Efficiently providing transit service to individuals who are considered to be, “transportation disadvantaged,” including people who are older, have disabilities, or are low-income, is a goal of the Federal Transit Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged. As demand for paratransit services continues to increase in many communities, transit agencies must find innovative, creative, and cost-efficient ways to meet increasing demand, even when resources are not increasing at the same pace. This report will help agencies apply effective practices that have been successful in solving challenges with the application of new innovative technologies that are available to the industry.
An online survey of paratransit providers in Florida and visits to seven sites were conducted to gather case examples and lessons learned from the deployment of reservation, scheduling, and dispatching software; mobile data computers or terminals; global positioning systems; automatic vehicle location; advanced telephone systems; and vehicle security cameras. Practical lessons learned can inform agencies seeking to deploy similar technologies in the areas of vendor selection, system selection, and transitioning. The study recommends a follow-up survey because a majority of agencies deployed these technologies only a few months prior to the survey and interviews, rendering assessment of the return on investment premature.