2022 Issue Focused Meeting – Washington

  • Author: NCMM Staff
  • Date: July 13, 2022
Members of RARET meet in-person for the first time in two and a half years.

In Bellevue, Washington, collaboration is not RARE. Equitable Transportation is a common practice.

On June 24th, 41 individuals met at the South Bellevue Community Center as the “Regional Alliance for Resilient and Equitable Transportation (RARET) held its first in-person meeting in over two and a half years.  This day-long session had transportation, mobility management, emergency, and human services providers from 3 counties working side by side to launch what will become the Emergency Transportation Provider Network (ETPN). RARET is a member of the King County Mobility Coalition, as part of the Hopelink Mobility Management Team. RARET stakeholders have been meeting since 2016.

Emergency events, like natural disasters, environmental contaminations, or pandemics, often create time-sensitive environments. Identifying and mobilizing transportation resources to serve those most vulnerable is challenging without preparation. Local departments of emergency management, public health, and other agencies within local governments, do not always have working, up-to-date knowledge of transportation provider capacity or capabilities. Transportation providers often want to assist, but do not know how or don’t have a way of connecting to demonstrate their availability. Transportation providers also are not often closely connected to the emergency management community for situational awareness, so they are not well versed in how to run their operations and contribute to local response as the situation evolves. 

 

A view of Mt. Rainer, near the location of the meeting.

 

Individuals with accessibility and medical considerations may not be connected to appropriate services in a timely manner during an emergency or know which providers are available. Individuals may have a usual transportation mode that they use which is no longer an option during an emergency further exacerbating the situation and its risks.  The scope of the transportation services offered thru ETPN will include, but not be limited to, essential medical appointments, access to food, shelter or transitional housing, evacuation and other non-Medicaid eligible needs. This type of need was acutely felt most recently during the COVID pandemic.

 

National Center of Mobility Management’s (NCMM) Amy Conrick and Bill Wagner facilitated discussion on what is needed to establish a network of transportation services for communities in case of emergencies such as earthquakes, wildfire, flooding, snow and extremely cold weather or other potentially devasting situations. Included in these discussions, were plans on how to identify potential roles for different Transportation providers, Emergency Service responders, RARET and Hopelink Mobility Coordinators and other stakeholders. Attendees participated in activities and raised questions throughout the day to begin laying the foundation of ETPN, a formalized network and process with defined roles that will address transportation needs in future emergency situations.

“This was my first opportunity to come to the Pacific Northwest and I found the energy and passion in the room today as inspiring and majestic as the surrounding mountains. Often pulling together such a diverse group of professionals to collaborate on a common goal can be incredibly daunting, and I felt a lot of ground was covered today” said NCMM’s Bill Wagner.

“Not only was it energizing to meet with partners in a room to discuss important projects such as this, but we’re also extremely grateful to our partners that came from far and wide to make this event a success,” said RARET Coordinator Dean Sydnor, “RARET looks forward to continuing this important equity work in collaboration with partners and hopes to support others in replicating this model.”  

RARET Coordinator Dean Sydnor shares his thoughts with the more than 40 attendees of the Issue Focused meeting.

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Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Kirby Wilhelm (wilhelm@ctaa.org).

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