Universal Mobility - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Universal Mobility

Increasing access to transportation for people with disabilities

Image courtesy Lynn Renee Photography

Nearly every person in the Chicago region, or someone they care for, will face a disability that impacts their mobility at some point in their life. Age, illness, injury, pregnancy, and genetics can all affect mobility. A public transportation system should meet the needs of all its customers, no matter their age or ability.


For people with disabilities, getting around the Chicago region can be difficult. An uncoordinated patchwork of accessible transportation services, missing sidewalks, and poor information force individuals to minimize travel, rely on friends and family, or resort to expensive private providers.


Mobility is a human right. Regardless of age or ability, access to high-quality accessible transportation is fundamental to exercising that right. That's why MPC worked with policy experts, service providers, advocates, and paratransit users to create a vision for a better system. The result, "Toward Universal Mobility: Charting a Path to Improve Transportation Accessibility," is a groundbreaking report that includes 32 policy recommendations designed to unlock opportunities for older adults and people with disabilities. Chief among them: create a regional mobility coordinator that can work across jurisdictions and break down bureaucratic silos to provide better and more consistent service across the region.

Read the full report here


With the right partners and enough political will, we can make lasting change for people with disabilities in Chicagoland. We envision a future where wait times aren’t dramatically different for wheelchair users, where wayfinding tools include braille and audible cues, where confusing and arbitrary service boundaries don't make everyday trips impossible... where we can all go where we need to go safely, quickly and comfortably.

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MPC thanks the many individuals who contributed to this report, including a committed group of advisors; disability advocates, paratransit users, and transportation professionals around the region; and students from the University of Chicago Harris School. Special thanks to the individuals profiled in this report, who generously shared their time and stories with us.

MPC thanks our Toward Universal Mobility report sponsors, Transdev.

MPC also thanks our Toward Universal Mobility event sponsors, Wight & Company.

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616 info@metroplanning.org

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Shaping a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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