ACL is announcing a new grant award to develop a National Transportation Accessibility Center (NTAC). The grant of $485,000 over a one-year period has been awarded to the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), which will be partnering with the UMass Boston Institute for Community Inclusion, USAging, and DJB Consulting. NTAC also will work closely with people who need or use transportation services, the transportation sector, and an array of national, state and local organizations throughout the country. This award seeks to expand access to transportation for people with disabilities and older adults by increasing awareness and adoption of transportation accessibility strategies, inclusive planning, and mobility on demand transportation systems.
People with disabilities and older adults use transportation to engage in many aspects of daily life, including accessing healthy food, getting to school, attending doctor appointments, seeing friends and family, and going to work. Yet the estimated 25.5 million Americans experiencing travel-limiting disabilities often confront a variety of barriers in accessing transportation. These barriers are persistent and exacerbated for individuals living in rural areas, especially in under-resourced rural areas, and those living in poverty. The availability of accessible transportation options that are convenient, affordable, and safe remains a top concern of people with disabilities, older adults, family caregivers, and the many others who make up their support networks communities.
The transportation industry is changing rapidly due to new technology and advancements including electric and autonomous vehicles and autonomous transportation systems. In addition, The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make historic investments to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and rails, creating an important opportunity to ensure transportation is designed, built, and rebuilt around the principle of accessibility for all.
The NTAC will engage in key activities to develop and promote strategies that make transportation services more accessible for people with disabilities, older adults, family caregivers and others in their support network, including:
- identifying and disseminating successful accessibility strategies;
- developing the National Accessible Transportation Accelerator Network (NATAN);
- identifying and disseminating materials through an ACL-hosted NTAC website; facilitating five communities of practice to increase accessible transportation options for historically marginalized and underserved communities; and
- coordinating with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and ACL transportation-related centers to leverage resources and expand dissemination of effective practices.
NTAC will serve as a national resource and technical assistance center that advances greater awareness, adoption, and use of assistive technology and other strategies that make transportation systems, services, program enrollment locations, websites, and apps accessible and responsive to the needs of people with disabilities and older adults. This project is part of the longstanding ACL and FTA partnership and builds on the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM)’s vision of coordinating the activities of transportation technical assistance resource centers.