HopSkipDrive plans to highlight and distribute findings of the new Equitable Access to Transportation Advisory Council (EATAC).  -  Source: Canva

HopSkipDrive plans to highlight and distribute findings of the new Equitable Access to Transportation Advisory Council (EATAC).

Source: Canva

Amidst growing concerns over road safety and access to education, the formation of the Equitable Access to Transportation Advisory Council (EATAC) signals a pivotal step towards addressing transportation challenges facing millions of students across the United States.

Collaborative Effort for Equity in Transportation Access

Comprised of 10 experts spanning diverse fields, EATAC's establishment underscores a collaborative effort to prioritize the needs of vulnerable communities and advocate for policy reforms aimed at enhancing transportation access and safety for all students. The group is partnering with HopSkipDrive, a technology company devoted to solving complex transportation challenges where there’s a heightened need for safety, equity, and care.

HopSkipDrive will help to highlight and distribute the council’s findings and suggestions, along with any potential policy recommendations they put forth.

“HopSkipDrive will connect our past work on safety – whether it was through our advisory board or our continued annual reports – to the EATAC initiative,” said Joanna McFarland, CEO and co-founder of HopSkipDrive, in a news release. “We are well suited to gather our colleagues to together advocate for action and accessibility, through educational challenges like racial disparities, financial pressure, safety and other concerns in the midst of issues like chronic absenteeism.”

Who’s on the EATAC Board?

Members of the council include:

  • Nadia Anderson, Ph.D., senior vice president, chief of staff and strategy, Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
  • Kerry Chausmer, program and member services director, Governors Highway Safety Association.
  • Torine Creppy, president, Safe Kids Worldwide.
  • Vanessa Davis, co-manager, Foster Youth in Action.
  • Natalie Draisin, director of the North American office, FIA Foundation.
  • Kim Dvorchak, executive director, National Association of Counsel for Children.
  • Robert Enlow, president and CEO, EdChoice.
  • Ta’Londa Holland, senior director of policy and influence, Urban Strategies Inc.
  • Zahra Marin, national policy and organizing director, National Foster Youth Institute (NFYI).
  • Kristie Stutler, vice president of policy and influence, Urban Strategies Inc.

“We know that transportation is a lifeline for communities around the country, and expanding access to transportation is key to improving outcomes across the spectrums,” said Davis in a news release. “Together with other experts in this space, EATAC will explore how school rides – and youth transportation in general – are important building blocks towards true equity in education. I expect to highlight that a large part of our vulnerable populations don’t have any form of reliable transportation, and we therefore need to consider reasonable solutions and potential new policies.”

5 Takeaways from the Council’s Formation

What are the takeaways from this initiative?

  • Multidisciplinary Collaboration: The formation of the EATAC demonstrates a collaborative effort involving experts from diverse fields including transportation, child welfare, road safety, community planning, education, and technology. This multidisciplinary approach signifies a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues surrounding transportation access for students in marginalized communities.
  • Focus on Vulnerable Populations: EATAC aims to address transportation challenges faced by vulnerable populations such as youth in foster care, those experiencing poverty, and homelessness. By prioritizing these groups, the council underscores the importance of equity in transportation policies to ensure that all students have access to safe and reliable transportation to schools.
  • Partnership with Technology Company: The collaboration with HopSkipDrive, a technology company specializing in solving transportation challenges, highlights the role of innovative solutions in improving access to safe transportation for students. This partnership signifies a commitment to leveraging technology to address transportation disparities and enhance student outcomes.
  • Advocacy for Policy Change: EATAC's goal is not only to understand and address transportation gaps but also to advocate for policy changes that promote access to transportation for all students. By advocating for policy reforms, the council aims to create sustainable solutions that address systemic issues and improve transportation access for vulnerable populations.
  • Long-term Impact on Education and Safety: Through its work, EATAC seeks to drive long-term change in the education system by emphasizing the critical role of transportation in student success and overall well-being. By highlighting the connections between transportation access, education equity, and road safety, the council aims to foster positive outcomes for students across the country.
About the author
Wes Platt

Wes Platt

Executive Editor

Wes Platt joined Bobit in 2021 as executive editor of School Bus Fleet Magazine. He writes and edits content about student transportation, school bus manufacturers and equipment, legislative issues, maintenance, fleet contracting, and school transportation technology - from classic yellow diesel buses to the latest EPA-funded electric, propane, and CNG vehicles.

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