Accessible Rural Transportation

Decades after the advent of the independent living and disability rights movements, transportation remains a primary issue for people with disabilities living in rural areas.

Society is trying to open all doors to people with impairment or limitation, yet most people with disabilities who live in Rural America continue to be isolated, frustrated, and cut off from going to work or school, visiting family or friends, participating in community life, or tending to health needs because of the lack of adequate transportation.

APRIL's guiding principles in addressing transportation needs in rural America include:

  • “All” public transportation should be accessible to “All” users, “All” the time.
  • Systems designed to meet the transit needs of people with disabilities will meet the needs of all transit users.
  • Accessible transportation means more than just having a vehicle available. It means people can actually use the transit service. It should also address the needs of people who are trying to be more energy efficient by reducing their use of private vehicles.
  • Accessibility and energy efficiency should not be separate competing priorities. They are equally important, and should be integrated. Vehicles and services need to be both accessible and energy efficient and that cannot be accomplished unless innovation takes an integrated approach to the two priorities.
  • Accessible transportation includes systems, services, vehicles, routes, stops, programs and all other aspects of transportation and must at least meet or exceed the minimum requirements set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

For more, on APRIL’s position on Rural Transportation and the Implementation of the FAST Act, read APRIL's Rural Transportation Position 2019 (January 2019)


Autonomous Vehicles 

APRIL and other disability advocacy organizations and allies letter to the US Department of Transportation regarding the Automated Driving Systems (ADS) Demonstration Grants and the Federal Transit Administration’s Integrated Mobility Innovation (IMI) Demonstration program.

ADS Funding Letter


Transportation Update: Where We've Gone and What We've Learned

Twenty-five years ago the ADA mandated a more accessible landscape for individuals with disabilities in this country, as well as a more accessible transit system to help them traverse that landscape. Fifteen years later, in 2005, the National Council on Disability (NCD) published The Current State of Transportation For People With Disabilities in the United States, a major transportation overview report. That highly acclaimed report contributed to major developments in the field of transportation. In this 2015 report, Transportation Update: Where We’ve Gone and What We’ve Learned, NCD examines what has changed since the writing of the previous report. This update describes the last ten years’ numerous advances in the field of transportation for people with disabilities and recommends public policy to address new and persistent problems.


The Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee (RVAAC)

The Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee (RVAAC) of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) was established on May 23, 2013, in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The committee was established in the public interest to support the Access Board in performing its duties and responsibilities under Section 504 of the ADA, which authorizes the Board to establish and maintain accessibility guidelines under titles ll and lll of the ADA. The committee was established to advise the Access Board on matters related to the revision and update of the guidelines addressing transportation vehicles using fixed guideway systems subject to the ADA.  The committee acted solely in an advisory capacity to the Access Board and did not exercise any program management responsibility nor make decisions directly affecting the matters on which it provides advice.


Rural Transportation Work Group Position Paper.

The Rural Transportation Policy Group is a national coalition of rural individuals and organizations networked through the National Rural Assembly.  Our goal is to ensure the next federal transportation bill strengthens and supports rural people, rural places, and sustainable commerce, acknowledging the interdependence of the nation's metropolitan and rural economies. 


APRIL Toolkit for Operating a Rural Transportation Voucher Program

The Toolkit for Operating a Rural Transportation Voucher Program is now available to download for FREE. The Toolkit, used to help solve problems in areas that lack transportation options, is available in PDF and text-only versions. It covers the elements of operating a transportation voucher program, including how to develop partnerships and contract with transportation providers, how to identify funding, how to develop policies, program management, and other special considerations. The Toolkit was developed through a partnership by APRIL and RTC:Rural.

For more Transportation Resources, click here:

Also See...

Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)

Response to SAFETEA LU

Reports from the past three years

Transportation Resources Document