At this time, I would like to formally start our session today and welcome everyone to the ADA Audio Conference Series, which is a program that is offered by the Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the ADA National Network. This is part of an ongoing series that we offer on a monthly basis on the third Tuesday, typically, of the month. You will notice that this is not the third Tuesday of the month of December because we do have some scheduling conflicts, so we moved it to Thursday, but typically our sessions are on the third Tuesday of every month. You can view all of the sessions that have previously been offered in the last 12 years. This series has been available, through our website at www.ada-audio.org under the archives section. There are many, many different topics that have been done.
At this point, I am going to go ahead and introduce Jacqueline Beck with the Department of Occupational Therapy within the University of Illinois at Chicago, and she will be our -- one of our moderators today and will introduce our topics as well as our presenters. So Jackie, I am going to go ahead and turn over the microphone to you at this time.
Thank you, Robin. It's my pleasure to represent the ADA PARC project - ADA Participatory Action Research Consortium, today in part with the ADA National Network and the Great Lakes ADA Center present on ‘Moving From Transportation Towards Mobility Management - Disparities, Data And Action’. It's my pleasure to introduce today's presenters, Judy Shanley, Lauren Nolan, and Marian Vessels.
The ADA PARC project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Disability, Independent Living, Rehabilitation and Research grant. I would like to start by talking a little bit about talking about the ADA PARC project. The ADA PARC project stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act Participatory Action Research Consortium, which is a collaborative research project of seven Americans with Disabilities Act regional Centers and the purpose of this project is to look at participation disparities experienced by people with disabilities post-ADA and the Olmstead decision and examine environmental factors contributing to these disparities. Another goal is to benchmark participation disparities and highlight promising practices at state and federal level and to action plan strategies for dissemination and utilization of these findings to be used by the ADA Centers and others in community capacity building and systems change initiatives.
Here on this slide you can see that we have a number of collaborators and participators in the Action Research Consortium here. You can see their logos. So briefly to go through our agenda today, our first presenter will be Judy Shanley, the Assistant Vice President - Education And Youth Transition, Co-Director at FTA for the National Center for Mobility Management. She's also the Easter Seals director at the ACL and inclusive coordinated transportation. She'll be speaking about moving towards mobility management.
Our second presenter today is Lauren Nolan. She is an economic development planner at the Nathalie P. Vorhees Center For Neighborhood And Community Involvement -- Voorhees Center for neighborhood and community involvement and is a collaborator on the ADA PARC project. She will be discussing mapping disparities. Finally we have Marian Vessels, Director of the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, a member of the ADA National Network and TransCen Inc.She will be discussing using data for action in Baltimore. That will be followed by questions and comments, as Robin had introduced.
So it's my pleasure to introduce Judy Shanley to discuss moving towards mobility management. Judy, I'll hand it over to you.
Thank you to all of you participating today and to the ADA Great Lakes Center and all of the ADA Network. It's always a pleasure to speak with new audiences, and I am looking forward to especially our discussion at the end.
On this next slide, I was thinking about what the notion of mobility management means, and really, it's about moving from a little bowl, a little fishbowl that you see in the left, to a bigger fishbowl. So in this graphic, you have a fish that's jumping from a small fishbowl to a larger fishbowl, and that's how I want you to think about mobility management. It's not just about transportation; It's not just about providing a single ride. And in the next 30 minutes or so, we'll be talking about things like understanding mobility management and how this creates opportunities for people, opportunities for people to access mobility options that perhaps they never had access to before. It enhances equity because it provides individuals with disabilities, older adults, and seniors with access to services in the community that they have never accessed before.
And then finally, I'll be talking about some of the innovations in mobility management. It's an amazing field, amazing growing field with technology, and I hope that you will see some of the really exciting innovations that you could potentially be involved in that would create equity and access for people with disabilities, older adults, and low SES groups.
We will also talk about some mobility management resources. I am a former educator and am familiar with those resources funded with the U.S. Department of Transportation or U.S. Department of Education, and HHS. And little did I know about the wealth of information and resources available through federal sectors through the Department of Transportation, so I will be sharing some of those.
Important to all of this is your ability to identify evaluation methods, both evaluation mobility management and as well as evaluating the services and networks and partnerships that you establish. And finally, I hope that you'll acquire national and community resources to support your work that are easy for you to implement.
I wanted to do a little poll just to learn more about your connections with transportation networks or mobility management networks in your local communities. So type in the Chat function, number 1 if you are involved in coordination and collaboration with your local transit agency, or 2, you really haven't thought about how you can collaborate or coordinate with your transportation agency. So I will just give you a minute.
Type in 1 if you are involved and 2 if you are not involved. It would be great for those of you who are involved, if when we have the question and discussion opportunity at the end of the webinar that you share some of the strategies that you use to engage. I am not seeing a lot of typing going on, so maybe at the end, Jacqueline or Robin, you can help me kind of do a synopsis of what the participants have shared.
Mobility management really is about connecting and innovating. On the left hand -- this is a graphic. On the left-hand side, there's riders with disabilities. So people with disabilities that need access to work and jobs and school and healthcare and community services and recreation. You've got older adults who need to access the same things often. And veterans and low SES populations, and those individuals who live in rural and urban/suburban areas. In those places, as Lauren will share, there's not equity in terms of the transportation services and the built networks that are available.
In the middle, there's the connection, mobility management is a connection, so it's connecting all of those individuals that are on the left side of the graphic to education, work, housing, community, spiritual, recreation, healthcare, and food, using a variety of modes. So it's not just about a bus or a train, those things that are called fixed routes. It's about shared rides. So having a carpool, having a volunteer driver program, having a shared vehicle program in the community like Enterprise Plus Service or Zipcar, where you can access a vehicle when you need it on demand.
It also includes travel instructions because you could have the best services, best expert services, the best transit systems in a community, but if people don't know how to access them or use them in a safe and effective way, then it's all for naught. So travel instruction is really included in the whole notion of mobility management. It's about connecting and innovating. So when you think about mobility management, it's really a continuum of network building. In the beginning, there's thinking about designing, delivering transportation services. So it's understanding what the needs of your users are in the community. What are the capacities of the community to sustain those services that individuals need? The second, it starts and ends with the customer. Always, always customer driven, based upon the needs and the preferences of the individuals that are using the service. It's establishing a community vision, so it's not only thinking about mobility management network, creating the actual services, so it's not just about putting trains in place or building transportation network companies and Uber and Lyft. It's not just about developing volunteer driver programs, are voucher programs. It's about creating a vision in a community that understands that it's important to have mobility access as you are building a system, so it's creating an entire vision for network. It's also about transportation options that best meet community needs, and I will be talking about some evaluation. That leads me into the data, using data to continuously monitor and improve. You need data both to inform the process as well as to improve the process. So that gives you kind of a highlight of what mobility management is. In communities, there's often a person called a mobility manager. And they don't have to be called mobility managers. In some places they are called mobility coordinators or transportation coordinators. Centers for Independent Living or ADA Centers might even have individuals called mobility managers. We recently completed a project, our Center did a project, with a religious organization in Minnesota, where we were helping the staff of this religious-based organizations throughout the state develop their skills in mobility management so,enabling them to be transportation networks in the community and then help them engage with a larger network that existed in the community.
