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Chapter 5. User Experience: On the Bus > Getting Information About Getting Arou...

Getting Information About Getting Around Town

Millions of Americans spend huge amounts of time in their cars every day, driving to and from work, school, shopping centers, doctors’ offices, and the homes of friends and relatives. Many people don’t think twice about jumping in the car and driving to the store to pick up an extra quart of milk or a bottle of detergent. Some people climb into their cars when they get angry or upset and just drive around until they calm down. Our entertainers sing about riding around in their automobiles—Chuck Berry, Jan and Dean, the Beach Boys, and Lyle Lovett. Our novelists celebrate it—think of Jack Kerouac’s Beat classic, On the Road. And then of course there are the movies—Thelma and Louise, Scent of a Woman, Breathless.

But there are people in the United States who don’t drive—not because they don’t want to, for the most part, but because they can’t. Some can’t drive because the nature of their disabilities is such that it makes driving impossible. Others can’t drive for economic reasons. Seventy percent of people with disabilities who are willing and able to work are unemployed; over a third of Americans with disabilities have incomes below $15,000 a year. [1] The poverty that so often accompanies disability prevents them from owning cars and makes it difficult for them to access the jobs that might allow them to do so.

[1] Bush Administration. Executive Summary: Fulfilling America’s Promise to Americans with Disabilities. Accessed May 22, 2002, at http://www.dol.gov/_sec/programs/ptfead/freedom_init.htm#2.


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