Our vision for accessible transportation in the Alamo Area is to ensure that all seniors and people with disabilities have safe, least restrictive and barrier free access to affordable transportation to meet personal needs
Alamo Area Accessible Transportation Coalition Initiative (AAATCI)
Welcome to the September edition of the Alamo Area Accessible Transportation & Mobility Newsletter, a forum to inform our community about accessible transportation and mobility issues and discuss opportunities for improvements.
This month's topics:
We encourage your contributions and feedback each month! Please forward any information you would like to share.
Isa Fernández, MPA
Bexar Area Agency on Aging
Alamo Area Council of Governments
(210) 362-5227 firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) Overview
President Obama recently signed into law P.L. 112-141, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) that will fund surface transportation programs over $105 billion for fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014. It is the first long-term highway authorization enacted since 2005 and represents a milestone for the U.S. economy.
The act transforms the policy and programmatic framework for investments to help guide the growth and development of the transportation infrastructure by creating a streamlined, performance-based, and multimodal program that address
challenges such as improving safety; maintaining infrastructure condition; reducing traffic congestion; improving efficiency of the system and freight movement; protecting the environment; and reducing delays in project delivery.
Highway, transit, bike, and pedestrian programs and policies established in 1991 are improved upon:
- Highways - principal arterials not previously included and the preservation of highways are incorporated
- Efficient use of of Federal funds - increased accountability and transparency; improving performance-based planning and programming.
- Job creation and economic growth - the authorization of $82 billion in Federal funding for FYs 2013 and 2014 will provide road, bridge, bicycling, and walking improvements and provisions that improve freight movement
- Supports safety improvements - continuing the successful Highway Safety Improvement Program, doubling funding for infrastructure safety, strengthening the linkage among modal safety programs, promoting reduction in highway fatalities by building on other aggressive safety efforts, such as highlighting the extreme dangers of distracted driving, that is using cellphones and texting while driving: http://www.distraction.gov/content/faces/index.html.
- Streamlines Federal highway programs through consolidation into a smaller number of broad core programs.
For more information on MAP-21, please visit: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/summaryinfo.cfm.
Call a Ride for Seniors (CARS) Website Goes Live; Presentation Describes How to Form a Volunteer-Driver Transportation Organization
Call A Ride for Seniors (CARS), the coalition of volunteer-driver nonprofit specialized transportation providers, website recently went live. The website, funded by the Bexar Area Agency on Aging(BAAA), will be the public's one-stop for information on CARS activities, senior transportation and mobility issues in Bexar County.
The website, which is still in development, will serve as the online portal for the volunteer-driver network, promoting CARS services that assist older adults that do not drive. It will encourage volunteerism, and act as a forum for the community to learn about and discuss the transportation and mobility issues of older adults.
Detailed information on individual providers, each of which will have autonomous pages that visitors and callers can link to within the collective website, will also be available. Maintaining autonomy is an important part of the CARS coalition, since it means continuing to enhance community partnerships that each nonprofit has nurtured for nearly 30 years of individual operations.
The CARS website promotes local partnerships with the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) Department of Bexar Area Agency on Aging (BAAA), the Alamo Service Connection (ASC), a Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) providing referrals to seniors and people with disabilities, Presa Community Center, and the City of San Antonio's Supportive Services for the Elderly Project (SSEP).
How to Form a Volunteer-Driver Organization
The group's recent effort to promote specialized transportation was highlighted at the recent Texas Conference on Aging. CARS directors formed a panel to present "Forming Call A Ride for Seniors (CARS) - a Coalition of Four Non-profits Providing Escorted Transportation in San Antonio, Texas." The presentation marked the first public outing by CARS directors, a first of many to come.
The presentation provides the public with a first-person account on the formation of Southeast Community Outreach for Older People, formed in 1996 by Terry Milligan who ran it alone for nearly 13 years; Jefferson Outreach for Older People, which began in 1984; Northeast Senior Assistance (NESA), and Southwest Outreach for Older People (SWOOP), which began in 2011 with the assistance of BAAA. Details of each nonprofit's history working with BAAA is described, including the process of formalizing the CARS coalition. View Presentation.
