In September 2017, the United Kingdom’s Department of Transport’s Rail Safety and Standards Board launched a competition to find creative solutions to difficulties faced by commuters with disabilities. The Department of Transport recently announced the seven projects selected to receive government funding.

According to the United Kingdom Government the seven projects chosen by the Department of Transport are:

  • Accessibility Evaluation Survey for Stations (ACCESS)
    A software aimed to identify the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities using public transportation.
  • Less Visible Impairments (LVIS)
    A study focused on promoting the frontline staff’s understanding of disabilities that are hidden, such as dementia.
  • Rail4All
    An application for managing requests from disabled passengers more efficiently.
  • Accessible Journey Pocket Assistant
    A tool that will give passengers commuting advice during their trip.
  • Nodality
    A website containing accessibility information of all stations.
  • Singly
    An application that will send travel and safety notices to the smart-phones and tablets of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Aubin
    An application designed for individuals with autism that uses stress related preferences to navigate to the user’s destination.

Mark Phillips, Chief Executive of Rail Safety and Standards Board, told the United Kingdom Government, “I am determined to make sure that our railways are accessible to everyone, and that we remove any barriers faced by people with a disability.

In the U.S., Ohio State University has studios and workshops for students that explore how planners and architects can design communities that are accessible to individuals with autism. Ohio State UniversityProfessor Kyle Ezell leads the workshops. Ezell told Ohio State University journalists, “While there is related research on physical disabilities, there is virtually no literature in the planning field on cognitive disabilities such as autism…the work that follows will forge a new trail in the planning practice for this underserved group.”

Project proposals for the course include developing weather resistant bus stops, routes with increased connectivity, and easy to access assistance tools. Dr. Emilio Amigo of Amigo Family Counseling told Ohio State University reporters, “Adults with autism are overlooked in the planning process; they remain more socially isolated and generally lack confidence in navigating public transportation”.

The American Planning Association Interest Group, Planning with Underserved Populations, formed as a result of Professor Ezell courses.

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