Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

Using technology to boost Mobility for All

 

February 26, 2020 | View PDF

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Boulder County's Mobility for All has launched training workshops to help '"expand access and use of technology-based transportation options."

For many of us, hailing an Uber for a ride home from the brewery or buying a bus ticket to Coors Field takes just a few taps on a screen, but for those with financial or other special needs, fluency with mobile phone apps isn't always the norm. To help make multi-modal transportation an easy option for those unfamiliar with mobile technology, Boulder County's Mobility for All (M4A) program is offering free training workshops to help all users "feel confident using smartphone apps that help you get around."

"Mobility for All is working towards making multi-modal or 'alternative' transportation accessible and affordable," Niwot resident Leonard Sitongia explained. He is serving as a volunteer "Technology Ambassador" for the program, and wants to help his fellow Niwotians learn to use technology to find transportation alternatives. "There are these apps for phones-like Google Maps and RTD's ticketing app, which are really handy. I've been using them myself for a while now, because I travel around using alternative means, like biking and busing."

A self described techie, Sitongia signed up with the M4A team last fall, out of a long-held conviction that a personal car is seldom the best choice for getting around.

"I worked for NCAR for many years, and was part of a volunteer program there for transportation alternatives, and developed a van-shuttle program, and eco-pass," he said. "Mobility for All, their argument is that having your own car can be expensive, and affordability is important. The apps are good at finding modes, but they can be fairly complicated, and that could be overwhelming to people. Google Maps has a lot of information on it, and the RTD ticketing app, on the flip side, is kind of limited, because it pretty much just provides electronic tickets for getting on the bus."

The 90-minute workshops cover Google Maps, Transit, the RTD ticketing app, as well as the increasingly popular ride-sharing apps for Uber and Lyft.

"It's really much easier to use, and much more convenient, with picking you up and taking you somewhere, but, on the other hand, it's the most expensive option," Sitongia said.

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The training is designed to help participants master "trip planning," he continued, even those brand new to smartphones.

"You have to be physically able to use your phone and be familiar with it, enough to type in your address and your destination... Some people do have difficulty right at the beginning with being able to use their phone and getting accounts for these apps, and that's why we're there to help people and train them to use them."

Sitongia and other M4A ambassadors have conducted workshops throughout Boulder County, and now he hopes to bring the series to Niwot. If you are interested in a workshop, or know someone who is interested, contact Sitongia at sitongial@gmail.com. For more information about the M4A and technology ambassador program, visit http://www.boco.org/M4A.

 

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