Transportation for Older Adults: Measuring Results Could Help Determine If Coordination Efforts Improve Mobility

  • Source: US Government Accountability Office
  • Date: 12/10/2014

Two key federal programs and several other programs identified by GAO provide funding for transportation services for older adults. The Administration on Aging (AoA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides funding for supportive services—including transportation—to state and local agencies exclusively for older adults. Within the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities program is focused on improving the mobility of older adults as one of its two primary populations. Other federal agency programs, including some within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), can fund access to transportation services for eligible older adults, among other beneficiaries. The Interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (Coordinating Council) is responsible for leading federal efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of human service transportation by coordinating related programs. Federal agencies' involvement in the council and its activities varies, with coordination on older adult transportation primarily occurring between AoA and FTA through working groups, initiatives, and technical assistance efforts. While some federal coordination activities are ongoing, current efforts do not identify desired outcomes, a key feature GAO has identified to consider when implementing interagency collaborative mechanisms. Specifically, the Coordinating Council's latest strategic plan, which covers the period 2011 to 2013, lacks clearly defined outcomes and measures to track progress toward those outcomes. Without defined outcomes and a clear method to collect data to monitor progress, it is difficult to determine whether current efforts of the council are achieving their intended results and providing the benefits of coordination, such as improved access to transportation, for older adults. In a concurrent report ( GAO-15-110 ), GAO is recommending that the council update its plan.

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