April-May_2022 - 23

The Heart of Iowa
looked at what we can do to better
serve that community. "
They decided to add various
scheduled stops around the area
where most of them live, creating
a type of deviated fixed route, so
people can either go from door
to door or wait at a stop without
having to give out any personal
information. Part of the project
also includes an optional Social
Determinants of Health survey
where passengers can ride free
for a year if they complete this
prior to using transit and again at
the end of the program to evaluate
how transportation impacted
their lives.
For this project, HIRTA is
working closely with the city of
Perry, the Dallas County Health
Department, Perry City Manager
and Dallas County Hospital,
among others.
" I think [this] shows a good
connection to the community
itself in making sure that we are
delivering the service
has touched multiple aspects
of the agency. Castillo explains
they started by considering if
the communities saw HIRTA as
the agency saw itself. Even though
the agency is inclusive, aims to
service everyone and cares about
diversity, it didn't have anything
directly communicating this. So,
it got to work, creating a diversity,
equity and inclusion plan
and mission statement; putting
up stickers inside buses that say
hate and harassment will not
be tolerated; and changing the
equal opportunity statement on
job postings to be at the top and
more personal.
" The biggest thing [I've heard]
for people in rural areas is we
don't have any diversity. Well,
there is. Look at who you're serving,
and if you have a group of
people that aren't on [the service],
then that's who you're missing, "
said Castillo. " They're in your
community; you have to figure
out where they're at and why
you're not serving them. "
With this in
mind, HIRTA was
awarded a grant
from the Iowa Developmental
Council and
Iowa DOT to evaluate
how it
people with disabilities
and how the
agency could do so
more equitably. HIRTA
worked with Easterseals'
project action
using the Accessible
Transportation Community
Initiative. The
project created a coalition
of community partthe
way that they need it, the way
that they want it. We can talk
about how we do things, but it
may not be the way [riders] want
them done, " said Ramsey.
While Flex Connect is a new
project, HIRTA's focus on diversity,
equity and inclusion (DEI)
goes back a handful of years and
ners including riders, human
service agencies, county and city
officials, healthcare providers
and other stakeholders to work
on barriers and improvements
for accessing transit.
With its project partners,
HIRTA developed three main
goals and objectives, as well as
" As a smaller agency, we know that if we do not stay
up on things like technology and additional options for
people with services, we're going to be left behind. "
JULIA CASTILLO, Executive Director, HIRTA
an action plan. For example,
HIRTA created new inclusive
educational and marketing materials
for social media, print
and online that featured people
with development and physical
disabilities. HIRTA also created
materials that cater to specific
disabilities, such as its large-print
brochures, translated options
and educational materials on
how to interact with low vision
and blind passengers.
Making It Happen
Castillo shares many of these
projects and programs would
not have been possible without
the support of HIRTA's Board of
Directors. From approving the
new business plan to the grant
programs that funded the Flex
Connect and Health Connector,
Castillo says the board members
are always ready to research, ask
questions and give input.
Ramsey and Castillo also
agree this
is how the entire
HIRTA staff operate, adding
that people don't work within
the departments
work within the people. And
that they're able to accomplish
as much as they do because they
created a plan, started with the
smaller steps and have the commitment
to make it happen.
" We do this because we want
to make life easier and better
and more accessible. We want to
give people the freedom to move
around their own communities
that they've chosen to live in.
And just because they've chosen
to live in a rural community,
doesn't mean that they should be
less than or get served less or have
less resources, " said Castillo.
APRIL/MAY 2022 | MassTransitmag.com | Mass Transit | 23


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of April-May_2022

Editor’s Notebook
People & Places
How Values Drive Transit’s Path Forward at CapMetro
Breaking Down Transit Barriers in the Heart of Iowa
U.S. Bus Fleets Report
Unlock New Possibilities with IP-Based Video Surveillance Systems
Updates from Light-Rail Vehicle Suppliers
Video Security
April-May_2022 - 1
April-May_2022 - 2
April-May_2022 - 3
April-May_2022 - 4
April-May_2022 - 5
April-May_2022 - Editor’s Notebook
April-May_2022 - 7
April-May_2022 - People & Places
April-May_2022 - 9
April-May_2022 - 10
April-May_2022 - 11
April-May_2022 - 12
April-May_2022 - 13
April-May_2022 - How Values Drive Transit’s Path Forward at CapMetro
April-May_2022 - 15
April-May_2022 - 16
April-May_2022 - 17
April-May_2022 - 18
April-May_2022 - 19
April-May_2022 - Breaking Down Transit Barriers in the Heart of Iowa
April-May_2022 - 21
April-May_2022 - 22
April-May_2022 - 23
April-May_2022 - U.S. Bus Fleets Report
April-May_2022 - 25
April-May_2022 - 26
April-May_2022 - 27
April-May_2022 - 28
April-May_2022 - 29
April-May_2022 - Unlock New Possibilities with IP-Based Video Surveillance Systems
April-May_2022 - 31
April-May_2022 - 32
April-May_2022 - 33
April-May_2022 - Updates from Light-Rail Vehicle Suppliers
April-May_2022 - 35
April-May_2022 - 36
April-May_2022 - 37
April-May_2022 - Products
April-May_2022 - 39
April-May_2022 - 40
April-May_2022 - 41
April-May_2022 - Video Security
April-May_2022 - 43
April-May_2022 - 44