Best Practices in Transportation for the Mobility Impaired

While researching our article “Growing Government in Giant Steps: A County Takeover of Palm Tran Connection?”, we encountered an excellent reference for best practices in ADA compliance for public transportation.

See “Innovative Approaches for Increasing Transportation Options for People with Disabilities in Florida” – published by Center for Urban Transportation Research and sponsored by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc. and The Able Trust, in 2010.

The above paper analyzed approaches throughout the country – and Chapter 3 highlighted Best Practices. Many communities used a combination of fixed route incentives, door to bus-stop (ADA required), vouchers with approved taxi and transportation companies, and volunteer drivers – all incorporated to provide maximum flexibility, improved access and lower cost per trip and allowing for increased ridership as well. Customer satisfaction was also improved by 24/7 access that taxis provided and ability to make same-day reservations.

Amongst those best practices highlighted in Chapter 3:

Vouchers: Implementing voucher and volunteer programs – especially in rural areas where there is limited public transportation; allowing vouchers to be used to pay mileage reimbursement to volunteer drivers; using taxi or volunteer vouchers for return trips from dialysis treatment to reduce wait times

Provider selection: Contract with multiple providers – annually conducting reviews and requiring participating transportation companies trained in ADA requirements, first aid/CPR, background checks etc.

Trip Rate/Rider Selection: negotiated fixed price trip rates with local taxi operators; Reduce or require no co-payments for dialysis transport; allow participants to schedule directly with participating providers

Billing Oversight: Focal point/administrator for the entire network; smart cards or close monitoring of voucher budget – enhanced by fixed flat rate negotiated w taxi/transportation companies; have driver and rider sign vouchers to document that trip was actually made

Funding: Use FTA funds for mobility management services, technology. Use savings from voucher program to expand service areas. Actively pursue support from charitable organization, non-profit and community groups and foundations.


One Response to “Best Practices in Transportation for the Mobility Impaired”
  1. Iris says:

    Volunteer drivers through (and vetted by) associations can go a long way to providing options for those with disabilities or seniors who can no longer drive. I participated in such a voluntary program for a year in Austin TX and drove individuals to/from appointments once or twice/week. The civic organization for which I drove focused on those without special vehicle requirements – thus providing relief to the para-transit system. I was not reimbursed – but given the current prices for gas – reimbursement would be an incentive for volunteer drivers.

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