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Private Transportation Operators at the Table: A Guide to Participating in the Transportation Planning Process

In October 2008, TLPA was awarded a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to assist private for-hire vehicle operators in understanding and becoming involved in their local Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and statewide planning processes and the opportunities for business that may follow. A key component of this technical assistance program was to develop a training seminar to help equip private operators with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to more fully participate in these planning processes, understand the benefits of getting involved, and ultimately identify opportunities to tap into additional revenue opportunities and expand services. From 2008 to 2010, TLPA presented 12 Planning Ahead: Enhanced Contracting Opportunities by Participating in the Transportation Planning Process seminars across the country in every FTA region.

As follow-up to the Planning Ahead: Enhanced Contracting Opportunities by Participating in the Transportation Planning Process seminar series, a guidebook was developed for TLPA and FTA that includes key components from the seminar presentation and manual used in the seminar presentations. This guidebook, Private Transportation Operators at the Table: A Guide to Participating in the Transportation Planning Process, will serve as a valuable tool for private transportation operators who were unable to attend one of the seminars, as well as a useful follow-up resource for seminar participants. In addition, the guidebook will assist transportation planners at the federal, metropolitan, statewide, and rural levels in their efforts to engage private transportation providers in the planning process. The goal of this guidebook is to provide private transportation operators with an appropriate understanding and working knowledge of the transportation planning processes and planning organizations so that they can ask the pertinent questions and make more informed decisions regarding their level of involvement. The “planning table” is simply a metaphor for the overall process, and the objective of this guidebook is to provide private transportation operators with the knowledge to find the “table,” to know what to expect at the “table,” to know how to best spend their time at the “table,” and to know how to get the most from being at the “table.”

Key components of the guidebook, Private Transportation Operators at the Table: A Guide to Participating in the Transportation Planning Process, are:

  • Why Private Transportation Operators Should Be Involved — Involvement in the transportation planning process needs to make business sense. It can, by providing private transportation operators with the opportunity to: gain access to local decision- makers and public transit and other transportation providers, and join them where they meet and use that venue to network; form partnerships and learn about opportunities to expand services; and provide their perspective, including offering ways to provide more efficient and effective services in the community.
  • Business Opportunities through the Transportation Planning Process — Participation in the transportation planning process can help lead to a wide spectrum of opportunities for private operators to provide service.
  • Linking the Transportation Planning Process to a Company’s Mission — It is important to connect participation in the transportation planning process to a company’s mission and business plan. Involvement in this process can provide private transportation operators with the opportunity to reflect upon the changes that may be necessary for their company to meet the current and future needs of their customers.
  • Key Funding Programs and Opportunities for Private Transportation Operators — FTA has several funding programs where private operators are involved in many communities across the country:
    • Section 5310 — Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities Program
    • Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) / Section 5316 Program
    • New Freedom / Section 5317 Program
  • The “Nuts And Bolts” of the Transportation Planning Process — Provides an overview of transportation planning with a basic knowledge of the process, and therefore offers operators the ability to more quickly determine where time and energy would be well spent.
  • Taking Advantage of the Opportunity for Private Sector Participation — Includes a company Self-Assessment Questionnaire and a Taking Advantage Checklist
  • Aligning Your Company to New Business Opportunities — Provides a summary on new company business models and explains “What is Involved to Align Your Company to New Business Opportunities”
  • Appendices — Provides case studies and resources materials for operators to use to implement the recommendations of guidebook.

To download a copy of the document in PDF format, click here.

Executive Summary: Private Transportation Operators at the Table: A Guide to Participating in the Transportation Planning Process

Executive Summary: Private Transportation Operators at the Table: A Guide to Participating in the Transportation Planning Process provides an overview of the various components of the guidebook. This Executive Summary provides an outline of the information on the planning process and opportunities for private transportation operators, along with various resources, is included in the full version.

To download a copy of the document in PDF format, click here.

Engaging Private Operators in the Transportation Planning Process

Engaging Private Operators in the Transportation Planning Process is a companion piece to Private Transportation Operators at the Table: A Guide to Participating in the Transportation Planning Process is targeted to Metropolitan Planning Organizations. While private transportation operators are the primary audience for Private Transportation Operators at the Table: A Guide to Participating in the Transportation Planning Process, the guidebook may also be useful for transportation planning officials in their work with private industry. This brochure is a companion piece to the guidebook, and serves as a reference tool to assist transportation planners with engaging and including private transportation operators in their local, regional, or statewide transportation planning activities. Engaging private transportation operators in the planning process is not just a good idea, it’s the law. Federal laws and regulations require FTA grantees to involve the private sector in the planning process and encourage private sector participation in delivering transportation service. Federal statutes and FTA regulations mandate that in the annual development of the proposed program of projects, private transportation providers must be consulted; they must be allowed to examine and comment on each project; and those comments must be considered especially when a public provider prepares a final program of projects. This brochure is provided to help transportation planning agencies meet those requirements, and to go beyond the letter of the law — to fully engage private transportation operators in the transportation planning process and in efforts to improve and expand mobility options in your community and state.

To download a copy of the document in PDF format, click here.

Why Private Operator Participation Is Important

  • The need to guard against inequitable government subsidized competition.
  • To guarantee efficiency and effectiveness in the expenditure of Federal public transportation assistance through competition.
  • To prevent wasted resources through duplicative expenditures.

Contracting Opportunities Articles from Transportation Leader Magazine

Each quarter, TLPA publishes an article in our Transportation Leader magazine on the topic of contracting opportunities. Click below to view the articles. 

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