Human Services Research and Transportation Planning
Principal Investigator(s):Arlene Mathison, Director, Digital Info & Lib. Svcs., Center for Transportation Studies
Transportation access is an important issue for all of Minnesota but is particularly challenging for an increasing number of transportation-disadvantaged populations in suburban, exurban, and rural areas. Greater coordination among transportation providers can improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and enhance services.
Dakota County evaluated existing human services transportation options within the county and found a lack of coordination and significant service gaps. Transportation options available to county residents and clients include public transit, private providers, specialty providers, and in some cases, county staff transporting clients. Barriers to transportation access make serving clients more difficult and affect residents' ability to conduct their daily lives effectively. In addition, the lack of coordination makes it hard to ensure that transportation resources are being used most efficiently.
Dakota County engaged a team from the University of Minnesota, led by the Center for Transportation Studies, to conduct collaborative stakeholder engagement, data collection and analysis, emerging practices research, and strategic planning in order to assist County government with identifying strategic opportunities to facilitate improved transit and client transportation services in Dakota County. The work was conducted from October 2013 through February 2014. The resulting strategic plan outlined seven recommendations for the County to improve the coordination, availability, accessibility, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety of human service transportation.