Access to public transportation is a key to independence and full community participation for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act sets forth specific requirements for transit systems including fixed route buses, light and heavy rail systems, ADA complementary paratransit, over-the-road buses, shuttles, and other forms of publicly and privately-funded public transportation. DREDF advocates for the development and implementation of strong, comprehensive ADA transportation requirements, works toward additional accessible transportation service, and provides in-depth training for people with disabilities and others on ADA transportation that includes current policy developments and best practices.

Transportation Update: Where We’ve Gone and What We’ve Learned

The report was authored by Marilyn Golden, DREDF Senior Policy Analyst. The update is a comprehensive analysis of surface transportation in the United States today, covering bus, train, and paratransit systems, enforcement, rural transit (this chapter was authored by Billy Altom, Director of APRIL, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living) and fixed route deviation, key policy developments in ADA transportation, commercial driver’s license rules, public rights-of-way, and privately-funded transportation, including accessible taxis and transportation network companies (TNCs).

More detailed description


Accessible Transit Services for All

Wheelchair user exiting bus on a rampThe FTA has released a major research report on ADA paratransit – developed by a team headed by DREDF.
The Accessible Transit Services for All (ATSA) project presents successful strategies for providing ADA paratransit that transit agencies can use to improve service effectiveness and cost efficiency. More detailed description


Topic Guides on ADA Transportation

A Series of Topic Guides on the Americans With Disabilities Act and Transportation.

Funded by the Federal Transit Administration to provide technical assistance on ADA transportation.

The Topic Guides on ADA Transportation bring together the requirements of the ADA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) ADA regulation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) determinations, and operational practices that comply with the ADA.


Strategy Guide to Enable and Promote the Use of Fixed-Route Transit by
People with Disabilities (TCRP Report 163)

DREDF participated on a team funded by The Transportation Research Board (TRB’s) Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) to develop Report 163: Strategy Guide to Enable and Promote the Use of Fixed-Route Transit by People with Disabilities. It is designed to help transit agencies fulfill the ADA goal of making mainstream fixed route bus and rail systems fully accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

Other DREDF co-authored publications:

On June 13, 2005, the National Council on Disabilities published The Current State of Transportation for People With Disabilities in the United States, researched and written by DREDF’s Marilyn Golden and Richard Weiner of Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates. The report analyzes all modes of surface transit and all related current transportation policy issues, addressing the key significant unresolved issues that still face people with disabilities today in the areas of fixed route bus and rail transportation, ADA complementary paratransit, approaches that have resulted in service improvements on public transit, public rights of way, privately funded transportation including accessible taxi service, non-traditional forms of transit service, and transportation in rural areas.

ADA Paratransit Eligibility: How to Make Your Case” — DREDF, in cooperation with Equip for Equality (Illinois Protection & Advocacy), has developed a guide to assist people with disabilities to obtain an accurate and fair determination of their ADA paratransit eligibility.
Download the PDF version.

Department of Transportation Issues Proposed Changes to ADA Regulations

In early 2006, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed important changes in the ADA transportation regulation affecting key issues such as whether transit agencies should be required to modify policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to avoid disability discrimination, and whether certain rail systems should be required to provide full platform access. DREDF disseminated model policy comments on these issues.
Read DREDF’s Action Alert

Policy documents:

In a brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. Department of Transportation affirmed the right of ADA eligible paratransit users to next day service. The brief states unequivocally that DOT‘s ADA regulation requires transit agencies to “design, fund, and implement a next-day service to meet the foreseeable needs of all ADA-eligible individuals.” The pro-consumer content of the brief is a clear victory for disability advocates.
Read the brief.

Some ADA Transportation Resources

  • Groups and organizations can contract with DREDF for training on topics that include but are not limited to ADA transportation. For information, email Marilyn Golden at
  • DREDF’s ADA training manual, The ADA, An Implementation Guide, also known as the Blue Book, offers a detailed, thorough analysis of all the law’s provisions, encompassing the ADA’s legislative history, the statute, and the regulations. An Addendum covering ADA Supreme Court decisions is included. See Publications for ordering information. For regular and large print versions, contact DREDF at (510) 644-2555 or e-mail For other formats, contact Marilyn Golden at
  • The Current State of Transportation for People with Disabilities in the U.S., a report from the National Council on Disability (NCD) co-authored by DREDF (see description above), is available on the NCD website for free in htm and pdf versions, or order a copy from NCD.
  • The ADA website of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has many important policy resources on ADA transportation, including the Department of Transportation (DOT) ADA regulation.

This website includes:

  • DOT ADA guidance documents
  • FTA ADA Complaint Form
  • FTA ADA Compliance Reviews
  • All ADA Transportation Regulations and Standards
  • Link to National Transit Institute Courses on or impacting ADA transportation
  • Link to U.S. Department of Justice ADA website

H.R. 3985, The Over-the-Road Bus Transportation Accessibility Act of 2008.