ITS Davis postdoctoral researcher Prashanth S. Venkataram presented Disability, Transportation, and Accessibility: New Trends and Longstanding Challenges in the US at the ITS Transportation Seminar on Feb. 24, 2023.
Abstract: People with disabilities often encounter problems with transportation that limit overall mobility and quality of life. Many problems with various transportation modes are longstanding, while other problems that cut across modes have become salient more recently in the context of planners' & other policymakers' efforts to make transportation more sustainable & equitable. We review these issues in the United States of America in the contexts of broader travel trends as well as what the Americans with Disabilities Act does versus does not do. We frame these issues in terms of "immediate usability", referring to problems that can end a trip, "availability", referring to presence of a mode or infrastructure in space & time, and "cumulative usability", referring to problems that might not end a trip but can lead to cumulative physical or mental strains that discourage future tripmaking, all within the broader contexts of accessibility & universal design.
Bio: Dr. Prashanth S. Venkataram is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis, Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis). He works at the intersection of transportation & disability in the US, using surveys, focus groups, and interviews as a principal investigator in projects funded by Caltrans and through California SB 1 to understand transportation challenges facing people with disabilities, how disability may affect the choices & desires that people have for transportation & neighborhood features, and changes in travel behavior among individuals involved in road collisions. His work has also gone beyond traditional academic research to include contributions to federal and state-level regulations affecting transportation for people with disabilities, a submission to the 2020 US DOT Inclusive Design Challenge, and podcast appearances highlighting his work. He received his PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 2020 and joined ITS-Davis soon after as a UC Davis Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow.