UTT: A Conceptual Model to Guide Universal Design of Autonomous Vehicles


Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are closer to becoming a reality in changing the landscape of commercial and personal transportation. The launch of these vehicles come with the promise of improved road safety, reduced traffic fatalities, and enhanced mobility. However, there are questions as to whether the design of AVs will meet the needs of everyone, including people with disabilities and older adults. We argue that there exists no conceptual model that guides the inclusive design of autonomous vehicles to benefit all intended users. This paper proposes such a model, called the User Transportation-Activity Technology (UTT) model, which supports the inclusive design of AVs. We present a review of current models of assistive technology design and their drawbacks followed by an introduction of the UTT model and its application in AV design. This paper may benefit researchers, designers, and developers of autonomous vehicles interested in addressing accessible design issues in such vehicles.