According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66 million adult Americans (approximately one in four adults) have disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law on July 26, 1990, making the United States the first country to extend basic civil rights to people with disabilities. Through reasonable accommodation and critical access requirements, this landmark legislation increased equal access to transportation, education, employment, and other basic opportunities for people with disabilities.
ADA in the Making
People with disabilities have faced superstition, mistreatment, and other forms of discrimination throughout history. During the 18th and 19th centuries, western society began studying possible causes of disability and sought institutional solutions for disabled populations. Still, legal treatment in the United States through the early 1970s, including sterilization measures and “ugly” or “idiot laws,” was founded on the widespread belief that disability was a detriment or danger to the community. The seeds of change took root only after disabled individuals themselves began rising up to demand better treatment. It started with thousands of brave men, women, and children who protested, stuffed envelopes, drafted legislation, lobbied, filed lawsuits, and were arrested.
In 1973, the passage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act banned discrimination against people with disabilities. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) teams spent long hours defining what non-discrimination meant. The new regulations prompted long sit-in protests at public buildings. The longest sit-in was 28 days in San Francisco. Finally, on May 4, 1977, Section 504 Regulations won approval by a key Congressional Committee.
The 80s focused on civil rights protections that had been stripped away by the Supreme Court. This helped reinstate the Civil Rights Restoration Act, the Fair Housing Act, and affirmative action to accommodate their needs. Today, we have ramps, elevators, accessible bathrooms, and more to accommodate persons with disabilities because of this legislation.
Come Celebrate With Us
UTA is proud to be one of the thousands of organizations striving to provide greater access and opportunity for our disabled community. We invite the public to join us for our 33rd Annual ADA Celebration on July 25 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at UTA Headquarters Promontory Room, located at 669 West 200 South in Salt Lake City. The celebration showcases our “I AM” employee and “I RIDE” customer awards, as well as food, resource booths, and ways to connect with the disability community. We hope to see you there!
We would also like to thank our Civil Rights Office for working to improve access to all UTA buses, trains, stations, stops, and buildings. In the spirit of the 33rd anniversary, we would like to highlight 33 ways UTA has sought to improve the experience of our riders with disabilities and community members.
33 Ways UTA Recognizes and Supports Our Riders With Disabilities
- ADA-compliant ramps on fixed-route buses
- ADA-compliant ramps on Flex & Paratransit vehicles
- Automated ADA-compliant ramps on TRAX trains
- Portable ADA-compliant ramps for FrontRunner trains
- Wheelchair ramps on UTA On Demand vans
- ADA-compliant ramps from park and ride lots to rail stations
- ADA-compliant ramps from park and ride lots to bus stops
- ADA-compliant ramps to all UTA buildings and facilities
- ADA-accessible restrooms, ramps, and elevators in all buildings
- Channeled crosswalks from TRAX to FrontRunner stations
- Public announcements on all buses, trains, and stations
- Curb-to-curb pick-up and drop-off
- Website screen readers
- Visual announcement boards on all vehicles
- Visual announcement boards at all train stations
- Transit app trip planning and push notifications
- Email and text service alerts
- Braille on detour signs
- Closed captioning on all videos
- How-to training videos for disabled riders
- Travel Trainers
- Mobility Center Training
- Customer Service directional support
- Committee on Accessible Transportation (CAT)
- “I AM” Employee Awards for helping disabled riders
- “I RIDE” Awards for disabled riders
- Annual ADA Celebration to educate employees and the community
- Rear-facing self-procurement straps
- Unique hexagonal blue poles for blind and low-vision navigation at bus stop signs
- Five-minute paratransit pickup
- ADA-priority seating on all buses and trains
- Yellow tactile strips on the edge of all train station platforms
- Flipbook maps for low-vision riders