Washington State Department of Transportation, Division of Public Transportation, Community Outreach and Public Engagement for Statewide Human Services Transportation Plan
The Washington State Department of Transportation needed to update their Statewide Human Services Transportation plan, which focuses on initiatives to improve access and enhance mobility for people who are unable to transport themselves due to physical or mental limitations, income or age. To make sure the plan update is consistent with the needs of the population, WSDOT contracted with The Athena Group to gather information regarding transportation challenges from the perspective of stakeholders, users of community transportation and hard to reach populations in urban and rural areas.
The Athena Group conducted three major tasks: stakeholder interviews with providers, industry experts, and social service providers; ride-alongs on transit or community provider buses, and four public engagements with a focus on the Spanish speaking populations in Aberdeen, farm worker and Spanish speaking populations in Brewster, homeless and low income populations in Spokane, and dialysis patients in Pierce County.
The final report and sketch notes produced by The Athena Group will inform the priorities and strategies that are reported in the final statewide plan.
A primary benefit of the public engagements, which was unexpected by the client, was an opening to build and grow an ongoing relationship with communities who need transportation services but whose voice is often overlooked.