New technology is changing the way people are accessing services to address human services transportation needs, such as the following:
Innovations in healthcare delivery – Technology is making it easier for some people to access healthcare without leaving their homes. Medication delivery services, remote doctors’ appointments and in-home dialysis kits allow many people to access nonemergency health care without relying on human services transportation.
Smartphone access and broadband – More people are using smartphones and have access to fast, reliable internet service making it easier to access human services transportation programs and technology resources.
Real-time information systems – Knowing exactly when to expect the next bus, train or shuttle makes transportation more predictable and easier to use.
Autonomous vehicles – Self driving cars may provide a way to improve mobility for people who cannot drive due to visual impairments, age or disability. They could also be helpful to transit providers who struggle to hire and retain drivers and may decrease the cost of providing on-demand services. However, this new technology will likely come with higher costs for customers, which might make them unaffordable for people with special transportation needs.
Many of these convenient services are not currently available to the most vulnerable human services transportation users in our state. These folks may not have access to smart phones, internet access, stable housing, or use languages other than English.