Making Public Transportation Serve Us Better: Your Voice Matters

September 24th, 2019

A blind man is standing at a bus stop, holding a white cane in his right hand. He’s holding a smartphone in his left hand, pointing the camera directly in front of him toward the door of a bus.

The Federal Transit Administration and Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) have launched a combined effort to ask the public for information and ideas concerning how to improve access to public transit by persons with disabilities. This is a unique and important effort that asks for the help and experience of all of us who have a disability. This is an excellent opportunity for every blind and low-vision person to talk about the transportation barriers we face, and it offers a good place to talk about how Aira helps us address some of the access issues we face with public transit.

To take part, you’ll need to create an account and register at https://transportationinnovation.ideascale.com/a/register. If you have previously registered, you can also log in using the same link.

Here is some information from the website describing the program:

“In partnership with the Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is co-hosting this month-long dialogue. This is a part of ODEP’s series of dialogues that gather input and ideas from the public and other stakeholders (including subject matter experts) on how new transportation technologies, including autonomous vehicles, can support the employment of people with disabilities. It also aids FTA to promote accessibility at each step in the Complete Trip, across all modes, in which automation may play a supporting role. Information collected during this dialogue will be shared with AV developers and policymakers, and will play an integral role in both the Department’s work in ensuring that everyone benefits from innovations in mobility, including Americans with disabilities. Additionally, this information will form the foundation for FTA’s efforts to influence private sector developments, leverage partnerships among stakeholders, and focus government action in areas affecting each part of the Complete Trip.

Thank you for joining us in this important effort!”

We ask that you please contribute to the dialog. Also, as many of our readers have already discussed with us, please describe how Aira aids in addressing some of the access barriers you face.

Transit passengers in Boston have the opportunity to experience full access to transit schedule, wayfinding, and other relevant information, thanks to the pilot program through the MBTA. Through this pilot, Aira is available for assistance throughout the MBTA system. Those who have used Aira on the MBTA may want to share their experience.