The Minnesota Council on Disability (MCD) is proud to support goMARTI (Minnesota’s Autonomous Rural Transit Initiative). The first accessibility-focused, rural self-driving vehicle project in Minnesota. MCD Council member Myrna Peterson was instrumental in bringing this unique pilot program to Grand Rapids.
Independence: A Tenet of Disability Rights
Inaccessible transportation is a barrier to for Minnesotans with disabilities. Automated vehicles could significantly improve their lives. Shuttles like those offered by goMARTI enable people with disabilities to live, work, and play independently.
goMARTI provides a great opportunity for a better quality of life for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy social engagement with family and friends throughout evenings and weekends. – Myrna Peterson, MCD Council member
Planning for the Road Ahead
If public automated vehicles are to succeed, we must consider the needs of people with disabilities in any rollout. MCD has served on several councils and committees dedicated to this task:
- the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC)
- the Connected and Automated Vehicles Advisory Council
- the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA)
- other access-related workgroups and committees
The goMARTI project in Grand Rapids is an important milestone in the journey to make the work of these groups a reality.
MCD looks forward to a successful goMARTI project. We hope it leads to similar accessible autonomous vehicle projects around the state. Together, we can provide more accessible transportation options throughout Minnesota.
Electric Vehicles: More Work to Do
Accessible and autonomous electric vehicles are an important part of greater transportation access. But there is more work to do. For electric vehicles (EVs) to be truly accessible to people with disabilities, EV charging stations must be accessible.
Follow our public policy work in 2023 as we continue to advocate for mandatory accessibility at public charging stations. Learn more about Design Recommendations for Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging Stations.