SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY: LONGSTANDING TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS NEED MORE FEDERAL ATTENTION

The General Accounting Office (GAO) conducted a study of special transportation services (paratransit) for the elderly. GAO identified (1) principal barriers that transportation providers face in the effective use of federal funds, including a perceived lack of coordination between a variety of programs operated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Transportation (DOT); and (2) possible ways to maximize the use of transportation funds to increase access to health and human services. In brief, GAO found the following: Longstanding barriers to the effective delivery of special transportation services for the elderly include fragmentation of service delivery among multiple providers, confusion concerning program requirements, and inadequacies in data needed to manage and evaluate programs. These barriers result in duplication of service in some localities at the expense of little or no service in others and higher unit costs per trip than necessary. Lower service quality could also occur for some clients. Although special transportation experts often know how to overcome barriers and improve efficiency, many communities have not benefited from this knowledge. Inadequate information dissemination and a lack of technical assistance in applying this information to their own programs are two reasons for this. The increasing needs of an aging population, however, compel more efficient use of resources in all communities. The federal government has a direct stake in improving special transportation for the elderly because it helps to finance these services, which are a crucial element in accessing the health and social services that it directly finances. GAO concludes that DOT and HHS should make more and better use of mechanisms already in place to increase information dissemination and technical assistance to reduce the barriers identified. Through these actions the Joint DOT-HHS Coordinating Council, DOT and HHS regional offices, and DOT's Rural Transit Assistance Program and its HHS counterpart can help ensure more efficient use of scarce resources for special transportation for the elderly.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Report to Congressional Requesters.
  • Corporate Authors:

    U.S. General Accounting Office

    441 G Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20548
  • Publication Date: 1991-8

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: 23 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00615704
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/HRD-91-117
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 30 1991 12:00AM