Jim Queen, manager of Chattanooga Area Rapid Transit Authority Care-A-Van presented an overview of the proposed regional transportation network on Wednesday to members of the Cleveland Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization at a regular meeting.
The regional transportation hub would be Southeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency’s 15,000 square-foot regional transit and training center in Chattanooga. The facility would become the center of seamless transportation for rural communities in Bledsoe, Bradley, Grundy, Marion, Meigs, McMinn, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie counties.
Queen described Southeast Tennessee Mobility Management as coordinating transportation vehicles between CARTA, SETHRA and Special Transportation Services, a division of SETHRA.
He said mobility management is an extension of what SETHRA and CARTA have already been doing. CARTA has been operating since 1978.
“It’s using our existing resources,” he said. “It’s not adding routes, it’s not adding vehicles, but using the current resources we have and using them smarter and more efficiently.”
He said mobility management is a relatively new strategy approach to managing regional multimodal transportation resources.
“We are talking trains, planes, automobiles, buses, everything — the partnership we are developing between our organizations which, heretofore, has not existed,” he said.
The system would serve the low income, elderly and disabled in the nine counties of Southeast Tennessee served by SETHRA and 15 counties in Northwest Georgia from a regional call center using technology to provide information and access to all transportation options.
“We want to be the region’s travel agent,” he said.
Queen said someone from Cleveland could be transported to Chattanooga and transfer to a vehicle bound for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
“From there they can travel to anywhere in the world they want to go,” he said.