Safety Perceptions of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) by the Blind and Visually Impaired

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SAFE-D: Safety Through Disruption National University Transportation Center

For individuals that are visually impaired, access to safe and reliable transportation can be a significant challenge. The limited menu of mobility options can culminate in a reduced quality of life and more difficulty accessing housing and employment, relative to sighted individuals. Transportation network companies (TNCs, or ridesharing companies) have emerged as a new mode of travel that has the potential to increase access to transportation for the visually impaired. The opportunities and challenges for TNC use by individuals with blindness or visual impairment has not been widely studied. The goal of this research is to use both qualitative and quantitative methods to identify how this community perceives the safety of TNCs relative to other travel modes, and how they utilize TNCs for safe travel. The findings suggest that TNCs are used by a significant proportion of this population. The findings also suggest that one’s experience (or lack thereof) with TNC use has a strong influence on the safety perceptions of this new mode of travel. Finally, while TNCs present an opportunity for riders that are visually impaired to become more engaged in myriad activities, there are still areas in which ridesharing companies can make improvements.

visual impairment, transportation network companies (TNCs), ridesharing, blindness