The Oklahoma United We Ride (UWR) Governor’s Council was created for the purpose of assessing what transportation exists within the state, to identify gaps and overlaps in service, and to help develop and implement Human Services Transportation Coordination efforts statewide.
In 2010, the UWR Council initiated a strategic planning process which involved dividing the state into regions, for analysis purposes. Regions mirror the currently established Oklahoma Association of Regional Councils (OARC) regions. OARC divides the state into eleven Sub-state Planning Districts which reflect eleven specific geographic areas. The UWR Council would identify an individual and/or organization UWR Member as the regional champion to be responsible for the initiation and execution of the UWR strategic plan within that particular region. Progress would be reported to the UWR Council. This plan is outlined in the Report of Council Activities reported to Governor Mary Fallin January, 2011. (A copy of the report is available by contacting the Council through this website.)
The pilot project sought to identify priorities and develop processes to identify needs and potential solutions for increased effectiveness of transportation coordination. UWR partnered with the Oklahoma Association of Regional Councils to bring together stakeholders in order to gather information and generate ideas for transportation coordination.
South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA), Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG), and Kiamichi Economic Development District (KEDDO) are three regions that volunteered to launch the pilot project. The three regions were identified for the project because they are rural and there is interest in transportation in these regions; this interest indicates we could see expanded or new coordination efforts in the near future.
A stakeholder meeting was held in Burns Flat on March 22, 2011. This area of the state is very interested in expanding transportation; the region has only one transit system.
KEDDO and KI BOIS Area Transit System (KATS) worked together to compile information related to which agencies in the region currently purchase and/or provide human services transportation. No stakeholder event has been held.
On June 16, 2011, United We Ride presented the Regional Plan to ASCOG's Board of Trustees, fielding questions about how we might work together to enhance human services community transportation in this region.
After the initial three pilot-project regions were engaged in the transportation dialogue, UWR approached OARC in an effort to identify four more regions to work with. Cheryl Taylor, Executive Director of OARC was consulted for her input.
At the same time the pilot project was accomplishing the initial goals of getting transportation dialogues started, the United We Ride Council began a collaboration with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to conduct a transportation Survey. OARC and Regional Directors were active in helping obtain input from their prospective regions. The survey efforts ran from July, 2011, to January, 2012.
Final survey data was analyzed and compiled into reports by ODOT's Oklahoma Locally Coordinated Public Transit / Human Service Transportation Plan and UWR's Human Services Transportation in Oklahoma: Recommendations for Coordination of Community Transportation for Elderly, Disabled, and Low-Income Citizens.
Both documents stress the need for regional mobility management a well as a statewide mobility manager. The UWR report, submitted May 31, 2012, recommended that the Governor mandate creation of the Oklahoma Mobility Management Network (Network), a statewide web-based clearinghouse of Transit Resources. The recommendations emphasize that the Council will work collaboratively with ODOT to develop The Network and will partner with ODOT to provide marketing and outreach for the Network.
The Council continues to believe that the progress toward better coordination of community transportation will come from within the Regional Councils of Government.
In the event that the Governor does not mandate the creation of The Network, and/or ODOT does not accept the lead as the state agency that will create The Network, the United We Ride Council will continue outreach to the Regional Councils of Government in an effort to bring about better coordination of community transportation.