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Accessible Autonomous Transportation

Sivakanthan, Sivashankar (2023) Accessible Autonomous Transportation. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Introduction: Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are upon us in commercial development, but accessibility still needs to be addressed. Current transportation barriers such as vehicle/ location accessibility and inadequate public transportation service availability have led to reduced abilities to perform activities of daily living. There are two avenues to counter this problem: the AV can be modified to be accessible, or the wheelchair can be made accessible for AV users. As part of future work, a step-recognition and negotiation system were created, so that ramps would not be required to be installed on vehicles.
Method: Two national surveys were created to obtain feedback from accessible AV consumers and providers across the US, titled: “Voice of the Consumer (VoC)” and “Voice of the Provider (VoP)”. A descriptive statistics analysis was conducted to tally the priorities of consumers and providers about AV automated vehicle features, AV accessibility features, and AV services. Also, a design criterion was established through TwoStep clustering analysis for each question given participant sociodemographic (disability type, wheelchair user, household income, age, and community setting).
Results & Discussion: A total of 922 consumers and 45 providers met the VoC and VoP inclusion criteria, respectively. Participants encouraged access to more personal transportation activities, especially medical appointments in rural regions. Also, participants highlighted that they would require all AV automated features except for wheelchair users who stressed more importance towards accessible entrance locations, especially for those with a lower household income threshold ($25,000 - $49,000). The VoP results indicated that accessible transportation service providers and designer priorities are in-line with consumer priorities about accessible AVs.
Conclusion: The VoC and VoP results reinforced the content validity based on previous research (systematic review, journey mapping, and focus group research) where there was a unanimous answer for most of the questions. The priorities need to be shifted towards catering towards wheelchair accessibility on AVs and greater access to be given to those in rural and lower income thresholds to attend medical appointments. This allows us to circle back to robotic wheelchair development to explore further on how it can recognize and negotiate into AVs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sivakanthan, Sivashankarsis65@pitt.edusis650000-0001-6121-5142
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCooper, Rory ARCOOPER@pitt.eduRCOOPER0000-0003-0405-5773
Committee CoChairDicianno, BEdicianno@pitt.eduDICIANNO0000-0003-0738-0192
Committee MemberKoontz, Alicia Makoontz@pitt.eduAKOONTZ0000-0002-2222-3673
Committee MemberCandiotti, Jorgejlc118@pitt.eduJLC1180000-0002-4326-2022
Committee MemberWang,
Date: 14 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 23 April 2023
Approval Date: 14 September 2023
Submission Date: 14 May 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 148
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: autonomous vehicles, robotic wheelchairs, accessibility
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2023 12:41
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2023 12:41

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