With the Rail~Volution Podcast, we’re delving deeper into aspects of building livable communities, with special focus on equity and community participation.
NEW ON THE RAIL~VOLUTION PODCAST
Treating the Whole Person
How do healthcare providers approach the social determinants of health, including transportation? On the podcast, Brian Ebersole and Eileen Evert share the approach to “treating the whole person” that led Geisinger Health System to launch a pilot program with regional partners to address the transportation barriers of a specific group of patients. For regular listeners of the Rail~Volution podcast, this episode offers a view of the motivation of an anchor institution to be part of a transportation initiative – how it works on the ground, and how views of transportation change as a result.
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Fred Brundick
What’s the cost of “no shows?”
One 60 year old female scheduled for her first chemo appointment for lung cancer called with an urgent request for a same-day trip to connect her to appointment. The cost for a ride through the Geisinger program was around $50 round trip. If she had missed the appointment, the cost would have been over $40,000 for wasted chemo treatment.
Brian Ebersole and Eileen Evert both work for Geisinger Health System, a provider in northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey that serves more than 600,000 health plan members. Brian is the senior director of Springboard Health and Eileen is director of health and wellness.
Geisinger is part of NEPA Moves, a regional initiative focused on transit equity. NEPA Moves started as the Equitable Transit Planning Council, a group convened by the Scranton Area Community Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in response to the growing population of northeastern Pennsylvania and increasing concerns about transportation barriers to housing, jobs, quality health care, and educational and cultural opportunities. Geisinger got involved with the initiative through a 2017 regional summit.
As Brian explains on the podcast, Geisinger (like many health organizations) increasingly focuses on social determinants of health. Their approach to “treating the whole person,” is based on the reality that only about 20% of “being healthy” is determined by medical professionals and facilities. The other 80% of health outcomes are rooted in other things – where you live, work, your education and your genetic makeup. Health care providers like Geisinger are looking “beyond the walls of traditional hospitals and primary care doctors’ offices” to try focus on food access, transportation and specific subsets of the population. “If we start to meet that other 80%, we believe the 20% will continue to improve, exponentially,” as Brian says.
Geisinger found out through convenings of the Equitable Transit Council that different organizations in the area were spending money on transportation, building it into their budgets. Recognizing the shared issue of missed appointments led to a pilot program to address “no shows.” On the podcast, Eileen describes the pilot’s focus on two subsets: an urban subset (where 60,000 appointments were missed in one year) and a rural area (with nearly 144,000 missed appointments). The pilot addresses a very targeted population and involves a community health assistant who refers approved patients to a mobility manager who matches patients with options ranging from public transit to transit-network companies such as Lyft and Uber.
I’m surprised at the need & outpouring of referrals. We are seeing a 50% increase each month in terms of utilization and requests (were expecting 10%), even with a detailed referral process. There’s a great need . . . and downstream impact related to transportation. – Eileen Evert
Local stakeholders continue to meet regularly about the pilot and other transportation initiatives through NEPA Moves. Further data about results from the pilot program could be available this summer through Geisinger. Contact Brian Ebersole or Eileen Evert via Springboard Healthy Scranton.
RESOURCES AND LINKS FOR THE PODCAST
NEPA Moves: See this post from the Scranton Area Community Foundation about the formation of the Equitable Transit Planning Council and this post about the ongoing work of NEPA Moves. See this post from the Lackawanna Luzerne MPO about the Equitable Transit Planning Council and outcomes of the summit.
On this episode we’re joined by Vanan Murugesan, Director of Design and Innovation at Pillsbury United Communities, a human services organization in Minneapolis that recently opened a nonprofit grocery store, North Market.
Photo credit: North Market, Knock, Inc.
A mechanical engineer originally from Malalysia, Vanan helped develop the concept and led the process to open North Market, a nonprofit grocery store in North Minneapolis, a community designated as a food desert because of the lack of access to fresh foods.
