By Ferdinand L. Risco Jr.
The transit industry on a whole is experiencing a dramatic shift in its approach to providing the next generation of service delivery. The need to maintain mobility independence across the country continues to grow and as the next generation of business professionals come of age demanding flexible and alternate modes of travel, as well as reducing transportation barriers which can affect a person’s access to healthcare services, access to transportation is not only important but is essential for the growth and well-being of every community.
As the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) celebrates its 45th year of service we have rededicated our organization towards providing the very best delivery of service. By embracing technological advancements—WiFi on every bus, charging stations for mobile devices, access to the central business district by Rapid Transit service to downtown, a dynamic trip planner, mobile fare payment and the move away from paper tickets to electronic fare—we have set a goal of becoming mobility managers for the region.
As mobility managers, TARC can manage all mobility needs, such as Uber, or a Taxi, with all pieces of transportation needs booked on the TARC web site, with an option to eventually pay for those pieces on the web site as well.
As we continue to improve the transit tools available to residents and visitors, the ride becomes more convenient, more productive and most importantly more enjoyable.
Transportation Affects Health
The health and well-being of the residents in our community is also heavily dependent on the everyday ability to travel easily and reliably throughout the city. A strong transportation network provides all passengers convenient, affordable and reliable ways for getting to and from their destination, be that school, work or medical appointments.
Working closely with employers, local schools and universities, partnerships with transit industries bring additional incentives and perks that build the reputation of these businesses and schools as dedicated and caring organizations, ensuring the employees and students have the necessary means to get to work, school and medical appointments each day.
TARC partners with various organizations throughout their service region who manage TARC fare passes for those who need transportation to and from appointments at not-for-profit hospitals.
By providing reliable access and innovative approaches to the full transportation experience, the economic growth that follows will lead to improvements in connectivity, and the health and well-being of the entire community.
-Ferdinand L. Risco Jr. is the interim executive director at TARC in Louisville, Ky.
How Transportation Affects Health
Barriers to transportation greatly affect the quality of people’s lives. These statistics highlight the scope of the problem:
» 3.6 million people in the U.S. do not obtain medical care due to transportation barriers.
» Regardless of insurance status, four percent of children (approximately three million) in the U.S. miss a healthcare appointment each year due to unavailable transportation; this includes nine percent of children in families with incomes of less than $50,000.
» Transportation is the third most commonly cited barrier to accessing health services for older adults.
-Health Research & Educational Trust. (2017, November). Social determinants of health series: Transportation and the role of hospitals. Chicago, IL: Health Research & Educational Trust. Accessed at www.aha.org/transportation
Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation receives transportation grant
Cancer patients undergoing treatment frequently require assistance getting to and from facilities, often creating a financial and logistical burden. That’s why the American Cancer Society has awarded a transportation grant to Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation. These funds will be used to address the transportation needs of cancer patients traveling to Lexington for treatment.
An estimated 25,990 Kentucky residents will learn they have cancer this year and getting to their scheduled treatment may be one of their greatest roadblocks. To help patients get the critical care they need, American Cancer Society community transportation grants are awarded at a local level to health systems, treatment centers and community organizations. These grants are available in select communities through an application process and focus on addressing unmet transportation needs of cancer patients, particularly vulnerable populations experiencing an unequal burden of cancer.
“Disparities predominantly arise from inequities in work, wealth, income, education, housing and overall standard of living, as well as social barriers to high-quality cancer prevention, early detection and treatment services,” said Kelsey Lewis, Mission Delivery Program manager, American Cancer Society “The Society collaborates with community health partners to reach individuals in areas with higher burdens of cancer and limited or no access to transportation because even the best treatment can’t work if a patient can’t get there.”
Julie Steffey, manager, Oncology Support Services, Saint Joseph East, said the Transportation Services Grant from the American Cancer Society will provide critical access to care for many vulnerable patients.
“Transportation to chemotherapy and radiation treatment is the most frequent and significant barrier to care identified by the patients and families served by KentuckyOne Health Cancer Care Lexington,” Steffey said. “The financial burden of cancer coupled with the logistical challenge of frequent travel from rural areas leaves access gaps for some of our most vulnerable populations. The Transportation Grant provided by the American Cancer Society enables our support service team to answer these unmet transportation needs in a timely, effective way to insure equal access, continuity of care, compliance to treatment, and better outcomes toward our mission to bring wellness, healing and hope to all.”