Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Van Laarhoven, Toni

Second Advisor

Summers, Kelly H.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations (LEPF)


The journey to support people with disabilities began nearly 70 years ago when federal laws began to inform educational practices and ensured accountability that people with disabilities should be able to live a full life. Transportation is one skill that people with disabilities need in order to reach their goals. Transportation impacts nearly every aspect of daily life for people with disabilities and continues to be an obstacle to the attainment of employment, postsecondary education, and independent living unless changes are made. This study addressed the fears and the barriers of using transportation and then identified changes that could be put into place to decrease fears and barriers. The purpose was to uncover how the identified fears and barriers may lead to transportation improvements, affording people with disabilities the opportunity to work, learn and live in their community. A mixed methodology research design was used in this study. The data collected centered around two critical areas of research in relation to transportation: understanding fears and barriers and recommendations for improvement. A survey was emailed to practitioners and caregivers residing in Illinois to identify fears and barriers related to transportation and to obtain ideas for strengthening transportation for people with disabilities. All collected data were self-reported by practitioners or caregivers of people with disabilities. Caregivers’ and practitioners believed that the inability to use executive functioning skills, the safety of the rider, and the fear of getting off at the incorrect stop most impede the utilization and success of transportation for people with disabilities. As a result, people with disabilities turn to their immediate family members to provide transportation to get to their job, engage in postsecondary educational opportunities, and interact within their community. The data collected on the improvements needed with respect to transportation showed that if enhancements include flexible and dependable schedules and stops, improved safety, cost efficiencies, additional support person on transportation, and more options for transportation, people with disabilities would access and utilize transportation. At the beginning of the journey, the greater community advocated so that people with disabilities were included in public schools, alongside their same-aged peers. This study demonstrated that although the path toward safe and successful utilization of transportation for people with disabilities has begun, there is a great deal of work ahead.


99 pages




Northern Illinois University

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