MI-DDI Autonomous Vehicle Project Releases White Paper

April 7, 2021

A study was conducted by the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI-DDI) to gain a better understanding of how Autonomous Vehicles (AV) can be used to meet the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities. The study was funded by a grant from the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC). An overview of the project and links to the study's White Paper can be found https://ddi.wayne.edu/av.

The study's goals were to:

  • identify current transportation gaps experienced by individuals with disabilities in Michigan,
  • assess how AVs can bridge these gaps for persons with disabilities and their family members, and
  • determine how transportation officials, AV designers, and automobile developers can work to ensure that AVs are accessible and available to these users in the future.

A combination of statewide focus groups and a Delphi Panel of experts was used to gather data and arrive at final recommendations. Eight focus groups with individuals with disabilities and family members were conducted. Information learned from focus groups was used to build an online survey which was completed by a 10-person Delphi Panel. The Panel members rated each survey item's level of priority (not a priority, low priority, high priority).

In the end, a set of ten (10) recommendations was developed from the Delphi Panel's results. The focus groups and Delphi Panel participants identified strategies and best practices that need to be considered when developing and designing AVs. These recommendations emphasize the need to ensure that AVs provide individuals with disabilities increased mobility and independence, without presenting additional transportation barriers.

Recommendations and other findings were written into a White Paper that was distributed to stakeholders throughout Michigan. The White Paper and set of ten recommendations for action can be found on the AV Project's web page at https://ddi.wayne.edu/av.  Please visit the web page to learn more.