Connecting workers to jobs through cross-sector collaboration for transportation

bus-690508_960_720Last year, Livingston County and Flint, Michigan, located 45 minutes apart by car, each had a resource the other desperately needed. Tribar Manufacturing in Livingston County had 800 open jobs, and Flint had job-seekers — According to the 2010-2014 U.S. Census American Community Survey data, unemployment in Flint was officially at about 5 percent, Bridge Magazine noted in a recent article. However, the 40-mile commute to work in Livingston was not an easy hurdle to overcome for potential employees, with 19.7 percent of households in Flint without a vehicle. Tribar Manufacturing, Flint’s Mass Transit Authority (MTA), and Community Ventures of Michigan, a non-profit that helps ex-offenders, disabled workers, and those on social welfare find and keep full-time jobs, came together to create a solution.

With Michigan lacking “adequate financial resources to address its transportation challenges,” according to a 2015 study by TRIP — a national transportation research group — an intersector solution proved necessary to connect these two areas. The initiative began with an informal meeting among business officials with the goal of discussing industry challenges, Bridge reports. Tribar Manufacturing then worked with the MTA to coordinate updated bus routes and schedules, with the help of Community Ventures. The cost of fares for employees is shared by Tribar and Community Ventures, with the non-profit paying for the bus passes of workers it places with Tribar. For workers who are not clients of Community Ventures, Tribar pays for a large portion of the bus passes, leaving those workers to pay $10 per paycheck.

While the MTA has bused workers to other counties in the past with support from federal and local funds, it is looking to increase services through the involvement of new partners. Edgar Benning, CEO of the MTA, shared with Bridge that the agency is looking to expand without asking taxpayers for more money. “We think is our future is in public-private partnerships,” he said.

A cross-sector safe streets initiative in the Bronx provides another example of a non-profit amplifying community needs and working with business and government partners to shape transportation planning benefitting both residents and businesses. In Crotona East, the Community Development for the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation catalyzed multi-sector collaboration with the Department of Transportation and Crotona East’s residential, business, and social service communities to redesign the streets to improve pedestrian safety and customer access to local businesses, in an area that had previously had a high accident rate and the reputation of being a site for drag racing and other infraction. Read the our case study of the initiative, Creating Safer Streets for Pedestrians in the Bronx.

To learn more about cross-sector collaboration in transportation, take a look at insights on regional transportation planning partnerships with public health in Research to Practice: Connecting public health with transportation planning, and the value of community engagement in public-private transportation projects in Research to Practice: Engaging citizens to improve outcomes of public-private partnerships for transportation.