Posted on March 25th, 2015 by Jennifer Dexter
There’s new legislation to increase transit accessibility being introduced that encourages public transportation providers to improve their services for individuals with disabilities. Since the passing of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), it may be tempting to think that “all is well” in regards to equal accessibility. However, while it is obvious that very significant strides have been made for people with disabilities, there is still more work to be done.
Actually, there are still major issues that warrant attention. For example, almost 25 years ago now, the ADA established this thing called paratransit which requires a door-to-door service for people who can’t use public transportation independently. However, the availability of this service comes with strict disability requirements, making it unavailable to a large population in need of such services. This and many other issues often overlooked in the transportation world are why Easter Seals is excited to support a new act that encourages more creative thought and innovation in accessibility solutions.
Congressman Jim Langevin is leading the introduction of the Transit Accessibility Innovation Act. This legislation will create grants that will be awarded to local communities and transit systems that develop new, creative ways to continue to encourage and revamp accessibility for people of all abilities. Easter Seals and a few other disability, aging and transportation groups helped shape the contents of this bill.
The act will create a competitive grant program, and the most creative ideas will be awarded funding to help bring their ideas to reality. The FTA will evaluate applicants based on six long-term outcomes:
- community integration
- customer service
Special consideration will be given to innovations that can be replicated for use in other communities as well.
For nearly 100 years, Easter Seals has worked to ensure that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities. We see transportation as an important part of that mission and vision, and believe that all people should have safe, affordable, and accessible transportation options. We’re excited for the innovation that this new program would support and we look forward to future implementation. We need your help to make this legislation a reality. Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to support the Transit Access and Innovation Act using our handy on-line system.