Many barriers still exist for amputees and others with disabilities as they navigate transportation in an able-bodied world. The difficulty and stress of traveling often prevents many from being as mobile as they would like. This is why the Amputee Coalition is among several organizations which have endorsed legislation to increase accessible transportation for individuals with disabilities.
Together Senator Bob Menendez and Congresswoman Dina Titus reintroduced the bicameral Disability Access to Transportation Act (DATA) legislation that would address numerous persistent challenges faced by people with disabilities when they use transportation services. The DATA would establish a one-stop pilot program to help paratransit riders avoid excessive wait times, streamline process for submitting accessibility complaints, and assist local communities with identifying gaps in transportation accessibility.
As a representative for New Jersey, Senator Menendez has a history of advocating for a more accessible transit system in his state. “I’m proud to be leading this bicameral legislation with Rep. Titus because it is critical we invest in creating transportation systems that are more accessible and reliable, and can provide all individuals with more flexibility and mobility when commuting to work, school, or any destination,” he said.
As outlined in the press release on June 6, the act includes:
- Findings that highlight the ongoing need to improve access to transportation systems for those with disabilities;
- The creation of a new one-stop paratransit pilot program authorized at $75 million annually through FY26, which will allow for a brief stop on a multi-legged paratransit trip to prevent long wait times between having to book individual trip segments. This will allow people with disabilities to perform activities like stopping at a bank or pharmacy or dropping children off at daycare without needing to book two separate trips that could each take up to 90 minutes;
- Requires the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board to finalize minimum standards for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, and requires the Secretary of Transportation to undertake a rulemaking to implement those standards;
- A provision to streamline the accessibility complaint reporting process at FTA; and
- The creation of an accessibility data pilot program to improve data collection and identify gaps in services to aid in transportation planning.