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Technology to Support Transportation Needs Assessment, Training, and Pre-trip Planning by People with Intellectual Disability

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Limited access to affordable, reliable, and integrated transportation options limits participation by people with developmental disabilities in virtually every aspect of day-to-day life, from employment to health care to participation in religious life. Transportation is often unavailable, too expensive, or too limited. Often, people with intellectual disability rely on friends and family to get where they want and need to go. Fixed-route bus systems are the most frequent options for public transportation, but can be complex to use. Technology can provide options to decrease barriers to using fixed-route bus systems. This paper was to examine the utility of technology tools called the Smart Travel Concierge System (STCS) that support pre-trip assessment, training, and planning activities to support people with intellectual disability to travel using fixed route public transportation more independently.


This paper reports two pilot studies conducted with elements of the STCS providing pre-trip assessment and trip planning technology supports. Participants for both studies were people with intellectual disability. The pilot evaluation of the prototype of the STCS involved pre- and post-test evaluations of transportation support needs assessment, training, and pre-trip planning to use a fixed-route bus system using either paper/pencil or technology supports.


Pilot field studies established the potential utility of these technology tools to enable people with intellectual disability to plan and prepare for trips using fixed-route bus systems.


Technology supports like the STCS have potential to enable people with intellectual disability to use fixed-route bus systems and have greater access to their communities.

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The opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the US Department of Transportation, ITS-JPO or ATTRI. The authors would also like to thank Cheyenne Village, Inc., Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado, and Dungarvin for their support and cooperation in the project.


This research was supported by the US Department of Transportation’s Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI), a program of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, under Contract #DTFH6117C00013.

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Authors and Affiliations



SEK, DKD, and RGH designed and executed the study, assisted with the data analyses, and assisted with writing the paper. MLW provided consultation on research designs and assisted with writing the paper.

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Correspondence to Michael L. Wehmeyer.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Human subject approval for projects operated by the lead author were located at Peak Research and Development in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Stock, S.E., Davies, D.K., Herold, R.G. et al. Technology to Support Transportation Needs Assessment, Training, and Pre-trip Planning by People with Intellectual Disability. Adv Neurodev Disord 3, 319–324 (2019).

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