The Alliance for Automotive Innovation ("Auto Innovators") supports DOT's continued efforts to increase the accessibility of transportation. The DOT's Accessibility Strategic Plan Framework and other initiatives announced at the Breaking Down Barriers event are helpful steps towards creating an accessible transportation system.
In particular, it is helpful that the Strategic Plan Framework addresses "barriers for people with disabilities to seek licensure for, operate, and/or ride in passenger and commercial vehicles" (Goal 3). Certainly, automated vehicles (SAE Levels 3-5) have the potential to provide increased mobility and independence to people with disabilities and older adults
To help make this a reality, engineering standards or best practices can be incorporated by vehicle manufacturers in AV design to meet the needs of people with disabilities and older adults. To this end, we applaud DOT's leadership in creating an online database that can provide a "one-stop-shop" for the standards and best practices that currently exist regarding accessibility of automated vehicles. This database, which is aligned with a previous industry recommendation, will be a helpful tool for stakeholders from the government, industry and disability community to share resources with one another and develop a common understanding of accessible vehicle design.
DOT's additional initiative to fund the development of accessible AV standards through a partnership with a Standards Development Organization is useful. The development of new standards in this area will provide additional resources for manufacturers on incorporating the needs of people with disabilities and older adults into AV design. We look forward to engaging in this important work.
As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ADA, Auto Innovators stands ready to engage with DOT on the topic of accessible transportation. As an immediate next step, we look forward to reviewing DOT's Accessibility Strategic Plan and continuing to collaborate on this important topic.