“Transportation Works” summit

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There are nearly 1.9 million Texans with disabilities who do not leave their homes because of inadequate transportation services.

That’s why incorporating technology with travel took center stage on Thursday at the 2nd Annual Transportation Summit.

“The biggest concern really is community access,” said Mack Marsh, Project Director of Parking Mobility.

The summit, hosted by the Texas State Independent Living Council and the Heart of Central Texas Independent Living, talks everything mobility.

“Everything from apps to wearables to different transportation modes, so driverless cars, autonomous vehicles that sort of thing,” said Marsh.

Some of these ideas are already being rolled out and tested in bigger cities like Houston and San Antonio, but experts say Waco isn’t far behind.

“Certainly as we learn those things in those larger communities, we’ll be able to bring them to our great Texas communities like Waco,” said Marsh.

Transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, who are already replacing yellow cabs in some cities like Waco, say they are constantly looking to use technology to improve the life of everyday citizens.

“Engaging and understanding how we can improve our technology in the platform is what we are here to do and listen more than anything. Waco is a big market for us, we’re very excited to be here. And we see our business booming here, it’s creating a ton of economic opportunities,” said Trevor Theunissen, Public Affairs Lead, for Texas.

And, it’s not just ground transportation getting all the attention.

“The possibility of the future of accessible air travel and we are crash testing wheelchair tie down systems for a future prototype,” said Michele Erwin, All Wheels Up, Inc.

So that everyone, with disabilities or not, can have accessible transportation when they need it.

“Transportation is really a critical piece to people living independently in the community,” said Marsh.

The Transportation Summit continues on Friday. The next one will be held in the Spring of 2019 in McAllen, TX.

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