Designing Self-Driving Cars for the Elderly (12-26-18)

The motoring world is set to witness a significant shift in the months and years to come, as autonomous vehicles begin to be used on public roads. Google has already revealed that it is trialing its automated technology in real-world situations, for instance, while both Lexus and Mercedes have confirmed that they are among the big-name vehicle manufacturers to be working on autonomous car technology. Across the Atlantic in the UK, Tesla has been putting its driverless Autopilot system through the paces too. There are also rumors that BMW and Apple are collaborating to create a vehicle which may well be automated.

A lot is going on when it comes to the topic of self-driving vehicles then. However, a lot of people are still skeptical about the technology. In fact, a survey by AAA suggested that around 75 percent of the public are currently fearful about riding in a self-driving car.

Various groups seen in our society could benefit from being able to use autonomous vehicles though, including senior citizens. This is especially apparent when considering the Surface Transportation Policy Project titled ‘Aging Americans: Stranded Without Options.’ This study revealed that 20 percent of Americans over 65 do not drive at all. Bearing all of this in mind, stairlift manufacturer Acorn Stairlifts has investigated exactly how self-driving cars have the capability to assist elderly people.

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5 of the Most Accessible Cities in the United States (11-29-18)

Two pretty young women on handicap scooters. Sisters enjoying their mobility on an afternoon ride through the neighborhood.

According to the most recent statistics, about 12.8 percent of the population in the United States has a disability of some kind. Seniors are especially affected by disability, with 41.4 percent of the disabled population being 65 years of age and older.

Despite the numbers of those with disabilities, the battle for disability rights is still a huge issue. Some disabled people feel the communities in which they live are not doing enough to become more accessible. According to one survey, 20 percent of the respondents living in New York City said they face barriers when trying to access buildings or transportation. There are however, some cities throughout the country that are doing their best to provide access for those with disabilities.  Here are five such cities.

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Wheelchair-Accessible Uber Service Comes To D.C. And Five Other Cities, Expanding Mobility Options For People With Disabilities (11-20-18)

Uber has entered into a contract with MV Transportation, a paratransit firm, to provide service for customers with disabilities. MV will supply drivers and vehicles, while trips will be arranged through the Uber app. (Seth Wenig/AP)

Uber is launching wheelchair-accessible service in the District and five other cities, the company announced this week, pledging a 15-minute wait time for customers with disabilities for fares equivalent to UberX.

The ride-hail giant has entered into a contract with MV Transportation, which calls itself the country’s leading paratransit firm, to provide the service for customers with disabilities. MV will supply drivers and vehicles, while trips will be arranged through the Uber app.

Uber has long been criticized for its lack of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Equal Rights Center in 2017 called out the company for its failure to provide access for passengers in wheelchairs and motorized scooters.

The app has offered an option called Taxi WAV since 2015, allowing customers to hail a ride in a wheelchair-accessible cab — though advocates said it fell short of providing service equivalent to the door-to-door UberX. In a blog post announcing the deal with MV, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company needed to better accommodate customers who use personal mobility devices.

Read Full Story Here (via The Washington Post)

DC Now Has Crews To Clear Bike Lanes, Wheelchair Cuts After Snow (11-16-18)

WASHINGTON — D.C. is doing something different this season when it comes to snow removal: There’s a new “non-motorized trail” work detail specifically assigned to clearing bike paths, bridge deck sidewalks and ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act at intersections.

To help accomplish that, the city purchased new equipment.

“It’s still a little too wide to do all of the (city’s) bike lanes, but it looks pretty good to do many of them, those that aren’t hemmed in by cars like the cycle track,” said Mary Cheh, chair of D.C. Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment.

Read Full Story Here (via WTOP)