Report: Accessible Transportation Still a Challenge
- By Laurie Watanabe
- May 22, 2012
A new report from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and The Leadership Conference Education Fund says people who have disabilities continue to have difficulties finding accessible transportation.
The study -- Equity in Transportation for People with Disabilities" -- discusses lack of funding, enforcement and oversight of transportation programs that are supposed to help people with disabilities to live more active lives.
The report adds that these difficulties continue to exist despite Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) policies. The study says local and federal leaders "have failed to fulfill the promise of the ADA and provide equal access to affordable transportation for all communities through federal surface transportation legislation."
The report's findings include the following:
• Many public transit systems -- including Amtrak and in particular, older rail and bus systems -- remain inaccessible.
• Paratransit systems suffer from poor oversight, high costs to transit agencies and "woefully inadequate" service.
• Taxi use continues to be difficult for wheelchair users because so many taxis are not accessible and so many taxi drivers discriminate against them.
• ADA enforcement is still "spotty."
• People with disabilities who live in rural areas continue to have access problems.
AAPD says of the nearly 2 million people with disabilities who never leave their homes, 560,000 are home bound because of transportation difficulties. Additionally, adults with disabilities are twice as likely to have inadequate transportation than adults who do not have disabilities.
Nick Gutwein, president of The Braun Corp., said in response to the report, "Accessibility has made considerable improvements in the past 40 years, but we aren't where we need to be. We cannot be complacent in our pursuit of equal mobility and independence for all -- it's a civil rights issue."
To download the report, go to civilrights.org/transportation/ and click on the Equity in Transportation for People with Disabilities report.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.