Administration for Community Living logo: more inclusive processes lead to more successful outcomes

Planning News

Lewis and Clark County

The primary goal of the Inclusive Coalition Building project is to improve transportation for all, including public transit and specialized transportation services, through broad engagement of citizens - both in the City of Helena, Montana and outside the city limits. Currently, local transit service (provided by the Helena Area Transit Service, or HATS) is limited and ridership has declined for each of the last five years. This project worked to strengthen the already existing Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), a requirement for receiving Federal Transit Administration 5311 funding, by utilizing education, training and other outreach approaches to support a stronger voice for citizens in advising and guiding the lead agency, the City of Helena. Project staff and consultants worked closely with stakeholders, a diverse group of people with disabilities and seniors to review the transportation system, help identify gaps and participate in other engagement strategies; conducted community surveys to identify mobility needs and attitudes; and gathered and analyzed data to support informed decision-making. Improved marketing and better communication among all the stakeholders - passengers, drivers, government officials and the general public - was identified early as an important component of project activities. A comprehensive marketing plan, new, high-profile branding for buses and bus stops and user-friendly passenger information tools, including a passenger guide and website, were developed.