Issue 8 | November 1, 2018
Technology and innovation are advancing accessibility in transportation for Americans with Disabilities from eligibility processes to on-demand options. Learn more here.
We Move People is partnering with Toys for Tots and giving back to the communities we serve for the holidays. Click here for details on this company-wide initiative.
Personnel, policies and performance. Find out how Roadrunner’s shuttle service has been providing the best in accessible transportation for over 27 years.
Fairness and trust are essential elements in building a just culture within your organization, and our Safety Management System plays a role in its development. Read more.
Congratulations are in order for one of the six programs nominated for the 3rd Annual Global Innov&Go challenge. To find out who was awarded top honors Click here.
ADA Compliance is only the beginning. Discover How RATP Dev is taking compliance a step further and uncovering ways to increase accessibility for all.
It’s about “Doing the right thing.”
About John Hendrickson: John oversees operations for RATP Dev locations in the Central United States. He has 25 years of experience in the transit industry and has received certification in Transit and Paratransit Management from Pepperdine University. He is located in Waco, TX and served as the General Manager of the Waco Transit System for 15 years. His industry experience gives him valuable insight into system operations ensuring adherence to the highest quality performance standards.
ADA Compliance and Accessibility Advancements through Technology
Disabilities can vary in type, model and severity; nearly 1 in 5 people have a disability in the U.S. As the population ages, the percentage of people with disabilities increases. Serving this growing need, public entities that operate fixed-route transit services are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to provide complimentary paratransit services for individuals with hindering disabilities.
As agencies implement the paratransit requirements of the ADA, the demand and rising cost of this service makes it crucial to ensure the ADA paratransit services are provided to those who meet the regulatory eligibility requirements and are ‘ADA eligible’ to sustain the service.
While it is important to be accurate and thorough when making eligibility determinations, it is necessary to protect applicants from overly burdensome processes. Agencies are increasingly using innovative approaches to find a balance and efficiently assess the applicants. While effective, cost becomes a major limiting factor. The average cost of operating a single paratransit trip is about $23 in the U.S., compared with less than $4 for the average trip on bus or light rail. According to data from the American Public Transportation Authority, in 2013, transit agencies nationwide logged about 223 million paratransit trips at a cost exceeding $5.1 billion, accounting for 12% of total transit operating costs.
With the rapid advancements in technology, TNC’s are increasingly exploring ideas to find less expensive solutions to further aid and support those with disabilities, in their everyday commute. Currently, both Uber and Lyft have Paratransit service options.
UberACCESS, composed of UberWAV and UberASSIST includes features such as cashless payments and On-Demand transportation to increase mobility and independence of transportation for riders with disabilities. With capabilities like VoiceOver iOS, Android TalkBack, wireless braille display compatibility and In-app notifications to inform drivers of Service Animals, riders with vision disabilities can access transportation with ease. UberWAV, specifically tailored to riders with mobility disabilities is using technology that allows drivers to make their vehicles more wheelchair accessible by implementing new equipment with ramps or lifts.
Similarly, Lyft is driving forward with initiatives to partner with transit agencies to increase and improve transportation options for paratransit riders, using new technology and innovation. In 2016, MBTA announced the launch of a paratransit partnership pilot program ‘RIDE’ with Uber and Lyft. The ‘RIDE’ program offers concierge services and comprises of wheel-chair accessible vehicles on request.
The holiday season is quickly approaching as we prepare to wrap up a successful 2018. This year we have implemented new ways to support the communities we serve through our We Move People initiative, in addition to the community service activities you have been a part of within your individual systems.
This holiday season we are sponsoring a company-wide, We Move People fundraiser in support of the charitable organization, Toys for Tots. The U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program began in 1991 and their mission is to “provide a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children at Christmas.”
Our goal in this effort is to unite all of our systems in a common cause to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children in your area. The toys do not have to be large or expensive; $10 or less.
Participation is easy!
Simply, set up a collection box outside of your office or another secure location on-site.
Post the flyer in multiple places around your system to share the information with all of your employees and encourage their participation.
