In 1995, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, creating an unprecedented awareness of mobility issues for the disabled. The ensuing decades have seen much effort by public transit providers to comply with The ADA and accommodate the most in need of enhanced transit options.
Though many major transit providers, including Amtrak, have attempted to comply with ADA, there remains a pervasive lack of funding and oversight for ADA compliance. According to the “Equity in Transportation for People with Disabilities” report, communities rural and urban lack appropriate access to mobility leaving an estimated 560,000 people shut in their homes due to lack of mobility options. 6,700 individual providers support paratransit services nationwide, yet the disjunction between front door and the outdoors pervades.
Providing access for those in need given the resources available is not impossible. Streamlining paratransit agencies has created efficiency in rural counties and could be modeled elsewhere. Traditional transit options, like bus and rail facilities that are ADA compliant are often underused due to lack of patron knowledge. Providing greater outreach for existing services can bridge the mobility gap that is so pervasive in the United States.