U.S. attorney’s office resolves ADA compliance review of Mcity driverless shuttle program

Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 7:56pm

The University of Michigan’s Mcity Driverless Shuttle was announced today to be ADA compliant.

The University of Michigan’s Mcity Driverless Shuttle was announced today to be ADA compliant. Buy this photo
Asha Lewis/Daily

The Americans with Disabilities Compliance Review of the University of Michigan’s Mcity Driverless Shuttle Program has been resolved “amicably,” the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan announced today. 

The Office, a part of the Department of Justice, initiated the review after seeing media reports of the program showing “vehicles inaccessible to individuals with disabilities, especially those with mobility impairments.”  According to a letter of resolution from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to the University’s Associate General Counsel provided to The Daily, the University was fully cooperative with the review.

The review found the University bought two new vehicles that did not have accessible features for the autonomous transportation system which operates on a fixed route. However, Title II of the ADA Act of 1990 requires all new vehicles which operate on a fixed route be accessible. 

The University has agreed all future “highly automated vehicles” purchased for the Mcity program will be equipped with accessible features. The University must also develop policies, procedures and training materials for these features within 90 days of purchase. In addition, the University must convene a research group dedicated to studying the accessibility of autonomous transportation to individuals with disabilities. 

In return, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will close its compliance review. No further action will be taken, the letter stated, unless there is information suggesting the University neglects to abide with Title II regulations or the agreements of this resolution. 

According to a statement in the press release by Saima Mohsin, the first assistant United States attorney for the eastern district of Michigan, programs like Mcity could be especially beneficial to individuals with disabilities.

“Driverless vehicles and transportation systems have enormous potential to assure self-sufficiency for individuals who have disabilities,” Mohsin wrote. “I commend the University of Michigan for making this commitment to individuals who have disabilities.”