The Story Behind Boulder’s 2020 Transit Innovation of the Year

Many industries suffered in 2020 due to the egregious COVID-19 pandemic, including transportation in Colorado’s Front Range. When people began isolating themselves in their homes, the demand for rides to restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores, and other places dropped, although the need for supplies persisted.

It became challenging for people, especially older and medically vulnerable people, to secure essential resources like food and prescriptions safely. Simultaneously, the local nonprofit transit agency, Via Mobility Services, began collaborating with other local nonprofits, human services agencies, and private businesses to provide free delivery services to low-income and older households in urban and rural Boulder County.

Via Mobility Services. Boulder, 2020.

The Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) announced Via the winner of the 2020 Innovation of the Year award for its work with the Boulder County Farmers’ Markets and other community partners. The Innovation of the Year award honors a transit agency that has created and implemented innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies, and activities that improve the agency’s ability to serve riders and the community.

In addition to meeting an extreme need during a pandemic, we realized that delivery services like Via’s also offer one solution to supporting people with aging in place or remaining in one’s own home as they get older. As such, Via will continue to provide delivery services, even after the pandemic ends.

I am proud to be a core part of the team that makes this innovative transit service a success by:

  • Raising over $85,000 in grant funding from Private Foundations to help make more than 10,000 food deliveries possible in 2020
  • Supporting the expansion of local programs that provide free, nutritious food for older adults and low-income households with Boulder County Farmers Markets and Boulder County Area Agency on Aging
  • Planning safe, group grocery and recreation trips for residents in rural mountain communities with the Peak to Peak Housing and Human Services Alliance

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