Environment

Equity Focus Group Data

The planning process for a STAR user

In the audio, a participant describes emailing STAR at 2:30 p.m. the day before the focus group to request a 9:30 a.m. appointment time the day of the focus group. She explains that this means STAR will pick her up so that she arrives by 9:30 a.m. the next morning. However, she called at 9:30 p.m., the evening before the focus group to confirm her ride. She learned that the ride was scheduled for a 9:30am pickup time with a confirmed pick-up time of 9:50 a.m. This twenty minute difference in route computing meant she would not arrive on time for the 9:30 a.m. focus group. She then called staff at CDTA, who advised she might have to call early the next morning to talk to staff members directly involved in coordination. A staff person was able to change the pick-up time in the computer system the night before to work towards ensuring she would arrive on time.


Travel to a bus stop and absence of shelter

In this clip, a participant describes taking the 450 bus home from work late at night, from a stop without a shelter, near Freemans Bridge Road. This was particularly uncomfortable in the winter due to rain, snow, and wind at times. He called CDTA to request a shelter, on advice that CDTA will do something if you make the complaint. After a number of months, there was still no shelter.


Onboarding and built environment challenges

Participants describe many sidewalks being in a condition that preclude the use of strollers along them. Respondents state a requisite need to push strollers in the street, which “a lot of people don’t like.” We can presume the respondent’s “a lot of people” references motorists. Getting double strollers on the bus can also be extremely difficult. The safety hazard mitigation rule is that you should fold your stroller before boarding. However, participants with two children in a double stroller noted that the children then have to get out, and the parent may need to hold one child and the stroller, while also ensuring the other child stays close to board the bus. Some drivers understand traveling with children and will kneel the bus or put the ramp down so the stroller can be lifted on to the bus. Some drivers don’t emote or exercise patience. The process inhibits other people whose focus is arriving to work on time. A participant stated that she tries to walk the distance to her destination, rather than take the bus. Her reason is twofold. She states that the bus is often not on time, and she is concerned about inconveniencing others. Another site specific respondent expressed interest in preferential seating for parents with young children in addition to people with disabilities.


Riding a bus to seasonal work in Saratoga Springs

In this recording about the region’s workforce needs, a participant asserts that there should be two vehicles on the Route 450 bus leaving for Saratoga Springs about 7:50 a.m. because there are so many people that people fight for seats on the bus. The extra bus means that people leaving work will have to stand for the hour-long ride.


Exiting a bus and safety

Multiple participants describe being bothered by “bums” at bus stops who make them uncomfortable due to the inappropriate questions asked and pursuant anger. Some participants know which bus stops are problems, and try to avoid them if they have enough time. One respondent describes a police officer who pointed a gun at him when he was on a bus that someone was thought to have boarded after robbing a bank. This specific bus trip was his first time on the bus, and he hasn’t taken one since the incident, preferring to walk instead.


Places we cannot go

Participants at the Saratoga Senior Center describe in detail the mobility obstacles they face because a bus doesn’t go to many places they want to go, such as Hamilton Street, Saratoga Hospital, Church Street, the Senior Center, or their church supported residential living complex. At the conclusion of their social activities at the center, they could navigate to another bus at a different bus stop, but the schedule would require them to wait an hour before onboarding.


Switching modes of transportation

A participant discusses his idea of a more equitable transportation system as one that “spends less” money for cars and more for a public transportation system that values walking and bicycling. Another participant notes that people looking for a job would still need to have a car, because many employers refuse to hire people who don’t have a car. They conclude that if more people used the bus and it were funded better, the system may work better for everyone, including people looking for work.


Lack of sidewalks and the impact on destinations

A respondent who works with adults who have intellectual disabilities discusses difficulties encountered by the people she serves. This includes trying to access job locations that don’t have sidewalks. Some people can’t take the bus because there aren’t sidewalks at all. Also, they note that they are unable to prove how and why this built environment obstacle impacts the disability they have and why it should grant them access to STAR services. Uber is mentioned as an option but it would increase their transportation cost.


