Promoting an Accessible Transportation Environment for People with Disabilities in Rural Russia and the United States: A Resources & Curriculum Sharing Partnership

Sponsored By: The MSU Western Transportation Institute’s Small Urban and Rural Livability Center and a grant from the University Partnership Program, Eurasia Foundation 

Description: Over the course of 14 months, partners at Montana State University and the Moscow State University for Transport Engineering in Russia collaborated on a joint project aimed at improving transportation services in small urban and rural areas by enhancing small transit providers’ access to resources, training, and other tools to improve their capacity to ensure an accessible transportation environment for persons with disabilities.

The project had three primary objectives:

  1. To improve access to information on training resources and curricula for staff of transit systems in both countries;
  2. To better understand challenges, successes, and current practices in use by small urban and rural transit agencies to implement accessibility standards; and
  3. To identify and disseminate innovations and best practices for training, education, and accessible service provision in small urban and rural communities.

To share information on current practices and developments in Russia and the United States, project participants participated in two joint teleconferences during an initial project planning stage (Contact grant), and three joint teleconferences during the project’s yearlong implementation (Linkage grant). [Only two teleconferences were recorded]. Links to meeting recordings are provided below.    

Primary Project Participants:
Irina Karapetyants and Dimitri Yenin, Moscow State University for Transport Engineering (MIIT)

United States:
David Kack and Susan Gallagher, MSU Western Transportation Institute
Carol Wright and Donna Smith, Easter Seals Project Action Consulting

Contact Stage:
November 2015: Introductory Information on the Development of an Accessible Transportation Environment for Persons with Disabilities in Russia

Presenters from Russia:
Irina Karapetyants, Vice-Rector for international educational programs, director of the Institute of International Transport Communications of the Moscow State University of Railway Engineering (MGUPS MIIT), doctor of historical sciences, professor, expert of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, a member of the Ministry of Transport’s working group on accessible transportation for persons with disabilities and other population groups with limited mobility, and chief academic secretary of the Russian Academy of Transport.

Aleksandr Avdeev, Director of the Passenger Service Association, expert of the All-Russian Public Organization of Persons with Disabilities and All-Russian Society of the Deaf, a member of the Ministry of Transport’s working group on accessible transportation for persons with disabilities and other population groups with limited mobility. Developed quality standards for accessible public transportation for persons with disabilities, and programs for training public transportation personnel to provide passenger transportation services and situational assistance to persons with disabilities.

Dmitry Yenin, candidate of technical sciences, docent of the Logistics Department at the Moscow State Automobile and Road Construction Technical University (MADI), and expert of the All-Russian Society of the Blind on accessible transportation. Developed methods of accommodating highways for greater accessibility and authored sociological research addressing issues of accessibility on public transportation for the disabled.

December 2015:  Introductory Information on the Development of an Accessible Transportation Environment for Persons with Disabilities in the United States

Speakers from the U.S.:
Donna Smith, director of training for Easter Seals Project Action Consulting.  Donna has over thirty-five years’ experience as a professional in the field of disability advocacy with most of those years as a training and technical assistance specialist on disability-related laws and issues.  Since 2002, she has focused specifically on transportation issues. Her areas of knowledge pertinent to accessible transportation include community approaches to implement systems change needed to improve accessible transportation, ADA rights and responsibilities, travel training, coalition building, the transit experience from the customer’s perspective, the increasing role of technology in transportation access, and the accessible pedestrian environment.

Kristi McLaughlin, Senior Project Manager at Easter Seals Project Action Consulting. Kristi is an experienced trainer with extensive knowledge of the transportation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, best practices in customer service, and paratransit eligibility and operations. Her background includes travel training, coordination planning, writing training curriculum and providing technical assistance regarding accessible transportation.

Linkage Stage:
March, 2017: Session 1: Research sharing discussion on current practices of small urban and rural transit agencies to provide accessible transportation services

March, 2017: Session 2: Research sharing discussion on implementation of new accessibility-focused training and education programs