Services for the Elderly

Longstanding Transportation Problems Need More Federal Attention Gao ID: HRD-91-117 August 29, 1991

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on special transportation services for the elderly, focusing on: (1) principal barriers that transportation providers face in the effective use of federal funds; and (2) possible ways to maximize the use of transportation funds to increase access to services.

GAO found that: (1) service fragmentation, confusion about program requirements, and inadequate data limit the effectiveness of federal special transportation programs in serving the elderly; (2) in many communities, a number of agencies operate in isolation from one another to provide special transportation to the elderly and other populations; (3) the lack of understanding between human services and transportation providers inhibits special transportation coordination; (4) state and local officials were often reluctant to coordinate with other agencies because the initial costs of doing so were too high for their agencies; (5) 12 of the 19 special transportation studies GAO examined identified poor knowledge of program requirements as a barrier that hindered effective use of special transportation funds; (6) many agencies cannot manage their programs efficiently because they lack adequate basic program data; (7) substantial knowledge and experience in the operation of successful special transportation services exists among national experts and officials in some communities, but this information is either not readily available or its application is poorly understood in many communities; and (8) 17 of the 19 studies cited the need for information and technical assistance for state officials and local providers to reduce barriers to special transportation services.


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