The Blythe Wellness Express in Riverside, California provides affordable rides to hospitals and pharmacies in the Palo Verde Valley
Personal mobility is essential to the success of America’s residents, communities, and economy. Transportation enables mobility by connecting individuals to jobs, healthcare and services, and opens the door to opportunity. Despite its significance, millions of Americans lack access to reliable transportation due to disability, income, or age. Inadequate transportation constrains the mobility of these individuals and prevents them from accessing jobs, medical care, healthy food, educational programs, social services, and other community activities.
The federal government recognizes the importance of personal mobility. Agencies across the government administer 80 programs to fund transportation services for people with disabilities, older adults, and lower-income individuals. However, those transportation services can be costly and fragmented due to inconsistent program rules and a lack of interagency collaboration.
The Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM) is a federal interagency council established by Executive Order in 2004. In December 2014, the GAO reviewed nonemergency medical transportation (NEMT) services and issued Report GAO-15-110 with the following recommendations for CCAM:
- Publish a strategic plan for nonemergency medical transportation services coordination
- Issue a cost-sharing policy
- Address the challenges associated with coordinating federal nonemergency medical transportation programs
In December 2015, the President signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act that codified CCAM. FAST Act Section 3006(c) directs the CCAM to develop a strategic plan that:
- Outlines the roles and responsibilities of each CCAM federal agency
- Addresses outstanding recommendations previously made by the Council
- Addresses GAO recommendations concerning local coordination of transportation services
- Proposes changes to federal laws and regulations that will eliminate barriers to local transportation coordination
Since the passage of the FAST Act, CCAM has convened on multiple occasions and hosted listening sessions, with a goal of posting a strategic plan by the completion of the FAST Act.
CCAM work groups kicked off in March 2017 to identify and prioritize strategies to meet the requirements of the FAST Act. CCAM is working to address inconsistent, duplicative, and often restrictive federal program rules and regulations that cause transportation services to be fragmented, underutilized, or difficult to navigate. CCAM also is working to simplify customer access to transportation, reduce duplication of transportation services, streamline federal rules that may impede the coordinated delivery of services, and improve the efficiency of services using existing resources.
CCAM consists of representatives from the following federal departments:
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Department of Labor
- Department of Education
- Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Department of the Interior
- Department of Justice
- Social Security Administration
- National Council on Disability