How-to information for transit coordination in Minnesota

How Do I Coordinate?
Check here for examples to help you get started with transit coordination
Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA)
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How Do I Coordinate?

Transportation coordination is a cooperative arrangement between transportation providers and organizations needing transportation services. Coordination is a key factor in providing a comprehensive transportation network.

Although the process of coordination varies depending on the agencies, providers, and circumstances involved, following are some basic steps for getting started.

  • First, identify the needs, and unmet needs, in the community. Then identify those organizations in your area that provide or need transportation service and contact them with your ideas for coordination.
  • When you’ve found a partner or partners, you’ll need to determine a course of action (and possible alternatives). This will include planning tasks and activities, assigning clear roles and responsibilities, anticipating potential problems, identifying effort needed, and estimating costs.
  • Finally, put together a framework for action, including a timetable with key milestones. A signed document contract between both parties is essential for establishing ground rules and costs associated with the partnership.
  • Remember that throughout the coordination process, communication among partners is vital.


Some examples of different types of coordination include:

  1. Ride share
    Two agencies providing transportation service discovered they were picking up and delivering passengers alone along the same route on the same days. Without relinquishing any control over the management of their own vehicles, the two agencies worked out a schedule for alternating days for the coverage of this area. At the end of the first year, the two agencies had reduced their overall vehicle miles and realized significant cost savings.

  2. Time share
    A day activity center (DAC) operated its buses for several hours each morning and afternoon, but during midday they remained idle. A senior organization contracted with the DAC to use the buses when its clients need midday transportation. The DAC retained control over its buses, maintenance, and program administration and gained additional revenue by “leasing” the vehicle(s) and service to the senior organization.

  3. Operations share
    Two agencies in Town C decided to combine all their routing, scheduling, and dispatching. With this new centralized system, each agency retained its own maintenance and administrative functions but realized significant cost savings and enhanced efficiency. They later contracted with other agencies to provide these services for them, thereby receiving additional income.

  4. Maintenance share
    When the public transit system in Town D agreed to provide vehicle maintenance for an elder day care and a neighborhood shop-and-ride system, the joint agreement produced profit for the public system and reduced costs in the long run for all concerned. The two small agencies retained management functions of their vehicles but realized cost savings in vehicle storage, purchasing of parts, and other features of vehicle maintenance by joining efforts with the public transit system.

  5. Administrative share
    Town E coordinated its public transit system with several of the town’s human services agencies' transportation systems so that all activities related to administration—personnel, training, vehicle procurement, insurance, advertising, etc.—became the responsibility of one transportation manager. As a result, the operation ran smoother, the streamlining helped cut duplicative services and costs, and the newly coordinated system provided more rides to community members.

  6. Information share
    Town F wanted to increase its funding resources and coordinated with local human services agencies to seek new areas of funding. The partners found that by cooperating and benefiting from each other's areas of specialization, they could use their combined resources to leverage additional funding.

  7. Totally coordinated transportation system
    County A had several agencies providing transportation to their own clientele. The agencies determined that better coordination of transportation services could be achieved by a totally coordinated transportation system. By having one agency responsible for the complete coordination of its public and human service transportation needs, the county realized a cost savings through full-time professional management, reduced transportation staff, and lower overhead, insurance, and maintenance costs.