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RERC-APT 2018-2023

The RERC on Physical Access and Transportation engages consumers, manufacturers, and service providers in designing, using, and evaluating innovative accessible information services, transportation equipment, and physical environments. It examines the use of technology and universal design to support community living and employment for people with disabilities in current and future transportation systems using information technologies, advanced service delivery models, and new vehicle design solutions. The Center uses a research, development, and deployment (RD&D) model to ground its activities in a real-world context.

R1: Advanced Transit Information

This project studies the content and form of information riders with disabilities need and use while traveling in a transit system. Two subprojects on (1) adaptive mobile interfaces for use during travel and (2) planning and advocacy information for future travel demonstrate how historical user data can improve future experiences, and support advocacy and service delivery. The Tiramisu Transit app serves as a testbed for this research.

R2: Enhancing Community Mobility Using Transit Innovations

This project uses a mixed-methods approach to study current gaps in transit service and first/last mile challenges for individuals with disabilities. R2.1 examines flexible transit service delivery models that augment traditional fixed-route transit service. R2.2 studies the usability of shared automated vehicles for people with disabilities. Findings will: (1) identify the benefits and challenges of implementing innovative, flexible transit service models into public transit; (2) inform vehicle manufacturers on automated vehicle designs; and, (3) support Federal rulemaking activities and policies on innovative transit services and vehicles.

DV1: AI Assistance

This project will develop two new technologies to support travel for people with disabilities using AI and universal design. These are (1) context-aware, pre-filtered information within a deployed transit app and (2) artificial intelligence (AI) to support daily travel.

DV2: Next Generation Shared Automated Vehicle Design

This project will create and evaluate designs for shared autonomous vehicles (SAVs) and develop universal design guidelines that can be applied to overcome community mobility and first/last mile travel challenges that older adults and people with disabilities currently experience. It will implement cycles of knowledge transfer from research to commercialization through committed partnerships with large and small SAV manufacturers.

Partners in the Cycle:

Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

IBM Research – Tokyo (TRL)

Metro21: Smart City Initiative, Carnegie Mellon University

Port Authority of Allegheny County


Society of Automotive Engineers International

Stantec Consulting Services Inc.

Tiramisu Transit LLC

Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturer Consortium:

Ford LogoGeneral Motors LogoToyota LogoLocal Motors logo