UWSC Column: Transportation Collaboration

Partnerships and collaborations are tools for group problem solving, decision making and action, and United Way of Story County (UWSC) is a strong proponent of these effective, dynamic groups who get things done in the community.
The mission of UWSC is to be a strategic leader in building countywide partnerships to identify needs and to develop, support and evaluate effective human services, especially in the areas of education, income and health, for our diverse community. A key component of the mission – partnerships – explains how we pool the expertise, talents, energy and resources of many to help collaborate on solving issues. One way UWSC develops partnerships and invests in the community is by leading or participating in several community collaborations.  
This column will highlight these community collaborations throughout the coming months; the Transportation Collaboration will be featured this month. UWSC facilitates this collaboration and was the original convener in 2007.
The Transportation Collaboration works to identify the transportation challenges individuals and families face daily and works to develop partnerships to help address the needs. Conversations center on what can be done in both the long- and short-term. Regular participants of the Transportation Collaboration include Ames Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO), AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy), BooSt Together for Children, Central Iowa Community Services, CyRide, Heartland Senior Services, HIRTA, Central Iowa RSVP, Story County, and United Way. The collaboration meets every other month at the United Way office. 
Discussions and strategies have included communication, coordination, education, and funding. The collaboration has discovered, as can be assumed, that simply sharing and educating each other on programs and procedures goes a long way towards effectively working together.
Some of the more recent successes for the Transportation Collaboration include the creation of a transportation brochure, the transportation taskforce and Wheels for Work.
A brochure highlighting transportation options in Story County was developed by the Transportation Collaboration and has been distributed to agencies, banks, libraries, clinics, schools, food pantries and more. The brochure, titled “Do You Need a Ride?” is also available online at www.cyride.com/sct
Additionally, the City of Ames and Story County recently concluded discussions through a transportation task force to assess transportation issues. UWSC and members of the Transportation Collaboration were critical partners in the discussion. The final report can be found at www.uwstory.org/income and includes insights, committee activities, and recommendations from the task force. 
Finally, Ames Ford Lincoln has partnered with the Transportation Collaboration to bring Wheels for Work to Story County. Ames Ford Lincoln accepts donated vehicles, inspects them for safety and makes necessary repairs. The car is then donated to a family in need of reliable transportation to work or school. Since the program began in December 2014, eight cars have been given away to ensure the recipient can continue getting to work. 
United Way values every partnership with individuals, businesses and organizations. The Transportation Collaboration is a great example of how many come together to advance the common good for all.