So who is the mobility manager? A mobility manager is a problem solver. They work with an individual or a group of individuals and identify is the individual -- does the individual not have access to a job because of transportation? And if so, why? Is it because there's no readily available transportation? Is it about safety and access issues? Is it that the individual doesn't know how to use a transportation service? Is it the transportation providers, the transit agencies in the community, are not working so closely with the human service organizations in the community? It's really understanding what the root of the problem is and then working with the individual and the community and the assets in that community to solve it. A mobility manager is an advocate. So it's often being at the table of community planning and advocacy efforts. Here in Illinois, our regional transit authority has opportunities for community involvement. I always, always encourage people with disabilities that I work with at the Independent Living Centers and other human service organizations to participate in those meetings as a way to purvey information about what the needs are.
A mobility manager is a facilitator of groups. Often a mobility manager will go to speak with transit agencies or at transit forums, just to enlighten individuals about the needs of people with disabilities, about the needs of older adults. I come from the education world and the human service world, and whenever I speak with transit agency professionals, they are always amazed and always wanting to learn from the information that we all know about disabilities and disability conditions and legislation associated with disabilities. They want to learn as a means of enhancing their knowledge. And a mobility manager is a teacher. It's someone that can purvey and convey knowledge in a way that educates people and communicates, and obviously being a cheerleader is important, I think in our profession, as well as mobility management.
What does a mobility manager do? Well, first thing is an environmental scan. They have to understand what the existing resources are in the community, what resources relate, what mobility options are available in a community, what needs of the community exist. It's always amazing to me that when individuals -- groups of individuals get together to do an environmental scan about the mobility options, there's more options than people realize. Schools have untapped school buses that often can be used to transport people for work at off-school times. In New York City, they use their yellow school buses to transport people to medical appointments. They transport older adults to doctor appointments during the day. Religious organizations have vehicles that often are not used Monday through Thursday. Often those vehicles can be part of a network mobility option. Innovative opportunities with shared use companies, transportation network companies, like Uber and Lyft, are growing and growing, and there are some really great examples that I will be sharing in a few slides.
Also a mobility manager builds networks. And so be part of a network and a community that exists with human service providers, ADA Centers, Centers for Independent Living, governmental agencies. All of those individuals that it matters to in their audience about providing transportation. Workforce development and educational agencies have to be at the table.
I remember a time I was working with a school district -- I am a transition coordinator by background and was working with a school district in Texas, and this transition coordinator in the district was having a really hard time having her students gain access to community-based instruction and afterschool work experience because there wasn't any viable transportation option. The transition coordinator and her students went to a community transportation meeting, sat at the table, and talked about the challenges that they experienced. And when the transit agency heard about these challenges, they were able to modify their route. So as to better -- to facilitate access for the students to access the bus to enable them to get to their community experiences. So if those students had not been at the table, the transit agency would have had no idea that the challenge exists, and so really, it's just about being at the table. Healthcare agencies, huge work going on federally around rides to wellness, ensuring that individuals have access to healthcare for prevention and chronic diseases, and we are seeing lots of innovation with ride-share companies, with healthcare, United healthcare, for instance, has a lot of partnership with transit agencies around the country to ensure that individuals have access to transportation for medical care. It's a lot less expensive for a hospital to have patients come for chronic disease follow-up care than it is for hospitalization.
And then build networks with elected officials. I always encourage the networks, the mobility management networks that exist, to really communicate with their governmental officials and elected officials about their success stories, about the real-life opportunities that mobility management creates. In Michigan, they do this quite effectively. They were working -- there was a group of students in schools in a project that was working with the regional transit authority and also their state government agencies on the necessity to build mobility management networks. So don't forget to kind of share your successes.
So we all know that national data is important to support the need for access to transportation and mobility. And this is just some data the national Council on Disability did a report in 2005, and this reads: Some people with disabilities who are willing and able to work cannot do so because of inadequate transportation. Others cannot shop, socialize, enjoy recreational or spiritual activities, or even leave their homes. There was an update report in 2015, if you want some national data. Some more national data was completed by the National Transition Center funded by the Office of Special Education Programs. Mazzotti et al. identified that travel skills were a predictor for positive post-school outcomes. In addition, students with disabilities who could travel independently outside the home, school, were more likely to be engaged in post-school employment. This affects the ability of individuals with disabilities to access school, work, and be engaged in community activity.
There's a bunch of legislation and policy that really reinforce a focuses on inclusive mobility options. And I talk about inclusive mobility options because paratransit service is on a continuum of service, and it's much needed by many individuals. But when I think about inclusion and what we do in K-12 settings to promote inlusion and to ensure students with disabilities are in a least restrictive environment, they have access to high-quality standards and high-quality education content, and the state employment first initiatives and all those initiatives that fall under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We've got inclusion policies and programs at the K-12 level. We've got inclusion policy and practice at the higher-ed and workforce and employment level. Shouldn't we also think about how to make our transportation and mobility options inclusive? And that's what mobility management can do for individuals.
It creates opportunities for inclusive education, integrated work settings, and community engagement. It enhances equity because it really enables people who formerly have not had access to particular work or education or community experience, it affords them access. It builds a network of service providers, so you are sharing resources with other organizations who are like you or differ from yours, so you are learning about the various transportation services that might be available. It also focuses on extending innovation by focusing on customer-driven mobility solutions. And what can you do, if you are a CIL or ADA Center, to really participate in mobility management and help build these networks? Well, first, you can understand and identify the key participants in your coordinated transportation network. States under the FAST Act, which is the furthering America's surface transportation bill, that's the federal law required under the Department of Transportation, and states have to have coordinated transportation plan. They've got to demonstrate to the federal transportation administration, federal transit administration, how they are going to coordinate resources, how they are going to ensure that people with disabilities and older adults have access to transportation through coordinated networks? So they have a requirement to do this legally.
