Summary

Self-driving technology is uniquely positioned to benefit people who cannot drive, including people with travel-limiting disabilities and many older adults. However, the lack of federal policy guiding the development of this technology has led to piecemeal recommendations that largely fail to guarantee accessible use in both public and private implementation scenarios. To leverage the full potential of self-driving technology, the Department of Transportation (DOT) should adopt accessibility standards to support autonomous transportation for people with disabilities and older adults. The Biden-Harris Administration has an important opportunity to reimagine accessible transit, capitalize on ongoing federal research programs such as the Inclusive Design Challenge, and extend the benefits of self-driving technology to those who need it most. If enacted, these recommendations will lead to increased independence, workforce participation, and mobility in the future of transportation.