The toy drive begins on November 5th, 2018 and ends on December 5th, 2018.
On Friday, December 7th, 2018, donate collected toys to your local drop-off site.
Lastly, at the end of the toy drive we ask that you take pictures and share with us the number of toys collected or the overall weight of the toys donated.
We will provide marketing materials via email including the flyer and the website to your local Toys for Tots that includes drop-off locations nearest you.
It is important that we continue to find new ways to give back to our communities as an RATP Dev organization. Through We Move People we are able to partner together to positively impact the communities we serve by connecting our employees to charitable, nonprofit organizations. This opportunity will benefit many children in need and we are excited to join Toys for Tots in putting a smile on their faces!
If you have any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping a Positive, People-Pleasing Attitude with Accessible Transportation
While we all know ADA-compliant, accessible service is a basic right and an expectation in public transportation, with private shuttle services customers will pay a premium for the highest level of professional, safe service with conscientious care to their dignity. Over the course of 27 years in providing public and private ground transportation solutions, Roadrunner in Camarillo, CA has developed the following best practices for personnel, policies and performance in becoming an ally to ADA advocates, mitigating liability and increasing accessibility.
Provide continuous accessibility training at all touchpoints of the service - from reservation agent to managers, road supervisors, dispatchers and the bus operators (or private chauffeurs) ADA service is part of their training and refresher training modules. This includes sensitivity training, understanding service capabilities, developing reasonable modifications and addressing current trends and challenges. Questioning if we are providing the best accessible service we can, must be top of mind in every department. Yes, even the IT Manager needs to stay abreast of Website Accessibility by following the US Access Board Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology, and by looking to the future and solving for how Alexa or Siri can answer a voice command, "How can I book a wheelchair accessible ride to the Medical Center?"
Affirm the commitment to non-discrimination and accessibility through policy -meet legal requirements and develop enforceable standards for customer-delighting interactions. Transportation programs without the appropriate policies and procedures that identify an operations minimum accessibility standards are at greater risk for being out of compliance and diminishing ridership. If you manage transit, you know you must be knowledgeable of the ADA Act of 1990, the DOT's 49 CFR Parts 27, 37, 38, 39, and always keep the FTA's ADA Circular as your service bible. Create a company culture that promotes inclusiveness by going beyond adherence to the ADA and embrace the spirit of the ADA to show customers you truly care.
Specify a compliment/complaint process for performance and make this information easily available to the customer. Most of us are operating vehicles with the service's phone number and website stretched across the side of the vehicle and hard to miss. When a complaint comes in you must accept the feedback and follow a formal documented process through resolve. Regular communication with the customer in a respectful and courteous manner, while determining the solution has proven to de-escalate hostility and threats of legal action and escalate customer satisfaction. A compliment solidifies the performance of a high-quality customer service experience. The goal is always to provide a great service that meets the needs of the passengers.
Applying Fairness to Support a Just Culture
In order to develop an organization in the way of establishing trust, a sense of fairness must first be felt throughout it. This is a cornerstone of a budding just culture. Continuing to develop a just culture takes making a holistic view of incidents, beyond the unfortunate outcome, a norm. Building on this norm takes the resolve of strong and persistent organizational leadership in the way of safety. In doing so, an organization must first understand the importance of fairness and culpability when incidents happen.
What is culpability?
Culpability, or being culpable, is a measure of the degree to which a person can be held responsible for action and inaction.
A person is culpable if they cause a negative event and
the act was intentional
the act and its consequences could have been controlled (i.e., the person knew the likely consequences, the person was not coerced, and the person overcame hurdles to make the event happen); and
the person provided no excuse or justification for the actions.
What is fairness?
Fairness is the impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination.
Why is culpability and fairness important to understand in a Just Culture environment?
