The National Council on Disability (NCD) released a comprehensive assessment on transportation for people with disabilities on May 4, 2015. The report picks up ten years after NDC’s 2005 publication of “The Current State of Transportation for People with Disabilities in the United States,” which, in part, led to major improvements in accessible transportation.
The report released on May 4, titled “Transportation Update: Where We’ve Gone and What We’ve Learned,” outlines both the progress made in the last decade and discusses persistent barriers that still remain. The NCD chair, Jeff Rosen states, “Much has happened in the last decade. More people with disabilities are riding public transit than ever before and yet, in many areas, significant barriers to ground transportation for Americans with disabilities remain pervasive.”
Rosen goes on to discuss taxi alternatives such as Uber, SideCar, Lyft, and others that could open up business opportunities that could provide much-needed travel options for people with disabilities.
Here are a few of the findings:
- Taxi alternatives: Emerging transportation models like Uber, SideCar, and Lyft have vigorously resisted regulations that are usually imposed on the taxicab sector. Uber has openly claimed that it is not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Fixed Route Buses: Ridership of fixed route bus transit and rail systems have grown far faster than ridership on ADA paratransit.
- Paratransit: There have been gains in the best practices in areas of eligibility, telephone hold time, on-time performance, no-show policies, etc.
- Rural Transportation: The lack of rural transportation is a serious barrier to employment, accessible health care, and full participation in society.
- Best Practices: Oregon, Iowa, and Main provide examples of positive coordination of transportation programs for people with disabilities. Cities such as Chicago, New York City, and Rhode Island still lack adequate wheelchair accessible taxi programs even though they have made progress.