You can understand who those players are, who those stakeholders are in your community. You can look for opportunities to be engaged and participate meaningfully. I relayed the story of the transition coordinator from Texas. I know that it exists among CILs across the country where CILs are actually sitting at the table with transportation network coordinating entities, with their planning organizations and their communities, to really inform the process. You also can encourage your audience to actively participate. So if you are working directly with people with disabilities or older adults or veterans or people with low income, encourage them to be at the table and express their voice. And if they can't be at the table, then think of innovative ways that you can capture their message and their voice about how important mobility is to them so that the people that are doing the planning, that are doing the funding, that are doing the policy know that. And build your competency in mobility management. On our website -- and I will share a URL at the end -- we've developed a curriculum for mobility managers, and it has identified a list of knowledge and skills, and so even you, as a non-mobility manager officially, can identify am so of those competencies and think about ways that you can ratchet up your knowledge and skills in that area so that you can take on mobility management skills. And then another really great way to really be involved in mobility management is to write grants and collaborate with transit agencies, with planning organizations, with other human service organizations for funding. And there's -- I provided a link to Section 5310, which is an FTA-funded program that enables local communities to write grants for mobility innovation.
You may be wondering how can you identify and encourage mobility management in your community. Many states already have existing networks, and they are pretty sophisticated regarding the way they communicate and the forms they have to be established, states like mish began, Ohio, Missouri, Florida. So you can check with your local transit agency, your transit authority, your planning organization if you have one in your community, to learn about what kind of coordination activities exist.
Also, learn from your state DOTs. Just call or do a Google search at your state DOT and Google coordination or mobility management and see what your state has to offer. Also, I provided the link to our National Center, which we also have lists of mobility management networks around the country.
I wanted to provide you with some tools, really, that you could use within your own settings. It's important to keep talking about environmental scans, understanding what community needs are, but it's also important to understand the needs of riders. And so understanding the physical, cognitive, social and sensory needs of the individuals you work with is really important, and here are two resources here. One is an assessment guide so that you can discern those preferences, and then the second is an observation form that you can use as you are working with individuals to really identify what kind of transportation needs they may have. And the third tool that I provided is a checklist for accessibility of transportation. And those are things that you could use to assess the particular accessibility of modes of transportation in your community. You know, before I entered the world of transportation and mobility management, I thought, oh, I knew transportation. I know about buses and I know about trains and I know about subways. But I quickly learned there are so many other transportation options available. I mentioned Zipcar, which is a shared vehicle program. There are shared ride services, ride boards where people post either online or some other -- post either online or some other forum if they need a ride to a particular venue and they are looking for people to either be a rider or to provide a ride.
There's feeder systems, especially in rural areas, that will pick up passengers in rural points, bring them to the start of a transit line, and you know, they can move on their journey. Volunteer driver programs are really prevalent, especially in rural areas. Voucher programs, paratransit as I said is a part of a continuum of transportation mobility options. Bike share. More than a hundred U.S. cities have bike share programs, and believe it or not, there are accessible bike share programs. Baltimore, Maryland, just implemented its accessible bike share program, really neat.
Travel training, Pedestrian programs, Walking buses. You know, we know about the healthy consequences of walking and recreation, and so many communities are starting walking and rolling, so even individuals that use wheelchairs are part of these kind of movement, these accessibility travel, transportation accessibility programs. And then transportation network companies, which are growing. You know, many -- I know that there's a lot of pros and cons associated with working with transportation network companies, and so we developed some considerations as an organization is considering establishing a partnership with a transportation network company. Some of the characteristics an organization should think about are the reliability and performance of that transportation network company. Are their vehicles safe? Are they maintained? How regularly are they maintained? Are drivers trained? What kind of training do drivers have regarding cultural and disability sensibility? Cost, who pays? Does the passenger pay? Does the organization pay? I was speaking to a large retirement community representative, and they have a program with Lyft whereby the resident of the retirement community contacts the concierge at their retirement community, but the resident bears the cost of that ride. That's important to know. What are the service hours or the geographic scope of that TNC? What's the accessibility of the vehicle? How -- what percentage of the fleet are accessible? How convenient or easy or space for people who use wheelchairs to access TNC? Is there equity in the service that they provide? Is it as easy for me who uses a wheelchair to access transportation network companies, like an Uber or Lyft, as someone who doesn't? And what kind of customer satisfaction systems do they have? Do they have mechanisms for passengers providing feedback?
Also, asking questions about how do they monitor performance? How do they track the drivers and the accountability of the drivers and the passenger feedback they provided and the final consideration is people with disabilities and those culturally diverse, do they really inform the service? Are they at the table when the relationships and partnerships are designed? As I said, I was talking to a national resident, it was a senior housing representative, and older adults were part of every part of the process in designing that relationship with Lyft, and it's working. It's in a pilot phase. It's working so far. But they were at the table, and that's critical.
Quickly, I wanted to share with you this is a report. There's a national center that's funded by the federal government, the transit cooperative research program. They do lots of really great research, and I encourage you if you want to delve into the topic of shared mobility more, they've got tons of research, and these are just some recommendations that came out of that. Think about accessibility from the ground up. So don't try to retrofit accessibility. Think about it as you are developing the partnership. Ensure that there's common processes and standards. When people work with Lyft, there's all kinds of processes. Maybe coming to standard processes is important. Ensure that data can be exchanged and there's common platforms for data. Then address the inequities in access to information, and consider unbanked individuals, so individuals who don't have access to credit cards or don't have easy access to ease electronic means of sharing money. Finally, in terms of evaluation, always think, always do an environmental scan to ensure the mobility management network in your community is working. You can be an integral part of that. Survey and talk with diverse audiences about their experience. Garner feedback from employers, medical providers, and others to continuously discern the transportation challenges. Are people getting to work? Lauren's going to be sharing with you some data geographically about the inequities exist. Well, if a mobility management is created in those areas or with employers, are your employees getting to work any differently because of this mobility management network? Ask healthcare providers. Are people accessing medical appointments more routinely because transportation is less of a barrier? And then ask questions about mobility options at diverse community forums. I always, always encourage people to talk about transportation. Use every forum you can because if you think about it, mobility underpins most of everything that we do. And then participate in community forums.
I am just going to leave you with information about our National Center that you will have access to after the webinar, but kind of this quote always resonates with me. It's by Susan Scott in a book called Fierce Conversations- “If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.” Mobility management is really an opportunity to think out of the box, to break down those silos, to think about innovation in terms of transportation.
Our National Center, which is funded by the Federal Transit Administration, can really help you. We are a National Technical Assistance Center, so our information is free. Our technically assistance is free. We are a partnership between three national organizations, one representing disabilities, and that's my organization, Easter Seals. The other organization is the American Public Transportation Association, which represents large transit agencies. And then the Community Transportation Association of America, which represents rural and community transit agencies. And as I said, we are funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration.
