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Human Services Plan Update Prioritizes Needs

The need for flexible travel services, centralized information, improved driver training, and safe and convenient access to destinations are among the greatest transportation needs identified for disadvantaged populations in the NJTPA region.

Senior citizens walking on sidewalkNJTPA staff recently worked with service providers, community representatives and partner agencies to update the Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan (CHSTP) for the 13-county region. The goal of the update was to prioritize the needs and strategies identified in Go Farther, the CHSTP adopted in 2017. Go Farther was prepared with consultant support from the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University and data collection and public outreach support from the state’s eight Transportation Management Associations (TMAs). It identified the transportation needs of older adults (those 65 and older), low-income people, veterans, and individuals with disabilities and provides strategies for meeting those needs and prioritizing transportation services for funding and implementation.

The update includes new demographic data, findings from a stakeholder survey and focus group, and re-prioritized recommendations to better address the transportation needs of these populations.

Senior boards Somerset County Transportation shuttle busThe region’s TMAs, along with non-profits and local governments, are important implementers of this plan. NJTPA Executive Director David Behrend noted the TMAs have travel training programs that help older adults, those with disabilities, and others better understand and use transit services in their areas. “It’s an innovative and worthy program, and a good example of the kind of work encouraged by this plan,” he said at the NJTPA’s September 12 Board of Trustees meeting.

The more recent survey results indicated several needs that were more relevant than in 2017, including driver training, performance, and retention; fare subsidies; flexible service; and accessibility.

In addition to reduced fares for older adults and people with disabilities, the update identified other prioritized strategies such as partnering with Transportation Network Companies (TNC), and expanding and replicating existing non-profit care services with paid or volunteer drivers and existing cab subsidy programs.

The four target populations comprise 40 percent of the overall population of the NJTPA region:
  • 40 percent, people 65 and older
  • 11 percent, low-income population
  • 10 percent, people with disabilities
  • 3 percent, veterans
While it is difficult to forecast veteran populations in the future, other target populations are expected to grow by double digits by 2050:
  • +22 percent, people 65 and older
  • +14 percent, low-income population
  • +11 percent, people with disabilities
Ocean County ranks highest or very high for all four target populations. It has the highest proportion of people with disabilities and also the most significant number of veterans, substantially larger than other counties. Essex County has the largest number of people with disabilities and along with Hudson, Passaic and Union Counties, ranks very high for low-income populations. Bergen County ranks high for the 65+ population.
Posted: 9/14/2023 9:31:49 AM by Mark Hrywna | with 0 comments