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2004 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards

Transportation Planning and Environment

Award Winner

Low Income Flexible Transportation (LIFT) Program

Metropolitan Transportation Commission
San Francisco Bay Area, California

Extending the hours of bus service may open up the possibility of employment to a poor family. A children's shuttle may be the only way a disadvantaged child can have access to after-school programs. The Low Income Flexible Transportation (LIFT) Program provides financial support to 32 intermodal, creative, and non-traditional transportation solutions in the Bay Area that are enabling the working poor to commit to jobs with fewer transportation and child care worries.

The San Francisco Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) understands that flexibility is the key to meeting the transportation needs of the maximum number of low-income residents. Therefore, the MTC set aside federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) and Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) funds to provide support to a variety of programs in order to give low-income residents a "lift" through the Low Income Flexible Transportation (LIFT) Program. In combination with matching funds from project sponsors, nearly $21 million has been made available.

City CarShare is a LIFT-supported program. Car sharing is a flexible and innovative way to provide for the ever-changing transportation needs of low-income residents.

City CarShare is a LIFT-supported program. Car sharing is a flexible and innovative way to provide for the ever-changing transportation needs of low-income residents.

Since its inception in 2000, LIFT has provided financial support to 32 nontraditional and creative transportation solutions in the Bay Area to fill the gaps in the existing transportation network. LIFT recognizes that there is no one solution to filling the gaps in the existing transportation network for low-income communities. The Program provides funding to support a wide range of transportation services: new and expanded public transit services, children's shuttles, auto loan programs, rideshare activities, and guaranteed-ride-home programs. These diverse projects have a common thread - meeting the transportation demands of the neediest members of the MTC service area.

One of the strengths of the LIFT Program is that it encourages a collaborative approach to addressing the transportation challenges faced by the working poor. Because the MTC by itself cannot know what services are most needed for the working poor, it partners with a range of stakeholders. To promote inter-agency collaborations, the LIFT Program requires that all projects be nominated by a county Welfare-to-Work Transportation Advisory Committee; these committees are made up of representatives from local transit providers and social services agencies, childcare advocates, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders. Also, MTC's Regional Welfare-to-Work Transportation Working Group - a coalition of transportation providers and social service agencies from each of the nine Bay Area counties, along with other key stakeholders - assists in the development of the LIFT program guidelines. This collaborative approach ensures that a wide variety of concerns are addressed.

The LIFT Program demonstrates that an intermodal approach is necessary to meet the diverse transportation needs of its customers. Fixed bus routes, vanpools, car sharing and children's shuttles are among the modes used in LIFT projects. For example, City CarShare is an organization that gives members access to cars on a shared, as-needed basis. Members pay $4.00 per hour plus $0.44 a mile. Thanks to LIFT funding, City CarShare was able to expand its fleet into low-income areas and subsidize the initial costs for Welfare-to-Work participants. These members now have access to a car for tasks such as interviewing for a job or grocery shopping.

Another example of a LIFT-supported program is the City of Alameda's Kids Coach. This program provides door-to-door transportation for children to childcare facilities and after-school programs, giving their parents the flexibility necessary to commit to a job without being constrained by school or child care schedules. Children who were unable to attend after-school programs in the past are now able to do so, thanks to Kids Coach and its LIFT support.

Kids Coach

In December 2003, MTC completed an evaluation that found the LIFT program had been successful in addressing previously unmet transportation needs. Surveyed passengers making use of LIFT projects expressed universal praise for the availability of LIFT-funded transportation services. This evaluation includes a set of "best practices," which may serve as models for future efforts within the region, and in other areas of the country, as well.

The LIFT Program continues to support its diverse list of projects and serves as a model of flexibility and innovation to address the transportation needs of those who most need a lift.


Connie Soper
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
101 8th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 464-7746
MTC Welfare to Work Website

Honorable Mention

Hanalei Bridge Remove-Repair-Replace Metal Members Project

State of Hawaii Department of Transportation
Kauai, Hawaii

Photograph of the Hanalei River Bridge heading to Princeville.

The Hanalei Bridge on Kuhio Highway crosses the Hanalei River in the Hanalei District on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii. Originally fabricated in 1912, the Hanalei Bridge is a one-lane, single-span, steel truss bridge with timber deck and reinforced concrete and masonry abutments. Kuhio Highway and the Hanalei Bridge provide the sole road access to Hanalei and other North Shore communities west of Hanalei, and to the Na Pali Coast recreation area. On August 9, 1978, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior determined that the Hanalei Bridge was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1972, the Hawaii Department of Transportation began plans to entirely replace the aging Hanalei Bridge with a modern, multi-lane bridge that would meet current design standards and load limits. The local community, which felt the existing bridge had become a landmark identified with the rural character of the North Shore of Kauai, opposed these plans. A long period of local community opposition and inability to obtain consensus with the DOT followed. The resulting inaction and delays allowed the original Pratt truss to become so badly deteriorated that large pieces of it were falling onto the timber deck.

In 1998, over 25 years after the initial attempt, the DOT and the Kauai District Engineer revived the project to develop a long-term solution to the problem. Because of the past history of the Hanalei Bridge, acceptance of any bridge replacement by the local community was a key factor to be considered from the outset. An informational meeting was held with the DOT and community to explain the steps that would be taken to evaluate available options. These efforts included a detailed inspection to record the actual condition of the bridge, and a load test to determine the ability of the deteriorated Pratt truss to support imposed loads to allow continued service. Once the inspection and load test were completed, a second informational meeting was held to discuss the findings of the load test and alternatives for the long-term solution for a bridge crossing the Hanalei River. The open communication and discussion of issues between the State DOT, State Historic Preservation Division, the community, and the consultant made it possible to implement a viable long-term solution that met the objectives of all parties.

The adopted design maintains the historic one-lane bridge and replaces the original truss with similar members. This project used a context-sensitive solution for this bridge, a treasured landmark that exemplifies the rural character of the North Shore of Kauai and the Hanalei River Valley.


Steven M. Kyono
State of Hawaii Department of Transportation
Highways Division-Kauai District
3060 Eiwa Street, Room 205
Lihue, HI 96766
(808) 274-3111

Updated: 10/20/2015
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