For more information on CARS, to become a volunteer driver, or for suggestions to improve website, please call (210) 477-3275 or visit www.callarideforseniors.org.
Protecting Civil Rights and Addressing Environmental Impacts on Transit Riders and Communities
The Federal Transit Administration (FT) has issued guidance complying with the existing Title VI regulations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which aims at ensuring that civil rights and environmental justice concerns of minority communities and others are protected when changes to transit services, such as planning a neighborhood bus route, adjusting trip fares, or laying new tracks are proposed.
The first new guidance is a revision to an existing Title VI Circular describes the impact of service and fare changes to minority riders. In addition, the revision describes the importance of ensuring that people with limited English proficiency have access to information they can understand. The goal of this regulatory guidance is to protect people from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.
The second guidance is a Environmental Justice Circular which is intended to ensure that FTA's grantees "avoid, minimize or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental effects on minority and low-income populations." The Circular states the critical importance of involving minority and low-income communities early in the planning and environmental review processes that determine which transit services and projects will ultimately serve them.
These documents provide guidance, accountability and transparency in the evaluation of current and future transit service is evaluated, communicated to the public, and implemented on the ground.
The new guidance is the result of an unprecedented level of FTA outreach that included public engagement sessions in Kansas City, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit and the San Francisco Bay area, as well as numerous webinars. For more information on how transportation affects environmental justice, please visit http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-07-17/pdf/2012-17404.pdf.
Save the Date:
AAATCI Quarterly Meeting October 18th
Alamo Area Accessible Transportation Coalition Initiative (AAATCI) members will meet on Thursday, October 18th to review the ongoing progress of subcommittees and to celebrate the successes so far at this fourth quarter meeting.
Date: Thursday, October 18th
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Location: AACOG, 8700 Tesoro Dr. Ste. 700, SATX 78207
(Notzon Board Room near lobby)
Agenda is forthcoming to AAATCI members. If you would like a copy of the agenda but are not currently a member, or for information about becoming a member, and to RSVP please contact Isa Fernandez at (210) 393-8193 or email@example.com.
Survey Shows 3 out of 4 Americans
Want More Transportation Options
A nationwide public opinion poll released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows that three out of four people in the U.S. are frustrated with the lack of transportation options that forces them to drive more than they would like, and support government investment to expand and improve public transportation.
In addition, twice as many people favor new transit - buses, trains and light rail - rather than new highways as the best way to travel and minimize the stresses of traffic.
A snapshot of the U.S. transportation system poll demonstrates:
* 59% feel the system is "outdated, unreliable and inefficient"
* 55% prefer to drive less, but 74% say they have no choice
* 58% would like to use public transit more often, but it is not convenient or available from their home or work
* 59% would like more transit options so they have the freedom to travel other than by driving
* 63% (more than three in five) would rather address traffic by improving public transportation (42%) or developing communities where people do not have to drive as much (21%) - as opposed to building new roads, an approach preferred by only one in five (20%)
* 64% say their community would benefit from an expanded and improved public transportation system, such as rail and buses
* 67% favor new standards for local planning that guide new development into existing cities and or near public transportation
* Americans over-estimate what their state spends on public transportation, estimating an average of 16% of their state's transportation budget - and still they would like that amount nearly doubled, calling for their state to spend an average of 28% on public transportation (note: The average percentage of transportation money - state plus federal - spent on transit over the past three years was 6.55% per state)
* 68% support more local investment in improvements to public transportation (including 63% of those who do not use transit), with 39% supporting it "strongly"
This poll demonstrates that taxpayers are frustrated with the lack of options for reliable public transportation and are willing to back increased spending to make better public transportation a reality.
For more information on poll results, please visit:
Permission to reproduce or reprint: Please feel free to forward this newsletter. However, if you wish to use any information marked "original" please contact the owner of that information, or Isa Fernández.
Contact Us: to submit stories, current events, article suggestions, data to share, best practices and/or with any comments or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (210)-362-5227.