Eight communities selected for $1.2M in grants to address transportation insecurity

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The University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) and its partners have selected eight demonstration projects across the US to receive $150,000 each to explore strategies to improve people’s mobility and access to daily needs. The funding is through a cooperative agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as part of its Mobility, Access, and Transportation Insecurity (MATI) program. 

The MATI research and demonstration program is identifying ways to address challenges that stand in the way of people’s ability to access public transportation. CTS's MATI team selected community projects to tackle barriers and find ways to improve transit access and find solutions for caregivers, low-income families, second- and third-shift workers, older adults, and women. 

The MATI team will work with communities to develop and implement demonstration projects that address transportation insecurity. The eight sites selected for awards will use the funds to assess community needs and produce demonstration plans between August 2024 and July 2025. Toole Design Group and the Center for Neighborhood Technology will provide technical guidance to the awardees throughout their projects.

Phase 1 Award Recipients

Anderson, SC: Led by SENIOR Solutions, this project will explore the idea of using a hybrid of micro-transit and demand-response bus service to bridge gaps in fixed-route bus service. Team members include Electric City Bus and The LOT Project.

Arlington, TX: Led by the City of Arlington, this project will evaluate whether its mix of on-demand transit services and reduced-fare programs are working to provide a consistent level of access to critical health services. Team members include Dental Health Arlington and the Center for Transforming Lives.

Boston, MA: Led by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, this project will focus on creating multimodal transportation options for low-income households in three metro Boston communities—Revere, Everett, and Chelsea—by combining MBTA's low-income fare policy and electric car-sharing services. Team members include the Metropolitan Area Planning CouncilGood2Go car-sharingUnion Capital Boston, the Neighborhood Developers, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chicago, IL: Led by the University of Illinois-Chicago, this project will explore a demand-response transportation program aimed at better connecting low-income, suburban families to childcare and employment opportunities with a focus on caregivers. Team members include Illinois Action for Children

Mansfield, OH: Led by the Richland County Transit Board, this project will focus on providing improved mobility outcomes to second- and third-shift workers through a community-shaped intervention. Team members include the North End Community Improvement Collaborative.

Oahu, HI: Led by the Hawai’i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, this project will focus on ways to provide low-income women with children in a geographically and transit-isolated part of Honolulu with improved transportation to employment and other opportunities. Team members include the Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Portland, ME: Led by Cumberland County Public Health, this project will work with a network of social services providers to develop a universal transit pass, provide mobility navigation services to clients, and convene a transit equity council to guide its planning work. Team members include the Moving Maine Network, the Greater Portland Council of Governments, and 10 community service organizations.

San Joaquin, CA: Led by the San Joaquin Council of Government, this project will combine a deep engagement and needs assessment effort around a mobility hub and connectivity plan in order to connect it with an ongoing affordable housing effort. Team members include the San Joaquin Regional Climate Collaborative.

During Phase 1 of the MATI program, award recipients will attend an in-person convening to share ideas and best practices. At the conclusion of Phase 1, all eight sites will be eligible to apply for Phase 2 funding to carry out their demonstration projects, and up to four sites will be selected. 

In early 2023, CTS and its partners were awarded $6 million by the FTA to design and lead the MATI program. FTA supports the MATI program and provides guidance but does not participate in project selections.

Learn more and sign up for program updates at cts.umn.edu/MATI.

Contact: John Siqveland, CTS Communications Director, 651-746-9250.