Overview: Understanding Evacuation and Transportation for People with Access and Functional Needs

Understanding the Law

On June 22, 1999 in the landmark case Olmstead v. L.C and E.W (link will open new window) the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of individuals with access and functional needs to live in their own communities instead of being forced to live in institutional settings.

The so-called 'integration mandate' of the Americans with Disabilities Act (link will open new window) requires public agencies to provide services, "In the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.” This was heralded as a breakthrough in recognizing the rights of people with access and functional needs.

People with access and functional needs are now much less isolated and are largely integrated into our communities. This has important implications for emergency managers, transit providers and for people with access and functional needs themselves, as communities address emergency preparedness and evacuation planning issues.