People depend on transportation for their quality of life and having a disability can make it harder to move around. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in nine Minnesotans have a disability.1 This equals 608,774 people (or 11%) of the total state population. Disabilities can complicate everyday tasks, such as reading a transit schedule, reading directions, driving a car, climbing steps or crossing a street. Different or added transportation services can help people with a disability stay in good health and take part in the community. A recent study found that accessible transportation options reduce social isolation and increase community integration for people with a disability.2
Older adults (over 65) have the highest proportion of disability status by age group. Nearly 45% of people 75 and older have a disability. The most common type of disabilities is ambulatory (e.g., difficulty walking). Other common types are cognitive and independent living.
Minnesotans living with a disability are employed at a rate higher than the national average. However, employment for people with a disability is still lower than for people who do not have a disability. About two-thirds of workers with disabilities drive alone to work. More than three-quarters of workers without a disability do. People with a disability use public transit to get to work more than twice as much as people without a disability. People with a disability also use paratransit services.
Agencies are working toward compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This improves aspects of transportation, like transit service and sidewalk infrastructure, so that people of all abilities can use them safely and comfortably. New mobility as a service options, like ride hailing and e-bikes or e-scooters, are also creating mobility options for people with disabilities. However, they have a long way to go to supply fair services. Some of the barriers that prevent people from using these services include the type of payment required, physical disability limitations and reliance on smart phones.