Mobility Ventures to Focus on Accessible Transportation at Roll on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON: Mobility Ventures, manufacturer of the MV-1, the only vehicle specifically designed to meet the needs of people who use wheelchairs, will join approximately 150 other disability advocates to raise awareness of issues that affect the disability community as part of United Spinal Association’s fifth annual Roll on Capitol Hill.

Mobility Ventures will be exhibiting at Roll on Capitol Hill and highlighting the benefits of accessible transportation. The lack of accessible, affordable transportation is a growing problem for the estimated 20 million Americans who rely on wheelchairs, canes and other ambulatory devices. Disability advocates are increasingly calling on transit systems, taxi and car-sharing services to add accessible vehicles like the MV-1 to their fleets.

In the D.C. metro, an estimated 390,000 people live with ambulatory disabilities. The D.C. Taxicab Commission (DCTC) added 16 MV-1s last year and is offering grants to help offset the purchase of the vehicles to taxicab companies and drivers. MV-1 vehicles are also used by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) as a part of its MetroAccess service.

“Mobility is critical to almost every aspect of our lives – our ability to work, to socialize, to go to doctor’s appointments – it is truly synonymous with freedom and independence,” said Pat Kemp, executive vice president of Mobility Ventures. “Improving access to transportation for people with disabilities will transform lives and communities.”

Roll on Capitol Hill will bring wheelchair users, clinicians and United Spinal members to Washington, D.C. to meet with Members of Congress and staff to discuss policies that improve the health, independence, and quality of life of people with disabilities.

“On this 70th anniversary year, what began in 1946 as a small, determined group of World War II veterans advocating for greater civil rights and independence in New York City, has spawned the most significant grassroots policy initiative for people with disabilities in the nation,” said Jim Weisman, United Spinal’s president and CEO.

Mobility Ventures is a sponsor of the event and working with the DCTC to provide transportation to event participants.

To learn more about Mobility Ventures, visit www.mv-1.us.

Transforming Transportation for People with Disabilities

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) recognized the work being done in the City of Regina to improve public transportation for people with disabilities at the annual Provincial Paratransit Meeting in Regina on June 14.

The SHRC also released its report, “Achieving Accessible Transportation: A Systemic Approach for Saskatchewan,” which describes how stakeholders are working together to transform public transportation for people with disabilities in Saskatoon and Regina.

“This report captures a commitment to systemic outcomes, and to a shared vision for what working collaboratively can achieve,” said David Arnot, Chief Commissioner of the SHRC.  “Regina is a perfect example of this.  The community advocates, transit service providers, and the city leadership, including the Mayor and Council, have demonstrated that meaningful change is possible when everyone is on board.”

The provincial Disability Strategy, launched in June 2015, stresses that accessible public transportation is about helping people with disabilities get from place to place, and it is about creating an inclusive society. Today’s report highlights improved taxi, paratransit, and standard transit service for people with disabilities that enable both participation and inclusion.

“Effective and accessible transit service is a vital need in our community as we strive to be as inclusive and sustainable as possible,” said Mayor Michael Fougere. “We have focused on affordable upgrades that are available to all cities looking to make a big impact in the lives of transit users with disabilities, and we will continue to implement all recommended changes mentioned in the SHRC’s report.”

“This document is intended as a blueprint for all other municipalities,” said Chief Commissioner Arnot. “Whether adapted in part, or adopted in whole, it is my belief that there is much to be gleaned from the benchmarks established in this report.”

Canadian Transportation Agency launches consultation on accessible transportation

GATINEAU, QC: As part of the Regulatory Modernization Initiative announced last week, the Agency is launching the first phase of its regulatory review, which focusses on accessible transportation.

To advance this initiative, the Agency will be meeting with its Accessibility Advisory Committee on June 20, 2016, and will be asking for input from persons with disabilities, transportation service providers and all interested Canadians on how regulatory measures can help make the federal transportation network accessible for persons with disabilities. Interested parties have until September 30, 2016, to submit comments at consultations@otc-cta.gc.ca. A discussion paper on accessible transportation is available.

Currently, the Agency administers two sets of accessibility regulations:

  • Part VII of the Air Transportation Regulations sets out the terms and conditions of carriage of persons with disabilities on domestic flights using aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats. The regulations prescribe the disability-related services that carriers are required to provide to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to air travel.
  • Personnel Training for the Assistance of Persons with Disabilities Regulations require air and federal rail and ferry carriers and terminal operators to ensure that their employees and contractors are trained to provide transportation services to persons with disabilities.

The Agency also sets out expectations for the accessibility of the federal transportation network in accessibility standards.

