R6: “Access for All” – Best Practices and Tools to Ensure Accessible Transportation
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
10:30 a.m. - noon EDT
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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 affords persons with disabilities the same access and opportunities as those who are able-bodied. However, more often than not, pedestrian infrastructure is constructed piecemeal based on roadway construction and/or municipal maintenance schedules. Design drawings and retrofits meant to incorporate ADA standards often are completed by those who have a basic understanding of the technical specifications and may apply incorrect standards using outdated regulations and minimum requirements. Maintenance issues, such as shifting concrete sidewalks and growing tree roots, are handled by individuals who are not familiar with the ADA. This session will focus on the transportation access perspective of accessible design. The session is meant to provoke awareness in order to incorporate accessible pedestrian design every step of the way, from planning and design to construction and retrofitting existing facilities. The session will discuss tools and best practices, which includes the following: • Development of design guidelines and scenarios that facilitate the permitting process across departments or agencies • Creation and management of an ADA geodatabase that can be populated in the field using mobile data collection applications • Development of enhanced self-evaluations and transition plans that incorporate a timeline and funding schedule for improvements bases on prioritized criteria • Ensuring that policies are in place to maintain pedestrian access during construction and maintenance events Additionally, concepts such as Universal Design build on the minimum requirements of the ADA to enhance access for all by including those who would benefit from the technical requirements of the ADA but are not classified as someone with a disability. Anyone can trip on a damaged sidewalk, a mother with a stroller greatly appreciates curb ramps, and no one wants to wait for a bus in a muddy patch on the side of the road. The ADA should be seen as a way to enhance a sense of community in order to foster social interaction at the street level.