Though people in the neighborhood would spend 45 minutes on a bus or $5-10 each way on cabs to get to a good grocery, the primary motivation to open a nonprofit grocery was community health and wellness. Once a market analysis confirmed that the community was spending enough on food to support a grocery, the concept for the store was developed with local residents. The result: North Market is a place to buy fresh food and a community center, offering Yoga, Zoomba, cardio kick-boxing and a wellness center. “The additional services came from community,” Vanan says; “We weren’t planning yoga.”
Some of the lessons from opening North Market might be applicable to transit providers putting a new emphasis on the customer experience: the importance of human-centered design and of marketing. “The definition of better has to be in the eyes of the customer,” he says, and, “We fall in to a trap of falling in love with our solutions. We are in competition. . . . You can provide the best solution, but no one will know about it if you don’t market and advertise accordingly.”
Also on the podcast: pros and cons of the farm bill, technology and convenience, and new initiatives in workforce development.
Workforce Development – for more about programs in Denver, watch this video from the 2017 Rail~Volution conference in Denver. At about 15 minutes into the video, Governor Hickenlooper describes the workforce development program then taking shape.
Transit + Housing = PB+J, with Laura Loe
We’re excited to welcome Laura Loe to the Rail~Volution podcast. She currently is a community activist with Share the Cities in Seattle and a bus driver.
This podcast with Laura Loe was taped at the 2018 Rail~Volution conference in Pittsburgh, where Laura Loe was a speaker on a panel called “Meet the YIMBYs and YIOBYs.” On the podcast, Laura talks about her frustrations with terms like YIMBY and NIMBY and ways that she tries to get beyond slogans and Twitter-bickering in her work as a community organizer. She describes how she approaches organizing across different cultural groups and issues as well as her pleasure in unplugging from the internet during her regular shifts as a bus driver.
Resources mentioned in the Podcast
Share the Cities – follow them on Twitter @sharethecities
with (Part 1) Jarrett Walker and (Part 2) Robin Hutcheson, Joseph Okpaku, Aniela Kuzon and Jarrett Walker
This month, the Rail~Volution podcast features the plenary conversation at Rail~Volution 2018 in Pittsburgh about new mobility, transit and cities.
On Part 1 (Episode 10), public transit consultant and author Jarrett Walker uses the metaphor of the elephant and the wine glass to talk about the things we know are true about space in cities.
In the discussion that follows on Part 2 (Episode 11), Robin Hutcheson, the Director of Public Works in Minneapolis, leads a discussion about new mobility options in cities, including Autonomous Vehicles and Climate Change, with Aniela Kuzon, Global Lead of the Cities of Tomorrow Challenge at Ford Motor Company, and Joseph Okpaku, Vice President of Public Policy at Lyft.
Community Organizing, Equity and Place,
with Manuel Pastor
Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity, University of Southern California, and Director of USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII)
Manuel Pastor spoke at Rail~Volution 2018 in Pittsburgh in a session focused on the Los Angeles Equity Platform Network (see the Monday 2pm lineup). On the podcast, he describes the role of both research and community organizing in passing the law (SB35) that dedicates revenue from California’s carbon cap and trade program to disadvantaged communities. He sees this as one example of the ways that solutions now bubble up from the local to the state level and beyond. His new book, State of Resistance, delves deeper into the ways that California’s record of organizing in every community led to gains in diversity, inclusion and equity – and is being replicated around the country. Manuel describes the ways that both conservatives and progressives have worked to create a social base of support for their policies.
Also on the podcast:
a definition of place-based organizing (including some of the leaders who started in community-based organizations, including Karin Bass, Kevin De León, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez);
how California and Texas differ;
serendipity and the “ease with mixing” in Los Angeles; and
why most Economics 101 classes need to update the way they teach about minimum wage and rent regulation.
When we are disconnected, we are not able to grow together. And when we’re not growing together, we’re not able to grow at all. – Manuel Pastor
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech and co-founder and “Chief Motivator” of OneBusAway, an open source platform for real time transit info.
