- CAIT Main
- Infrastructure Areas
- Program Sites
- ANDERS - Automated Nondestructive Evaluation and Rehabilitation System
- BEAST - Bridge Evaluation and Accelerated Structural Testing
- CAES - Center for Advanced Energy Systems
- FMP - Freight and Maritime Program
- ICMP - Infrastructure Condition Monitoring Program
- IMG - Information Management Group
- LESS - Laboratory for Energy Smart Systems
- LPS - Laboratory for Port Security
- LTBP - Long-Term Bridge Performance Program
- NJ LTAP - NJ Local Technical Assistance Program
- PRP - Pavement Resource Program
- PSSP - Pipeline Safety and Security Program
- SAM - Structures and Advanced Materials
- SSML - Soil and Sediment Management Laboratory
- TSRC - Transportation Safety Resource Center
- TTG - Technology Transfer Group
Transportation needs assessment project to improve mobility for adults with autism
Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) need the same basics we all do-a full social and working life and access to friends, family, and services like healthcare, shopping, learning opportunities, and recreation. The essential link that ties these together—the ability to get from point ‘A' to point ‘B'—is often overlooked and surprisingly understudied.
Rutgers' CAIT received a $321,250 grant to assess transportation needs, examine barriers, and provide recommendations to develop procedures and policies that will improve mobility for adults with ASD. It is part of a $4.5 million research program from the Governor's Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism to improve the quality of life for these individuals. For more than three years, CAIT has been committed to the transportation aspect of doing just that.
The Governor's Council was formed in 1999 under the New Jersey Autism Biomedical Research Act. The council is furthering its mission bolstered by the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act championed by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a long-time advocate for autism awareness and research funding.
At a press conference announcing the governor's $4.5 million commitment, Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd said, "This new funding furthers Governor Christie's ongoing commitment to support the children and families affected by autism. This round of awards focuses both on scientific research as well as developing tools for screening and intervention."
CAIT project manager Cecilia Feeley will spearhead the effort with partners from Rutgers' Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center and Autism Family Services of New Jersey. They will analyze travel patterns, transportation needs and impediments, and lost opportunities due to lack of transportation. Feeley, the mother of a 14-year-old with ASD, hosted Menendez and other advocates and families in her home last October shortly after the Combating Autism Act was passed.
In addition to wide ranging diagnoses, adults with ASD also have diverse skills, abilities, and characteristics. These factors impact their transportation options as much as their geographic location and transit modes available in their area.
Mindful of this diversity, the researchers will cover all 21 New Jersey counties and examine a variety of transportation modes including driving, public transit, paratransit, and walking. The study will include reviewing existing surveys and publications, interviewing transportation and ASD experts, and conducting a statewide scientific survey and series of focus groups of adults with ASD and their guardians.
Although the study will be scientific and data-driven, findings will be presented in clear terms that can be understood by lay people as well as experienced transit agency personnel, transportation planners, and policy makers.
The CAIT transportation needs assessment will give voice to adults with ASD throughout New Jersey so their concerns are more integrated in the development and promotion of beneficial transportation strategies and programs that help them lead more independent and fulfilling lives.