Take advantage of all of our resources. We've got technical assistance liaisons. I provided a link. They are individuals who are geographically dispersed to be able to help new your particular state. And they know your region, they know the state, they know some of the resources and the challenges in your state, so link to our regional liaison. There's also, as I said, other national technical assistance centers funded by the Federal Transit Administration, also by the Administration for Community Living, and I have provided you with these links. Take advantage of those.
I am leaving you with a quote by Michael Ditka. Since I live in Illinois, I am a Bears fan – “Success is not permanent, and failure is not fatal”, Mike Ditka. So that's it for me. My contact information is there. I look forward to our dialogue, and I thank you again for your time and your commitment to this work. And I will turn it over to Lauren from the Voorhees Center. Lauren?
Thank you, Judy. What I am going to talk about today is some work we've done mapping transportation disparities. But I want to emphasize that while Judy underscores that transportation and mobility management is about so many different things in terms of modes, it's about buses and trains, but it's also about paratransit, it's about walking, it's about ride share. I want to underscore that what I am going to present is actually just going to focus in specifically on fixed-route transportation and some of the work we have done looking at disparities around fixed-route transportation access.
So here is a quick outline of what I am going to cover today. To provide some context, I am going to talk about transit use patterns and why improved access to fixed-route transportation, especially for people with disabilities, is very important. Then I am going to dig into the actual mapping we've done, mapping disparities, talking about the method we use to map disparities and some of the results we've seen. I am going to wrap up with a discussion about what this means and what these findings show for planning and advocacy efforts around transportation access.
So why this question of transportation, and why the question of fixed -- and why this question of fixed-route transportation? As Jacqueline mentioned, this work was funded by the ADA PARC project, the Participatory Action Resource Consortium Project, and in that project, we have local community advisory boards in each of the regions we are working. Transportation was a key issue identified by the members and community members in our community advisory boards. This is why we are exploring this question of transportation. But beyond that transportation, we know, of course, is important to quality of life as well as challenging for people with disabilities.
First, understanding transit usage. Data shows that people with and people without disabilities -- data shows -- interact with transportation and the transit system differently. This is some work from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a graph that shows type of transportation by riders with disabilities and riders without disabilities. And what we can see is that individuals with disabilities are less apt to drive their own individual cars or to walk or to bicycle. They are actually also less likely to access fixed-route transportation, so things like trains and even buses. They are more likely, though, to access taxicabs. And of course, paratransit.
So that's an important context to understand maybe what some of the opportunities and what are some of the barriers to why folks aren't on fixed-route transportation more and why they are opting for some of these other modes.
So why does this matter? Why does this low access to fixed-route transportation and these transportation use patterns matter? From a user perspective, we are seeing low rates of public transit uses -- again, buses, subways, and streetcars -- and 16% of respondents in this study I am referencing who had not used available public transit reported that failure to do so was related to impairment or health problem. We also saw on the slide higher taxi usage among riders with disabilities. They are twice as likely to utilize taxis or subsidized services like paratransit. Something going on here where folks who might have access to these in theory aren't making use of them.
So again, why does this matter? If we look at the fixed-route transportation system, things like buses and trains, they provide a degree of flexibility and convenience that certain other modes don't provide. Many agencies that offer paratransit require you to call for paratransit ride at least 24 hours in advance, hand you are kind of beholden to the schedule that the paratransit providers can give you right? If you have access to fixed-route transportation, there's some gains in flexibility, to when you can leave for an appointment or when you can leave for work and the convenience of leaving your home and hopping on these services rather than having to schedule.
On the taxi side, taxi service, as we know, can be rather expensive, so if there's less expensive options, that's a gain in cost savings. And of course, this all matters in terms of right to access right? All people have a right to access these fixed-route transportation systems, and it's important to make sure that that is actually happening in reality.
So why does access to fixed route transportation matter from a transit provider perspective? If you are a transit provider, providing paratransit in some cases can be very expensive. A single demand response or paratransit trip can cost $23. Whereas a single bus trip can cost the provider $4. We know demographic trends, baby boom population, means we are going to see a rapid increase in paratransit demand. So there is some impetus to making sure our fixed-route buses and trains are as accessible as possible.
Furthermore reason transit systems can struggle to accommodate ride with mobility difficulties while maintaining their schedules. So there's also incentive from a transit provider perspective to improve accessibility of vehicles and stops, to make boarding and alighting as convenient as possible from a scheduling standpoint as well.
So understanding how important access to transportation was to our community advisory boards and the constituents they represent, we developed a couple research questions that we wanted to explore. So our first question was do people with disabilities have access to fixed-route transportation? Is how do cities differ in terms of their access to transportation, how well people are accessing the services, and are there disparities? Now, there are many things that factor into whether or not an individual can or cannot access fixed-route transportation. But we know that proximity is a major component of that. If you are not near transit, you definitely have much more of a harder time accessing it. So we thought to answer first this proximity question. So our process was to first map the location of persons with disabilities in each of the cities that are included in our ADA PARC study. We then mapped the locations of transit stops and analyzed the proximity of those persons to transit stops.
So I am going to present today examples from three cities in our ADA PARC project. I am going to talk about Chicago, Houston, and Baltimore. Chicago and Houston make for a really interesting comparison because they are both large cities. Chicago is the third largest city in the U.S., Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States. And you will see in a second with some of the maps that there are some very interesting implications in terms of the development patterns and housing patterns that affect transit access in those two areas. Finally, I included Baltimore because it's, again, an older city on the east coast but also because our next speaker is going to talk about some of the work they have done in Baltimore, so I wanted to be sure to include that as an example as well.
So this slide shows a map of the City of Chicago. The first layer is a map of the number of persons with disabilities by census tract. So the darker areas of the map show where larger numbers of persons with disabilities live. The lighter parts of the map show where fewer numbers of persons with disabilities leave. You can see some spatial patterns here. We see concentrations of persons with disabilities on the far north, far south, and west side as well. On top of that I mapped the location of the Chicago CTA or our light rail or subway stations. Those are the white dots. You can see where those lines are throughout the city. So our question that we sought to answer was do people in Chicago have access, proximity access, to these fixed-route subway stations? What we did is drew a half-mile buffer around each train stop. Why a half mile? It's a standard rule of thumb measure used in transit planning. Transit planners use that to define the ridership shed, it's the standard measurement, this number of people have access to the station and will, therefore, likely use it. So we used a half-mile buffer around each of the stations in Chicago and calculated the proportion of individuals with disabilities living within this access corridor and those living outside the access corridor, and we saw a slight disparity. In Chicago, 31% of Chicago residents with disabilities have access or live in close proximity to a train station. Compared to the total population of 34%. So 34% of all people in Chicago have access to the public transportation or train station. So we see a slightly lower access among people with disabilities in Chicago.
