During the past 25 years, a great deal of effort has been directed, throughout the United States, toward improving mobility for transportation-disadvantaged people, including older adults, people with disabilities, and individuals with lower incomes. Recognizing that there are increasing numbers of transportation-disadvantaged people in the United States and spurred on by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), considerable resources have been expended to add services and modify existing services to remove barriers to mobility. During this time, public officials and transportation providers have tried to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of publicly funded transportation services to maximize the use of available funding. Many strategies have been pursued--including efforts to coordinate and consolidate transportation services--to reduce duplication, increase efficiencies, and simplify access for consumers.
The ADA stipulates that public transportation services must be accessible to persons with disabilities--newly constructed facilities, alterations to existing facilities, and newly acquired buses and rail cars must all be accessible. The ADA also requires all public transit agencies to provide complementary paratransit service within ¾ mile of fixed- route systems for persons with disabilities who cannot use fixed-route transit.
For many years social service agencies have provided transportation for their clients, including persons with disabilities, older Americans, recipients of Medicaid, participants in Headstart programs, persons with lower incomes, and others with special needs. Since the late 1980s, efforts have been made to coordinate and improve the cost-effectiveness of these services. Two important federal initiatives have recently given greater impetus for coordination of publicly funded transportation services and commingling of passengers.
The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook to assist fixed-route public transportation providers in commingling ADA-eligible and other passengers on ADA-complementary paratransit services while maintaining ADA compliance.
Status: The research report has been published as TCRP Report 143.