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467402-1 Report Abstract

Barriers to Use of Transportation Alternatives by People with Disabilities

Rodger Koppa, Becky Davies and Katherine Rodriguez, Texas A&M University, June 1998, 78 pp. (467402-1)

Implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 with regard to use of public transit and paratransit by people with disabilities are discussed in terms of physical, psychological, and communication barriers. Recent trends in amelioration of those barriers are described. A survey of several selected transit organizations who have been identified as innovative in their approach to removing barriers to access and use were surveyed by telephone and their experiences summarized. Technology to address physical and communications barriers is discussed with regard to ingress and egress from vehicles, securement of mobility aids, information transfer to sensory and cognitively disabled riders, and operational communications. Major findings are that physical barriers are being overcome, but initial resistance to even considering public transit remains. Not much was found to help those with cognitive disabilities use transit, except for some good training programs. Lifts have much improved through standards activities, but wheelchair restraints remain cumbersome and hard to use unless dedicated fittings on mobility aids are available. Occupant protection for those riding on their mobility aid remains controversial. A simple idea much underused is announcing stops and other route guidance information, and some gains have been made via GPS technology and computerization to automate this function.

Keywords: Transit, Disabilities, ADA, Technology, Access, Barriers

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1.7 MB)