Will Automated Vehicles Bring Some Effects on Persons with Disabilities and Seniors? | TRANSED2018

TRANSED2018 | Topic Discussions | D3 Autonomous Vehicles and E-hailing Service | Bryan Matthews| University of Leeds


Automated Vehicles revolution is on the way, but people may face some hopes and fears, especially for persons with disabilities and seniors. Nowadays, many countries regard automation in road transport with enormous expectations. Governments are looking forward to improving safety and reducing congestion in the public transportation environment. Besides, automated vehicles provide a way to enhance people’s productivity, and enable greater mobility for those currently experiencing reduced mobility. Furthermore, accessible automated vehicles ease with which people with differing physical, sensory and cognitive abilities.


Five Levels of Automated Vehicles


Autonomy is commonly referred to as full self-driving, but, automated vehicles come as 5 levels, which depend on the extent of automatic functionally. It is still in the process of realizing the full self-driving under all conditions (Level5). With the rapid development of the autonomy industry, will persons with disabilities and seniors deserve to share our own automated vehicles? From the perspective of benefit analysis, if automated vehicles were designed to be accessible, the need for extra assistance from others for persons with disabilities or seniors would be decreased. Thereby, self-driving vehicles increase choice and reduce costs for disabled drivers so that they may extend travel horizons with proper assistive transportation. On the other hand, the uncertainty is whether automated vehicles will be taken accessibility (or at least easy adaptability) for consideration, as a friendly user interface. And whether we will ever actually act to Level5?


Bryan Matthews


Additionally, self-driving vehicles may change the built environment. Going out will become much safer for visually impaired persons and people with slower paces. Combined with a sharing system, automated vehicles may share spaces, which is more efficient and safer. And, the autonomous vehicles can solve problems associated with parking on pavements for wheelchair users. Thus, how inclusively will the related infrastructure be designed is an issue worthy of attention.


Driverless vehicles are developing at such a rapid rate. In conclusion, a danger that the pace of development will outstrip planners’ and politicians’ ability to decide upon and legislate for the new rules of the road. Identifying an issue on hopes and also fears for automated vehicles, designers and policymakers need to address the true messages. All in all, persons with disabilities and seniors need to be involved in the developmental process of autonomous vehicles.




TRANSED2018 was held by TRB and Eden in Taipei International Convention Center (TICC) from November 12th to 15th. TRANSED2018’s theme was “Mobility for All: Connecting the World with Accessible Transportation”. Eden hopes this conference can help Taiwan can create a friendly environment through the discussion and advocacy of international representatives such as scholars, experts, and government officials.


Taiwan’s society is aging; Eden will continuously advocate “Accessible Taiwan - Mobility for All” for the rights of the elderly and persons with disabilities. Read more about TRANSED: https://www.facebook.com/79410061439/posts/10155658774971440/