By Jordan Snow
Research and Technical Assistance Analyst, National Center for Mobility Management
In 2016, staff from the National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) started meeting with Lutheran Services in America (LSA) to discuss common interests and explore potential cooperative work on transportation and mobility management. From those meetings came a preliminary relationship with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS-MN). Under the NCMM’s scope of work it was determined that a pilot program would be beneficial to understanding how faith-based human service organizations could contribute to and benefit from increased integration with existing and nascent mobility management networks in regions and states across the country.
This pilot came to be known as the Minnesota Transit Options Network (MTON), which had the dual goal of helping LSS-MN begin to interact with local, regional, and state transportation groups and also assisting it in educating the 1,200 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America member congregations across Minnesota about how activities they are currently engaged in might be defined and formalized as mobility management. Beginning in October 2016, NCMM staff and LSS-MN staff hosted a series of professional development webinars covering introductory mobility management topics, network building for mobility management, and mobility management for specific populations. In addition to these webinars, NCMM staff member Jordan Snow went to a regional meeting of LSA-affiliated staff in Fargo, ND to make a presentation about the progress of the Minnesota pilot and to engage in a listening session with staff members from both North Dakota and Minnesota.
Web of Partnerships
Throughout the pilot, LSS-MN staff members forged relationships in their own communities and with state-level organizations, such as MN Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MCCD), Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA), the Smartlink Advisory group, and the Minnesota Public Transit Association target=”blank”). Each of these networks and their respective meetings provided LSS-MN with additional opportunities to engage mobility management entities, learn about regional and statewide provision of transit, and acquire information about goals and initiatives for growing access to transportation and mobility management for specific populations.
The outcomes of these meetings and webinars led LSS-MN senior staff to the conclusion that they are not currently prepared to move ahead with their own independent mobility management practice, but they intend to continue to integrate their current transportation and human service practices with community transportation providers with greater knowledge of the challenges and opportunities surrounding the mobility of their clients and congregants.
The full results of this pilot will be published by NCMM in the form of a faith-based pilot implementation guide. Links to additional materials will be shared soon.