Quote

“Accessible transportation services give Canadians with disabilities equal opportunity to live independently and participate fully in society,” said Scott Streiner, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency. “The Agency is committed to ensuring that its regulatory modernization initiative helps advance this fundamental human right.”

Quick Facts

  • The nine regulations currently administered by the Agency will form the core of the exercise, together with proposed new regulations for accessible transportation. Compliance tools and business practices will also be addresses as part of the broader scope of this exercise.
  • The modernization of accessibility regulations complements the anticipated introduction of a Canadians with Disabilities Act
  • The Regulatory Modernization Initiative has four phases:
    • Accessible transportation;
    • Consumer protection for air travellers;
    • Air transportation; and
    • Rail transportation.

The Agency plans to complete consultations and draft modernized regulations by the end of 2017, and implement the regulations in 2018.

FTA-Supported NADTC Launches New Website to Support Accessible Public Transportation Service

The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC), the Federal Transit Administration’s newest technical assistance center, has launched a new website to provide easy access to a wealth of useful resources and information.

website screenshotThe NADTC, which promotes the availability and accessibility of transportation options that serve the needs of people with disabilities, older adults, and caregivers, focuses on leveraging FTA’s Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310) formula grants and other transit investments.

The clearinghouse offers the most valuable resources created through FTA’s investments in technical assistance supporting accessibility and mobility. Visit the site for free resources that support the work of public transportation, from front-line operators to board members. The website also offers online community forums, registration for upcoming distance learning opportunities such as webinars and online courses, and links to grant opportunities.

Since the launch, the Center has responded to hundreds of requests from FTA grantees, communities and the riding public for information, technical assistance and support in understanding best practices and leveraging resources.

Source: FTA

US Senator Urges Commerce Committee to Improve Air Transportation Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, DC: A U.S. Senator Cory Booker sent a letter to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation chairman U.S. Sen. John Thune and ranking member U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson urging the Committee to incorporate additional language to guarantee improved accessibility for people with disabilities through the nation’s air system in the Federal Aviation Administration authorization.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol“The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) of 1986 sought to address the needs of this population by prohibiting discriminatory treatment of persons with disabilities in air transportation, but after decades of implementation, these provisions must be updated to reflect modern times.  Air travelers with disabilities continue to face extreme, unnecessary barriers that restrict them from participating in society on an equal basis,” the Senator said.

“Numerous claims against airline carriers have been dismissed in court when brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act, leaving many individuals aggrieved by an onerous petition process within the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and nowhere to turn when their complaint is not adequately addressed.  We must and can do better,” the Senator concludes.

People with disabilities continue to face extreme barriers to equal access to the nation’s air system. A 2015 report to Congress found 27,556 accessibility-related complaints filed by passengers to the (USDOT) in 2014, half (12,977) of which pertained to failure to provide adequate assistance to those in wheelchairs. Airline passenger D’Arcee Neal is one of the individuals who has suffered neglectful treatment during his travel.

Webinars on ADA Regulations for Transportation Providers

The Federal Transit Administration is hosting a series of six webinars to help transportation providers understand Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations for accessible transportation.

These hour-long webinars will include useful information on relevant ADA topics, tips and suggestions for compliance and accessible service, and opportunities to ask questions.

Upcoming webinars include sessions about demand responsive service requirements on March 2, 2016, transportation facilities on March 16, 2016 and motor vehicles on March 30, 2016.

For more information, visit http://www.fta.dot.gov/civilrights/12885.html

Transportation to School for Children with Disabilities – Survey

Access Exchange International in coordination with Missouri State Universtiy are pleased to launch this important survey on transportation needs of children with disabilities in developing countries. People around the world are working hard to provide better education for children  with disabilities, either as part of regular schools or in separate schools just for children with disabilities. Often, transportation is a missing link and many children cannot get to school or center. This survey is to be completed only by the head of your residential, day, resource, inclusive, or training school or center or his or her designee. Your answers and comments will be used to write our guide, Transportation to School for Children with Disabilities, to be published and distributed free of charge before the end of 2016.

This survey has been prepared and copyrighted by Access Exchange International (AEI), San Francisco, USA, in collaboration with Professor Paul Ajuwon of Missouri State University, U.S.A. Missouri State University has approved this study. Professor Paul Ajuwon will also collaborate with interested colleagues to publish outcomes of this research in international, peer reviewed journals. For information on AEI, go to www.globalride-sf.org . All the answers and comments you provide will be kept confidential. Please use the link below to access and complete the survey in SurveyMonkey on or before November 24, 2015. You may complete a portion of the survey and return later to finish the rest.

