This edition of Community Transportation casts light on the veterans' transportation challenge and highlights the outstanding work of a number of transit operators that everyday are connecting veterans with a better life. There is far more activity on veterans transportation than one might imagine and the lessons learned from these systems are invaluable. We also focus on veteras' transportation from the perspective of members of Congress and from local transit leaders and advocates, as well as from veterans themselves. The conversation that emerges from both of these roundtables is indicative of the type of discussion that must take place all across the country for mobility options for veterans to expand.
The Department of Veterans Affairs -- commonly called the VA -- was launched in the 1920s with the words of President Abraham Lincoln as its inspiration: "..to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan." Today, that care must include the ability to connect to all of the health care and social services available to veterans, and to ensure that for those who have given so much, basic mobility never impedes overall quality of life.
With select articles linked in PDF
- Military Personnel Ride Free on BART (PDF)(852 KB)
By Rich Sampson
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system -- serving the metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Oakland -- is one of the busiest transit networks in the nation. With five lines operating over 100 miles of rail, BART connects 43 stations and moves nearly 350,000 passengers daily. And in early 2010, it will become the largest transit system to offer free trips to all active duty military service personnel.
- A Veteran Helping Veterans (PDF)(106 KB)
an interview with Congressman Charlie Wilson
The exploits of former United States Congressman Charlie Wilson are well known to fans of the book and film, Charlie Wilson's War. Somewhat less well known is his tireless work on ensuring that veterans from Lufkin, Texas and its surrounding region have ready access to Houston's large Veteran's Administration Medical Center (see Summer/Fall 2008 CT, Charlie Wilson's Other War, pp. 38-39). The operation -- managed by the Brazos Transit District which contracts with Coach America -- is steadily gaining ridership and has become a national model.
- Our Evolving Duty: Responding to the Changing Mobility Needs of Our Veterans (PDF)(332 KB)
by Scott Bogren
In 2002, a decorated veteran of the Korean War died in Shelburne Falls, Mass. He was 68 years old, and he was ill -- his kidneys were failing, necessitating treatments three times a week. He died, according to his local veterans services director, due to a lack of adequate transportation. And his death set in motion efforts by the Community Transportation Association of America to ensure that such a tragedy never occur again. This edition of Community Transportation magazine is, for example, one direct result.
- LYNX Builds Connections to Better Serve Veterans (PDF)(268 KB)
by Rich Sampson
In 2008, Veterans Administration (VA) leaders in Seminole County, Fla., were faced with a challenge. Its existing Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Sanford was lightly-used and sparely-staffed. A new facility in Orange City -- about 13 miles to the north -- would offer better services and reach more veterans in need of care. However, the relocation of the CBOC to Orange City would introduce travel difficulties for those veterans utilizing the Sanford clinic.
- Veterans Transportation: A Panel Discussion of Key Needs, Concerns and Solutions (PDF)(101 KB)
To better assess the key transportation issues facing veterans, Community Transportation magazine convened a special panel of transportation and veterans service providers and advocates and posed an identical set of questions.