Viewpoints of Adults with and without Autism Spectrum Disorders on Public Transport
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Background: Public transport is low cost, allows for independence, and facilitates engagement and participation for non-drivers. However, the viewpoints of individuals with cognitive disabilities are rarely considered. In Australia, the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is approximately 1% and increasing. Many individuals with ASD do not possess a driver’s licence, indicating that access to public transport is crucial for their independence. However, at present, there is no research on the opinions of adults with ASD on public transport. Aim: To identify the viewpoints of adults with ASD regarding the barriers and facilitators of public transport usage and their transportation preferences, and to contrast these against the viewpoints of neurotypical adults. Methods: Q method was used to identify the viewpoints of both participant groups on public transport. Participants consisted of 55 adults with a diagnosis of ASD and a contrast group of 57 neurotypical adults. Both groups completed a Q sort task which took place in either Perth or Melbourne, Australia.Results: The most prominent viewpoint indicated that both groups preferred to use public transport over driving and believed that it supported their independence. This viewpoint also indicated that both groups preferred to use electronic ticketing when using public transport. Interestingly, the second most prominent viewpoint indicated that both groups preferred to drive themselves by private car rather than use public transport. Discussion: It appears that the viewpoints of adults with and without ASD regarding public transportation were largely similar. However, questions arose about whether the preference for public transport in the ASD group may be more a result of difficulties obtaining a driving licence than a deliberate choice. The only barrier specified by adults with ASD related to crowding on public transport. Safety and convenience in relation to location and timing of services were barriers reported by neurotypical adults.
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