New pilot program connects Oklahomans with transportation services in rural areas
A new state mobility management pilot program launching this spring will help connect communities with reliable transportation options with an emphasis on helping those who do not have access to a vehicle.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s mobility management statewide pilot program is designed to bring the entire transportation landscape together and provide service based on the transportation needs of individuals. It also aims to connect communities as well as improve transportation coordination and communication among transportation providers.
“We are excited to offer a pilot program that can create customized transportation opportunities for Oklahomans,” said Jared Schwennesen, ODOT’s Multimodal Division manager. “Transportation is not one-size fits all, these managers essentially serve as a day-to-day travel agent trying to find the most effective means for meeting individual travel needs.”
The new program initially will offer these services to residents in Northwest and Southwest Oklahoma.
- The Northwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (NORTPO) hired a mobility manager in January. Chanler Cory soon will begin serving Garfield, Noble and Kay counties.
- The Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SORTPO) has a mobility manager scheduled to start in June 2023. Christi Williams will soon begin serving Kiowa, Jackson and Tillman counties.
In addition to the two new programs, more are in the works. Three additional programs throughout Oklahoma are seeking local matching funds to get started. Each program costs about $100,000 and is funded through 80-percent federal funds as well as a 20-percent local funding match. More information on local funding can be found here.
ODOT’s new mobility management pilot programs are part of a federal transportation initiative that focuses on coordinating with a variety of transportation providers to improve access to healthy living resources, health care and employment. It aims to offer several transportation options, such as public transit, private operators and volunteer drivers to improve travel access for veterans, older adults, people with disabilities, individuals with lower incomes and the general public.
ODOT encourages patience as these programs will take some time to set up. The mobility managers will undergo training as well as complete transit and community assessments to establish the local programs. After these programs are established, they will be able to begin supporting and coordinating mobility solutions in communities. A statewide information site is available to provide updated information as the program develops. Learn more about the program here: www.tinyurl.com/mryvtewr