Kari talks about her research into the role of technology in the evolving transit experience, how Atlanta has changed in the 7 years she’s lived there and the difference between teaching undergrads and grad students about transportation. She considers “dangerous futures ahead” – such as zero-passenger vehicles – and the “best future” of high capacity transit on dedicated right of way, fed by robust bike and sidewalk networks and TNCs for low density areas, all supported by timely information and payment – mobility as a service.
What does it take to get there? Transit agencies working with cities and DOTs. Incentives. Focus on high capacity networks and innovation. “When we look to a future of AVs and other technologies, it’s all the more critical to think about how we can do this efficiently and sustainably. It’s important that we get it right and soon.”
Getting to Mobility as a Service | Chloe Spano
We’re joined by Chloe Spano for a look at integrated mobility systems and the idea of mobility as a service. A native of France, Chloe has been with Cityway since it was a startup 18 years ago, working with transit agencies to provide information for transit riders. Fast forward to current efforts in the greater Paris region to prepare for the 2024 Olympics by integrating transit and other modes (from roadway congestion to bike share and carpooling options) to provide real-time, predictive trip planning and payment for the general public.
What are the most important factors in making this happen? What about suburbs and rural locations? What about dockless bikes and scooters? Listen!
Investing in People and Places | Nancy Andrews
We’re joined by Nancy Andrews, longtime leader in community development finance. She recently retired as CEO of the Low Income Investment Fund, which has invested more than $2 billion in 30 states by acting as an intermediary between private capital markets and neighborhoods. Andrews captures the creativity of community development finance (“we go way out on the risk curve”) and speaks for the importance of economic diversity in busting poverty and making stable communities. Listen for an inside look at how funds are put together and all the players that need to be involved.
We’re joined by Patrick Siegman to unpack automobile parking – perhaps the most subsidized element of transportation! Find out about what parking really costs and how to approach this hot-button issue in community discussions. Find out how managing curb parking can unlock valuable assets for affordable housing, equity, and beautiful streets. Urban planner, traffic engineer, landscape architect, city official, advocate – don’t miss this one!
The New Atlanta Way | Odetta MacLeish-White
We’re joined by Odetta MacLeish-White, Managing Director of Atlanta’s TransFormation Alliance. She shares her memories of growing up riding transit, recalls teaching her son about crossing the street, and describes the vibrant work in Atlanta with several partner organizations to leverage new transit investments, including innovative approaches to community engagement and use of a new equity scorecard. Don’t miss this and more!
The Lens Called Equity | Phillip Washington
We’re joined by LA Metro CEO, Phil Washington, to talk about the evolving role of transit agencies in the life of cities. He discusses building affordable housing near transit, testing new ideas like microtransit, and the origins of Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation.
The Once and Future Livable Community | Mariia Zimmerman
Mariia Zimmerman recaps her experience with the evolving conversation about transit and livable communities, from the days of proving transit-oriented development as a concept (including some blind spots) to TOD as a mobility hub. The goal: “creating great places where people across all income levels can live.”
Equity Strategies for a Transportation Corridor | Jonathan Sage Martinson
We’re talking with Jonathan Sage Martinson, former director of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, about the very deliberate steps taken to ensure community participation in defining the outcomes from a new light rail transit line the Twin Cities.
Rail~Volution is a network and an annual conference focused on ways that communities leverage major transportation investments (including rail, bus rapid transit, bus, as well as bicycling walking, sharing and emerging options) and related development to connect people with employers and neighborhoods.
For our 2018 podcast lineup, we’re working on three tracks or themes:
BUILDING LIVABLE COMMUNITIES HOLISTICALLY – with local leaders committed to equity, participation, innovation, and collaboration
LAND USE AND THE NEW MOBILITY – looking at the wider implications of new modes, from policies to implementation, stations to curbs
CORRIDORS AND COMMUNITY – innovative corridor planning, tools to combat displacement, authentic engagement, choosing and integrating modes
Look for a new podcast around the start of every month, with some bonus episodes along the way.