTEE During the March 2007 forum, participants were invited to stay involved with the coordinated planning process by participating on a Regional Coordinated Planning Committee that would provide guidance with the plan development, especially with specific local/regional needs and potential local projects. The Committee geographically covered all four counties, and included representatives from transit providers, Health Department/Medicaid transportation, Department of Social Services (DSS), Workforce Development, human service transportation providers, human service agencies, and education/job training. Rosters for the 2007 Committee, as well as the 2010 Committee that prepared and approved this updated plan, are included in Appendix B. The Committee met two times formally, and provided comments throughout the planning process. The initial meeting focused on the Committee s input on potential strategies and activities to meet the unmet transportation needs identified during the forum. The second meeting included an agreement on the prioritized strategies included in this plan, discussion of a proposed institutional structure to maintain coordination efforts and arrangements, as well as a review of a preliminary draft of the plan. Ultimately, the Committee reviewed and approved the draft Western Maryland Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan for public review. PROJECT WEBSITE As part of the outreach effort and to encourage involvement in the coordinated planning process, a project website was implemented. The website offers information on the new planning requirements, the Section 5310, JARC, and New Freedom Programs, and the planning process. The project website provides information throughout the plan development, including specifics on the regional forums, meeting outcomes, draft plans, and public meeting dates. The site also features links to existing resources to help communities improve coordination, including United We Ride, the federal initiative to improve human service transportation coordination. Western Maryland Coordinated Public September 2010 Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan 2-2

13 PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE PLAN In addition to review and approval by the Western Maryland Regional Coordinated Planning Committee, preliminary and final drafts of the Western Maryland Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan were posted on the project website for public review and comment. Participants from the Western Maryland Coordinated Planning Forum were notified when plans were available for their review, and information on the opportunity to comment on the final draft plan were submitted to the four local newspapers. Comments from the public were considered and incorporated into this plan. Also, a Maryland Agency Transportation Survey was mailed to all human service agency providers in the region. The survey data included the type of agency, how many individuals the agency serves, the type of transportation vehicles in fleet, the geographic region the agency serves, the number of passenger trips provided, the costs associated with transportation, and if the agency coordinates with other providers. Furthermore, any comments regarding the Coordinated Plan were considered PLAN UPDATE On August 10, 2010, the Western Maryland Regional Coordinated Planning Committee met to review and revise the 2007 Western Maryland Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Coordinated Plan. Members included various human services agencies, government agencies, private and public transit providers. Comments and updates were recorded to include a review of the unmet transportation needs as well as the strategies to meet those needs. After review of the 2007 Plan and committee discussion, slight changes were made, particularly to the unmet transportation needs and strategies. Outreach for the 2010 Update included a public notice advertisement in the four local newspapers, a transportation survey sent out to all providers in the Western Maryland region, and comments from the Western Maryland Regional Coordinating Planning Committee. A draft plan was posted on Tri County Council for Western Maryland s web site for a 30-day public review and comment period. The comment period ended September 15, 2010 and the Regional Coordinated Planning Committee did not receive any comments. Western Maryland Coordinated Public September 2010 Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan 2-3

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15 SECTION THREE: TRANSPORTATION NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES, OLDER ADULTS, AND PEOPLE WITH LOWER INCOMES The Western Maryland Region is diverse, with two urbanized areas (Frederick and Hagerstown), a relatively large urban cluster (Cumberland), as well as several small urban clusters and large rural areas with scattered populations and dispersed destinations, presenting distinct transportation challenges for older adults, people with disabilities, and people with lower incomes. While there is significant urban and suburban development in the region, particularly in Frederick and Washington Counties, there are also mountainous areas in each of the four counties, with the elevations greater in the more western portions of the region. This terrain adds to the challenges inherent in providing human service transportation. Garrett County is the most rural county in the region, with no urban clusters exhibiting population densities greater than 1,000 people per square mile. As shown in Figure 3-1, the areas of highest population densities are located in Frederick, Hagerstown, and Cumberland, with smaller pockets in Walkersville, Thurmont, Brunswick, and Frostburg. This map also displays the vast areas of low population densities. Persons who have limited access to or ability to use a car rely on public transit services operated in the region and on human service organization-provided transportation that is generally restricted to agency clients. Many travel needs require trips that cross county lines in the region, into other regions (Baltimore and Washington, D.C.) and across state lines. The travel patterns for Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties are oriented more in a northsouth pattern, with commuting and commercial activity that stretches from Southern Pennsylvania, southward through the region to West Virginia and Virginia. The identification and assessment of the specific transportation needs for individuals with disabilities, older adults, and people with low incomes in the Western Maryland Region is a three-fold process. First, Census data is collected for the three population segments and appropriately mapped to create a transit dependent population profile for the region. The maps and analysis are presented at the regional forums. Second, forum participants provided input and prioritized unmet transportation needs that are detailed in Section Five. Lastly, the Regional Coordinated Planning Committee provides final review and input on the needs ultimately included in this plan. Western Maryland Coordinated Public September 2010 Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan 3-1

16 Friendsville McHenry Grantsville Frostburg Cresaptown La Vale 68 Cumberland Allegany Hancock 70 Washington Williamsport Hagerstown Smithsburg Emmitsburg Thurmont 219 Oakland Garrett!( 135 Westernport 220 Martinsburg Boonsboro Sharpsburg 70 Frederick Walkersville!( 972 Middletown Frederick 70 New Market Point of Rocks Brunswick Urbana Mt. Airy Legend Places 50 Major Highways MARC & Amtrak Rail Water Density (pop/sq.mi) High (Over 2000) Med-Hi( ) Lo-Med ( ) Low (below 500) Miles Data Source: Census 2000, ESRI Data CD Figure 3-1 WESTERN MARYLAND, POPULATION DENSITY

