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Accessible autonomous transportation and services: voice of the consumer - understanding end-user priorities.

PURPOSE: This study aimed to explore the requirements for accessible Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) and AV services from a consumer perspective, focusing on people with disabilities (PwDs) and older adults.

METHODS: Two national surveys were conducted, capturing current transportation trends and AV priorities. Participants ( n  = 922) with disabilities and older adults were included in the analysis.

RESULTS: Transportation choices exhibited significant divergence based on the underlying causes of disabilities, showcasing distinct inclinations and impediments within each category. AV services, encompassing family conveyance and package delivery, proved integral, but their specific desirability fluctuated in accordance with the nature of disabilities. Notably, medical appointments emerged as the foremost AV utilisation requirement, particularly pronounced among individuals with hearing impairments. Preferences for orchestrating AV rides and the preferred vehicle types displayed disparities linked to the various disability classifications. The employment of mobile applications, websites, and text messages were preferred mediums for arranging rides. Features such as automated route guidance and collision prevention garnered unanimous precedence among AV attributes. Key priorities, spanning wheelchair accessibility, user profiles, and seamless communication with AVs, were universally emphasised across all participant clusters. The study indicated a moderate comfort level with AV deployment, implying the potential for favourable reception within the population of PwDs and older adults.

CONCLUSION: The study highlights the significance of considering diverse needs in accessible AV development of vehicle and infrastructure and policies.

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