Strategy Guide to Enable and Promote the Use of Fixed-Route Transit by People with Disabilities

It has been more than 20 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The ADA was signed into law with the intent of making public transportation's fixed-route service accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. ADA complementary paratransit was created as a "safety net" for people whose disabilities prevented them from using fixed-route service. Over the past 20 years, public transit agencies have reported significant growth in ADA complementary paratransit ridership, resulting in dramatic increases in costs. Ridership has increased despite the introduction and deployment of accessible fixed-route buses and trains, modifications to stations and bus stops to provide accessibility, and ongoing improvements to public infrastructure (streets and sidewalks) to overcome barriers and provide universal access. ADA complementary paratransit ridership has increased despite the implementation by many transit agencies of conditional or trip-by-trip eligibility. Instead of being the safety net, ADA complementary paratransit has become the primary public transportation mode for many people with disabilities. Given the ongoing financial and economic climate and the growing challenges of providing public transportation to a larger population of people with disabilities, including older adults, it is critical for transit agencies to serve their customers more effectively and efficiently. Identifying and removing barriers to using fixed-route services will improve the public transportation travel experience for everyone and will enable some ADA paratransit eligible people to use fixed-route services for some or all of their public transportation trips. Transit systems, and hence the nation, will benefit by the cost shifting, and/or cost avoidance that will occur when people with disabilities use fixed-route services for some or all of their travel, relying on ADA complementary paratransit as a safety net, as envisioned. Most important, people with disabilities will experience greater mobility, independence, self-reliance, and inclusion in their communities when they can use fixed-route services. The objective of this research is to prepare a practitioners strategy guide to enable and promote the use of fixed-route services by people with disabilities. This research should build on and not repeat previous research pertaining to this subject, including Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 24: Guidebook for Attracting Paratransit Patrons to Fixed-Route Services and other documents by TCRP; Easter Seals Project Action (ESPA); American Public Transit Association (APTA); the National Transit Institute (NTI); the National Council on Disability (NCD); the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF); and other organizations that have examined public transportation options for people with disabilities, conditional eligibility, transit stop/station accessibility, travel training, training for transit personnel regarding the ADA, and other related matters addressed in this research.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $300000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project B-40

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Schwager, Dianne

  • Performing Organizations:

    TranSystems Corporation

    5528-B Hempstead Way
    Springfield, VA  United States  2215
  • Principal Investigators:

    Thatcher, Russell

  • Start Date: 20110930
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20140130
  • Source Data: RiP Project 28915

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01547412
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project B-40
  • Files: RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 9 2014 1:01AM