Public Transit and Specialized Transportation Planning

Public transit is a shared passenger transport service that provides a valuable service to the general public. ECWRPC works with the transit agencies within the region to provide cost-effective transit services to meet the needs of the users and to comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Planning activities include Transit Development Plans, Transit Rider Surveys, County Human Services-Public Transportation Coordinated Planning and overall planning support.

If you’re looking for specific transit information, please see the corresponding pages for the area you’re interested in:

Valley Transit
Oshkosh Transit
Fond du Lac Transit
Menominee Transit

Specialized Transportation

Specialized transportation is a form of “demand-response service” that responds to riders’ individual requests (or demands) for service (van, small bus, or taxi). For example, a trip in a Cabulance vehicle would fall into this category, as would a trip via Dial-A-Ride. There are specialized transportation services available at the county level throughout the region.

Transportation systems within Wisconsin and throughout the country are fragmented and inefficient. The reason stems from the funding sources and their stipulations and restrictions. If we are not able to change the funding stipulations and restrictions, what can we do to improve the transportation system for the customers? We need to work with the existing transportation systems; we need to maximize our resources and strive for efficiency and effectiveness. We need to figure how to make the process seamless and coordinated from door to door. We need to focus on the customer’s needs.

In December of 2014, East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (ECWRPC) and Waupaca County received a Section 5304 Planning grant through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to study the transportation needs and barriers within Waupaca, Waushara, Shawano, Green Lake, Marquette, Adams and Juneau Counties through a transportation needs assessment. The focus of the study is on transportation needs, but also takes a look at mobility management “best practices”, which is determined by interviewing standout transportation systems throughout the state.

Winnebago County has a well-established specialized transportation network in place that currently meets many of the county residents’ specialized transportation needs. This network is comprised of a large, diverse group of caring people including agencies, county/municipal governments, businesses, transportation providers, caretakers, medical organizations and volunteers. The county also has a robust fixed bus route system that is available for specialized transportation individuals when convenient. The existing specialized transportation framework includes options throughout the county for the elderly, disabled and low income individuals. Winnebago County recognizes that even though they are meeting the needs of many, there are still gaps, needs and barriers within the system that are preventing individuals from adequate transportation. This study was completed to evaluate the existing specialized transportation system and identify the gaps, barriers and needs and to develop recommendations to remedy them. For more information about the study, please contact Nick Musson.

County Human Services – Public Transportation Coordinated Plan

Federal transit law, as amended by Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (2005), and continued in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) (2012), requires that projects selected for funding under the Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program be “derived from a locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan” and that the plan be “developed through a process that includes representatives of public, private, and non-profit transportation and human services providers and participation by members of the public.”

MAP-21 repealed 5316 (Job Access and Reverse Commute) and 5317 (New Freedom) programs. 5316 projects are now eligible for funding under public transportation grants programs (5311 and 5307), which do not require coordinated planning. 5317 projects are now eligible under 5310 and require coordinated planning. Wisconsin State Statue 85.21 (Specialized Transportation Assistance Program) candidate projects also require coordinated planning to receive funding. Projects selected for 5310 and 85.21 funding must align with the County Human Services-Public Transportation Coordinated Plan.

A County Human Services-Public Transportation Coordinated Plan is a five year plan dedicated to sharing resources both intra- and inter-county to assist the transportation disadvantaged public in getting rides based on their individual mobility needs. Broad and encompassing strategies and actions are developed to enhance the mobility needs of the elderly and disabled for the life of the plan.

According to Federal Transit Administration (FTA) rules, a human service-public transportation coordinated plan must include the following four elements:

1. An assessment of available services that identifies current transportation providers (e.g., public, private and nonprofit);

2. An assessment of the transportation needs for individuals with disabilities and older adults. The assessment can be based on the experiences and perceptions of the planning partners or on more sophisticated data collection efforts and gaps in service;

3. Strategies, activities and/or projects to address the identified gaps between current services and needs, as well as opportunities to improve efficiencies in service delivery; and

4. Priorities for implementation based on resources (from multiple program sources), time, and feasibility for implementing specific strategies and/or activities identified.

2018 Plans

2014 Plans

2008 Plans

ECWRPC website