Inclusive Public Engagement ≠ Just Meetings
If you think that engaging the public or a particular group means luring them to meetings, giving them snacks, and letting them ask a few questions, think again. Instead, consider using the public you want to engage to develop a valuable database of information. Such rich information can then be used for both small-scale and systemic improvements.
map-based crowdsourcing tools on first mile/last mile bus stop accessibility." DART is asking riders and pedestrians, including users of mobility devices, to download an app and input data about the presence and condition of bus shelters and the accessibility of intersections, sidewalks and curbs, all the way from the bus stop location to home, work, or another destination. The information and comments contributed will be collated to contribute to better first-mile-last-mile access to transit.
The information will be used to develop a Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan, or Coordinated Plan, for Delaware. The CP will serve as a strategic framework for addressing the state’s existing and future mobility needs. Information collected from the crowdsourcing tools will help to identify needed bus stop accessibility improvements related to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, ADA accessibility and connectivity.What about people who have never participated in crowdsourcing?
DART has created a series of six videos that briefly discuss why transit is important, why the transit agency needs regular people to participate in the crowdsourcing project, and how to use the crowdsourcing apps. While it is true that not everyone has a smartphone or is able to use an app, a crowdsourcing tool can be a valuable piece of the public engagement puzzle that meets people where they are and allows them to contribute their judgments and information about the conditions in their communities.
Transportation and Easy Transportation Info Both Lacking for Older Adults and People with Disabilities
A press release from the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) about its nationwide survey finds:
[O]lder adults and people with disabilities are facing significant transportation-related challenges once they no longer drive. They feel there is a lack of accessible and reliable transportation alternatives, which prevents them from doing the things they need and want to do and leaves them feeling frustrated, isolated and trapped.
With more than 1 in 5 Americans older than age 65 not driving, demand for transportation is steadily increasing as the boomer population continues to grow. Given that 600,000 people stop driving every year, there is no end to the challenge in sight. To address the growing demand for transportation services and the concern that there are insufficient resources and information available to help, the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) has launched the "Every Ride Counts" campaign, a national effort to increase awareness of local transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities in communities across the United States.None of the survey findings about quality-of-life consequences of deciding or being unable to drive will be a surprise to anyone who works in transportation, but they give context to the personal cost of transportation dependence, lack of choice, and living without independence to spontaneously travel in one's community and beyond. For example, "Giving up driving makes older adults and younger adults living with disabilities feel dependent on others (63 percent, 70 percent), frustrated (39 percent, 65 percent), isolated (33 percent, 55 percent), and trapped (30 percent, 54 percent)."
Transportation Services and Easy Access to Info About Them Count
To help transportation providers, non-profits, and other organizations that enable older adults, people with disabilities, and sometimes the general public, to travel, but which lack resources for marketing and other outreach, NADTC's Every Ride Counts basically offers an easy usable public relations campaign template with posters, postcards, social media posts and graphics, and advertisements. While the materials, do not magically produce transportation where it is needed, they do assist in solving the problem of alerting individuals to transit and transportation services that do exist.
My Mobility Plan Goes to the Individual
MyMobility Plan makes available a practical checklist for older adults or anyone who might be giving up driving or transitioning to living with a disability. The plan is customizable for organizations to insert their names and contact information. It asks individuals about transportation options beyond driving and it addresses other issues that affect continued independence, including exercise and safety in the home.
MyMobility Plan is a product of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
MESSAGE FROM ACL
The mission of the Transit Planning 4 All project, sponsored by the Administration for Community Living, is to demonstrate the value that inclusive processes can bring to community transportation efforts. For publications and information that demonstrate the range and possibilities of inclusive planning projects, visit the Resources page of this website.