Phoenix citizens with disabilities confront barriers in public transportation

  • Date: 11/21/2023

While widely spread throughout the city and a popular alternative to driving, public transportation in Phoenix has been criticized recently for its associated dangers to residents. However, the risks and limitations of the Phoenix public transportation systems are magnified for a particularly underrepresented community: people with disabilities.

Public transportation systems, including Valley Metro’s light rail and bus routes, work to make Phoenix a more connected urban setting. However, the reality for many citizens is that these systems favor those who are nondisabled. According to data collected in 2019 by the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, only 3.7% of individuals with disabilities commuted to work utilizing public transportation in Maricopa County.

Ava Lemke, a member of Arizona State University’s Accessibility Coalition and a board member for the Arizona Center for Disability Law, said some transportation services actually inhibit citizens with disabilities.

“ASU shuttles don’t emit a verbal notification when the bus arrives at the destination,” said Lemke. “This can cause difficulty for people with low-vision or blindness. Additionally, the light rails have a fairly short window of entrance and exit before the doors close. I think this could be adjusted to be safer.”

Open Article


We’d love to hear from you!

Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Sage Kashner (

Skip to toolbar