Trenton – In an effort to make transportation services more accessible for all residents, the Senate Transportation Committee advanced two bills today sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan that would support the needs of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other intellectual disabilities.
“Public transportation is vital for so many New Jerseyans, especially for those in our disabled community,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Unfortunately, research has shown that many adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other intellectual disabilities face seemingly insurmountable hurdles in accessing our public transportation system. These individuals deserve to travel independently, and it is up to us to do everything we can to identify ways to increase their access and familiarity with various public transportation services.”
The first bill, S-146, would require all transportation research contracts entered into by the New Jersey Transportation Research Bureau to include a provision that requires research conducted under the contract to consider the transportation and mobility needs of New Jersey residents with physical, sensory, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.
A second bill, S-147, would require the Department of Transportation to implement a complete streets policy to plan, design, construct, maintain and operate new and rehabilitated public highways and public transportation projects to provide safe access for all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, individuals with mobility impairments, and individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Under the bill, the policy would require the consideration and implementation of design elements and infrastructure improvement projects that promote the ability of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to travel independently. In addition, complete streets policies would consider access and use of transportation facilities by persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well.
The bills were released from the committee unanimously.