During the month of November, Feonix is raising funding for Veterans transportation in honor of National Veterans and Military Families Month.
In every community we serve, Veterans face incredible challenges in accessing medical care, employment, and basic needs. We at Feonix believe that our nation's Veterans are our national heroes, and they deserve the best care we can provide. That includes a safe, affordable ride to the doctor or help getting to work.
Often transportation barriers are "hidden in plain sight", so we have complied a few recent news articles telling the stories of struggle in access to care, employment, and challenges of isolationism for American's Veterans.
After a Veteran was spotted walking along the side of the road with his oxygen machine to get to a doctor visit 100 miles away, police give him a lift.
Veteran's handwritten note requesting company for Veterans Day posted at the local barber - "Would someone like to take a local disabled veteran to dinner on Veterans Day? No car. My treat"
Bloomfield Hills surgeon helps get 2 local homeless veterans transportation, work. The doctor is a big time supporter of the military, and says he became close with the two homeless vets – Raphael and Jessie – and wanted to do more to help them.
Feonix Mobility by Design program participant, Panhandle Trails, has officially launched service and is actively providing life-changing rides to increase access to care in rural Nebraska! While we are still working together to master the nuances in launching an innovative pilot of this nature, we could not be more excited to go from our first planning session to securing grant funding to launching rides all in less than 4 months!
We are honored to share our highlight video featuring transportation professionals from TheRide, Ride Corps, and Uber in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Over 60 transportation professionals have been involved in participating and providing feedback on our hands on educational program - Disability Awareness Training for Transportation Agencies (DATTA). DATTA was made possible by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Governor's Michigan Mobility Challenge!
This fall, Feonix will be kicking off our first end-of-year fundraising campaign on Giving Tuesday. We will be raising money to fill the gaps for individuals in need who call our call center and cannot afford to pay. Sometimes just $3.24 stands between someone and the ability to access critical medical care.
For our first campaign, we will be seeking funding to cover just 10 miles per day for those in need during 2020. Please keep an eye on your inbox for an email on December 3 for more information and all the details!
Valerie Lefler, Executive Director at Feonix - Mobility Rising, joins ITE Talks Transportation Podcast to explore issues around Mobility as a Service/Mobility on Demand (MaaS/MOD).
She highlights ways to ensure that under-served communities are not overlooked as the MaaS/MOD market continues to grow, the challenges and opportunities presented by new mobility options, and how to navigate regulations, policies, and data in the process.
At Feonix, we believe that the key to solving transportation challenges is local engagement to build sustainable solutions. As such, we value relationships with local collaborators in each of the communities where Feonix operates.
Transportation is not “his” problem or “her” problem or “their” problem. Transportation must be viewed as a collective challenge. From healthcare to government to private industry and the nonprofit sector, there is a need to solve transportation challenges. In order to form a group that can ask the right questions and build sustainable solutions to get all people where they need to go, Feonix staff members make it a priority to understand our collaborative partners.
During the week of November 18th, Kate Schramm, Director of Partnerships, joined city leaders and government officials at the National League of Cities City Summit in San Antonio, TX. The National League of Cities (NLC) is a resource and advocacy organization for the nation’s cities and their leaders. The organization has 90+ years of service dedicated to local governments and over 2,000 member cities. While the NLC addresses multiple issues that communities face, it should come as no surprise that transportation is currently one of the hot topics. As a result, Feonix wanted to be in attendance to listen, learn, and add another voice of representation to the communities with whom we partner. Here is what Kate has to share from her experience.
“At the beginning of the conference, there was an Executive Roundtable Discussion on Autonomous Vehicles, and I was able to secure a spot at the table. The room was stacked with representation from USDOT, Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturers, Mayors, City Council members, Lobbyists, etc. As the conversations progressed, I could not help but let my rural advocacy “hat” suede my listening ear. City representatives expressed grave concern over the financial burden involved in infrastructure updates needed to support AVs. Others talked about policy updates that would control AV usage and operation. Still others expressed concern over trying to attract the “right” players in the AV space to come to their communities and implement pilots.
The more the conversation progressed, the more my thoughts bubbled. Thankfully, my unique role and Feonix’s expertise in the transportation space was recognized by the moderator, and I had the opportunity to take the mic. What I expressed to my friends in the room is that transportation challenges exist today. It is lovely to dream about AV technology, but we still live in a time when we cannot get a conference call to function without cutting out, and cell service does not consistently blanket the country. There has to be a balance between preparing for the future and living right now. Many communities need solutions today, not 3 - 30+ years from now. While presently serving residents, leaders cannot also be tasked with creating an environment where AV technology thrives. Updating infrastructure is expensive and time-consuming, and there are not clear guidelines from AV manufacturers about the updates needed.
That being said, AV technology would be a game changer in a rural environment. It’s true that rural environments present a significant challenge in the quality of the roads, a lack of accurate addresses, harsh weather conditions, unique obstacles like animals in the road, etc., but those are the very reasons why rural environments stand to benefit from AVs. As the population ages, many individuals have nowhere to go. There are not plentiful assisted living or skilled nursing facilities in rural America, but that should not mean that rural residents cannot stay in their communities. My hope is that the entities building the technology see themselves as accountable for building technology that works in rural environments.
Many transportation solutions, including AVs, have the power to change the quality of life in rural America, but it will not be easy. At this point, the room filled with head nods, and the conversation shifted to AV manufacturers for comment on their support of rural communities. I was happy to hear, there is a concerted effort to build for existing conditions, though there was also acknowledgement of the monumental challenge that that presents.”
It is my hope that rural America catches the gaze of more innovators that want to join Feoinx in our mission to keep rural alive and thriving. As rural residents and advocates, we must speak up and refuse to be forgotten or ignored in transportation solution conversations.
February 10-11, 2020 in Washington DC, Feonix Executive Director, Valerie Lefler, and Board Member, Teresa Wilke, will be presenting at the National Health Policy Conference on a panel discussing perspectives and findings in mobility impacting quality of life for under-served individuals in rural communities.
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