Free Movement: Enhancing Open Data to Facilitate Independent Travel for Persons with Disabilities

Nearly 40 million Americans report a disability, and of this population, 70 percent travel less because of the challenges they face. When they do travel, those with limited mobility are more likely to be pedestrians or public transit users. Today, free commercial routing applications such as Google Maps offer a robust suite of tools for the able-bodied public to walk, ride bikes, take public transportation, or hail a taxi. Yet, such tools for persons with limited mobility to determine a safe and perhaps even pleasant urban route are experimental, limited, and only available in select cities (e.g., This project intervenes by tackling the challenge of missing environmental data. First, the research team assesses a regionally stratified sample of municipalities across the United States on their collection and maintenance of open data on environmental features that impact accessible travel for persons with disabilities. Based on this assessment, the team evaluates options for filling in missing datasets, such as spatial interpolation methodologies, machine learning and supplemental open data such as open street map, LiDAR, and aerial imagery. The team will apply these methodologies to municipalities with open datasets of variable completeness – providing a replicable framework for municipalities across the U.S. Centering the needs of community members with disabilities, this research will create tools for improving mobility, increasing community strength and inclusivity.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $15000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    TREC at Portland State University

    1900 SW Fourth Ave, Suite 175
    P.O. Box 751
    Portland, Oregon  United States  97201
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Oregon, Eugene

    Eugene, OR  United States  97403
  • Principal Investigators:

    Deitz, Shiloh

  • Start Date: 20200210
  • Expected Completion Date: 20210331
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01737732
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Institute for Transportation and Communities
  • Contract Numbers: NITC-1374
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Apr 23 2020 4:10PM