Friday, May 25, 2012

Strengthening Transportation Choices So We Can Serve Those Who Have Served Their Country


Contributed by Mary Leary

Many thanks to everyone who took the time help us support participation in the National Online Dialogue on Veterans' Transportation as we’ve had excellent success in meeting the goal for the event – to learn how to address barriers and increase access to transportation from both the veterans and provider community.

As of last Wednesday, over 1,400 people visited the site. Over 340 participants shared more than 165 comments, 348 votes, and 51 ideas. We launched the event at the APTA Bus and Paratransit Conference and promoted it heavily again at this week’s CTAA EXPO. U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) leadership have all publicized this event heavily in their blogs, with videos and in recent speeches - during FTA Administrator Rogoff’s keynote to Expo attendees this week he noted the dialogue. The White House cross-posted Secy. LaHood’s blog on the dialogue. The level of participation in terms of ideas is almost twice that of any of our previous dialogues – over 6 ideas per registrant. This participation rate shows the strong level of interest people have in suggesting specific actions that they themselves see of benefit to serve veterans.

Participants have primary interest across various stakeholder groups: public transportation (28%), veterans’ services (22%), human services transportation (11%), medical transportation (6%), disability services (4%), employment/workforce (3%), and planning (3%). Please help us with one last major push to get more ideas, to get folks to vote on the ideas that are there or comment upon the ideas. In our final report, we hope to clearly lay out the top ideas with the most votes to assist FTA, the VA and our other Federal Partners with discrete actions that can be the next step in our movement to: “Strengthen Transportation Choices So We Can Serve Those Who Have Served Their Country.” The messages in the dialogue make it very clear that we have a lot of work to do, but there are some solutions. 

It is truly an honor to be a part of this important effort. As we head into a holiday weekend where we all remember those who gave their lives for our country, it reminds me of our obligation to do our part for those we still have with us. To add your voice, visit the dialogue

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Accessible Paths of Travel Highlighted at 3rd Annual Walk and Roll

On May 8, as part of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) 2012 Bus and Paratransit Conference in Long Beach, Calif., ESPA co-hosted the third annual Walk & Roll! Wellness Event with APTA and Long Beach Transit.  

Michael Melaniphy, APTA president and chief executive officer, welcomed the group. Mary Leary, assistant vice president of Easter Seals Transportation Group, provided a brief description of the event’s origin, and Cynde Soto, a member of the Long Beach Transit Paratransit Advisory Committee, gave a short description of the paratransit options and how they are integrated into the full Long Beach transit system.  

Pictured from left to right are Michael Melaniphy, Mary Leary and Cynde Soto  (Source: ESPA)

This accessible event was open to everyone and provided participants with an opportunity to share an afternoon stroll that highlighted the importance of accessible paths of travel to transportation for everyone in our communities, including people with disabilities. Walk & Roll! participants also walked through Long Beach’s Transit Gallery, a section of town where the bus stop shelters, sidewalks and surrounding structures are enhanced with the work of local artists. As one participant remarked, "Walk and Roll is an excellent event for fun, fitness, friendship and integration!"

3rd Annual Walk & Roll! Participants Gather for a Photo (Source: APTA)

The Walk & Roll! begins after receiving brief instructions (Source: ESPA)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Share Your Ideas for Improving Transportation for Veterans | The White House

Shared from The White House

Yesterday, the White House Joining Forces blog shared an U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's invitation to share their ideas for improving access to reliable, affordable transportation for veterans, service members, military families, caregivers. Here is an excerpt from the article:

The benefits Americans enjoy today wouldn't be possible without the courageous service of our nation's veterans. So when they return home, we must turn our sincere appreciation of the men and women who bravely protect and defend the United States of America into action. We must help them and their families find meaningful work, a good education, and quality medical care—none of which is possible without access to reliable, affordable transportation.

And now, we’re proud to broaden the conversation by giving those who have been on the front lines of military service a chance to communicate with those who are on the front lines of delivering transportation services. This online give-and-take will help us make better decisions about the transportation connections our military families need to pursue the opportunities they deserve.

Read the full article at The White House

Share your ideas to improve transportation for veterans!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Online Dialogue to Improve Transportation for Veterans Ready for Your Ideas

Shared from U.S. Department of Transportation - Welcome to the FastLane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation helped launch a national dialogue on strengthening transportation choices for America’s military veterans, wounded warriors, and their families. This online conversation, “Strengthening Transportation Choices So We Can Serve Those Who Have Served Their Country,” is open until June 8, and we invite those interested in helping veterans and service members to participate by visiting veteransdialogue.ideascale.com.

The benefits Americans enjoy today wouldn't be possible without the courageous service of our nation's veterans. So when they return home, we must turn our sincere appreciation of the men and women who bravely protect and defend the United States of America into action. We must help them and their families find meaningful work, a good education, and quality medical care—none of which is possible without access to reliable, affordable transportation.

That's why the Federal Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility and the Department of Defense are sponsoring this first-ever online exchange of ideas about the transportation options veterans need and how we can help make those options available to our returning heroes and their families.

As Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said, “We are thrilled to support a national conversation that will, for the first time, enable veterans and service members to engage in a frank and creative exchange about their transportation needs with a wide range of organizations that can ultimately deliver solutions.”

Visit the FastLane for the full article