Accessible transportation is a critical component of community living for older adults and people with disabilities. Through an inclusive transportation program, ACL works with communities across the country to give travelers a voice in the planning process and to improve transportation options. In addition, many Area Agencies on Aging offer transportation through the Older Americans Act.
Transportation Research & Demonstration Program
In 2012, ACL and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) developed and awarded a new cooperative agreement, "Research and Demonstration Program to Improve Coordinated Transportation Systems for People with Disabilities and Older Adults."
Purpose of the Program
The purpose of this program is to identify proven models and approaches that can be used by states and communities to empower people with disabilities and older adults to be actively involved in the design and implementation of coordinated transportation systems in ways that successfully make those systems responsive to the needs of these populations. Visit the project site.
To promote sustainability, the project has formed a National Participant Advisory Committee and a Knowledge Sharing Network where participants from the community projects can share their successes, challenges, and ideas. The committee also advises the national project team.
Objectives of the Program
ACL, in collaboration with the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) of Washington, DC, along with Easter Seals, the National Association of Area Agencies for Aging, and Westat, work to meet the following objectives:
Establish partnerships with key national organizations and individuals with expertise in planning and developing coordinated transportation systems and with demonstrated experience empowering people with disabilities and older adults to improve systems;
Conduct an environmental scan to identify best practices based on scenarios where persons with disabilities and older adults have been actively engaged in the planning, development, and implementation of coordinated transportation systems that have successfully made those systems and projects responsive to the needs of these populations;
Develop a National Knowledge Sharing Network of local/regional/state model projects and national experts to serve as a resource for communities interested in replicating best practices and testing new approaches to achieve the goals of this project;
Design and commence implementation of a “Small Grants” Demonstration Program to community organizations. The purpose is to test the replication of proven best practices as well as new models and approaches to successfully empower people with disabilities and older adults to be actively involved in the planning and implementation of coordinated transportation systems;
Develop a detailed evaluation program to track and measure the progress and success of demonstration projects; and
Complete a review of the demonstration projects and disseminate information about best practices.
Between 2012 and 2014, the project supported three rounds of community projects to involve people with disabilities and older adults in the development and/or ongoing operation of community transportation systems. A total of 17 local projects included seniors and people with disabilities in planning and implementing accessible transportation services in their communities.
In 2016, eight new demonstration projects were funded to build on the work by supporting inclusive planning grants.