Driving a car is an important part of everyday life, especially if you live in the suburbs or in a rural location. For this reason, using a motor vehicle, whether it is as the driver or a passenger in the family car or van continues to be important when using a wheelchair. Urban residents and those with jobs and interests in cities are often big supporters of public transportation. Public transportation --whether fixed route or paratransit-- is a means of transportation for many people who use wheelchairs. Knowing more about transportation policy and the law regarding accessible public transportation can help citizens advocate for the needs of all passengers!
Here are some resources that will help you find adaptive driving resources, expertise and equipment. There are also some links that connect to information about the laws that regulate access to public transportation. There are also some information about passenger safety standards that are designed to protect wheelchairs used as seats in motor vehicles!
Accessible Transportation Resources
- Project Action - Easter Seals effort to create a comprehensive resource to promote accessible community transportation in the USA. Includes resources for increasing accessibility of trains, train stations, paratransit, motor coaches, etc. Databases, forums, publications, etc.
- U.S. Dept. of Transportation - resources for persons with disabilities.
- Accessible Pennsylvania - transportation resources in PA
Private Transportation Vehicles
Van Conversions, Adaptive Driving Equipment, Wheelchair and Scooter Lifts, etc.
- The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists - the association of driver rehabilitation professionals who can assist with driving and equipment selection and training. Also scroll down to the link: "Vendor Members of ADED."
- National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association - the professional association for dealers that sell vehicles modified for the needs of persons with disabilities. NMEDA offers help to consumers in identifying their needs and offers professional standards, training, and complaint resolution for their member dealers.
- Links to products to enable accessible and safe transportation when using a wheelchair.
- Society of Automotive Engineers - The Society of Automotive Engineers is your one-stop resource for technical information and expertise used in designing, building, maintaining, and operating self-propelled vehicles for use on land or sea, in air or space.
- National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. They set and enforce safety performance standards, investigate safety defects in motor vehicles, set and enforce fuel economy standards, help reduce the threat of drunk drivers, promote the use of safety belts, child safety seats and air bags, investigate odometer fraud, establish and enforce vehicle anti-theft regulations and provide consumer information on motor vehicle safety topics. Check out their resource entitled: Adaptive Equipment & Vehicles Modified for Persons with Disabilities.
Transportation Safety while Seated in a Wheelchair
Public Transportation Vehicles
Public Transportation and the ADA
Buses, Light Rail and Trains
How other communities do it! Some paratransit projects from around the country:
- Blacksburg, VA
- Bremmerton, WA - click on ACCESS
- Louisville, KY - click on accessible services
- Oahu, HI
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Providence, RI - click on Transit Programs.
- Santa Clara, CA
- San Francisco Bay Area, CA
- Spokane, WA - click on "Bus Basics" then accessible routes or paratransit.
- Tucson, AZ - check out their "secure loop system" for securement.
Transportation Research Board
- Standards Development Homepage
- International Standards Organization (ISO)
- ANSI/RESNA Standards (American National Standards Institute / Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America).
Last Updated: 3-2-2006