If you were at the Transportation Forum, you may have seen these drawings being rendered live! These are the graphic recordings from the Forum, that captured the conversation as it happened.
Our thanks to Corrina Keeling from Love Letters for Everybody for capturing our day so well. Scroll through the gallery and have a look at what we were talking about in the room. And, to answer a frequently asked question, yes, you may use these images provided they are not modified and the City of New Westminster is credited.
We have included a text-based description below each image so that users who employ screen readers can better understand the context the image attempts to convey. For the breakout sessions one and two, these have been combined into one set of notes as many of the concepts cross over.
Thank you for attending the 2019 Transportation Forum!
If we agree that accessibility is not a checkbox to be ticked, and that instead we would prefer to move toward “universal design”, we should first define what that means. So, what is it?
“The most people using something independently” is a good start. Universal design is a way of building things for everyone. Universal design is consistent, adaptable and good for everybody.
Universal design is when engagement is both inclusive and accessible. City planners should get to know who will be there and ask them how to be more inclusive and accessible. It shouldn’t’ be an afterthought, or a bauble at the end of a process, but rather, a consideration at every step along the way.
How can we do that? Start by including and inviting diverse voices, and really listen.
The key point here is consistency and that information is everything.
Some quick ideas the panel came up with:
- Sidewalks are limiting, so let’s eliminate curbs!
- Snow removal should not just be about roads it should be everywhere
- A uniform and consistent approach for apps and technology designed to assist navigation is really important
- We have to acknowledge the intersections between “access” and “affordability”.
There was a whole discussion around Transit Use and things that should be given a consistent treatment such as : stop countdown on buses, right and left doors, transit stops being designed better with tactile surfaces, pole consistency, and improved signage.
A panelist commented: “Bus Drivers are gatekeepers and don’t even know it.”
Two final thoughts from the panel: “compliance to code does not mean accessible” and planners need to “really listen when people state their needs”.
Two most important components: variety and consistency. Variety gives people options, and consistency makes navigation intuitive. What’s variety? Think of ramps, railings, and elevators. Make sure braille is at a consistent height, or that dryers and towels are close to sinks in expected places.
Focus on facilitating autonomy, and not placing aesthetics over access.
We need to end the assumption that access is only required in public spaces. What about: backstage? Storage? Emergency exits?
Thematic groupings of the sessions are as follows:
- Signage and wayfinding
- Stakeholders and partnerships
- Regional Consistency and Coordination
- Measuring Success and Monitoring Progress
- Transit capacity and infrastructure
- How to balance trade-offs and prioritization
- Regulation, laws, and policy and process/practice
- Building Codes and Design Standards
- Starting early planning stage
- Seeking input from lived experience
- Understanding the intersections of poverty, race, and gender
- People: Who, When, How
- Prioritize Support
- Education and Awareness, including training, information, and language/framework
- Opportunities and Quick Wins
- Better signage and stickers and decals
- LED Signs
- Ramp Improvements
- Improved Engagement Process
- Education and Training
- Utilize accessibility audits
- Tours of facilities
- Channels for feedback
- Ensure consultation leads to action
- Enforcement of code violations
- Trifecta of: Engineering, Education ,and Enforcement
- Human-centred design provides independence, dignity, and is not a burden – it is an opportunity
- Designing for different abilities sparks innovation
- It creates access in the absence of any human ability or a temporary disability
- Numerous technologies were initially designed for disability, but now, everyone benefits. Texting, closed captioning, google map voice, surface textures… they were all designed for disability first
- No one is average, designing for extremes bakes in adaptability