In the construct of establishing a “Just Culture” it is of the utmost importance to understand levels of culpability, where and how they apply, and adjudicating with fairness in mind. That is, in short, to say that the punishment fits the crime and that it is balanced on the details of the individual case; not merely that a certain outcome equals “x” punishment. Many times, two outcomes from an incident may be the same however, the circumstances and behaviors leading up to an outcome may, and likely will be, different. The circumstances leading up to an incident are more important, in most cases, than the outcome itself and this is where culpability is determined and fairness waged in order to establish and support a “Just Culture.”
For instance, in a mirror swipe incident one may be judged solely on the fact that the bus mirror swiped a bus stop awning…the outcome. A panel could determine that the driver was at fault by looking singularly at the outcome and a punishment waged based on a matrix that a swipe equals one day off. Arguably, based on the history of applying one day off for any mirror swipe would be deemed fitting punishment for a standard crime. The result of this binary reckoning is that the perceived problem was not fixed when the driver was punished.
However, if we took a broader look and took the time to understand the circumstances and behaviors leading up to the incident (mirror swipe) we might find that the driver executed the stop perfectly and it was that the awning was leaning into the roadway beyond normal. In this instance, behavior was as expected, performance was as expected, yet the circumstance was different. Is it then still fair to exact a standard one-day off punishment? If you were to choose to not punish the individual for something they didn’t intend to do, you might then see a culture change begin to happen. Why so? Because when you take in account all factors of an incident and judge based on intent and more, there comes with that a sense of fairness because you are deciding punishment based on individual circumstances and behaviors rather than a binary system of preventable/non-preventable and those involved pick up quickly on this change and generally find it fitting whereas before might have found it unfair. As well, you have something tangible to fix in this situation…the leaning awning. In the previous case, you elected to fix the perceived problem by punishing the driver and that was the end of it. As a result, the leaning awning would have remained leaning and the likelihood that another driver would have unintentionally hit it is very high. This is surfacing the root cause (leaning awning) and fixing it, rather than focusing solely on outcomes and punishing based on that (often erroneously).
This is the difference between a just culture supporting decision and a non-just culture supporting decision…where fairness is applied based on circumstances and behavior, not outcome.
What does it mean to be fair when culpability level is determined?
It means that where one is indeed found culpable, the resulting punishment is balanced against the behavior that culpability was found under. It is not overly heavy punishment, but fitting. Agencies that tend to punish heavily for minor outcomes usually suffer a culture that is secretive resulting in important safety needs/issues being “swept under the rug” or hidden entirely due to lack of trust and fairness.
How does our SMS ensure fairness in support of developing a just culture?
The very design of our RATP Dev USA SMS is to promote a just culture through good root cause determining investigations that also identify behaviors and circumstances leading up to an incident. Then, applying a filter for an Event Review Team to properly and fairly determine culpability to wage a fair punishment for the behaviors. The Event Review Team is specifically trained to use these tools to make fair and balanced decisions that support a just culture.
What happens in my organization when fairness prevails?
Simple, when fairness prevails at any organization, trust follows. When basic trust is established, there becomes a force for more open communication, a force for more engagement, and a force for increased sharing of ideas…all of which lead to a high performing, problem solving organization that can enjoy the fruit of the returns for applying fairness.
RATP Dev USA’s Innovations Receive Global Recognition
RATP Dev’s Third Annual Global Innov&Go Challenge highlighted over 700 innovations from subsidiaries around the world. RATP Dev USA is proud to have six programs nominated for this global recognition program. Of the six submitted programs, our drive2zero™ won top honors and was recognized for the outstanding benefit the Safety Management System provides.
Additionally, RATP Dev USA was awarded top honors as a “Subsidiary with the Highest Number of Innovations Replicated”.
Here are all our nominees for the RATP Dev Global Innov&Go Challenge:
drive2zero™ – Our Safety Management System (SMS) Solution that provides a framework that drives a sound safety culture. The plan includes policies, procedures, methods, and safety culture that support our safety values and ensures that safety and security are managed to the lowest possible level of risk.
Buy Better – Our National Purchasing Program that leverages strong relationships to provide cost savings across all our organizations, ensuring the most cost-effective solutions to our partners.
