ADA ensures that transportation is the lifeline Americans need
From day one, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has talked about transportation as a lifeline connecting people with opportunities and services. And today, the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, is a fitting reminder that the work we do at DOT makes transportation more and more accessible...for everyone.
Whether it's the Federal Highway Administration ensuring that existing sidewalks are modernized for ADA-compliance when States use FHWA funds to improve their roads or the Federal Transit Administration supporting One-Call Centers to help people connect with on-demand transportation services, DOT is working hard to boost the mobility of all Americans.
The nation's public transit systems, for example, have played a vital role in fulfilling the promise of the ADA, and Administrator Peter Rogoff has made sure that, every step of the way, the FTA has been a vital resource. Today, nearly 100 percent of the nation’s transit bus fleet is fully accessible, and transit operators nationwide provide more than 60 million paratransit trips to people whose disabilities prevent them from using fixed-route systems. Of the rail systems that pre-date ADA requirements, more than 660 of 680 key stations are now fully accessible, and at least one car on every train is usable by persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.
Under the leadership of Administrator Victor Mendez, the FHWA has re-doubled its efforts to ensure that all 50 states develop reasonable and feasible time tables to implement ADA transition plans for infrastrucutre that is not yet up to ADA standards.
Across the country in areas that have worked to enhance quality of life, those efforts also improve accessibility. By bringing together jobs, schools, housing, and transportation, local leaders are creating connected communities. And when people of all abilities are connected, they have access to all of the benefits and opportunities a community offers.
It's a simple fact--if you can't get to the job, you can't get the job. And if you can't get to a doctor or grocery store, you can't get medical care or the food you need. At DOT, we're helping empower all Americans to get where they need to go.
On this important anniversary, we have a lot we can celebrate. And while we've improved the accessibility of America's transportation system quite a bit, we know we have plenty of work ahead, and we intend to continue doing it.
Todd Solomon works on digital media in the DOT Office of Public Affairs.