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Effective Public Transit — A Resource Guide for People with Disabilities

November 10, 2001 |

For citizens with disabilities, public transit often is the only choice for travel. As tested consumers, their experience reveals what is best and worst about transit across the country. While smart growth and transportation planners identify what is needed, current riders know what works.

The following list of resources includes leading state and national organizations working to promote and implement successful public transit programs.

National Transit Resources

Federal Government Agencies

National Disability Rights Organizations

Michigan Disability Rights Organizations

Michigan Transit and Public Interest Organizations

National Transit Resources

American Public Transportation Association
APTA represents public transit professionals across the country through advocacy, innovation, and information sharing to strengthen and expand public transportation.

Community Transportation Association of America
CTAA is a national, professional membership association of organizations and individuals committed to removing barriers to isolation and to improving mobility for all people. CTAA conducts research, provides technical assistance, offers educational programs, and serves as an advocate in order to make coordinated community transportation available, affordable, and accessible. Its National Transit Resource Center contains a vast resource library of current news and reports on accessible transportation issues.

Easter Seals Project ACTION
Project Accessible Community Transportation in Our Nation provides training, resources, and technical assistance to thousands of disability organizations, consumers with disabilities, and local transportation operators. This technical assistance program was created under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.

Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality
SATH promotes awareness, respect, and accessibility for people with disabilities and mature travelers and employment for people with disabilitites in the tourism industry. SATH advises government officials, agencies, and tourist boards in the U.S. and abroad on travel-related policies.

Surface Transportation Policy Project

STPP promotes transportation policy and investments to help conserve energy, protect environmental and aesthetic quality, strengthen the economy, promote social equity, and make communities more livable. STPP emphasizes the needs of people, rather than vehicles, in assuring access to jobs, services, and recreational opportunities.

Federal Government Agencies

The Access Board
This federal agency develops and maintains accessibility requirements for the built environment, transit vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and for electronic and information technology; provides technical assistance and training on these guidelines and standards; and enforces accessibility standards for federally funded facilities.

Federal Transit Administration
The federal government, through the Federal Transit Administration, provides financial and technical assistance to local transit systems. Its National Transit Library, provides reports and articles on transit and transit related topics. Its National Transit Database is the national database for the transit industry, used for management and planning by transit systems and for policy analysis and investment decision-making at all levels of government.

The National Council on Disability
This federal agency makes recommendations to the President and Congress on issues affecting 54 million Americans with disabilities. NCD’s purpose is to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, and to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
NIDRR conducts comprehensive and coordinated programs of research and related activities to maximize the full inclusion, social integration, employment, and independent living of individuals with disabilities of all ages. Balanced between the scientific and consumer communities, NIDRR plays a unique role in federally-funded research activities. NIDRR’s work helps to more fully integrate disability research into the mainstream of our nation’s policies regarding science and technology, health care, and economics.

National Disability Rights Organizations

Disabled People’s Direct Action Network
DAN campaigns for accessible public transportation and full civil rights for people with disabilities. DAN uses tactics of nonviolent civil disobedience to get to the negotiating table, talk to the people who influence policy, and win.

Advocating Change Together
Advocating Change Together is a nonprofit disability rights organization run by and for people with developmental and other disabilities. ACT is committed to freedom, equality, and justice for all people with disabilities.

ADAPT uses civil disobedience and non-violent direct action to fight for the equal rights of people with disabilities. ADAPT played a major role in gaining passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, particularly the ADA's stringent requirements relating to accessible transit.

National Council on Independent Living
The National Council on Independent Living is a membership organization that advances the independent living philosophy and advocates for the human rights of, and services for, people with disabilities to further their full integration and participation in society. Links to state chapters can be found at: http://www.independentliving.org/LibArt/CILs2.html#anchorUS

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities
This coalition of nearly 100 national disability organizations advocates for national public policy that ensures the self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration, and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society. Its Web pages highlight legislative issues, with related announcements and links.

Paralyzed Veterans of America
PVA works to bolster legislative and advocacy efforts aimed at equal access for persons with disabilities. PVA advocates nationally for elimination of architectural barriers and access to all means of transportation.

Rural Institute on Disabilities
The Montana University affiliated Rural Institute on Disabilities is guided by values of independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Two of its programs include: Transportation and Independent Living and Rural Transportation: Using Vouchers to Give Consumer Control

Great Lakes Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center
GLDBTAC is one of ten regional centers across the nation that provide technical assistance and training to businesses and people with disabilities regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). GLDBTAC provides training on request, tailored to the specific needs of each group, agency, or company. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) funds GLDBTAC.

National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems
NAPAS is a nonprofit, voluntary national membership association of protection & advocacy systems and client assistance programs. NAPAS assumes leadership in promoting and strengthening the role and performance of its members in providing quality legally based advocacy services. The organization has a vision of a society where people with disabilities exercise self-determination and choice and have equality of opportunity and full participation. NAPAS believes this vision will be realized through the enactment and vigorous enforcement of laws protecting civil and human rights.

