Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

Factors Surrounding Child Seat Usage in Ride-Share Services


With the recent explosion in popularity of ride-sourcing and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft[1], and the impending cultural shift from privately-owning vehicles to the use of these services[2], a growing concern for families and caregivers is how to safely transport children when ride-sourcing. Unlike traditional personally-owned family vehicles, ride-sourced vehicles and taxicabs do not generally have permanently-installed child safety seats. Combined with the increasing size and weight of child safety seats that improve safety but reduce portability, this poses a serious concern for caregivers who want to protect their children during day-to-day travel and in unusual travel situations such as during vacations.

In collaboration with researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the Virginia Tech Center for Survey Research, researchers at VTTI plan to conduct an analysis of the current state of child passengers and child safety seat use in ride-sourced vehicles along with other more traditional sources of transit such as taxicabs. We anticipate this developing as a multiphase project, with the initial (Year 1) phase consisting of top level, qualitative and quantitative analyses of driver and rider perspectives and self-reported behaviors. Future phases could include observational and/or interventional approaches, including the collection of naturalistic driving data using instrumented vehicles, culminating in recommendations for improvement in the safe transport of children in this emerging and important industry.


Final Report

Coming Soon!

EWD & T2 Products This website is a joint production of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and was created to help parents, caregivers, and drivers of ride-share vehicles better understand the laws and regulations surrounding child passenger safety. Here you’ll find state-by-state guidance that will help you understand regulations and responsibilities, whether you’re looking for information about your home area or are planning a trip, with links to actual regulations for each state.


Barowski, L., Womack, K. & Owens, J. (2018). Transporting Young Children in Ride-Share Vehicles. Talk to be presented at 2018 annual Lifesavers Conference, San Antonio, TX (Accepted)

Al-Kahtani, A. and Womack, K. (2017). Factors Surrounding Child Seat Usage in Ride-Share Services. Poster presented at the Texas A&M University Undergraduate Research Summer Poster Session. (Published)

Research Investigators (PI*)

Justin Owens (VTTI/VT)*
Katie Womack (TTI/TAMU)

Project Information

Start Date: 2017-04-01
End Date: 2019-03-11
Status: Active
Grant Number: 69A3551747115
Total Funding: $160,366
Source Organization: Safe-D National UTC
Project Number: 01-005

Safe-D Theme Areas

Transportation as a Service

Safe-D Application Areas

Vulnerable Users
Driver Factors and Interfaces

More Information

UTC Project Information Form

Sponsor Organization

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
University Transportation Centers Program
Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590 United States

Performing Organization

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
3135 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-3135