Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Ensuring Access Internationally

Although people with disabilities comprise almost 15 percent of the world’s population, and more than half of these individuals live in cities and towns, most cities are designed “from the perspective of people without disabilities” and focus on people in motor vehicles rather than pedestrians, bicyclists, or public transit users. “Access for All: Persons with Disabilities,” a new paper from ITDP (the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy) and World Enabled (The Victor Pineda Foundation), explores “accessible transit-oriented development and sustainable urban mobility” from the perspective of individuals with disabilities. The study offers recommendations to “promote responsive actions.” Barriers to mobility include such factors as the physical environment, lack of dedicated experts to address accessibility, or a lack of guidelines for universal design. Universal design guidelines for cities must be “not only accessible but convenient, comfortable, and independent.” This can be accomplished through a principle called inclusive transit-orient development (TOD). TOD provides a combination of services, goods, people, and opportunities within distances that are short enough to be reachable by walking or via public transit (or cycling). TOD, along with universally accessible walking, public transit, and cycling, will improve the access and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in urban areas. These modifications can improve independent mobility and result in an “increased sense of security and a higher quality life…” Universal design elements in developing urban spaces make it possible for everyone to enjoy them equally. For more details check out the article from ITDP “Transit Matters,” Ensuring Access for All Persons with Disabilities. You can download the full report from ITDP by providing your contact information on the ITDP “Publications” webpage entitled Access and Persons with Disabilities in Urban Areas.