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Travel Patterns of American Adults with Disabilities

Date: Thursday, September 6 2018

An estimated 25.5 million Americans have disabilities that make traveling outside the home difficult and 3.6 million do not leave their homes because they are disabled or housebound, according to “Travel Patterns of American Adults with Disabilities.” The Bureau of Transportation Statistics developed the report using data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey to examine the daily travel of adults with self-reported travel-limiting disabilities.

People with travel-limiting disabilities face mobility challenges because of lower levels of vehicle ownership and vehicle access than people without disabilities; they also experience lower employment rates and live in very low-income households. People with disabilities take fewer trips and use personal vehicles—but more often as a passenger—than people without disabilities.

 

Note: “Other modes” includes bicycles, golf carts, recreational vehicles, school buses, private or charter buses, city-to-city buses, Amtrak or commuter rail, taxis and limos (including Uber and Lyft), rental cars, airplanes, boats, and ferries.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 2017 National Household Travel Survey.

People with disabilities use a range of strategies to compensate for their transportation limitations. The two most common strategies are reducing their day-to-day travel (71 percent) and relying on others for rides (44 percent).

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 2017 National Household Travel Survey.

Technology might help address these transportation challenges, but people with disabilities use existing technologies such as smartphones and ride-hailing services less often. Autonomous vehicle and other assistive technologies may help people travel who previously could not drive.

Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2018