These are the results for Houston, Texas. Again, the first layer, darker colors are concentrations of people with disabilities. We see in the north and south side of Houston, overlaid by transit stops. Houston is a bit more sprawling than Chicago and has a smaller transit system, at least a smaller train or tram system, so you see very few dots concentrated mainly in the center of the city. Not surprisingly, a much lower proportion of individuals with disabilities have access to this transit, just given how small it is compared to the entire city. So only 5% of people with disabilities and 4% of the whole general population live within a half mile of these stations.
Here is Baltimore. Again, the darker areas are where individuals with disabilities are concentrated. We see some concentrations on the northwest and south side. This is the Baltimore light rail lines. In Baltimore, access was actually fairly equitable. 10% of people with disabilities and 10% of the general population live within a half mile of a train stop. So we see slightly higher access than Houston but lower access than a place like Chicago.
We also conducted this analysis for bus-lines using a quarter mile buffer. In Chicago, we actually saw higher access to bus routes among people with disabilities compared to people without disabilities. 94% of individuals with disabilities living in Chicago live within a quarter mile of a bus station compared to 93% of all persons.
In Houston, not surprisingly, bus access is a lot lower. It's a much more sprawling city, which, of course, poses challenges to access. Only 52% of people with disabilities and 49% of the general population live adjacent to a bus station.
And once again, Baltimore lands in the middle between these two. 88% of people with disabilities and 87% of all persons in Baltimore live within a half mile of a bus station.
So what can this tell us? This analysis can benchmark city performance. It allows us to understand which cities are doing well in terms of transit access and which cities are lagging. It helps identify disparities and gaps, not only geographic gaps, but also gaps in terms of where fixed-route transportation is lacking and where maybe other resources need to be devoted. And finally, it allows both agencies and advocacy efforts to prioritize investments. Where should we be investing to get the biggest bang for our buck and the highest number of people reached in terms of transportation access?
This next slide shows the results -- I showed some example city results for Chicago, Houston, and Baltimore. This has the data for all the ADA-PARC city results included in our study with train stations, their access figures. So San Francisco is at the top of the list. 57% of people with disabilities and 55% of the total population live in close proximity to rail stations. And you can see going down the line, you know, how access changes as you kind of move to different cities and different geographies.
What's really, I think, important and interesting in this particular slide when you look at these cities against one another is understanding which cities have greater disparity gaps. So, San Francisco actually has a higher percentage of access among people with disabilities to train stations, so 57% versus 55% of the total population has access to train stations. But it's the opposite in DC. In Washington DC, I think this is the city with the largest access disparity. 39% of people with disabilities live near a train station versus 45% of the total population. So we are seeing a lack of access to train stations for people with disabilities.
If you think about Washington DC, and understanding the housing structure there, it kind of illuminates why this is a problem. Housing in DC is very expensive. There's been kind of a boom, especially in the downtown, of high-rise construction around these stations. They are very desirable places to live. Consequently, they are very expensive places to live, and that poses a challenge for folks that are on fixed budgets, particularly folks with disabilities on fixed budgets. They are not able to live close to these train stations because it's so expensive.
The next slide is the same results but for the bus route systems. Again, looking just at the cities included in our ADA PARC project. Many more cities have bus systems compared to transit system, so this is a lot to take in on this slide. But you can see your older, denser cities have higher rates of access -- San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, DC, and even Minneapolis have over 90% proximity access for people with and without disabilities. And as you get down the line, it's your southern and your more sprawling cities that have real challenges to access. Places like Columbia, South Carolina; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Asheville, North Carolina, had less than 30% access, so less than 30% of people with disabilities living in those cities live in close proximity to a bus station, which poses some major challenges for mobility. So what I presented here and with the maps and tables is just a measure of proximity, is a person living near a bus stop or a train station? But of course, there's a little more to the picture, including accessibility. Is the station or bus stop accessible? I will say one of the challenges with understanding physical accessibility of bus stations is that there really isn't a good comprehensive data set. My colleagues who work in bus and transit planning and mobility management have vented their frustrations to me that they don't have a good inventory for local areas as to whether or not the sidewalk conditions or the bus station itself is accessible.
There is, however, decent data on whether or not train stations are accessible. And of course, all new stations and all new vehicles must comply with ADA standards. But what we are seeing is that there's gaps in older or what we call legacy systems. So places that built their transit systems centuries ago, before the passage of the ADA, might tend to have better geographic coverage, like a place like Chicago has a very large transit system, but because it's older, it also may have many stations that are not yet physically accessible which is a major challenge. You might live right near a station, but if it's not accessible with ramps and elevators and the items that are needed to make that station accessible, it renders it useless to the rider. What I present here is a map of Chicago that details where ADA-accessible stations are and where non-ADA-accessible stations are. The dots in the blue are the ADA accessible stations. The dots in the red represent non-ADA accessible stations. You can see the red dots are concentrated in the older lines that have not yet been upgraded. So as of 2014, 67% of stations in Chicago are ADA accessible. The remainder are not.
On in next slide, I overlaid this map of non-accessible and accessible stations over a map of where people with disabilities in Chicago live, and I want to really zero in on a portion of the north side of Chicago because it really tells, I think, a very compelling and important story.
This next slide shows an area of the north side of Chicago where there are several train stations in a row that are not yet ADA accessible. They are all located in -- they are all indicated in red here along the shore of Lake Michigan, the north side of Chicago. This is the uptown neighborhood. And you can also see in these census tracks very high concentrations of people with disabilities living in proximity to these rail stations that are not accessible. So in terms of how do we use this data, this is a prime example of how to mobilize around not only advocacy efforts but from a transit provider perspective, where we should be targeting resources because this is a prime example of a high concentration of people with disabilities living near stations that are not yet accessible.
I am happy to report that at least here in Chicago, there are plans for red line upgrade, and at least one of those current red stations is now being renovated and will, in the next couple of years, be converted to blue. But there's still several other stations along that stretch that are not yet accessible.
So what does this analysis and data tell us? It tells us where to prioritize investment in system upgrades. Where can he with make the highest impact? What are the areas of greatest and most immediate need? It's where to target advocacy efforts. Where resources, maybe perhaps ridership training may become more relevant. If these stations are now going to be renovated, this might be a prime kind of place where ridership training and transit rider advocacy efforts should be focused to get folks that maybe have been used to having to take the bus or paratransit understand that now the station is accessible and how to ride the system.
But what it also shows is that where there are major gaps in the system and where things like ride share and other forms of mobility, where just the fixed route system isn't getting, are very important to ramp up. So it works on both sides of the equation.
