Why We Can’t Afford to Ignore the Needs of Non-Drivers With Disabilities

People with disabilities who don’t drive are being left behind by accessibility efforts that ignore their unique and diverse needs — and centering them can carry benefits for everyone, a new study argues.

After interviewing more than a hundred Washington state residents with mobility challenges who can’t or don’t use a car, researchers at the Disability Rights Washington found that respondents “overwhelmingly” cited “the poor condition or absence of sidewalks” as the biggest barrier to getting where they needed to go, followed closely by problems with curb cuts, crosswalks and intersections.

What they want: Frequent and reliable fixed-route transit; zoning changes to make a range of accessible housing options abundant in well-connected neighborhoods; and a revamped planning processes to center the needs of non-drivers.