The American Public Transportation Association recently honored the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s Mobility Training Center with its national 2016 Innovation Award.
Known as the “best of the best” within its industry, APTA’s Innovation Award honors a member that demonstrates innovative concepts or effective problem-solving techniques in the public transportation industry. The Innovation Award is not awarded annually –- only when APTA deems a recipient worthy of the honor.
Located at 5165 W. Sunset Road, the RTC Mobility Training Center (MTC) offers Paratransit assessment and certification along with blindness-skills training all under one roof. It is the only building of its kind in the western United States and opened its doors to the public in January 2016.
The MTC’s mission is to increase mobility and accessibility among Southern Nevadans, especially senior residents and persons with disabilities, by equipping them with skills training and knowledge to use public transportation throughout Clark County. These services are critically needed as the disabled and senior populations continue to grow in Southern Nevada. According to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, persons with disabilities constitute 8.2 percent and residents aged 65-plus make up 13.3 percent of Southern Nevada’s population.
At the MTC, clients learn to use public transit safely and efficiently in a controlled environment that replicates the outdoors and real-life scenarios. Hands-on boarding and fare box training are available through two fully functional 40-foot fixed-route buses on a simulated streetscape that includes a transit shelter, street crossings with audible crosswalk signs and ambient traffic noise, paved roads, sidewalks, and ADA-compliant ramps. A dog run is available for service animals.
Residents applying for Paratransit service have assessments under consistent conditions with evaluations up to one quarter of a mile inside the building. With different surface terrains, evaluators test conditions that may prevent a person from accessing public transportation independently.
The MTC is also home to Angela’s House, the first comprehensive blindness skills training center in Nevada, built in collaboration with local nonprofit, Blindconnect. Angela’s House is a fully functioning 1,200 square-foot apartment, where Blindconnect trains newly blind or visually impaired residents to transition into a new lifestyle.
Clients undergo 90 hours of intensive, daily living skills training, which includes navigating streets and using the RTC fixed-route transit system located right outside the front door of Angela’s House.
The 14,700-square-foot building cost $6.7 million to design and build, broke ground in 2014 and is 80 percent funded by the Federal Transit Administration.