Online One-Click Transportation Resource Center Provides Mobility Solutions For Illinois Veterans And Their Families
Report from the Urban Transportation Center at UIC Details Process Behind Development of Robust New Website Resource
Illinois veterans and their families seeking information on transportation options to serve their personal needs can now get detailed and accurate travel information from a new “one-click” website.
Through the One-Click Transportation Resource Center, veterans and their families– as well as senior citizens, persons with disabilities and all Illinois residents – can quickly find up-to-date travel information for public and specialized transportation, commercial transportation like intercity bus and rail service, and ride share and car share options.
The website — http://tranpro.utc.uic.edu/ILGoVets/ — also links to the Google Trip Planner Transit page and contains a scalable Illinois map with locations of veteran service centers. It was constructed upon the TRANPRO Information Management System, a digital source that maintains Illinois Public and Specialized Transportation Provider Inventory data.
Funding for the project was provided through a Veterans Transportation and Community Livability Initiative grant from the Federal Transit Administration administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
A research team from the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago built the website and prepared a report, “The Illinois One-Click Transportation Resource Center.”
The report is structured in two parts: The first section provides insight into veterans and their transportation requirements when travelling to and from medical facilities in the U.S. and Illinois; the second section offers an analysis of existing transportation services for veterans in Illinois, results from a stakeholder assessment of transportation needs and technical insight on the development of the “one-click” website.
Results from the stakeholder assessment surveys of Illinois Human Services Transportation Planning Coordinators, small rural public transportation providers and Illinois Veterans Assistance Commissions reveal there are specific areas of improvement related to coordination and the transportation planning process.
The results also suggest that there are possible communication gaps between the various constituencies involved in this process, especially between the Human Service Transportation Planning Coordinators and the Veterans Assistance Commissions. The report delves into some of the perceptions on the parts of the individual clusters about the reasons for some of these challenges.
Veterans Assistance Centers, including those that provide transportation service to veterans, “acknowledged an unmet need exists for transporting veterans in their regions” and further “acknowledge a lack of communication or coordination with the other stakeholder groups.”
Other results indicate that public transportation providers are not often targeting veterans for special services. “They believe the lack of available funding prevents them from addressing veterans’ mobility needs,” the report states.
Additional evaluation of available transportation services reveals potential first leg/last leg gaps in service with respect to veterans accessing Veterans Administration Medical Centers. Improved coordination with public transit and dissemination of information on available services has the potential to close at least some of these gaps.
The study concludes that “communication and coordination are key to addressing the unmet need for veterans’ transportation in Illinois.” The One-Click Transportation Resource Center offers an opportunity to “bridge the information gap” to facilitate coordinated planning in addition to providing much-needed travel information.
The report and website project was managed by UTC Senior Associate Lise Dirks with support from Director P.S. Sriraj, research associate Joseph Irwin Harris and these graduate student researchers: Shreya Ghosh, Aswin Antony, Richard McChane, Vimalkumar Patel, Prakash Putta, Gayathri Ravichandran, Venkata Sambasivan and Suriya Sundararaj.
Here’s how you can learn more about the One-Click Transportation Resource report: Click here to read an abstract and get access to the complete report.