The Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) is a five-year, multi-agency research and development (R&D) program aimed at help United States citizens and visitors with visual, hearing, cognitive and mobility challenges to use technology to improve how they plan and execute their travel. Launched in 2013, the objective of the initiative is to help disabled persons, including injured veterans and older adults, to take advantage of advances in intelligent transportation services -- including advances in vehicle and transportation infrastructure technologies, innovations in navigation, data accessibility, artificial intelligence, and object recognition.
ATTRI centers on four applications to help travelers with disabilities:
Pre-trip concierge and virtualization - includes technologies that help provide travelers with necessary en-route information, such as the availability of access ramps or virtual caregiver support.
Robotics and automation - includes transport technologies that help improve mobility.
Safe intersection crossings - includes technologies that help pedestrians to safely deal with moving vehicles.
These technologies are enhanced by wireless communications, which allow travelers and their mobile devices to connect to vehicles and roadside infrastructure. For example, an intelligent transportation system can help alleviate safety risks at street crossings by communicating to vehicles the presence of a crossing pedestrian.
Although ATTRI is focused on helping travelers with disabilities in the United States, an important goal is to increase awareness for accessibility needs worldwide. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s ATTRI is co-led by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration with support from the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office and other federal government agencies.
The program is being implemented in three phases: research; prototype development and testing and demonstration. In the first phase of the ATTRI, researchers found that the most critical user needs were related to reliable, real-time travel information. Key considerations of prototype development and testing include providing universal access to real-time data sources, such as data specific to transportation systems. Other considerations include developing applications travelers with disabilities can use easily, including integrated payment systems that travelers of any ability can use to pay for transportation, parking or other transactions.