Although the adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) shifted our paradigm for accessibility, the built environment is still not friendly for wheelchair users. The main challenge is that enforcement of ADA guidelines primarily focuses on the design requirements, while actual usability is less emphasized in current practice and evaluation is limited largely to walk-through investigations.
Over the past decade, the rapid development and adoption of mobile computing and telecommunications technology has begun to disrupt established business models based on providing mobility services that were previously available primarily through the public sector (particularly public transit agencies) or that were privately provided through households’ and firms’ directly-owned and operated vehicles. Transportation has entered an era of immense change, with many transportation network companies (TNCs) both complementing and competing with public transit.
Driving cessation in older adults can present a significant transportation problem and public health dilemma. In particular, previously car-dependent older adults may struggle to access healthcare, attend social activities, and conduct errands once they lose the ability to drive. The “Healthy Buddy” project (https://www.hbuddy.org) is a community-based initiative that pairs trained college students with transportation disadvantaged older adults to help them identify existing transportation and health resources in their communities.
The Madison, WI region is adding more jobs than workers and currently faces a labor shortage. To address this challenge, in 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development launched the Commute to Careers program (CtC) to reduce transportation barriers for unemployed, low and moderate-income workers. In October 2018, Union Cab Cooperative of Madison—the largest taxi company in Madison—was awarded a CtC grant to develop an affordable shared ride taxi service.
Personal electric scooters (also called e-scooters) have quickly gained attention in Western cities as a novel means of transportation. As community leaders seek a new generation of mobility options, e-scooters represent great promise but also considerable complexity. These privately-funded vehicles operate generally without much regulation, and many of the platforms require no fixed charging stations. Also, e-scooters can be parked wherever a user wishes to leave it. This has the potential to create obstacles on sidewalks or in the public right-of-way, a problem compounded by a general lack of enforceable regulation in cities.