17 CENSUS DATA Since this plan is meant to address the transportation needs of three potentially transit dependent populations -- older adults, people with disabilities, and people with lower incomes -- Census data on these populations are gathered at the block group level for the entire region, and analyzed to determine high need areas. Table 3-1 shows the number of elderly, disabled, and persons below poverty by county in Western Maryland, as well as the percentage of the general population that they represent. Table 3-1: CENSUS 2000 and CENSUS 2009 ESTIMATES DATA Counties 2009 est est Census 2009 est. Total Elderly (65+) Persons with Persons Below Population Disabilities Poverty Level Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Allegany 72,532 13, % 14, % 11, % Frederick 227,980 24, % 26, % 12, % Garrett 29,555 5, % 5, % 4, % Washington 145,910 20, % 22,685 16% 13, % Total Region 475,977 63, % 68, % 41, % Statewide % 12.20% 15% 8.2% Source: U.S. Census 2000 and U.S. Census American Community Survey 2009 Estimates While the region as a whole exhibits a similar demographic profile with regard to the three population groups, there are significant differences among the four counties, particularly for the percentages of the population that are elderly and below poverty. Allegany, Garrett, and Washington Counties exhibit significantly higher percentages of elderly people and people with disabilities than does Frederick County. In looking at all three characteristics, Allegany County residents exhibit the highest percentages of need among the four western counties. The absolute numbers of people exhibiting these characteristics are greatest in Frederick County, as a direct result of the higher overall population. Western Maryland Coordinated Public September 2010 Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan 3-3

18 TRANSIT DEPENDENT POPULATION PROFILE To evaluate transportation needs specific to each population group, Census block group data for persons over age 65, disabled adults, persons below the poverty level, as well as autoless households are mapped (see Appendix C). Generating a map of the geographic distribution of each group allows a visual representation of the analysis of high, medium, and low levels of transit need for these target population groups throughout the region. Figures for these four groups are then combined into aggregate measures of transit need, allowing an evaluation of transit need by both the density and percentage of potentially transit-dependent persons. This population profile is used to identify areas of the region that have either high densities of persons in need of public transportation services (Figure 3-2) or high percentages of the population with such needs (Figure 3-3). These profiles are mapped over existing public transit routes to identify where transit dependent populations live and whether they have access to public transit services (more information on the public transit services in the region is included in Section Four). Mapping the density of potentially transit-dependent people allows for an assessment of whether or not fixed-route transit services may be appropriate for a particular area, as density is a significant factor for fixed-route transit demand. The percentage of potentially transit-dependent people is mapped in order to guide planners to areas that may not have the density to support fixed route transit, but nonetheless are home to people with transit needs. It is typically more appropriate to serve these areas with more specialized services such as demand-response or subscription. In addition, population density and high-density housing subsidized housing, senior housing and multi-unit housing are mapped over existing public transit routes (Figure 3-4). These maps portray the accessibility of existing transit for residents in areas of high general density and high housing density. Figures 3-2 and 3-3 show that all the major population centers in Western Maryland are served by transit. However, the maps also reveal that there are wide areas of the region where transit is needed, but the population density is too low for conventional fixed-route service. While Garrett and Frederick Counties currently offer countywide demand-response public transit services, these services are not currently available in Allegany and Washington Counties. As an additional part of the assessment of transportation needs for persons with disabilities, older adults, and individuals with lower incomes in the region, key destinations major employers, shopping destinations, medical facilities, human service agencies, colleges and vocational schools are identified and mapped in relation to existing public transit services (Figure 3-5). Overall, these maps confirm the diverse transportation needs of older adults, people with disabilities, and people with lower incomes, and help pinpoint areas within the region that have higher need. The challenge then lies in providing comprehensive transit services when high percentages of people who need a variety of transportation options are located throughout the region, as are the destinations they need to access. Western Maryland Coordinated Public September 2010 Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan 3-4

19 Friendsville McHenry Grantsville Frostburg La Vale Cresaptown 68 Cumberland Allegany Hancock 70 Washington Williamsport Hagerstown Smithsburg Emmitsburg Thurmont 219 Oakland Garrett!( 135 Westernport 220 Martinsburg Boonsboro Sharpsburg 70 Frederick Walkersville!( 972 Middletown Frederick 70 New Market Point of Rocks Brunswick Urbana Mt. Airy Legend Places 50 Major Highways MARC, AMTRAK Water Relative Transit Need High Medium Low Public Transit Routes TransIT County Commuter Allegany Co. Transit Oakland Shuttle MTA 991 Ride-On Miles Data Source: Census 2000, ESRI Data CD Public Transit Agencies Figure 3-2 WESTERN MARYLAND RELATIVE TRANSIT NEED BY RANKED DENSITY OF TRANSIT DEPENDENT PERSONS

20 Friendsville McHenry Grantsville Frostburg La Vale Cresaptown 68 Cumberland Allegany Hancock 70 Washington Williamsport Hagerstown Smithsburg Emmitsburg Thurmont 219 Oakland Garrett!( 135 Westernport 220 Martinsburg Boonsboro Sharpsburg 70 Frederick Walkersville!( 972 Middletown Frederick 70 New Market Point of Rocks Brunswick Urbana Mt. Airy Legend Places 50 Major Highways MARC, AMTRAK Water Relative Transit Need High Medium Low Public Transit Routes TransIT County Commuter Allegany Co. Transit Oakland Shuttle MTA 991 Ride-On Miles Data Source: Census 2000, ESRI Data CD Public Transit Agencies Figure 3-3 WESTERN MARYLAND RELATIVE TRANSIT NEED BY RANKED PERCENTAGE OF TRANSIT DEPENDENT PERSONS

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