Transportation Options for Young Adults

A big part of independence is transportation, or how you get to the places you need and want to go. People with disabilities have many transportation choices such as getting a driver's license, public transportation, and private services. The right option depends on your desires and abilities.

Driver's Education/License

People with disabilities who are interested in driving can take driver's education classes (both written and behind the wheel) to get a driver's license. Many accommodations can be made depending on the nature of a person’s disability:

  • Physical Disability – Driver’s education varies from state to state, but youth with disabilities who are in high school may be able to sign up for the classroom part of driver's education as they would for any other high school course. Contact the school counselor or the school district before registering for the class to find out if an adapted vehicle is needed and available for the student. Extra time may be needed for the instructor to teach the student adaptive driving.
  • Cognitive/Learning/Developmental Disability – For a young adult with these types of disabilities, contact a private driving school. You can find these listed online.
State driver's license agencies may provide more information about options for getting a driver's license.

Local organizations may be able to provide adaptive driving equipment. See Assistive Technology Equipment (see NW providers [37]) services providers in our database.

Adapted Motor Vehicles

Technology gives many people with disabilities the chance to drive or be transported in their own vehicles with adaptive devices. A few examples of this technology are hand controls, modified seating and steering, and wheelchair ramps or lifts.

To find more information about vehicle adaptations, go to Transportation and Travel for People with Disabilities.

Adaptive Driving

When assistive technology and adaptations are necessary for a young adult or adult with disabilities to drive a vehicle, they will need to find someone to adapt the vehicle and learn how to use this technology. For more information, go to the Adaptive Driving page.

Public Transportation

Public transportation services are available to everyone, and there are great options for people with disabilities that need different accommodations to get around. For more information see the Transportation and Travel for People with Disabilities page.

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) allows patients who are not able to travel on their own due to medical conditions to travel safely for local trips or long distances. For more information on private pay and Medicaid options go to Transportation and Travel for People with Disabilities.

Private Transportation

Many taxi companies provide accessible vehicles. Some may require you to schedule rides in advance and may charge additional fees. Call your local taxi companies for more details.

Private companies may also provide accessible transportation services. See all Disability Related Transportation (see NW providers [4]) services providers in our database and see all General Transportation (see NW providers [1]) services providers in our database.

Air Travel

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel by requiring U.S. airlines and foreign airlines that provide flights to or from the United States to offer accessible facilities, accommodations, and other services to passengers with disabilities. For more information on air travel go to Transportation and Travel for People with Disabilities.


Information & Support

For Parents and Patients

Wheelchair Accessible Hotels
Searchable listing of wheelchair accessible hotels worldwide. Online services only.

Services for Patients & Families Nationwide (NW)

For services not listed above, browse our Services categories or search our database.

* number of provider listings may vary by how states categorize services, whether providers are listed by organization or individual, how services are organized in the state, and other factors; Nationwide (NW) providers are generally limited to web-based services, provider locator services, and organizations that serve children from across the nation.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: December 2005; last update/revision: September 2020
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Contributing Authors: Gina Pola-Money
Alfred N. Romeo, RN, PhD
Reviewer: Tina Persels
Funding: Thank you to the Utah Medical Home Young Adult Advisory Committee for reviewing this section.
Authoring history
2014: update: Tina PerselsCA; Shena McAuliffe, MFAR
2005: first version: Robin PrattCA; Barbara Ward, RN BSCA; Joyce DolcourtCA; Kristine FergusonCA; Teresa Such-Neibar, DOCA; Lynn Foxx PeaseCA; Helen PostCA; Roz WelchCA
AAuthor; CAContributing Author; SASenior Author; RReviewer