PHOENIX — Seniors and the disabled in the East Valley find self-driving vehicles preferable over conventional taxis and rideshare options, a recent study found.
A report released by the Federal Transit Administration last week showed for the senior population and Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit-certified riders, autonomous vehicles provided a “safe, convenient travel solution.”
Valley Metro, in collaboration with ASU and Waymo, found AV riders were satisfied in regards to wait time, travel time, comfort and ease of requesting a ride, officials said in a press release.
Furthermore, riders in the study said they were engaged in more activities outside of the home and believe they would feel comfortable riding without an AV specialist.
“The insights gained through this first-of-its-kind partnership support developing a product and service that holds the promise of enabling mobility for all, offering a new kind of freedom for individuals to go where they want, when they want,” Nicole Gavel, head of business development and strategic partnership for Waymo, said in the release.
The six-month study that began in 2019 was funded by the FTA to gain a better understanding of where self-driving vehicles would fit within the RideChoice program for ADA riders and seniors aged 65 and over.
“Incorporating new technology into our transit system is a leap that we are ready to take,” Scott Smith, Valley Metro CEO, said in the release. “There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to offering transit services.
“We will continue to seek out feasible solutions that make sense for every age and ability of our riders.”
Waymo was offering rides in the East Valley service area between September 2019 and March 2020.