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NADO-USDA Deep East Texas Voucher System

Project #: 4W6998
Start Date: 11/01/2017
End Date: 09/24/2018
Status: Completed

As described in the final report, the transportation voucher pilot program was deployed in five counties (Jasper, Newton, San Augustine, Sabine and Tyler) within the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) service region.  It was developed to provide transportation to individuals 60 years of age and older to access grocery stores, appointments not covered by Medicaid, personal care appointments, and other approved trips that contributed to participants’ quality of life. Researchers worked with DETCOG to develop: 1) policies and procedures, 2) provider training, and 3) rider training for the transportation voucher program. A budget of approximately $150 per month was provided to approximately forty approved participants. Unlike
most previously deployed transportation voucher programs that exclusively focused on individuals with disabilities, this program focused on older Americans. Challenges encountered included riders who had difficulty remembering how to book rides, scam phone calls in the region, differentiating between Medicare transportation and the transportation voucher program, and addressing the needs of those who need transportation weekly, monthly, or intermittently. An unexpected benefit identified was that the program has allowed DETCOG staff members to help program participants identify and access other applicable programs (e.g. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)).


WTI will provide technical assistance to three rural communities and regions to identify and evaluate options for expanding transportation options, through a new partnership with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO)’s Research Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA sponsors technical assistance grants to rural communities and regions for transportation development, and NADO’s Research Foundation, working in conjunction with WTI, was selected to receive three grants. WTI will conduct the technical assistance in three locations, one of which is in east Texas.


In communities served by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), WTI will work with DETCOG to pilot a traveler cheque system intended to provide more mobility opportunities to veterans, persons with disabilities, and older persons. This project is unique in that not only will work and medical needs be addressed, but the system allows users to utilize trips for livability purposes so long as they are staying within their allotted mileage. The project will include planning, marketing, and public outreach.


The objective of this project is to pilot a traveler cheque system intended to provide more mobility opportunities to veterans, persons with disabilities, and older persons.