We all need transportation to travel to job interviews, commute to work, and participate in work-related trainings. Accessible, reliable transportation ensures that Americans with disabilities can actively participate in the labor force and gain meaningful employment.

Public transportation systems have increasingly ensured greater accessibility, but many people with disabilities still can't access transportation to work. Access to public transit and for-hire transportation for people with disabilities includes many aspects of accessibility. The diversity of disability means that transportation needs to consider cognitive, sensory, and physical and mobility access. Improving access to transportation requires travel trainings, coordination of resources, and trainings on rights.

ODEP has collaborated with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and other Federal agencies to increase access to transportation to work. For instance, ODEP participates on the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility managed by DOT. This Federal interagency initiative supports state and local governments as they develop coordinated systems to assist older adults, people with disabilities, and individuals of low income to access transportation to work and participate actively in the community. ODEP also collaborates with DOT on its activities to facilitate advancement of autonomous vehicles (AV) and ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. ODEP maintains an online AV community called Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Employment for People with Disabilities.

The following resources provide helpful information on ensuring access to transportation for people with disabilities to support increased employment opportunities:

  • Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Employment for People with Disabilities — Since 2017, ODEP has engaged disability advocates, the auto industry, tech and transportation network companies, researchers, and government partners in conversations about leveraging new transportation technologies to bridge transportation access gaps for people with disabilities. Accessible autonomous vehicles (AVs) could provide Americans with disabilities a way to pursue employment opportunities, leading to economic self-sufficiency. Together with the U.S. Department of Transportation, ODEP hosted four information-gathering sessions on “Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Employment for People with Disabilities,” and captured stakeholder insights in this report. Companies building AVs, researchers, and state and local governments can use this report as a tool for designing, building, and governing AV deployments to facilitate their use by all users, thus expanding access to full community participation.
  • Self-Driving Cars: Mapping Access to a Technology Revolution (PDF) — Report released by the National Council on Disability (NCD) in 2015 to spotlight issues critical toward ensuring that autonomous vehicles can increase access to transportation for people with disabilities.
  • Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicle 3.0 (PDF) — Guidance released by the DOT in 2018 to advance multi-modal safety of autonomous vehicles and build on DOT's AV 2.0 guidance released in 2017. It includes information on making AVs accessible for people with disabilities, supporting transportation to work, and integrating Universal Design.
  • Adopting and Adapting: States and Automated Vehicles — Report from the Eno Center for Transportation that provides action items based on three primary policy concerns for state governments: regulations, infrastructure investment and funding, and research and workforce training.
  • Autonomous Vehicles — Collection of resources from the American Planning Association that provide background on AVs and examples of how their widespread adoption will impact the transportation network and the built environment, as well as recommendations for policies that communities should consider to prepare themselves.
  • Training and Employment Notice (TEN) on Strategies to Meet One-Stop Career Centers' Business and Job-Seeker Customer Needs for Employment-Related Transportation Services — Jointly issued TEN from the Employment and Training Administration and ODEP to provide successful strategies for the public workforce system to connect job seekers with transportation to jobs and training.
  • DOT's Accessibility Resource Webpage — List of transportation-related links that provide information about DOT accessibility policy, resources for travelers with disabilities, disability laws, and regulations.
  • National Aging and Disability Transportation Center — National technical assistance center funded by DOT and run by Easterseals and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) to promote access to transportation options for older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers.
  • National Center for Mobility Management — National technical assistance center funded by DOT to support community efforts to increase access to transportation and facilitate strategies for advancing mobility management, including through trainings.
  • National Rural Transit Assistance Program — Cooperative agreement between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Neponset Valley Transportation Management Association to address the training and technical assistance needs of rural and tribal transit operators across the nation, and to support the state Rural Transit Assistance Programs (RTAP).
  • Association for Commuter Transportation — International association and leading advocate for commuter transportation and transportation demand management.
  • Demand Response Transportation Fact Sheet (PDF) — Overview of Demand Response Transportation, also called dial-a-ride or paratransit, that provides service at the passenger's request. The publication provides best practice examples of demand-response programs, suggestions to enhance current practice, and references for further reading.
  • Promising Practices for Increasing Access to Transportation in Rural Communities (PDF) — Issue brief summarizing promising rural transportation program models and sharing lessons learned from rural communities. This project culminated in the Rural Transportation Toolkit, a web-based toolkit of rural transportation program models and resources.