Autism Society of America
The mission of the Autism Society of America is to promote lifelong access and opportunities for persons within the autism spectrum and their families, to be fully included, and active members of their communities through advocacy, public awareness, education, and research related to autism

Michigan Disability Rights Organizations

United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan
UCP Michigan is a non-profit advocacy organization that works for the productivity, independence and full citizenship of people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

The Arc Michigan
The Arc Michigan works in communities across the state to ensure citizens with developmental disabilities are valued and that they and their families can participate fully in and contribute to the life of their community.

Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service

MPAS is a private, nonprofit organization designated by the Governor to protect and promote the human and legal rights of people with disabilities in Michigan through the provision of information and advocacy.

Michigan Association for Centers of Independent Living
Michigan Association for Centers of Independent Living (MACIL) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to advocate for the independent living needs of persons with disabilities who are citizens of the state of Michigan. MACIL works to develop new resources and identify and provide access to existing resources, providing the services needed by persons with disabilities to live independently in the situation and community of their choice. MACIL currently does not have a Web site. Contact MACIL by phone at: 517-333-4253.

Autism Society of Michigan
The Autism Society of Michigan is committed to empowering individuals with autism and their families by offering educational resources and materials, workshops, seminars, and other services. ASM advocates that ‘making human connections’ in a supportive, integrated community is a right of all persons.

Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council
The Michigan DD Council is a group of citizens from across the state. Its membership is made up of people with developmental disabilities, people from families who have, among their members, people with developmental disabilities, and professionals from state and local agencies charged with assisting people with developmental disabilities. The vision of the DD Council is that all citizens of Michigan have the opportunities and supports to achieve their full potential.

Developmental Disabilities Institute of Wayne State University
The mission of the DDI is to contribute to the development of inclusive communities and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families through a culturally sensitive statewide program of interdisciplinary education, community support and services, research and dissemination of information. The Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University is Michigan's Center for Excellence in Disabilities. DDI provides statewide programs designed to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities.

Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns
The mission of MCDC is to achieve full participation, choice, and self-determination for each individual with a disability in a way that promotes awareness of disability issues and values equity, dignity, and diversity. The Commission is part of the Family Independence Agency. Twenty-one governor appointed commissioners serve in an advisory capacity and provide the perspectives of people with disabilities, the business community, and professional service providers. Also located within the Commission is the Division on Deafness.

Michigan Commission for the Blind
The Michigan Commission for the Blind is comprised of five members, three of whom must be legally blind. The Board's primary goal is to develop ways for blind individuals to achieve employment and independence. The Board provides basic guidance to program staff regarding program development activities and policy decisions. The Commission operates four programs: Rehabilitation; Independent Living Rehabilitation; Youth Low Vision; and Business Enterprise.

Easter Seal Society of Michigan
The Easter Seal Society of Michigan provides services that help people with disabilities and their families live with equality, dignity, and independence.

Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
MDRC is a nonprofit membership organization that works to build opportunities for people with disabilities so they may live fully integrated lives within their chosen communities, now and in the future. MDRC is a statewide network of individuals and organizations that advances the issues of Michigan's disability community through grassroots activism, public education and advocacy.

Mental Health Association in Michigan
The Mental Health Association in Michigan is a nonprofit, voluntary membership citizens' organization representing a broad base of people working together as an advocate for the mentally ill. MHAM is affiliated with the National Mental Health Association.

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Michigan
The mission of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Michigan is to end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis. In the 1980s the Michigan Chapter experienced phenomenal growth. Heightened public awareness brought upwards of 7,000 people with MS to the chapter's roster. Service programs were dramatically increased to meet the needs of this large and growing population. Now, in the 21st Century, Michigan has one of the largest MS Society Chapters in the country.

Michigan Transit and Public Interest Organizations

Michigan Department of Transportation Passenger Transportation Division
The Passenger Transportation Division (PTD), in cooperation with local and regional transit agencies, authorities, and companies, is responsible for the development and management of operating, capital and technical assistance programs and projects, for purposes of providing coordinated local public transit, marine, and intercity bus transportation services and facilities statewide. The division is also responsible for the regulation of intercity buses and limousines.

Michigan Environmental Council

MEC is a nonprofit coalition that represents 50 environmental and public health organizations by providing a collective voice for the environment at the state capital.

Northwest Michigan Council of Governments
This regional planning agency works to solve the shared problems of local governments by providing services to the public and planning for the development of the region while husbanding its natural resources, and in presenting a united front to State and Federal pressures in order to maintain strong local control.

Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
SEMCOG is a regional planning partnership, accountable to member local governments in southeast Michigan. SEMCOG focuses on issues that extend beyond individual government boundaries and works to foster intergovernmental relations in cooperation with local government, as well as state and federal agencies.

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