So what's missing from this proximity analysis? Well, of course, hours of operation or other measures of level of service. Right? We didn't really discuss the quality or the frequency of these transit lines, which, of course, plays a major role in one's ability to access appointments and jobs through the system.
And of course, we know proximity does not always mean accessibility. It's important to consider sidewalk considerations, conditions, and perceptions and realities around safety. Right? A lot of -- there's a lot of hesitancy around accessing fixed-route transit if it's not perceived to be safe. It's important to understand there are a lot of other things that influence whether or not a person is accessing fixed-route transportation.
So at this point, I am going to turn it over to Marian Vessels from -- she is Director of Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, who is going to talk about using data for action. So I presented some of the data and mapping. She is going to talk about the action and what's going on at the ground. So at this point, I will turn it over to Marian.
Thank you so much.
I am sorry, Marian, we can't hear you. Can we stop you for a second?
We apologize, folks, for that particular problem with Marian. What she was presenting is work that is being done in her particular region in relationship to a conference that was held, Baltimore.
As you can see on her slide, she indicated that there are many different modes of transportation, including city buses, paratransit, Amtrak trains. They also have a commuter rail though goes both north and south. They have light rail. They have a subway program. They have taxicabs as well as Lyft and Uber. So these are all part of the conversations and discussions that were part of the summit. All these modes of transportation are accessible; however, paratransit is often unreliable, not typical that you see in many communities, untimely and inefficient. City buses often do not have operable lifts or ramps, and drivers do not test lifts or ramps before their routes begin. Also, they have problems with bus drivers not announcing stops. These are all things that were identified as part of the feedback that was received during this summit.
And routes to bus stops are not often accessible as well. Again, many other challenges that I think many of your communities also face in relationship to ongoing public transportation issues that we hear. I don't think Baltimore in that regard is unique or holds anything different.
The focus of the efforts that are currently going on in this area to address and start to look at some of these issues, a focus by the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, along with or in cooperation with the PARC team and the team that they assembled in their geographic area to focus on increasing the use of accessible transit in the Baltimore city as well as surrounding areas. And they recruited someone who is, you know, a core of the transportation program in that area to their advisory team that they set up, community advisory board in the Baltimore area.
The board is made up of the Center for Independent Living, State Department of Disability, Baltimore city mayors Office on Disabilities, Maryland Transportation Authority. They were invited, as she indicated, but they, I guess, have not been very active in this process. Judy was part of this with the Easter Seals national office. The regional disability transportation agency that operates and maintains the paratransit system, as well as the state Department of Education transition staff. Given that we already heard from Judy's earlier discussion, the importance of education and transportation, how they link together in so many different ways for individuals who are transitioning from school into work environments or in collaboration with their school/work activities.
They had meetings that were facilitated by the ADA Center, and they worked on a strategy to look at different areas and to bring in other stakeholders, like taxicab companies, other transit providers that might be in the area, those that might be private or public. You heard Judy give earlier some examples of those which include things like your church organizations, your elder organizations, et cetera. They also pulled in those that were specific to just serving people with disabilities. That might be from your senior centers or organizations that had, in one way or another, purchased or ran some type of a transit program.
They also pug pulled in the taxicab commission because, of course, the use of taxis and how they are regulated and how they are used is an important part and can be an important part of the taxi system or mobility system. And then they also pulled in the Public Service Commission, which has some oversight as it relates to some of the other transit options and things like bus stops and maintenance, issues of sidewalks and things of that nature, which are, again, as you've heard from some other presenters, some of the key issues to whether or not things were or were not accessible.
They decided to have the summit, it was -- the last one they had was seven years ago. They received some funding from different agencies to facilitate or support that summit. And they held it in -- a year ago, a little over a year ago now, October 28 of 2015.
Through that summit, again held in cooperation with other organizations, they hosted it at the National Federation of the Blind headquarters, which are in Baltimore. It was day long with key people being brought in from national level, as well as the state level. So the Department of Transportation -- remember, Baltimore has the advantage of being very close to the DC area and many other federal agencies being nearby. Judy and her program, mobility management program, were bought in from Easter Seals and from the federal branch of the Department of Transportation, as well as the Maryland transit agency.
They held breakout sessions, which you can see. There were numerous different ones covering different areas from transition to accessibility of fixed routes, including travel training, to looking at management of practices, looking at the database and how they looked at those things, like reporting problems and things of that nature. They also had one specifically looking at taxi services, and then, of course, one looking at the future, how do you look at the role technology plays in ensuring and getting access to transportation.
You can see there were several breakout sessions, really focusing on several of the things that they had already identified as areas of problems, but also that we are going to focus and look at future issues as well.
Robin, can you hear me?
Yes, Marian, thank you. I am glad you are back. We don't know what happened there. We were having problems with your sound, so I had to cut you off. If you want to go ahead and take over. At this point, I had to keep going. Thank you so much.
No worries. Thank you so much. We have had 142 people attend the session or registered for the session, with 120 people attending. They represented all areas, federal, state, city, and county governments, nonprofit organizations, the public sector, private sector, and members of the general public, folks with disabilities that were transportation users.
Half of the attendees of the summit felt it was excellent, half felt it was good. Most learned new information that they said they would use. And the CAB is going to reconvene this fall to assess the process and outcomes of the session.
We are going to be evaluating the needs of further transportation forums. We are going to be highlighting the need for accessible routes to and from public transportation stops. We found it was just really important that folks realize that there's such great accessible public transportation, that they are just not comfortable with using and familiarizing ourselves with. So we think that this is going to be a helpful resource for us.
Some of our successes are transportation planning and education is now a mandated process for transitioning students, and it was used in their developing a manual for VR and public and private transitioning services to encourage students to use public transportation, be comfortable with it before they use these .
We had a lot of people from the disability community be aware of the fact that transportation hearings were being conducted by Public Service Commissions and the need for accessible services. We also used the transportation summit to enhance the profile of the need of people with disabilities to know and use accessible transportation, as well as transportation providers to hear directly from individuals with disabilities to be able to express their own concerns in terms of accessible transportation system.
So this is something we will continue using, this data, as a way to assure people with disabilities full inclusion in the transportation system. And now I will turn it back over to Robin to entertain questions.
Great. Thank you, Marian. At this time, we are going to go ahead and move into the mode of taking questions from our presenters. I see many of you submitted questions already in the Chat area. Thank you very much. And I am going to ask the operator if she would, at this time, give instructions to those individuals who are on the telephone so they will know how they can chime in if they would like to ask questions as well, and we will fluctuate back and forth between the online questions and those around the telephone. So would you go ahead and give us instructions, please, operator?