Technology and the Navigator Card

A respondent notes that Price Chopper can add their points to the Navigator Card immediately, but she has to wait two days to use funds added online from her personal bank account. She is a senior who also has a disability, and finds it much easier to add funds herself online than having to physically travel to a Price Chopper store.


Adjusting to technological change

After returning home in early January 2018, having been incarcerated, a respondent experiencing community re-entry issues received a number of day passes. The passes “stopped working” in April. Without a Navigator Card, he couldn’t get a day pass, and the cash fare is more.


Technological impact on transit

An agency staff member describes the STAR application process as lacking a mechanism to keep applicants up-to-date on the progress of their application. However, she also notes that any online system should not encumber the ability for people who don’t have an internet service provider or someone who understands online systems they can call for assistance. In addition, any web-based system of service delivery should enable a person with limited digital literacy to permit and approve third party access in order to communicate with STAR on their behalf. Doing so may foster the use of streamlined online communication, even for those people who don’t have residential internet service or a direct means of access.


Accessible and affordable transportation

A participant describes paying $250 for accessible van transportation from Saratoga Springs to the Albany bus station the prior year, because it was the only accessible transportation available to her. She asks if the bus company could look into making accessible cabs available in the Capital region having used them in Manhattan.


Travel destination, aging, and distance

Participants discuss population trends in Saratoga County and state that the fastest growing segment of new residents are people over 85 years old. This demographic shift also increases the need for public transportation services for seniors and a population that increasingly will face physical impairment and many types of disabilities.

Transportation Gaps Focus Groups

Sage Shoppe Innovations, LLC facilitated eleven focus groups in April 2018 to discuss gaps people experience in the Capital Region’s transportation system. The focus was on those transit users often not represented in the transportation planning process. The focus groups positioned the experiences, positive or negative, of the transportation user-consumers as central to understanding gaps in connectivity.

Decision-making conducted “on behalf of” a given group, population sector, or constituency, assumes that leadership grants powers of autonomous, representative authority that does not require consultation or coordination with those designated as beneficiaries. Subsequently, inconsistent value is created. When resident user-consumers of the transportation system become informants to organizational and governmental decision-making, the information provided can alter the quality of service delivery and expand access to wider aggregations of the population throughout the region.

Disadvantaged transportation user-consumers may be disadvantaged due to one or more of the following factors: 1) income; 2) spatial and physical segregation; 3) conditions of aging; 4) physical impairment or disabilities; 5) new residents to the Capital District and 6) non-native English speakers. Together, focus group participants iterated, co-generated, and narrated ideas and experiences through conversational exchanges about their particular and shared transportation use experiences.

Gaps in connectivity were captured through both quantitative and qualitative data to provide a holistic composite of key statistical demographic factors that work in tandem with the narrated ones. Sage Shoppe utilized a research script that used conversational prompts as well as audience response devices to foster greater human interactivity. The project’s Executive Summary describes pertinent sound clips from the focus groups.

Key Conclusions

  • Absence or poor construction or design of pedestrian Infrastructure at key bus tops and in neighborhoods 
  • Lack of regional identity and whole system transportation integration
  • Perception of public transportation as the realm of people who are young, poor, aging, and/or low-income
  • Bus shelters, signage, and physical or virtual information not universally available
  • Opportunities for technology and communication improvements for the STAR service
  • Younger seasonal employees and older residents in Saratoga Springs both have increased transit needs
  • Equity Task Force needs recruitment and lacks cross-municipal input and participation

Equity Task Force

The Task Force is seeking new members! Please see the application below, and submit yours today

The Equity Task Force works to ensure CDTC’s conformance with Title VI regulations and Environmental Justice. It makes certain that CDTC takes reasonable steps to secure access to opportunities that ensure no person is denied benefits of CDTC’s planning process on the basis of minority and/or low income status, and to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of CDTC’s programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations. It accomplishes this in part by promoting collaborative problem solving on issues related to Environmental Justice and Title VI, and providing input on the most effective methods to engage and respond to Environmental Justice and Title VI populations.

