Results from Fairfax Area Mobility & Transportation Options Survey for Older Adults and People with Disabilities


 

Key Findings  

  • Twenty-seven percent of respondents were unable to get to a destination in the past month.
  • The majority were unaware of the free travel training programs.
  • Those with the lowest annual household incomes are most likely to not leave their homes in a typical week.
  • A significant number restrict driving to avoid rush hours, inclement weather, and driving after dark.
  • Thirty-four percent of older adults and people with disabilities who have difficulty finding transportation are not aware of any fare discounts, or taxi subsidies.
  • Inaccessible bus stops, unsafe pedestrian crossings, and limited service prevent use of public transit.

 

Recommendations  

  • Mobility Management

    • Establish a mobility management coalition, managed by a staff coordinator, to foster collaboration to expand transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities. 

  •  
  • Public Transit

    • Off-Peak Service: Increase bus service during off-peak times to connect neighborhoods with shopping centers, senior centers, recreation centers, and libraries as well as transfer points at main-line transit stops.  

    • Fares: Expand the locations where people can buy Senior SmarTrip cards and Metro Disability ID cards. Display Metrorail parking policies and fees more prominently. 

    • Stop Announcements: Install automated bus stop annunciators and visual LED displays. Upgrade communications equipment and train operators to announce stations clearly. 

    • Accessibility: Conduct PSAs about priority seating areas. Improve way-finding signage, as well as lighting at Metrorail stations.  Ensure that escalator and elevator outages are fixed expeditiously and publicize ELES alerts notifying riders of elevator and escalator outages. Provide elevator redundancy at new Metrorail station.

    • Empowerment: Provide contact information at transit stops to enable riders to report deficiencies in service. Establish a mobility management coalition, managed by a staff coordinator, to foster collaboration to expand transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities. 

     
  • Bus Stop Accessibiity and Pedestrian Issues

    • Pathways: Prioritize bus stop accessibility improvements by constructing sidewalks and curb cuts leading to stops, installing pedestrian signals and crosswalks, and adding shelters with sufficient seating.

    • Empowerment: Provide contact information at bus stops to enable residents to report inaccessible bus stops.

       
  • Paratransit - MetroAccess

    • Fare Policy: Provide a consistent, affordable fare structure that is easy to understand, especially for individuals with cognitive disabilities. 

    • Service Area Policy: Provide consistent service hours throughout the MetroAccess service area, particularly to subsidized housing complexes built for older adults or people with disabilities,

    • Service Quality: Develop and implement procedures that will improve the quality of service so that excessively late pick-ups/drop-offs and no-shows are prevented.  Increase drivers’ familiarity with local roads to address the problem of drivers getting lost.

    • Communications: Require that MetroAccess contact customers in their preferred communication mode upon the vehicle’s arrival.  Customers with visual disabilities cannot watch for vehicles to arrive.  Customers with hearing disabilities require text messages.  Implement a text messaging system for MetroAccess customers with hearing disabilities to contact MetroAccess’ “Where’s My Ride?” staff for the status of their pick-up.

    • Emergency Procedures: Ensure all MetroAccess vehicles are equipped with working safety equipment, including shoulder straps and other securement devices, flares, and traffic cones for the safety of passengers and drivers in case of accident or vehicle break-down.

  •  
  • Paratransit - Fastran

    • Eligibility and Fares: Expand eligibility for Fastran programs or establish a graduated fare policy based on income so that more people can use the service.

    • Group Shopping Trips: Increase the frequency of shopping trips from senior housing complexes, as bimonthly is inadequate.

    • Partnerships: Solicit sponsorships from local businesses and community groups for rides by older adults and people with disabilities during off-peak hours at rates that recover off-peak incremental costs (driver salaries and benefits, fuel and maintenance).

  •  
  • Taxi Programs

    • Fare Subsidies: Subsidized taxi programs should include subsidy tiers based on income,  providing mobility to residents who cannot drive due to a disability, but do not qualify for MetroAccess.

    • Accessibility: Increase the number of wheelchair-accessible taxicabs.  Consumers currently expect a two-hour wait for same-day ride requests.

  •  
  • Awareness of Existing Transportations Programs

    • Print & Internet: Promote print publications and web sites that clearly describe all of the different transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities, including fare discounts and free transit travel-training.  Transportation options should be regularly promoted in the Golden Gazette and other print and electronic newsletters and communications/marketing materials for older adults and people with disabilities.

    • Speakers at Forums: Host seminars on transportation options and transit travel-training regularly at senior centers, senior housing complexes, libraries, and disability and aging organizations.   Film and air these seminars on Channel 16 for viewing at home.



      For more information about the Fairfax Area Mobility Transportation Options Survey for Older Adults and People with Disabilities, contact Jill Clark at Jill.Clark@fairfaxcounty.gov or 703-324-5874; TTY 711.

       


Information on
Services and Resources
for People with Disabilities


703-324-5421
TTY 711

Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
disabilityservices@fairfaxcounty.gov

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