Sure. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have any questions at this time, please press * then 1 on your touchtone telephone. If your question has been answered or you wish to remove yourself from the queue, please press the # key. One moment for questions.
Great. Thank you. I am going to go ahead and ask some questions submitted online.An individual is referencing one of the previous slides, and I will go ahead and see if I can get us there. There was a question on your slide, number 21, I believe that was you, Judy. As far as using other agencies' vehicles, they are stating that the problems they hear with using school bus and church advance is insurance. Is that a legitimate reason, and if so, what can you do to work around that issue? Do you have any thoughts you can share with them on that, Judy?
I have heard that, and in many places, it is a legitimate excuse. But I've also heard that school districts and transit agencies have worked around it through umbrella policies and other kinds of insurances that cover multi-modes of transportation. So I know that it's done, and I certainly can connect people to places where it's done to find out how they policy-wise overcome that challenge.
Great. Thank you. Yes, you know, insurance is always, you know, something that we hear a lot that entities like to make an argument something can or cannot be done because of that. You know, insurance or safety or regulatory policy. I know there was a question about how do you get transit agencies to go over a boundary of a geographic boundary that may exist within a community, and I've also heard that a lot. And in some places, they have agreements with community service providers in rural areas to either -- the transit agency and the city would subsidize a trip or they would have some arrangements, voucher arrangements with a rider. Because it really behooves a transit agency to get that rider to their transit service because they get the revenue from that transit service. So in many places, they have feeder programs where private providers may provide service to the start of the transit route at the beginning of the geography.
I learned in Pennsylvania they've got a lot of volunteer driver programs, but the transit agency is actually funding and supporting and operating. I've also heard in Pennsylvania they are thinking about and in Michigan they are thinking about establishing transit-operated Uber kind of service, where the transit agency pays drivers, individual drivers, to transport people to the start of transit lines. And so I think just having conversations about what can happen and then providing examples of other places around the country where it is happening can be compelling for a transit agency to cross that border.
Great. Thank you. We had somebody who asked a question about what is a flood line? I think it was a reference you made.
Yeah, you know, I am sorry. I didn't know if I should take time to explain that. It sounds ominous; doesn't it? It sounds really creepy.
But they have been in existence, and I am happy to send out information. Flood lines have been in existence in urban and rural areas for about 20 years, and what it is, is that people that want to go into a central point, say you are in a suburban area of Washington, DC, you are in an area maybe 50 miles away from the city. You meet at a certain point, a designated point that you know, you line up, and cars pull up and you get in their car and drive into another designated area in the city. And they have slug lines that are going to the northwest part of the city and slug lines that are going to the southwest. And the incentive for you, as a passenger, is you get a free ride. And the incentive for the driver is that in many of these areas, they've got high occupancy vehicle lanes are where you can't travel on that particular road or a lane of a road unless you have at least two people in your vehicle. And so by picking up somebody, you have two people in your vehicle, and it's more -- it's a faster way to get into the city because you use that HOV.
But I've also seen it happen in rural, rural to more city or urban areas, where people, the modes of transportation are just not so accessible, and in the years of slug lines, there haven't been any terrible incidents. It's not unsafe. There haven't been declared, you know, safety kind of security kinds of issues. So it's just another innovation in terms of mobility
Great. Thank you. And just quickly, somebody did, I think, ask -- they weren't familiar with the terminology paratransit. So I know many of us are very familiar with that terminology. Could you just give a really quick synopsis, maybe, Judy Shanley, of just what is paratransit?
Sure, and Lauren could probably provide a definition as well. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires transit providers, public transit providers, that receive federal Department of Transportation monies to provide complementary paratransit services to individuals with disabilities. There's a mileage that they need to be from a fixed-route service. And the intent is really to make transportation service accessible to people with disabilities, and there's a minimum fare. It's like a reduced fare that individuals with disabilities have to provide. You have to be registered and be eligible to use that paratransit service. It's like a minibus or a van that picks people up. It's typically a door-to-door service. You have to schedule the paratransit well in advance. Usually there's a 24 to 48-hour window that you've got to schedule if you need to get into work by 9:00, they may pick you up at 6:00 in the morning and pick up other passengers along the way and bring you to your designated route, but that fare is covered by the public transit agency in that community.
Lauren, is there anything else that you want to add about paratransit?
No, that's perfect, Judy Shanley.
Great. Can we find, operator, are there any questions from the telephone?
Once again, ladies and gentlemen, if you have any questions at this time, please press * then 1.
Okay. While we are waiting for somebody to queue up, one of our participants says they are in Fresno, California, and involved with Inspiration Park, a fully accessible park. But they are saying however, the bus stops about a mile away from the park, and there is not an accessible path to the park. The city bus system with solutions, but they don't want to help. They worked with the local councilwoman, and they were told it would cost millions of dollars to fix the sidewalks. Do you have any suggestions? They would like to hear if you have any thoughts.
My first thought is that transit agencies are often compelled by the revenue that a change will bring to this system. And so if you can collect any data regarding the number of riders that potentially could be affected by the accessibility of the sidewalks.
The city should be responsible, under the ADA, to correct those sidewalks. And I think the sidewalks are the responsibility of the city as opposed to a transit agency, but there could be some collaborative effort to support those changes by the transit agency and the community and the city.
But you know, I think if you could provide data regarding the number of passengers that would be -- could be increased because they would use the transit to -- if there were accessible sidewalks to the park, how many -- the percentage of passengers increase and their families.
You know, it's not just about the riders with disabilities. Think about the goodwill and the other passengers that could be accommodated by having accessible and universally designed access to that park. I mean, it's just the numbers are not just people with disabilities, but it's their family members, it's their friends. So if you can provide them any of that data, if you've got any local community planning effort that you could bring this to, like Fresno -- I don't know. I can't recall what the transit agency in Fresno is, but if -- I believe there's a mobility management and coordination system in the city. Bring it to their attention and see if they can influence the process at all. And I think those data that you could provide would be really important.
Great. Thank you. I think that's always -- and just energizing other groups and collaborating with other groups that are impacted by this issue. I mean, other things that are around this, along this route and stuff, I would assume.
Yeah, yeah. And sometimes industries, like industries have to influence industries. So the transit industry is a pretty fierce, big, bold, seasoned industry. And so if you could get -- it's like even the playground, accessible playground and park equipment manufacturers that develop that equipment to put in that park to be able to talk with the transit provider to say, you know, we invested X amount of resources in developing this accessible park. Work with us to ensure that the way that people can get to the park is also accessible. We could use this as a model. You know, there's a whole thing called smart growth cities, where cities are planned around accessibility and healthful living and building transit near enterprise and economics and healthcare so that people kind of life where they work where they play, that kind of notion. And so kind of joining in with those folks, the smart city -- look for smart city in your city. I am also happy offline to provide you with some resources. I can dig up some contacts in that area.
