Transportation is a major obstacle for people with disabilities, with more than 500,000 never leaving their homes simply because they lack a way to get around, according to a new report.
The reasons vary, but the report out this week from The American Association of People with Disabilities and The Leadership Conference Education Fund found extensive problems for those living in both urban and rural locales when it comes to getting from point A to point B.
The problems persist even as the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public transportation systems to be accessible.
Specifically, the advocacy groups say that many taxis and public transit systems — especially older ones — remain inaccessible. In addition, they say that paratransit services are frequently inadequate and suffer from poor oversight. Meanwhile, those living in rural areas often have no access to public transportation at all.
As a result, some 31 percent of people with disabilities report having insufficient transportation compared to 13 percent of the general population, according to the report.
And the consequences are far-reaching.
“Because of inadequate funding and enforcement, countless people with disabilities can’t reliably vote, work, attend medical appointments or enjoy full independence,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference Education Fund.
What’s more, the report indicates that lack of transportation keeps people out of the workforce and unable to contribute as taxpayers and consumers.
The groups behind the report are calling for better funding, enhanced coordination of transportation programs for people with disabilities and greater ADA enforcement.