Enhancing the capacity of autistic people to use public transport

Autistic individuals face social and cognitive difficulties that affect their ability to establish relationships, maintain employment and participate in community activities. The independent use of public transport systems could be difficult and anxiety evoking for autistic travelers, as the task requires planning, interpreting schedules, managing transfers and problem-solving unpredictable changes. Safety concerns on the part of their families further limit their independent use of public transport. Furthermore, there is also limited understanding of the difficulties autistic people face while planning for, and accessing, public transport.

The overall aim of this project is to address community mobility challenges experienced by young autistic adults by developing and pilot testing a trouble shooting technology solution and other resources to improve access to and use of public transportation. The public transportation project will involve three studies, each involving consultation with the research advisory group of autistic adults established through Curtin University.

Project Objectives
The overall aim of the proposed research is to address community mobility challenges experienced by young adults with ASD by develop and pilot test a trouble shooting technology solution and other resources for young adults with ASD to improve access to and use of public transportation. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION PROJECT. The public transportation project will involve three studies. Each study will involve consultation with the research advisory group of adults with ASD established through Curtin University. The aims of each study include: Study 1: Inform the Front-end of a trouble shooting technology solution and other related resources to improve access to and use of public transportation for young adults with ASD.  Comprehensive environmental scan of existing transport apps, infrastructure and resources to identify difference with the Technology solution is existing and proposed.  Determine needs from the perspective of young people with ASD to improve access and use of public transport;  Identify barriers and facilitators to public transport access, and use as perceived by support workers/family and public transport and rehabilitation representatives;  Describe the common techniques/intervention strategies that facilitate independence in planning and travelling by public transport; and  Identify a specific tool or series of strategies which will be developed into a tangible output from this research. Study 2: Assuming that Study 1 identifies the need for a specific transportation technology solution. Design, develop and deploy the Back-end of a trouble shooting technology solution and other resources to improve access to and use of public transportation for young adults with ASD. Study 3: Test and finalise the trouble shooting of the technology solution and other resources with end-users in small pilot studies.
Project Leader(s)
  • David McMeekin, Curtin University
Research Program

Adulthood - Program 3