New Report: Intelligent Paratransit

Our new report, Intelligent Paratransit, is available for download here.

Executive Summary

As Americans aged 65 or older increase from fifteen to twenty percent of the population by 2030, cities across the United States will face a transportation crisis. Urban residents who are physically unable to use public transportation, including the disabled and mobility-impaired elderly, are offered paratransit services. These paratransit systems, as required by an unfunded 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act mandate, are enormous, and growing annually in new applications and budget requirements.

Paratransit demand is growing nationwide and costs continually increase (now $5.2 billion nationwide); the user experience is often reported as poor. To address efficiency and user experience, this report assesses the state of paratransit, analyzes innovative solutions in three cities and recommends potential technological solutions. The Intelligent Paratransit Technological Upgrade Framework includes improvements in the areas of Onboarding, Reservations, Dispatch & Routing and User Experience. Key technological recommendations include:

  • Ride reservations should be available through multiple channels: phone, apps, SMS messaging, physical infrastructure on the street and wearable technology for riders.
  • Paratransit agencies must collaborate with taxis and app-based car services, including Uber, Lyft, Via and SilverRide, to integrate efficient services.
  • Services connecting riders to transit should feature real-time, in-vehicle data integration with transit services to optimize accessibility of trips.
  • As cities grow in language diversity, paratransit vehicles should feature on-board translation apps and call-in numbers to better service all riders.

By applying new technological systems to a 26 year-old mandate, paratransit services can be made more efficient and provide a better customer experience. In New York City, these upgrades could save the agency up to $133 million per year. Improving mobility solutions for the elderly and disabled is possible, necessary and urgent.

7 thoughts on “New Report: Intelligent Paratransit”

  1. What this report fails to mention is that the idea for Paratransit came directly from the Transportation authorities because they did not want to provide accessible fixed route busses. The Transit Authorities were told that this alternative to making their fixed route busses accessible would cost them more money in the long run. They refused to listen and went ahead on their own to provide what is now known as Paratransit services. If the Transit Authorities complied by making their fixed route busses accessible, they would not be in the situation they find themselves in now and for the future. So lets be very clear, this was not solely an ADA mandate, this was nothing more than the ADA legally addressing what the Transit Authorities did by their refusal to make their fixed route busses wheelchair accessible and providing an alternative service, known as “Paratransit”. This problem was brought upon themselves because they did not want to provide accessible fixed route service. Also, this report talks about utilizing taxis and ridesharing but does not address how this could happen. First of all, there needs to be legislation calling for a percentage of all private Taxi, Livery and Ridesharing private transportation services to be wheelchair accessible and of universal design to accommodate a variety of disabilities. It is clearly time for the private transportation industry to stop discriminating against Americans with disabilities.

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