Grow Our Own – Our leadership development program designed to elevate the potential and responsibility of top performers within our organization.
Orbyt – Our formal technology and innovation framework. Inspired by ‘orbit’ in a traditional sense – an object that stays in motion and revolves around a central point – Orbyt keeps you in motion advancing alongside the industry, or even ahead of it. As our proactive approach to innovative business development, we partner and invest in the right start ups, tools, and technology to advance operational excellence in the transit industry.
Fare Free Saturdays – This marketing program is structured to promote increased ridership and provide quality transit alternatives at our Lubbock Citilink system. It targets special events and promotes a viable transportation alternative to events and civic activities such as transportation to polling places on election days. Across all Saturdays that were included, Citilink saw an average increase of 65% in ridership and positive community sentiment in the program.
Mobile Ticketing – At our Fort Wayne Citilink system, we partnered with Token Transit to provide mobile ticketing options that minimize the hassle of paper passes/cash payments for passengers, allowing them ability to pay online or through the app with their credit, debit, or commuter benefits card. Implementation included targeted marketing campaigns including bus ads, benches and shelters, social media promotion, and media events.
Congratulations to all our teams for the incredible innovations at RATP Dev USA!
RATP Dev USA Makes a Splash at Fall Events
RATP Dev USA made big appearances at two major events this month. At the Florida Public Transportation Association’s Annual Conference and Expo in Daytona Beach, Florida, and the California Transit Association’s Fall Conference and Expo, we promoted RATP Dev’s suite of services and our We Move People Pledge, our commitment to support and partner with individual agencies to impact the communities we serve. Many attendees stopped by our booths and took the pledge themselves to make a difference in their community!
Welcome DC Circulator to the RATP Dev USA Family!
On October 1st, we officially started service at the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) DC Circulator. The Circulator provides over five million annual trips to the citizens of, and visitors to, the Washington, DC area. Additionally, with this system, RATP Dev now operates the largest electric bus fleet on the east coast. We welcome all our new RATP Dev USA team members at the DC Circulator and look forward hearing about all the exceptional service you provide!
ADA Compliance is Only the Beginning
Accessibility for everyone is the overarching goal of Paratransit services. These services are essential, not only as a requirement by law, but because they provide specific resources that enable mobility for those who cannot access traditional methods. Fixed-route bus operations provide accommodations that assist in helping individuals with disabilities go about their daily lives and get from one place to another. However, in some cases it lacks certain resources that enable mobility for every individual, making Paratransit services a critical component of the transit environment.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed into law in 1990 to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination. This civil rights law applies to various aspects of everyday life including transportation. As transportation providers we are required to be compliant, however this is just the beginning of our responsibility to these individuals in the community.
We are taking compliance a step further by educating and empowering our ADA-eligible passengers, enabling them to make the best transit decisions for themselves and their needs. How are we doing this? By communicating solutions and supporting options that increase the standards of inclusivity and accessibility for our passengers to live their lives as any other individual would.
Our Regional Vice President, John Hendrickson says it best “Take a little extra step, it goes a mile”. Excellent customer service is of the utmost importance, and it begins with listening to understand the needs of the customer and patience to provide that assistance. A smile, compassion and empathy are all qualities that can make someone’s day better.
Just as technology has impacted the rest of the world, its effects can also be seen in the operation of ADA accommodations as well. For example, Connecthings, which utilizes beacon technology, partnered with BlindSquare’s audio technology, to give visually impaired riders up-to-date transit information read aloud on their smart device as they moved throughout the city. There are also on-demand opportunities becoming increasingly more available for passengers with disabilities – all with supplementary technology to enhance the customer’s journey. The question continues to be ‘How can we do more’?
In the future, as the ADA population grows due to an aging Baby Boomer population our charge in the transportation industry is to continue to discover new options and understand the opportunities to enhance the serviceability for these customers. Here at RATP Dev we are pleased to be involved in helping to change the standard for ADA passengers in both fixed-route and paratransit operations. We believe in providing excellence in transportation for all.