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Are automated transit vehicles compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Federal law mandates that vehicles used for public transit service be accessible. Additionally, ADA regulations require drivers to provide assistance, for example, with securing wheelchairs and helping with other accessibility features. Partial automation (Level 1 / Level 2) does not appear to present any ADA issues or challenges because the driver would still be present. However, for fully automated operations, it is unclear how this assistance could be provided without having an employee in the vehicle.

Some transit agencies have discussed having a non-driving employee available for onboard assistance. Robotic approaches and other technologies solutions have been developed, but more research is needed to determine whether they meet ADA standards and requirements.

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