The Cecil County Department of Community Services’ Cecil Transit division today launched its COMPASS (Cecil On-demand Mobility Platform and Service Solution) pilot project, which provides on-demand transportation services to individuals in recovery houses for substance use disorders.
The one-year research project — funded through a $563,000 Integrated Mobility Innovation pilot grant by the Federal Transit Administration — is powered by customized Uber technology made possible through a partnership with Routematch by Uber. Cecil Transit’s drivers and vehicles provide door-to-door transportation that maximizes rideshare opportunities and connects participants to fixed-route services when applicable.
This innovative model will increase access to employment opportunities, medical care, recovery support, and other vital services. Individuals without a smartphone can book rides on Uber’s website. The cost of a one-way trip is $2 per passenger.
According to a County press release:
Residents of participating recovery houses are selected by their case managers to participate in the program based on the success of their recovery and the ability to travel independently. These individuals are able to use technology such as a smartphone application or a web portal to book and pay for their COMPASS rides to and from preapproved locations. The platform then automatically dispatches a driver and provides real-time updates to the passenger regarding estimated pick-up and drop-off times. Drivers receive turn-by-turn directions via an onboard tablet.
A soft launch of the program began on April 26, 2021 with a single recovery house and limited hours spanning the timeframe of 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. The program will gradually expand to include additional recovery houses and will ultimately operate Monday through Saturday from 4 a.m. through midnight.
“Our collaboration with the Cecil Transit team is a fantastic example of how on demand technology can be tailored to drive positive social outcomes. People who are recovering from addiction are often in need of safe and reliable transportation. We are hoping the program will not only positively impact individuals, but also helps us learn ways to improve mobility options for our most vulnerable populations that can be shared in other communities.” Daisy Wall, Routematch by Uber.
Data gleaned from the project will be used to study the applicability of a mobility on demand service in a rural county such as Cecil. It is expected that program participants will report fewer missed trips, greater financial independence, expedited job searches, increased access to treatment and recovery services, and greater satisfaction with their transportation options. If successful, the pilot will provide an adaptable service model that can address other community priorities and serve a variety of other industries.