- Author: Amy Conrick
- Date: September 8, 2020
Downtown Renton, Washington’s Transit Center I have been reading several sources on the discussion of equity and public transportation recently,…
In partnership with the Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC), NCMM recently published a field scan that explored the intersection of mobility-on-demand and accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Informed by five policies and over 20 programs at the state and local level, the report identifies innovative approaches that improve accessibility for individuals who previously have been left behind in the wake of mobility-on-demand.
The rise of shared-use mobility services across the country has been accompanied by the growth of partnerships between shared-use mobility providers, such as TNCs (Transportation Network Companies) and public transportation agencies. However, some of these partnerships have raised concerns regarding equitable access to services for people with disabilities. With an increasing number of public & private providers entering this space, policies and programs are needed to ensure that people with disabilities also have access to equitable shared-use mobility service with high quality standards.
In response to this growing need, the former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx published a “Dear colleague” FTA guidance in December 2016, advising transit agencies that they are obliged to “ensure equity and access as you partner with TNCs.” The guidance clarified that ADA regulations apply regardless of federal funding and apply to public and private transportation providers. What’s more, demand-responsive service needs to be deemed “equivalent” to services provided to other individuals in the areas of:
In this study, Examples of Mobility on Demand Policies and Public-Private Partnerships to Increase Accessibility, NCMM & SUMC gathered case studies of policies and programs that sought to enable equivalent service provision for customers with disabilities. While varied in their approach, policies in this factsheet only addressed transportation network companies (TNCs). These policies used the following strategies:
Programs were even more varied in their approach. Some public providers turned to public-private partnerships (P3s) with shared mobility operators to help provide more mobility options for individuals with disabilities (GoDakota County Lyft Partnership, Rabbittransit Paratransit). Other agencies adapted their existing resources and partnerships to provide on-demand mobility for their customers (RideKC Freedom On-Demand, Norwalk Wheels2U). In addition, providers even sought to make micromobility (Oakland’s Adaptive Scooter Pilot) and active modes (Seattle Bikeshare Permit Program) accessible.
It is important to note, while some of these examples may not meet the needs of every person with a disability, the cases discussed offer a base of knowledge to continue building equitable and accessible on-demand transportation solutions. To advance accessibility of mobility on demand services, stakeholders must:
To learn more about shared mobility and mobility on demand public-private partnerships, attend the annual Shared Mobility Summit on March 17-19th in Chicago, IL.
Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Kirby Wilhelm (firstname.lastname@example.org).