Barriers to Transportation in Texas
Public transportation is a complicated but important issue for people with disabilities in Texas.
An estimated 1.9 million Texans with disabilities do not leave their homes due to a lack of adequate transportation services. Barriers to transportation may prevent a person with a disability from getting to their job, accessing non-emergency medical care, taking care of everyday household errands, or just participating in recreational and social activities. According to the recent report from the National Council on Disability, Transportation Update: Where We’ve Gone and What We’ve Learned, progress related to transportation has been made over the last 10 years, but significant barriers remain.
Some barriers to transportation and mobility include:
- Insufficient infrastructure — A lack of adequate sidewalks, curb cutouts, and paved paths may prevent people with mobility challenges from accessing public transportation.
- Fragmented and decentralized Medicaid transportation — Multiple providers in an area may not coordinate scheduling.
- Medical Transportation Program (MTP) rules and regulations — An individual using MTP can only complete the transport for the designated medical purpose. For example, if a person needs to pick up a prescription as a result of a medical appointment, he/she would have to return home and schedule a separate ride to get the prescription. Also, MTP is only for an individual and an attendant. If the person using MTP has a child, the child is not allowed to accompany the parent even if childcare is unavailable.
- A non-responsive transportation system — When a person with a disability experiences an issue with a transportation system, it is difficult for them to have the issue addressed because the system lacks adequate tracking, reporting, and documenting procedures necessary for response.
- Geographic boundaries — Many transportation systems are limited to geographic boundaries. For example, some transportation providers in urban areas can’t travel beyond certain predetermined boundaries. This rigid system can make it difficult to coordinate travel to different cities and towns and may lead to gaps in service.
- Ride sharing services — New and innovative transportation options that serve many people, like ride sharing services, may not be affordable or accessible, and may discriminate against individuals with disabilities.
Public transportation is a complicated but important issue for people with disabilities in Texas. Barriers to transportation need policy-driven solutions developed by stakeholders with experience and knowledge of the current system. The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) is currently reviewing applications for a project that will bring together stakeholders to learn about transportation policy and to collaborate to develop solutions. To stay up-to-date with this project, follow TCDD on Facebook or Twitter.