RTA will award nearly $14M in federal funding for projects that enhance mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities
September 14, 2023
On September 14, the RTA Board of Directors approved a program of projects that will make it easier for older adults and people with disabilities to get to jobs, medical appointments, the grocery store, social activities, and more. The Section 5310 Program is a federal formula grant program that provides assistance to public transportation projects that focus on enhancing mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Learn more by exploring the RTA’s interactive Storymap highlighting each approved project, and read stories about how this program has impacted riders throughout the region.
The RTA became the designated recipient for the Section 5310 program with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in 2013. A total of $19.2 million in funding was available this year, an increase from previous years because of funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Of that, $5.5 million will be used by IDOT for paratransit vehicle purchases, and $13.7 million will be used by the RTA for operating, mobility management, and capital projects.
Project selection for the program is guided by the Coordinated Public Transit‐Human Service Transportation Plan (HSTP), which was updated and adopted by the RTA in March 2021. A locally developed HSTP identifies the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities, older adults, and people with low incomes; provides strategies for meeting those local needs; and prioritizes transportation services and projects for funding and implementation. Goals recommended in the HSTP that this year’s awarded projects meet include:
The RTA conducts a call for projects every other year, combining two years of funding. This iteration of the program’s call for projects opened in March, and 15 applicants presented to the Project Selection Team in May and June. This team includes staff from IDOT, CMAP, Easter Seals, and the RTA. Based on eligibility, needed funding for returning operating projects, and the Project Selection Team’s scoring and ranking, RTA staff recommended 13 projects and opened a 30-day public comment period, which yielded a handful of comments in support of the recommended projects. The RTA Board approved the program of projects on September 14, including new capital projects for each Service Board:
Description and Justification
Total Estimated Budget
This project provides transportation services to more than 6,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities. Clients are transported to work, school, day programs, medical appointments, community recreation, and other activities. This is an existing Section 5310 operating funded project.
This project provides transportation support individuals with disabilities. The door-to-door transportation services are vital to allow persons enrolled at CTF greater access to their daily supports including community employment, day programs, social and recreational activities, and medical appointments. This award includes funding for operations and a mobility manager. This is an existing Section 5310 funded project.
The Transportation to Work Program provides demand-responsive transportation to and from work for persons with disabilities. The program operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and serves all of DuPage County. This is an existing Section 5310 operating funded project.
The Ride in Kane project coordinates dial-a-ride services in Kane County for older adults and persons with disabilities. The sponsors of this project include multiple private non-profit organizations and local units of government. The award includes funding to support a position to lead mobility management efforts for Ride in Kane. This is an existing Section 5310 funded project.
Kendall Area Transit is a demand responsive dial-a-ride service that serves primarily senior citizens and persons with disabilities in the urban portions of Kendall County. The service is also open to general public. Service is provided Monday-Friday from 6:00 AM -7:00 PM except certain holidays. The award includes operating, capital and mobility management funding. This is an existing Section 5310 funded project.
Little City Foundation
This project provides transportation for seniors and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,
for the purpose of attending day programs, medical appointments, employment, shopping, and community integration activities. This is an existing Section 5310 operating funded project.
The MCRide program provides countywide coordinated dial-a-ride service to seniors and individuals with disabilities operating seven days of the week, from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. This is an existing Section 5310 operating project.
Ray Graham Association
Individuals with disabilities are transported from their homes to Community Learning Centers and a variety of other activities including grocery shopping, medical appointments, volunteer opportunities and recreational activities. Service is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. This award funds operating and mobility management position. This is an existing Section 5310 operating project.
This program provides transportation and mobility management services for persons with disabilities and older adults residing in eastern Will County townships. The award funds the County’s Mobility Manager position. This is an existing Section 5310 project.
This project will install tactile signs at all bus stop poles where CTA public information signs are currently posted to provide information about the exact bus stop location to customers who are blind or have visual or cognitive disabilities. Tactile Signage encourages individuals who currently rely on paratransit services to use fixed-route transit, even for trips where fixed-route service may have been available and at greater service span, frequency, and lower cost to operate than paratransit service.
This project will install 250 visual information systems (VIS) sign displays at 125 of Metra's 242 stations. The VIS signs are Metra's next generation of video monitor boards that display real-time train tracking information, arrival times, and travel alerts. VIS signs provide visual information that is a requirement to be compliant with ADA law as it pertains to transit stations and are particularly beneficial for people with hearing impairments and seniors with disabilities.
Phase IX of Pace's Regional Call Center takes reservations for dial a ride and demand response services to seniors and individuals with disabilities. The Call Center provides comprehensive mobility management services that improve the coordination and operation of transportation services and supports county-led coordination services funded by Section 5310. This is an existing Section 5310 funded project.
The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) app is a two-year pilot project designed to support customer access to one click real-time trip planning throughout Pace's six-county service area for Pace's Fixed Route, On-Demand and Paratransit family of services. Pace partnered with "Transit App "a readily available transit information app to launch a two-year MaaS Pilot project. "Transit App" provides and maps real-time public transit data and crowd-sources user data using the latest and best practices of General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) on all modes that have integrations, including fixed-route, micro-transit, inter-city bus and subways, commuter rail, taxi, ride hail, rideshare, scooter, bikeshare and carshare. Pace's partnership with "Transit App," marks Pace's first steps towards creating a MaaS platform with existing Pace vendors for Fixed Route, On-Demand, Paratransit, and Last-mile/first-mile connections. This award will fund the dial-a-ride and paratransit elements of the project, which primarily serve seniors and people with disabilities.
RTA staff will now prepare the official application to the Federal Transit Administration and will issue grant agreements to subrecipients in the first and second quarters of 2024.
The Section 5310 Program is one example of working toward the goals in RTA regional transit strategic plan Transit is the Answer, which calls for a fully accessible transit system. Learn more and join the Transit is the Answer Coalition.
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