Great. Thank you, Judy Shanley. Someone was asking, I think, Jacqueline, you would be able to give more insight into this. Have you done studies or do we have data similar to what you were providing for, Chicago, Houston, et cetera, for transit in Los Angeles or southern California in general?
You know, I am just looking that up. So on our website, on the ADA-PARC website --
Can you give that website?
Sure, I can. Let me just pull it up here. So our website is located at http://centerondisability.org/ada_parc. So we have a number of cities where we have been reporting over time, we update every sort of year some information about accessibility about community living indicators. We have community participation. Work and economics. And then we also have some maps that show the demographics of the states as well as some select cities.
So we do have some cities that we've included in this. Let me just quickly look here. And then we are also in the process of looking at a number of other additional cities. It's our last year of this project grant, and so we have talked to the -- I believe it's the Pacific ADA Center, and they have requested a number of additional cities. And so I am working on pulling that data, and we should have that up on the website in the next couple of months. So it looks like there are two select cities, I think Los Angeles is one -- or excuse me. It's Santa Barbara and Riverside are the two cities that are currently represented in southern California. And we are going to be adding a number of additional cities here in the next couple of months.
I just want to clarify the short address. I just put them in the chat area. Just adaparc.org. There is a direct URL which is just www.adaparc.org. That will get you to the website, and you can see all by state and area different areas that have been already selected and have been chosen on there.
We are getting down the hour, but we have a few more questions here. Judy Shanley, I think this is for you or could be Lauren too. Could you please list any cities that you believe or you know of that have professional bike share programs that would include adaptive bikes if so?
Baltimore, Maryland. Marian will be pleased with that. Michigan and Minneapolis are two places that come to mind. On our website, and if go to NC4MM, we've got a pull-down tab that says bike share, and we posted links to all of the bike share programs, and we specifically talk about accessible bike share. We also developed a product and information brief where we did kind of a review of bike share programs to look at the accessibility. So that's available on our website.
Can you repeat that website again?
Sure. It's either the National Center for Mobility Management dot org or NC4MM.org.
Great. I am just putting it in the Chat area for everybody. Great. Thank you. We have another question here. She is saying they have paratransit, however, when it comes to a regional fixed route, there is not a paratransit option associated with it. Is this in compliance with the ADA?
And I am not an attorney, but it should, yes. I mean, if there's not -- the ADA, the complementary paratransit has to mirror the paratransit system in a community. So if there's no fixed-route in that community, then there doesn't need to be a complementary paratransit provided.
Correct. As I am interpreting this person's message, they are saying there is a regional fixed-route service available but not a paratransit option, and that would be a problematic issue. Obviously, we don't have all the details to be able to give you a definitive on that, but paratransit is a required complementary service to fixed-route service that serves within a quarter mile of the fixed route for the purposes of those who may not be able to access the fixed route due to their disability.
Right, and if she goes to or the requester goes to the transit agency's website, there should be a topic that says ADA service or people with disabilities or older adults service, some marker that has all of the services for individuals with disabilities or older adults that that transit agency offers.
Great. I am going to go back to the telephone to see if there were any questions that ever did get queued in on the telephone.
I am not showing any questions on the telephone line at this time.
Jacqueline, can you give just an idea of how people could get involved in these issues at their local level or their regional level if they were interested in getting involved with the PARC?
I think the easiest way is to contact us through the website. There is a form that you can access through the website to contact us, and we can then connect you to the nearest participating ADA Center, as well as the -- their community advisory board.
Great. Thank you. And I just want to conclude here at this point by saying that I want to thank Lauren Nolan from University of Illinois, Judy Shanley with Easter Seals and the National Center on Mobility -- what's the last? Mobility Management -- NCMM.I get a hiccup on that one. And Marian Vessels with the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, as well as Jacqueline Beck, who is working with the ADA PARC program at the University of Illinois.
So again, I want to thank all of you for your participation, for putting your time and effort into the session today, providing us some great information, and responding to the questions from our participants. I do -- we have one more minute or so here. Someone just sent in a question here at the last minute, so I'll go ahead and take it since we have a minute or so. This person is saying that they are noticing a conflict between mobility needs and non-motor vehicle urban planning schemas. The need is for blue zone parking and white zone loading zones at newly constructed buildings, not only for privately owned vehicles, but also for taxis required to add paratransit vehicles into their fleets. Conflict and perception that blue zones and passenger loading zones are conveniences are relics of a motor-vehicle centric thinking that do not promote a safer and greener world. That real estate is better used for bicycle parking.
What approach is the panel using to deflect this misconception, recognizing that not everyone can ride a bike, let alone walk distances? Just wanted to know that I am not including the perceived ride-sharing companies that undercut municipal tax in this discussion, but wondering your thoughts on how changes in different lanes and things are being constructed for this purpose?
Yikes, I need to do a dissertation on that one. You know, I've heard those issues at the local metropolitan planning commission meetings that I go to, and at those meetings are the designers, the street designers, the transit providers, and it's at that point where the different modes, the bicyclists, the walking and the pedestrians, can all talk about, as projects are planned, that's the time for input. It's really hard to retrofit those kinds of services. So I think going to transportation planning meetings, being at the table is a really great way to influence those projects.
Great. Thank you. And again, thank you for those that have asked the questions. Is one required by law? Do you know?
What is planning agency or the --
No, the loading/unloading zones.
Oh, I didn't -- I don't think so.
This is Lauren. I think it depends on the municipality. Each different city has their own regulations as to what is required for loading and unloading zones. I guess each city is different, so it's tough to answer because it depends on the city.
Great. Just wanted to answer that person chimed in last minute.
All right. So again, I want to thank you. I want to remind people who are part of our regular series, who are interested, our January session will be held back at our regular third Tuesday of the month. January 17, 2017. It's hard to think we are already in 2017. And the topic is Understanding Disability & Entrepreneurship with unemployment-related issues. Again, thank you everyone for your participation. You will be receiving an email with follow-up that will give you information about the recording, about the evaluation. We do value your input and your feedback on our sessions and to help us build other topics and other areas for our future sessions. And we also will include information about getting a certificate of attendance for today's session.
Again, thank you, everyone, for your participation. Thank you to our presenters. You can hang up your telephones now, and you can disconnect from your webinar platform by just closing your browser, or you can use the File drop-town in the top left-hand corner and exit. Again, thank you everyone, and have a great day and rest of the year and Happy New Year.