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SECTION: SYSTEM DEMAND

MOBILITY & ACCESSIBILITY ––

In transportation planning, mobility and accessibility refers to the ability of users to move through the transportation system (mobility) and how users connect to places within the transportation system (accessibility). Mobility is typically concerned with addressing issues of efficiency and capacity, while accessibility focuses on travel modes, comfort, and safety.

Federal regulations such as Title VI, Environmental Justice, and the Americans With Disabilities Act require and allow HATS to account for the needs of the disabled and elderly (individuals aged 65 years and older) as well as the underrepresented and underserved communities of our region. While most people associate the disabled community as individuals who are physically impaired (i.e. wheelchair, walker and scooter users), this community also factors in those that are sensually impaired such as visual and hearing disabilities. According to the American Community Survey, 5 percent of citizens in our region currently live with a sensory disability (vision and hearing).

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Mobility & Accessibility interactive map application

According to 2019 American Community Survey estimates from the US Census Bureau, the HATS region’s disabled population accounts for approximately 12.1 percent, while the elderly population accounts for 17.3 percent. Heavy concentrations of the elderly population can be found in Carlisle Borough and Middlesex Township in Cumberland County, and in Harrisburg and Hummelstown and Steelton boroughs in Dauphin County -- partly because retirement communities and assisted living facilities are located in these areas. Heavy concentrations of the disabled population can be found in Carlisle, Mechanicsburg and Shippensburg boroughs in Cumberland County; Harrisburg, Derry Township and Hummelstown Borough in Dauphin County; and Liverpool Borough and Carroll, Tuscarora and Tyrone townships in Perry County. The portion of the population that is both disabled and elderly are primarily found in Carlisle and Mechanicsburg boroughs in Cumberland County; Lower Paxton, Susquehanna and Washington townships in Dauphin County; and Miller, Penn and Wheatfield townships in Perry County.

While Cumberland County and southern Dauphin County’s populations are well served by fixed route transit provided by Capital Area Transit, there is always a need for dependable paratransit. Rabbittransit serves as Perry County’s paratransit provider. Other programs that serve the elderly and disabled can be found in the HATS 2015 Coordinated Human Services Plan.

With the help of a Mobility and Accessibility Committee, HATS was able to identify focus corridors and prioritize the transportation needs of the disabled and elderly populations in the region. This group represented a variety of organizations that assist or represent disabled and elderly individuals. It was determined that there were many gaps in facility networks that are essential to the disabled and elderly population. To begin identifying these gaps and addressing this issue, a Regional Sidewalk Inventory was developed to evaluate and map sidewalk presence, condition, and material along the HATS transportation system. The Regional Sidewalk Inventory can be viewed in the interactive web mapping application below.

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An older couple walking on the Capital Greenbelt in Wildwood Park, Harrisburg

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Coordinate with the Mobility and Accessibility committee on a regular basis to continue the ongoing evaluation of the transportation needs of these populations;

  • Continue work with regional transit and paratransit service providers to ensure equitable access for all populations;

  • Engage with public, regional partners and stakeholders on Regional Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan Update being conducted for Adams, Franklin, York, Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties;

  • Create and maintain a listing of transportation services in the HATS region.