As part of the Vaccine Access Project, McCormick Taylor is helping Philadelphia residents find transportation to COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Since April, our employees have staffed Transportation Access tables at key sites around the city in support of ongoing vaccination efforts by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (oTIS).


Our employees distribute transit passes to residents who receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We also arrange Customized Community Transportation paratransit rides or Lyft rides for those who qualify and record basic demographic information for transit pass recipients to help the City track how the passes are distributed. Our work aids the City and OEM because it makes more of their staff available to focus on vaccine logistics and delivery, while McCormick Taylor focuses on transportation assistance.


Led by Christina Arlt, AICP, McCormick Taylor’s Senior Project Manager for Planning & Communications Services, our vaccine access team includes employees from our Philadelphia, Exton, and Mount Laurel offices. We asked a few of the volunteers about their experience.


Matt Galenas, PE, PTOE – Traffic Engineer II

What do you like about working on the Vaccine Access Project?

I like working on the project because it allows us to have a direct, positive, and immediate impact on the community. While our civil engineering design work is similarly rewarding, it can often take months or years to see design projects through construction and completion. But in the Vaccine Access project, it only takes a few minutes to see how “Our Work Moves People.”


Have you come across any challenges or concerns while working on this project?

This project has a few challenges that our staff has solved in coordination with the City. First, this project requires our staff to be onsite at many different locations throughout the City of Philadelphia. Our team has been very adaptable in reaching these sites, whether by car, transit, walking, or biking. Additionally, this work requires our team to interact with a diverse population. We have learned to work with in-person and virtual translation services to communicate with the public in various languages. Our staff also uses apps such as Google Translate to quickly translate simple phrases to interact with the public as needed. Another challenge of this project is that it requires continuous, detailed coordination with internal and external contacts. Our project manager, Christina Arlt, AICP, needs to coordinate the vaccine site schedules with staff availability while balancing the needs of our other projects. We need to keep accurate records of distributed transit passes and get that information to the appropriate agency at the end of each day. 


What kind of feedback have you been hearing from the community?

The community is grateful to have free transit rides to and from their vaccine appointments. During the early stages of vaccine roll-out, there were only a few vaccine sites throughout the City. The community was thankful to have our help in providing transportation access to those sites. While vaccines are now more widely available, the community is still happy to receive free transportation to their appointments. It is important that we work to remove as many barriers as possible to vaccine access throughout the City.

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Emily Ryan, Water Resources Designer I

What is meaningful about working on the Vaccine Access Project?

SEPTA and the Philadelphia OEM wanted to ensure that getting to the vaccine sites was accessible and easy for all members of the community. Additionally, I have found it meaningful to be a part of the vaccination effort in some way—seeing the city’s vaccination effort firsthand has been amazing.


Have you come across any challenges or concerns while working on this project?

The biggest challenge for me on this project was entering public spaces again after being home and cautious for so long. McCormick Taylor provided PPE to ensure staff members felt safe and prepared.


What’s your favorite part of the project?

My favorite part about working on the project is getting to interact with members of the community! After staying home for over a year, it has been wonderful to speak with people from all over the city.


Nick DiFranceisco, Transportation Designer I

How have we helped the City of Philadelphia/OEM?

We are proud to help out as best we can to get everyone through this pandemic, and if that means distributing and facilitating means of transportation to those that need it, that is what we will do and have done. I’ve heard so many people say they are relieved and thankful to have a means of transportation so they don’t have to walk for miles to get vaccinated. One woman told me she was so happy to have transportation because her neighborhood is very unsafe to walk through at night, and the passes provided her with relief and confidence to come back and receive her second shot.


What do you like about working on the Vaccine Access Project?
I like knowing that I am helping people get to and from the site safely. Something as small as a transit pass has the power to change someone’s life, especially by keeping them safe on their way to get vaccinated. It could even have been the thing that convinced them to get vaccinated in the first place.


What about the project highlights McCormick Taylor’s talents?
McCormick Taylor’s talents in dealing with transportation and safety are key factors in having us at the sites. We are very knowledgeable about the different modes of transportation and pedestrian safety. Safety is our number one priority as a company so that translates well to this type of project where safety is the biggest concern. Our employees are smart and quick-witted, so we know how to deal with unexpected situations that arise at the job site.

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