Pierce County Coordinated Transportation Coalition

CLIENT: Pierce County Coordinated Transportation Coalition from: 1/1/2015 - 12/31/2016


Thousands of people in Pierce County either temporarily or permanently are unable to transport themselves for a variety of reasons. They may be too young or too old to drive, they may have a mental or physical disability that inhibits their ability to get around, they may live outside of the public transit service areas, or the cost of transportation is out of range.

The Pierce County Coordinated Transportation Coalition formed in 2000 to develop and coordinate transportation services for people in Pierce County with transportation challenges. The Coalition consists of government agencies, non-profit agencies, school districts, transit agencies, private providers and riders. The Athena Group (then FLT Consulting) helped the group identify the transportation need, facilitate their first strategic plan, update it, and then helped manage and evaluate some of the strategic activities, including the hiring of a mobility manager. The Coalition reached out to The Athena Group 15 years later to help reinvigorate the Coalition, update the plan, and reset momentum for action.

Athena's Role

The Athena Group consultants:

  • Guided a strategy development and deployment process that helped the Coalition define their desired future state and their current state, quantify the gap, and then establish 5-year goals and a 3-month action plan that will help them close the gap between current reality and the desired future.
  • Launched and supported the Coalition through the adoption of a flexible, organizational framework that allowed for engagement of a diverse group of people from many different organizations at the level of their availability, abilities and interests.
  • Coached a core team of Coalition members in the design and facilitation of more effective meetings.
  • Hosted individual work teams to carry out iterative 3-month work plans for over a year, identifying the next activities and participants that are needed for the next phase of work.
  • Facilitated a value-stream map of the transportation eligibility process for how 5 transportation programs schedule and deliver rides.
  • Facilitated a prioritization process to select 3 communities in which to close transportation gaps, conducted two on-line surveys in those communities, and hosted two well-attended Transportation Innovation Summits using an Open Space process.
  • Facilitated the development of a communication and outreach strategy to build brand awareness and credibility for the Coalition’s combined services. This included identifying the underserved populations and the programmatic and funding gaps.

The Results

The Athena Group engaged nearly 200 community members in various activities in the Coalition. Through this work, The Coalition has been re-energized around a newly defined goal: transportation is never a barrier for anyone in Pierce County to get access to education, employment, health, social and cultural opportunities. The Coalition engaged nearly 60 community members in two Transportation Innovation Summits in which community members identified up to 10 ways to close the transportation gap in their community.

The Coalition now has a new lighter structure to help it achieve its goals. Coalition meetings have been reduced from monthly to quarterly. And, new work teams have been introduced that engage fewer, but more active members, for specific activities.

One specific improvement the Coalition made was to improve the intake process for clients of the Special Needs population within the transportation system. A cross-sector team conducted a successful experiment (a pilot) of standardizing the intake process to improve quality of referrals, increase collaboration, improve client experience, and increase capacity. 2-1-1 continues to use this improved intake process.



  • Faith Trimble
  • Paul Horton
  • Sheri Willis
  • Lisa Keosababian


  • Organizational Resilience
  • Vital Conversations and Public Engagement
  • Collective Impact Initiatives