Stories by Henry Claypool

Expert Voices

Ridesharing's accessibility struggles could have consequences for AVs

A van with Lyft and Uber window stickers moves through traffic in Manhattan
A car with Lyft and Uber window stickers moves through traffic in Manhattan. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Even as ridesharing companies expand their offerings and look towards AV deployment, many people with disabilities are still unable to access today's shared vehicles.

Why it matters: Ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, formed their business models and then — belatedly, allege critics — began addressing accessibility challenges, a strategy that could hinder disability access to AVs in the future.

Expert Voices

The market for accessible AVs is growing

A man in a wheelchair hails a taxi
A man using a wheelchair hails a taxi. Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Ride-sharing options are scarce for people who use wheelchairs or have other travel limitations — and the need is likely to grow as the U.S. population ages.

Why it matters: With accessible ride-sharing, AV companies could expand travel options for as many as 15.4 million people who have the means to use ride-sharing services but limited opportunities.

Expert Voices

U.S. automakers risk falling behind foreign firms on accessibility

The front of a Volkswagen e-Golf electric car in front of the Volkswagen AG factory in Germany
The Volkswagen AG factory in Dresden, Germany. Photo: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

Toyota, Renault, and VW have announced concept AVs that could be wheelchair accessible, but American automakers have yet to share wheelchair accessible design concepts.

Why it matters: If American auto manufacturers cede leadership on accessibility, they could end up forfeiting leadership on AV design more broadly and minimizing the role their cars can play in ridesharing long-term.