AARP – Modernizing Demand-Responsive Transportation for the Age of New Mobility

  • Author: Jana Lynott, AARP Public Policy Institute
  • Date: March 4, 2021
Woman using motorized wheelchair is lowered off a paratransit bus using a wheelchair lift.
Source: Capacity Builders, Farmington, NM

A simple, but integral technological advancement holds the promise of creating a stronger, more equitable transportation system.

In the fall of 2019 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Transportation Research Board took a small but meaningful step towards addressing access inequality when it published the transactional data specification (TDS) for demand responsive transportation (DRT). This rather mundane step is vital to facilitating the integration of human services transportation with emerging Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platforms—where all the ways one can travel about the community become available at the click of a button on one’s smartphone. But this new world of mobility where ridehailing businesses like Uber grow in popularity threatens to be inaccessible to a large swath of people who currently depend on paratransit buses unless MaaS developers embrace a common format for data sharing.

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