WASHINGTON, D.C. (KFOR) – The federal government has put forth $50 million in new initiatives to expand access to transportation for people with disabilities, older adults and low-income individuals.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine l. Chao announced the multi-million dollar funding effort during Tuesday’s Access and Mobility for All Summit, according to a government news release.
The initiative includes funding new programs to develop and deploy innovation in technology and increase interagency partnerships to improve mobility.
“The purpose of this $50 million new initiative is to identify ways to provide more efficient, affordable, and accessible transportation services for people with disabilities, older adults and other underserved communities that often face greater challenges in accessing essential services,” Chao said.
Industry, academia, nonprofit and government leaders participated in panel discussions and breakout sessions focused on interagency coordination, advanced vehicle technologies, and innovations in mobility services.
“We are focused on streamlining the multiple steps involved in traveling between locations into a smooth and seamless trip,” said Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams, who moderated a panel.
Chao announced the following during her keynote address:
- A planned Complete Trip Deployment solicitation, which will make up to $40 million available to enable communities to showcase innovative business partnerships, technologies, and practices that promote independent mobility for all. “Complete Trip” means that a user can get from point A to point B seamlessly, regardless of the number of modes, transfers, and connections.
- A planned Inclusive Design Challenge, which will make up to $5 million in cash prizes available to innovators who design solutions to enable accessible automated vehicles. USDOT aims to increase availability and decrease the cost of aftermarket modifiers that improve the accessibility of vehicles today and spark development for future automated vehicles.
- A Notice of Funding Opportunity for FTA’s FY 2020 Mobility for All Pilot Program. The program seeks to improve mobility options and access to community services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and people with low incomes. The $3.5 million initiative will fund projects that enhance transportation connections to jobs, education, and health services.
The Department of Transportation and 10 other federal agencies also approved, Tuesday, the strategic plan for the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM), an interagency partnership to coordinate the efforts of federal agencies funding transportation services for targeted populations.
“The strategic plan includes goals to improve access to jobs, health care, education, and community services by eliminating government duplication of services, reducing regulatory burden, increasing access to cost-effective transportation services, and ensuring that transportation services are centered on the citizens who depend on them as a lifeline to community participation,” the news release states.
The plan will help provide better transportation outcomes by coordinating more than 130 government-wide programs.