The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) and the Elderly and Disabled Transportation Advisory Committee awarded Denise Thomas of Rockville, Md., with the 2008 Richard D. Heddinger Accessible Transportation Award. The annual award honors a person or organization whose work results in significant improvements to accessible public transportation services for people with disabilities, according to Metro.
Thomas is the director of Project Ride, a program funded in part by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council and administered by SEEC, a Montgomery County non-profit organization. Project Ride focuses on giving people with cognitive disabilities the tools to use public transportation because they often require more intensive training than people with physical disabilities.
Thomas worked with Metro and other area transit providers, human services agencies, educators and individuals with cognitive disabilities to develop and implement the program, now in its third year.