September 28, 2017

Free rural transportation toolkit now available from APRIL and RTC:Rural

cover of the document "toolkit for operating a rural transportation voucher program"The Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) and the RTC:Rural are excited to announce that an updated version of the Toolkit for Operating a Rural Transportation Voucher Program is now available to download for FREE. The Toolkit, used to help solve problems in areas that lack transportation options, is available in PDF and text-only versions. Individualized training and technical assistance is available from APRIL for a fee. Contact Billy Altom, Executive director of APRIL, at bwaltom@sbcglobal.net for more information.

Click here to download the toolkit.

What is the Toolkit for Operating a Rural Transportation Voucher Program?

The Toolkit for Operating a Rural Transportation Voucher Program provides a model that describes how to bring together community members and resources to develop and operate a transportation system for people with disabilities in rural areas.

In this model, eligible riders receive a voucher checkbook with an allocation of miles from a sponsoring agency. The agency negotiates with public and private transportation providers to accept the voucher checks as payment for rides, and can help riders organize potential volunteer drivers. Community members may volunteer to become drivers, and will be reimbursed up to the federal maximum rate for mileage reimbursement. In addition, other agencies that provide transportation, such as a council on aging or a developmental disability provider, can also be part of the voucher system. As long as there is room, riders from different sponsoring agencies can ride in the same vehicles.

A man using a wheelchair rides on a public bus.

Transportation vouchers can be used to pay for rides on public or private transportation, such as this public bus.

The sponsoring agency financially manages the voucher system by allocating vouchers to riders and reimbursing providers. Transportation vouchers could be set up for riders to use for employment, non-emergency medical, daily living chores, and social activities.

The toolkit covers in detail the elements of operating a transportation voucher program, including how to develop partnerships and contract with transportation providers, how to identify funding, how to develop policies, program management, and other special considerations.

Toolkit Includes New Updates

The toolkit, which was originally developed in 1996, has now been updated and is available for download free of charge! This most recent Toolkit version includes information on changes that have been made to Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants, and an updated list of transportation informational resources. The new information included in this update will be useful for those who currently use the voucher system, as well as for those who would like to implement a voucher system in their community or use it to supplement their existing transportation system.

For more information about these changes and for general information about different FTA grants, see the Transportation Funding Update and Transportation Resources Fact Sheet.

RTC:Rural and APRIL Partnership

Association of Programs for Rural Independent LivingThe Toolkit for Operating a Rural Transportation Voucher Program was developed through a partnership between the RTC:Rural and APRIL in response to the observed need for more transportation options in rural communities for people with disabilities. By providing people with disabilities voucher checks to organize their own transportation needs, the model emphasizes the Independent Living philosophy of personal responsibility and control and opens opportunity for them to make choices about where they work and live. The voucher model also emphasizes utilizing existing community resources, and promotes cost sharing among service agencies, consumers, and transit providers.

a man using a wheelchair gets onto a bus.

Billy Altom, the Executive Director of APRIL, has spent much of his career helping people with disabilities in rural areas access transportation.

For more information about the research, development, and evaluation of the transportation voucher model, see the links below:

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Contact Billy Altom, APRIL Executive Director, at bwaltom@sbcglobal.net.