By Anna Allwright, customer experience manager, Cubic Transportation Systems
Despite advancements, challenges remain. Gaps in accessibility persist across transportation modes and geographies with rural and low-income areas held back by inadequate infrastructure and services. Additionally, not all technology and services innovations are designed with accessibility in mind, exacerbating disparities.
Meeting diverse needs for using smart mobility solutions means addressing persistent disparities in accessibility across transportation options. These challenges can include physical barriers such as a lack of ramps, elevators or tactile paving, which pose safety risks for those with mobility impairments, making it difficult or impossible to access certain modes of transportation. Additionally, lack of consistency in accessibility features across modes of transportation creates fragmented and non-integrated mobility services.
While technology has the potential to improve accessibility, not all technologies are designed to address all disability needs. People might rely on assistive technologies, such as screen readers, hearing aids or specialized input devices, to interact with digital systems. Navigation apps, as an example, may not provide accessible routes or transit options with interfaces for visual, hearing or cognitive impairments and users may struggle to access or understand schedules, route information or real-time updates without accessible formats such as large print, audio announcements or sign language interpretation.
Wheelchair-accessible taxis or specialized paratransit services can be more expensive than standard transportation options, posing financial barriers for wheelchair users, who already experience higher rates of unemployment and lower incomes. Furthermore, rural or low-income areas lack accessible transportation, resulting in longer wait times, reduced service frequency or a complete lack of options. Dependable transportation is crucial for people with disabilities. Any breakdowns, delays or service disruptions can disproportionately affect access to essential services or prohibit their ability to maintain independence.
To overcome accessibility barriers, you must identify them.
Several common barriers to accessibility in smart mobility solutions limit effectiveness for people with disabilities or special needs, including lack of universal design principles that are applied consistently across products, environments and services. This includes inconsistent accessibility standards across countries, regions and districts. The absence of globally consistent standards leads to disparities in service accessibility where smart mobility solutions are deployed.
Engaging all stakeholders in the process and ensuring representation for people with disabilities and disability advocacy groups is essential to ensuring the success of implementing smart mobility solutions. This includes ensuring adequate training and awareness for transportation staff, so they understand, have empathy for and can provide exceptional customer service to people with disabilities. Ensuring that accessibility remains a core consideration in the ongoing development and deployment of smart mobility solutions is crucial to achieving a truly inclusive transportation ecosystem.
Addressing these barriers will require a concerted effort from stakeholders across governments, private companies and disability advocacy groups to ensure that smart mobility solutions are designed and implemented in a manner that is inclusive and accessible for all users.
Anna Allwright is a self confessed “transport geek” with nearly a decade of industry experience spanning strategy, marketing, government, and public affairs. Anna is passionate about sustainability and the power of public transport to create greener, healthier, more equitable and less congested cities. she is committed to helping erode perceptions that public transport isn’t for everyone and build a future mobility network that makes public and active transport the modes of choice for more people.
The post How Can We Make Transit More Accessible? appeared first on Industry Today – Leader in Manufacturing & Industry News.