For people with disabilities lack of reliable and accessible public transportation can severely diminish an individual’s ability to obtain employment. The unpredictability of transit arrival and hence, employee arrival times, can negatively influence employers’ perceptions of people with disabilities’ attendance and punctuality.
For instance, The Interim Report produced by the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities [http://www.dol.gov/odep/pdf/20150808.pdf] included several technology-related recommendations to improve employment rates among people with disabilities and transportation was addressed as a barrier to participation in the workplace. Further, Leveling the Playing Field: Improving Technology Access and Design for People with Intellectual Disabilities, [http://www.acl.gov/programs/aidd/Programs/PCPID/docs/PCPID-2015-Report-to-President.pdf] discussed how with the help of emerging transportation and support technologies, people with intellectual disabilities could experience greater workforce participation and integration.
Transportation, more broadly, can be improved through the deployment of wirelessly connected wearables in a range of informative (e.g. concierge, notifying), guidance (e.g. best or revised travel based on updated information), or alerting (e.g., for warnings in emergency situations) contexts. This would require development of both connected individual devices, as well as city or area transportation information systems supported with integrated data provision. We believe federally supported research for seed grants and feasibility pilots could help signal the importance of these technologies, and hence help drive development.