Equity Task Force Flier

Printable Application

Electronic Application

Draft S. Pearl St. Heavy Vehicle Traffic Pattern Study

Environmental Justice Project Bulletin

The Equity Task Force maintains the Environmental Justice Project Bulletin, a list of active construction and planning projects in our region's designated Environmental Justice Areas. The Bulletin is provided in order to facilitate input by residents and other stakeholders about projects happening near them.

Construction Projects in Environmental Justice Areas (updated 12/4/2018)
Planning Projects in Environmental Justice Areas (updated 12/4/2018)

Focus Groups on Transportation System Gaps

EJ2017Maps

In 2018, the Equity Task Force worked with Sage Shoppe, Inc to facilitate focus groups to discuss gaps people experience in the Capital Region’s transportation system, with a focus on people often not represented in the transportation planning process.

Transportation and Poverty Report

The Environmental Justice Task Force is currently developing a report that will look at how land use, job locations and commuting options affect access to jobs in the Capital Region. Our report will complete an analysis similar to the one completed for the Rochester metropolitan region, Transportation and Poverty in Monroe County.

Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure when implemented as part of transportation projects offers numerous efficiencies and community benefits. The Capital District Regional Planning Commission has numerous resources related to Green Infrastructure.

CDRPC Green Infrastructure Resources

Nondiscrimination

CDTC's Nondiscrimination Program consists of separate Title VI and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) components. Click for more information below.

Title VI

The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, its metropolitan transportation planning process on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, or economic status, as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes and regulations. For more detailed information regarding Title VI regulations and CDTC's plan to address them please refer to the Title VI Plan.

The Capital District Transportation Committee’s Title VI Coordinator is the Executive Director, Michael V. Franchini. He is responsible for Title VI Nondiscrimination activities, instructions, complaints, and reports.

Persons who believe they have been excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, the Capital District Transportation Committee’s metropolitan transportation planning process on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, or economic status, as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes and regulations, may file a complaint to the CDTC by sending a written complaint to Executive Director, CDTC, 1 Park Place, Colonie, New York 12205, or by sending an e-mail to ej@cdtcmpo.org.

If information is needed in another language, contact 518-458-2161.

Employee and prospective employee complaints follow CDTC’s Administrative Procedures, provided to all employees and otherwise available from CDTC’s Title VI Coordinator.

The complainant’s identity will only be disclosed with his or her consent. However, we may be unable to investigate allegations without permission to release the complainant’s identity and complaint. After the complainant has authorized the release of his/her name, only those persons directly involved in investigating, processing, or providing pertinent information to establish the facts of a complaint will be made aware of its content or details.

CDTC will reply to all complainants and will investigate all complaints over which CDTC has jurisdiction or control.

In addition to or instead of the CDTC procedure, complaints may also be filed directly with the Federal Highway Administration, at FHWA Office of Civil Rights, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington DC 20590; the Federal Transit Administration, at Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights, Attention Title VI Program Coordinator, East Building, 5th Floor –TCR, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. 20590; or the New York State Department of Transportation, at Office of Civil Rights, New York State Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road, 6th Floor, Albany, New York 12232 or email at OCR-TitleVI@dot.ny.gov.

PROCEDURE

A formal, written complaint must be filed (see step 2 below) within 30 calendar days of the date the incident occurred or within 30 calendar days of the effective date of the action. The time limits may be extended if the complainant has been prevented by circumstances beyond his/her control from submitting the complaint, within the prescribed period or for other reasons considered sufficient by the CDTC Administrative and Financial Standing Subcommittee.

