In keeping with my recent posts about the Americans With Disabilities Act, the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration has a page entitled Access for Persons With Disabilities. Here is the Web site’s self-description:
The goal of this program is to ensure that all Americans have access to transit to meet basic mobility needs. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 was recognized that persons with disabilities have the same rights as other citizens to access services and facilities that are available to the public. Congress also recognized that many practical problems had to be solved in reaching the goal of equal accessibility in transit.
Project Action was created to address these issues and to serve as a bridge between the transit and disabilities communities in addressing these issues. Project Action has worked to help translate the ADA transportation regulations into reality. The transportation industry has reached a critical period in addressing ADA requirements. The major issues that must be addressed are service standards, reliability, and cost effectiveness.
Paratransit has proven to be a reliable and useful service for persons with disabilities and usage has grown beyond expectation, resulting in higher than anticipated costs. It remains a priority to address these issues by mainstreaming persons with disabilities onto fixed route transit, and to better coordinate ADA paratransit to reduce trip costs. Additionally, because approximately 70 percent of adults with disabilities are unemployed and receive public assistance, mobility issues related to welfare reform must be addressed along with mobility of persons with disabilities. Much of the emphasis to date has been on reducing physical barriers to transit use. A growing need is to make transit available to persons whose disabilities are sensory, such as being sight or hearing impaired. Research and technology development in this area goes beyond removal of physical barriers but also must address how information about transit services is made available.