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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Access Denied? Perceptions of New Mobility Services Among Disabled People in San Francisco


Thirty years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities still face significant barriers to transportation access. In recent years, new transportation services known as ìnew mobilityî or ìemerging mobilityî launched entirely without accessible options. These services include transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Lyft and Uber, bike share, scooter share, and car share. Whether cities rush to welcome or grudgingly accept new mobility services, disability access is still too often an afterthought. This report, prepared for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, examines perceptions of new mobility services among disabled people in San Francisco via a survey of 218 people with disabilities. The study finds that disabled people in San Francisco see promise in some new mobility services but currently face significant barriers to use. Out of all new mobility options, respondents were most interested in on-demand automobility, e.g. accessible TNCs or accessible taxis. Respondents expressed significant concern about scooters and dockless bike share blocking the path of travel, and nearly 75 percent reported that an improperly parked scooter or bike created a mobility barrier for them on at least one occasion. Additionally, with broken sidewalks and missing curb ramps common, people with disabilities still face many barriers to basic mobility. This project offers the following recommendations: continue advocating for more effective TNC Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) regulations at the state level, address the problem of scooters and bicycles on sidewalks, and build safer active transportation infrastructure to decrease conflicts between modes and make public space safer for vulnerable pedestrians.

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