New Freedom Proqram (Section 5317)
Program Goal: The New Freedom formula grant program is a new program designed to provide additional tools to overcome existing barriers facing Americans with disabilities seeking integration into the work force and full participation in society. The New Freedom program seeks to expand the transportation mobility options available to people with disabilities beyond the requirements of the ADA of 1990
Eligible Activities: New Freedom Program funds are available for capital and operating expenses to support activities such as:
- New Public Transportation Services beyond the ADA. The following activities are examples of eligible projects meeting the definition of new public transportation.
- Enhancing paratransit beyond minimum requirements of the ADA.
- Expansion of paratransit service parameters beyond the % - mile required by the ADA;
- Expansion of current hours of operation for ADA paratransit services that are beyond those provided on the fixed-route services; The incremental cost of providing same day service or making door-to-door service available to all eligible ADA paratransit riders, but not as a reasonable modification for individual riders in an otherwise curb-to-curb system;
- Enhancement of the level of service by providing escorts or assisting riders through the door of their destination; Acquisition of vehicles and equipment designed to accommodate mobility aids that exceed the dimensions and weight ratings established for common wheelchairs under the ADA and labor costs of aides to help drivers assist passengers with over-sized wheelchairs; and Installation of additional securement locations in public buses beyond ADA requirements.
- Feeder services. New "feeder" service (transit service that provides access) to commuter rail, commuter bus, intercity rail, and intercity bus stations, for which complementary paratransit service is not required under the ADA.
- Making accessibility improvements to transit and intermodal stations not designated as key stations. This may include:
- Building an accessible path to a bus stop that is currently inaccessible, including curbcuts, sidewalks, accessible pedestrian signals or other accessible features,
- Adding an elevator or ramps, detectable warnings, or other accessibility improvements to a non-key station that are not otherwise required under the ADA, Improving signage, or wayfinding technology, or Implementation of other technology improvements that enhance accessibility for people with disabilities including Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
- Travel training. New training programs for individual users on awareness, knowledge, and skills of public and alternative transportation options available in their communities.
- New Public Transportation Alternatives Beyond the ADA. The following activities are examples of projects that are eligible as new public transportation alternatives beyond the ADA under the New Freedom Program:
- Purchasing vehicles to support new accessible taxi, ride sharing, and/or vanpooling programs.
- Supporting the administration and expenses related to new voucher programs for transportation services offered by human service providers.
- Supporting new volunteer driver and aide programs.
- Supporting new mobility management and coordination programs among public transportation providers and other human service agencies providing transportation.