Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Help us plan for a better Human Services Transportation system!

By Matthew Kenna

When you think about our agency, highways and ferries are probably the first things that come to mind. But did you know we also support human services transportation programs that help people with mobility challenges and other special transportation needs get where they need to go? A well-functioning network of human services transportation options is vital to the quality of life of people who rely on them to access medical and social services, food and groceries, work, school, and more.

Ensuring everyone has a safe, reliable way to get around is a vital goal for us as a multimodal transportation agency.

Right now, our Public Transportation Division is collecting public feedback for the 2022 update of the Human Services Transportation Plan (PDF 3.7MB). We held a virtual public meeting in early February to share some of the plan's highlights, give some background on strategies and actions we're recommending to strengthen human-services transportation in the coming years, and answer questions from the public. Twenty-six people attended the hour-long discussion, including users of human-services transportation programs and transportation planners working on their local human-services transportation plans. Attendees' questions were largely focused on two issues:

  • How hard it can be just to get to public transit, for example because of sidewalks that are missing or in bad repair.
  • The difficulty of cross-regional travel, especially when switching between transportation providers (for instance, transferring from one county's transit system onto another) or between modes (taking the bus to a location at which they are picked up by, say, a van from a nonprofit transportation provider).
We support human services transportation programs that help people with mobility
 challenges and needs get where they need to go.

We're excited to use what we learned in this meeting to make this update of the Human Services Transportation Plan better.

But our outreach doesn't end there: we want to hear from as many more of you as we can!

If you have questions about sidewalks and cross-regional transportation or have other thoughts that you want to share, take a look at the Human Services Transportation Plan's online open house – available in English, Spanish and Russian – and tell us what you want to see in the 2022 Human Services Transportation Plan. We're accepting your feedback until Monday, March 21. We look forward to hearing from you!