The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and La Trobe University are calling for expressions of interest from people with disability to join a focus group exploring the benefits of futuristic vehicles and transport technology.
This research initiative by the Centre for Technology Infusion (CTI) at La Trobe University, and supported by the AFDO, will utilise a short-term focus group to discuss 'Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) technologies' (such as driverless cars) to identify ways these emerging technologies can improve personal and public transport options for people with disability.
Automated vehicles are vehicles that can perform some driving functions automatically, without the input of a human driver. Connected vehicle technology allows vehicles to exchange data cooperatively through wireless communication.
While the prospect of this type of technology is exciting, researchers say the development of standards and regulations risks falling behind for people with disability, who need the technology the most.
The paid focus group will:
Examine if and how CAV modes and services can be incorporated into the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Disability Transport Standards) to deliver access to our cities and regions for people with disabilities via public transport.
Assess the requirements that people with disabilities have with these emerging technologies and inform the defining of a framework.
Recommend amendments that can be implemented through the current reform process to the Disability Transport Standards.
"AFDO is pleased to be part of this research with Latrobe University, exploring the needs of people with lived experience of disability in relation to regulations, potential benefits or issues with connected and automated vehicle technologies," says AFDO Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ross Joyce.
"It is essential that we involve and hear from people with disability as to their experience and ideas for improvements which are then captured in regulations and requirements at the very beginning of any change, initiative or emerging technology, rather than trying to resolve issues after the event or, in a lot of cases, not at all.
"AFDO ensures that the lived experiences of people with disability are recognised, respected and their expertise is appropriately acknowledged and paid for in any consultative process. It is important for the views of people with disability to be reflected in the ongoing rapid development in this area of technology."
The focus groups will be conducted over two phases:
Phase 1: What are challenges and opportunities that CAV technologies offer to people with disability?
Phase 2: How those challenges best be mitigated or facilitated by regulators and industry.
All information discussed in the focus group will remain anonymous.
To be considered, you must meet the following selection criteria:
Lived experience of disability
Experience accessing and utilising public transport along with transport services
Availability in February and/or May 2021 (exact dates to be confirmed)
Ability to attend meetings online (using an online meeting platform such as Zoom)
The project will cover accessibility requirements for participants, including support people.
Remuneration will be $80.00 per hour (inc GST) deposited onto a debit card, which will be posted after the focus group has finished.
The two sessions are anticipated to run for approximately two hours with a short break included. The researchers will send pre-reading materials which will be discussed during the meetings.
Expressions of interest close Monday, 8 February, 2021 at 5 pm.
If you are interested in being a part of this focus group, register your interest by emailing [email protected] at the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and include a brief background along with your contact details.