Analysis Group Assesses Unmet Transportation Needs of Americans with Disabilities

Findings suggest a large, growing market for accessible and autonomous vehicles, including both manufacturers and ridesharing services

Date:February 21, 2019
Contact:Eric Seymour
617-425-8103

BOSTON, Mass. – Analysis Group, one of the largest international economics consulting firms, today published a report that points to a growing need for accessible transportation options among Americans with travel-limiting disabilities. The report, commissioned by the American Association of People with Disabilities, estimates there are 18.5 million travel-limited individuals in the US, and the number of those requiring a wheelchair or a motorized wheelchair is estimated to increase 120% by 2022.

The report highlights the disparity between supply and demand, estimating that between 11-15 million travel-limited individuals have the means to purchase a private vehicle with mobility options (including autonomous or self-driving vehicles) or use accessible ridesharing services, if available to them. Yet, no automobile manufacturer currently mass-produces an accessible vehicle, limiting vehicle purchases to those who can afford expensive aftermarket customization of existing vehicles.

As an alternative, the growth of ridesharing services suggests that such travel-as-a-service providers stand to benefit from supporting the travel-limited market. The report analyzes early usage data for UberWAV, a service providing wheelchair-accessible vehicles that Uber has launched in a number of US cities. The data suggest that ridesharing may be an effective way to provide accessible transport, mirroring its popularity among the broader population. Further, in the 12 months ending January 2019, the number of monthly UberWAV trips more than doubled, while the number of repeat users increased by 133%. Overall, the report estimates the transit needs of the travel-limited population could support a ridesharing fleet of over two million accessible vehicles.

“For future ridesharing fleets, accessible autonomous vehicles, in particular, are crucial to providing consistent supply to passengers with disabilities,” said Helena Berger, AAPD’s President and CEO. “These vehicles have the potential to significantly improve the mobility and independence of many Americans with disabilities by automating the driving process. However, these improvements are only possible if automobile manufacturers consider disabled people when constructing these vehicles, and include universal accessibility principles in their designs.”

The report categorizes the travel-limited population as those with general mobility challenges, as well as wheelchair and motorized wheelchair users. Additional findings of the report include:

  • The estimated range of the wheelchair-using population that has the means of purchasing private vehicles or using a ridesharing service is between 3.6 and 5.0 million.
  • The range of the motorized wheelchair-using population that has the means of purchasing private vehicles or using a ridesharing service is between 0.9 and 1.3 million.
  • The wheelchair-using and the travel-limited populations are six times more likely to live in zero vehicle households, and the motorized wheelchair-using population is eight times more likely.

To read the full report, visit www.analysisgroup.com/assessing_unmet_transportation_needs.pdf. To learn more about Analysis Group’s capabilities, visit www.analysisgroup.com. For more information about AAPD and their work, visit www.AAPD.com.

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About Analysis Group

Analysis Group is one of the largest international economics consulting firms, with more than 950 professionals across 14 offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. Since 1981, we have provided expertise in economics, finance, health care analytics, and strategy to top law firms, Fortune Global 500 companies, and government agencies worldwide. Our internal experts, together with our network of affiliated experts from academia, industry, and government, offer our clients exceptional breadth and depth of expertise.