Advocacy Issue Details

People with disabilities rely on all forms of transportation to live their lives to the fullest. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990) provided groundbreaking access, including accessible public buses and curb ramps, yet people with disabilities, especially those living in rural areas, continue to face barriers. Adults with disabilities are more than twice as likely as those without disabilities to have inadequate transportation (31 percent versus 13 percent).

Paratransit and coordinated transportation provide vital transportation for many, though there is a great need for service quality improvement. ADA enforcement can be challenging. Cities or rural areas may not be in compliance with existing rules, or may have difficulty maintaining infrastructure. Many people with disabilities may find themselves rolling down the street or staying home because of a misplaced curb ramp, uneven sidewalks, obstructions like telephone poles, unplowed snow, or an inaccessible bus stop.

Ill-maintained and inaccessible infrastructure can also result in serious injury. Pedestrian and bicycle fatalities rose from 12% to nearly 16% of all traffic deaths for the past three years. In addition, children with disabilities are more than five times more likely to be hit by a motor vehicle as a pedestrian or bicyclist than children without disabilities. Complete streets policies are being adopted across the country, requiring transportation projects to consider the safety and convenience of all users, including pedestrian and bicyclists, children, older adults, and people with disabilities.

Federal transportation programs, including pedestrian safety programs, public transit, and infrastructure are authorized through surface transportation legislation called the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). MAP-21 was signed into law in 2012. The latest extension expires October 29, 2015. The nation’s Highway Trust Fund, used to pay for MAP-12 programs faces shortfalls. A long-term surface transportation bill with adequate funding would allow states and communities to plan for the future, to invest in infrastructure and transportation solutions for all.

View Related Issue: Increase Access to Taxis for All

Advocacy Issue Updates

6/9/2015 United Spinal advocates participate in 2015 Roll on Capitol Hill, present transportation equity position and requests to members of U.S. Congress.

05/04/2015 The National Council on Disability releases a new report, Transportation Update: Where We’ve Gone and What We’ve Learned. The report marks the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and updates its 2005 report, The Current State of Transportation with Disabilities in the United States. The report lifts up United Spinal’s efforts to increase access to taxis and transportation network companies like Uber.

04/29/2015 United Spinal joins partner organizations from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), submits testimony to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee requesting adequate funding for accessible transportation and housing programs.

04/28/2015 United Spinal supports Representative Matsui ‘s (CA-6) introduction of the Safer Streets Act of 2015, H.R.2071. The bill encourages communities to consider safety improvements on accordance with certain complete streets principles for all users, including people with disabilities, in transportation project planning.

04/23/2015 United Spinal joins other bicycle and pedestrian advocates in a day on the Hill, urging support for S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act. Among others things, the bill would ensure state and local communities can access funds to maintain accessible sidewalks, build pedestrian networks, and provide safety education. United Spinal and others support the Transportation Alternatives Programs (TAP).

04/09/2015 United Spinal joins in Speak Up for Transportation Day to help spread the word that transportation is a civil rights issue.

03/18/2015 United Spinal supports Representative Langevin’s (RI-2) introduction of the Transit Accessibility Innovation Act, H.R.1448. This legislation would create a competitive grant program under the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to encourage transit systems to make public transportation more accessible and user-friendly for individuals with disabilities.

03/12/2015 United Spinal participates in the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets summit. Nearly 200 representatives from states and local jurisdictions committed to ensuring safe streets for all, including people with disabilities. The Mayor’s Challenge poses challenges to cities for the year, including ensuring ADA compliance and addressing barriers to make streets safe and accessible for wheelchair users.

07/12/2013 United Spinal Association joins the Transportation Equity Caucus (TEC), a broad-coalition of civil rights, faith-based, labor and other organizations. The TEC is committed to transportation policies that create affordable transportation options for all people; ensure fair access to quality jobs, workforce development, and contracting opportunities; Promote healthy, safe, and inclusive communities; and, invest equitably and focus on results.