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Project Study: More Work Needed to Assist Seniors, Disabled on Transit

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Peter Beeler

A project aimed at stimulating equity, connection and communication between seniors, the disabled community and Bay Area transit agencies has found riders with challenges do not always have access to reliable and affordable transportation. Too often there isn't effective communication among groups and transit agencies' action is lacking.  

To address the issue, a partnership between MTC and World Institute on Disability (WID) resulted in a  2.5-year research and community engagement study known as the Transportation Resilience, Accessibility & Climate Sustainability (TRACS) project.

Traditionally, segments of the senior population and people with disabilities are disproportionately low-income, transit-dependent and have more transportation mobility challenges. Transit agencies and planners have often lacked sufficient data and insight into travel needs, preferred modes of transportation, and the vulnerabilities of disabled transit users.

The TRACS project's tasks included demographic and data collection, community engagement, needs assessments, and the development of training webinars for disabled transportation consumers and transportation agencies. The project’s slogan was “Ensuring Access Is Everyone’s Responsibility.”

To establish a new model of collaboration based on long-term partnerships between the communities and transit planners, the TRACS project presented recommendations to transit agencies, county transportation agencies, as well as to people with disabilities and their advocates, and to MTC. Project findings, as well as resources and tools, can be found on the WID website.

In 2018, Caltrans awarded a Senate Bill 1 Planning Grant to MTC and WID for the TRACS project. MTC provided fiscal oversight and project support, while WID led the project. 

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