Study participants who provide their full names, phone number, and mailing/postal address on a separate page on completion of the survey in SurveyMonkey will have their names entered for the drawing of prizes. These prizes include: free Amazon Fire tablets and popular ink print books on special education and disability.

Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/schooltransportsurvey

NDOT seeks public feedback on Transportation Accessibility Plans

LAS VEGAS, NEV.: The Nevada Department of Transportation is soliciting public feedback on Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility plans for Nevada roadways and transportation infrastructure.

NDOT logoNew NDOT roadways and facilities are constructed to meet accessibility needs. But, roads and facilities built decades ago may not fully reach current accessibility standards. NDOT has surveyed all state-owned roadway sidewalks, ramps, slopes, pedestrian push buttons, sidewalk crossings and other accessibility components on the more than 5,000 miles of state-maintained roadway to rank compliance with ADA accessibility guidelines. From that data, the department is prioritizing a list of potential future projects, such as improved sidewalk ramps and moving utility poles from sidewalks, to enhance accessibility.

NDOT has also developed a new ADA Transition Plan which establishes policy, procedures and programs to further enhance accessibility on Nevada roads. The public and other stakeholders are invited to review the plan and provide feedback through Oct. 31 by visiting nevadadot.com/ADA.

“We are dedicated to keeping Nevadans safe and connected, and that means continually providing a transportation system that is accessible to all,” NDOT Principal Road Design Engineer Natalie Caffaratti said. “We look forward to hearing feedback from Nevadans on how we can best serve everyone using Nevada’s transportation system.”

Transportation Department Issues Guidance to Public Transportation Agencies on Implementing ADA

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Monday published detailed guidance [pdf] to transit agencies on how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Since the ADA became law in 1990, FTA has ensured that transit systems comply with the ADA’s provisions on public transportation, primarily through education and investigations of possible violations. To enhance understanding of the Act, the new circular offers a user-friendly, one-stop resource on its requirements.

“We have made great progress in advancing accessible public transportation, but we still have work to do,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx. “We must ensure that Americans of all ages and abilities can access our nation’s transportation system. Today’s guidance reinforces our commitment to full implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Public transit ridership increased 25 percent over the last 20 years, including a rise in the number of passengers with disabilities, according to DOT’s Beyond Traffic report. Transit agencies have made major capital investments to make nearly all of America’s busiest public transit stations accessible. Today, nearly all transit buses, light rail and heavy rail vehicles are ADA accessible, as well as two-thirds of rail transit stations.

“One of the important jobs we do at FTA is to ensure mobility for everyone, and this ADA Circular will help do just that,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “For people of all abilities and ages, public transportation provides a lifeline to jobs, education and medical care. We need to maintain these ladders of opportunity for all.”

With the 25th anniversary of the landmark legislation as a backdrop, the release of FTA’s ADA Circular represents a major milestone in assistance to the transit community. It thoroughly explains ADA requirements for public transit, providing real-life situations as examples of good practices for the transit industry to ensure accessible services for riders. The document does not amend or supersede the DOT ADA regulations; rather, it offers explanatory scenarios and sample templates, such as a rail station checklist for new construction and alterations.

FTA developed the ADA Circular in three phases because of the breadth of the regulations. Each chapter was submitted to the public for notice and comment in the Federal Register and went through a 60-day comment period.

Funding Supports Accessible Transportation

Nova Scotians will have easier access to safe, affordable and accessible transportation thanks to the Accessible Transportation Assistance Program.

Municipal Affairs Minister Mark Furey announced $366,000 in funding on July 15.

A women in a power wheelchair; photo of a woman being assisted by a service dog boarding a transit train car at an accessible station.“We want to ensure that Nova Scotians who need accessible transportation are able to access it in their communities,” said Mr. Furey. “This funding will provide new vehicles for nine community transportation organizations across the province.”

The program helps rural transit services buy or convert vehicles for accessible transportation. The program provides up to two-thirds of eligible costs, to a maximum of $70,000 for new vehicles and $15,000 for used vehicles.

“Accessible transportation contributes to the quality of life for those living in rural Nova Scotia, particularly seniors, individuals with disabilities and those with transportation barriers,” said Kim Aker, chair of the Rural Transportation Association and executive director of Hants County Community Access Network and West Hants Dial-a-Ride. “The grants provided through the program are invaluable in strengthening the existing services and supporting expansion into new areas. The new accessible van for West Hants Dial-a-Ride will increase its capacity for quality service.”

For more information on the program and eligibility criteria, go to http://novascotia.ca/dma/funding/community/accessible-transportation-assistance.asp