Step 1: (Optional) Informal Resolution

A person can, if desired, seek an informal (oral) resolution directly with the Executive Director, who is the Title VI Coordinator. The complainant should note that an informal meeting does not count toward the 30 calendar day deadline for initiating a complaint. Only submission of a formal written complaint within the 30 calendar day deadline will meet the CDTC deadline for initiation of a complaint.

Step 2: Filing of Complaint

A person formally initiates the complaint procedure by filing in writing a complaint with the Executive Director.

The complaint shall be submitted on the following form and should be as complete as possible, but must include the person’s name and contact information, the date of the incident, the identity of the person, program or service that caused the complaint, the basis of the discrimination, and the signature of the person complaining. Upon request, complaints may be received in alternate formats by persons with disabilities.

All complaints against CDTC will not be investigated by CDTC, but will be forwarded to NYSDOT within 10 business days.

A written finding of the merits of the complaint, and remedial actions will be sent to the complainant within 30 calendar days of the filing of the complaint.

Step 3: Appeal of Finding

The complainant has the right to appeal the finding. The appeal is sent to the chairperson of the CDTC Administrative and Financial Standing Subcommittee (A&F). The appeal should include the original complaint as well as an explanation of why the finding and any recommended remedial actions are unsatisfactory.

The chairperson of the A&F Subcommittee will appoint a committee, composed of at least three (3) A&F members, to investigate the appeal. The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the full A&F Subcommittee within sixty (60) calendar days of receiving the appeal. The A&F Subcommittee will then render its decision.

This decision is the final decision within the CDTC structure. Any further action on the complaint must be through the Federal Highway Administration, at FHWA Office of Civil Rights, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington DC 20590; the Federal Transit Administration, at Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights, Attention Title VI Program Coordinator, East Building, 5th Floor –TCR, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. 20590; or the New York State Department of Transportation, at Office of Civil Rights, New York State Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road, 6th Floor, Albany, New York 12232 or email at OCR-TitleVI@dot.ny.gov.

Americans with Disabilities Act

CDTC has prepared a draft Self Evaluation and Transition Plan of its policies, practices, and procedures, and is seeking public comment through November 2018. Please send comments via email to ada@cdtcmpo.org or mail to ADA Self Analysis, CDTC, 1 Park Place, Colonie NY 12205.

As a recipient of federal funding, CDTC must comply with a variety of federal and state legislative regulations. Regarding matters of nondiscrimination on the basis of disability, CDTC falls under two federal laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Title II of ADA applies specifically to all activities of state and local governments, including metropolitan planning organizations such as the CDTC, and requires that government entities give people with disabilities equal opportunity to benefit from all of the programs, services and activities that may be offered.
As the federally designated metropolitan planning organization, the CDTC must adhere to the standards set forth in Title II, which include both physical accommodations (accessibility to buildings and meetings) and in policies, practices and procedures. Under Title II, the CDTC is required to make reasonable accommodations in order to provide access and to communicate effectively with people who have hearing, vision or speech impairments. Likewise, the CDTC is required to make reasonable modification to policies, practices and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination.

ADA Resources

CDTC Draft Self Evaluation and Transition Plan

Environment & Land Use

CDTC's New Visions Plan goes far beyond traditional transportation issues by examining issues related to a Quality Region. A quality region considers health, the economy, and the environment within an overall framework of land use planning and transportation policies. Creating and sustaining a quality region in the Capital District is central to the direction of New Visions toward urban investment, concentrated development patterns, and smart economic growth.

A quality region:

  • Develops and sustains healthy urban, suburban, and rural communities that function interdependently and readily adapt to change.
  • Creates economic, educational, social, cultural and recreational opportunities.
  • Provides safe neighborhood environments and housing choices for all.
  • Protects sensitive environmental resources.
  • Fosters community identity and "a sense of place" in all parts of the region.

To achieve a quality region, CDTC explores topics such as alternative fuels, electric vehicles, fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions and energy conservation, travel demand management, environmental systems, environmental justice and smart growth.