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Law students seek input from wheelchair users on “for-hire” transportation

June 22, 2015


Recently, an independent group of Lewis & Clark Law students created the Portland Equal Access Plan (PEAP) and helped shape regulatory standards in Portland. Following this success, the group is focusing their research specifically on wheelchair users’ experience with for-hire transportation in Portland.

PEAP has the potential to insure that wheelchair users in Portland have access to
for-hire transportation services provided by Uber, Lyft, and local taxi companies. In an effort to refine the performance standards contained in PEAP, the students have launched a data collection campaign focused on wheelchair users’ access to for-hire transportation.

Historically, Portland required taxi companies to maintain a certain percentage of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) in their fleets. This arbitrary fleet standard has failed to deliver an appropriate level of transportation service for wheelchair users. Worse, because the fleet standard has not been applied to app based companies, like Uber and Lyft, the share of WAVs available to wheelchair users in the citywide for-hire transportation fleet has eroded.

PEAP would replace the old fleet standard with a service standard applicable to all for-hire transportation companies, taxis and app-based alike. The transportation companies, free of arbitrary fleet regulation, would then be free to determine the most efficient means to achieve the PEAP service standard.

The law students are now collecting data to inform Portland policymakers about WAV demand levels and the response times necessary to insure an appropriate level of service available to wheelchair users. Anyone who has requested a WAV from any taxi company or any app-based transportation network company, like Uber, is encouraged to use the link below to complete the survey. No personal information is collected and all data will be used to better inform Portland transportation policy decisions.

For information about this group’s previous activities:

For questions or comments regarding this research please contact Leslie Hallan at:

Update: Aug, 28, 2015: OregonLive publishes oped piece by law students Tessa Copeland and Leslie Hallan regarding laws surrounding transportation companies like Uber.

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