Tactile ground markers vs wheelchairs: A solution?

Train platform showing wheelchair crossings across a strip of yellow tactile markers.One paper that sparked the a lot of interest at the UDHEIT conference is the thorny issue of pedestrians and wheelchair users negotiating those yellow strips of tactile markers. Tactile markers, known as Braille Blocks in Japan, cause problems for wheelchair users, pram pushers, and others with mobility difficulties. Based on research by Yoshito Dobashi in the context of public transportation, the solution seems simple. Create small breaks in the line of tactile blocks to make wheelchair and baby buggy crossing points. These crossing points are now installed in Fukuoka city and in some airports, but not yet on a national scale. Dobashi cautions that, “…improvements need to be made in response to the voices of visually disabled persons who note that the crossing points pose a hazard to them. In his latest study, Dr. Ito of the University of Yoshito Dobashi pointing to his slide at the UDHEIT conference showing wheelchair crossing points, one with a man wheeling a suitcase.Tokyo proposes a new braille block system that incorporates an improved version of braille blocks with wheelchair crossing points upon verifying its feasibility with wheelchair users and baby buggy users. As the press release of this study was published in nationwide newspapers, widespread dissemination can be expected hereafter. It is worth keeping an eye on future developments of this new system.” Good research paper by a man passionate for his topic and keen to find solutions. The title of the paper is, Re- examining the Creativity of Universal Design Initiatives in Public Spaces in Japan.  

The article is from the proceedings of the UDHEIT 2018 conference held in Dublin, Ireland, an open access publication.

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A train that flies?

TShows a white set of plane wings with a fuselage pod underneath aking off for a new adventure or a new adventure taking off? The latest idea could make accessing aircraft so much easier for everyone, especially smaller ones.  An article in the New Daily explains this sci-fi idea. Imagine boarding the aircraft body at a train station and then being transported to the wings of the aircraft sitting on the tarmac. Time would be saved as passengers could be processed on the go. There seems to be no shortage of ideas now that disrupt the way we think about everything we do.  The article has a mock up video of this Link & Fly idea. You can see it below. There is no narration, only music, so no captions.

Futuristic flying trains could be on their way

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Making transport work for people

Front cover of the reportIt seems the more disadvantaged a community or individual is, the less likely they are to access public transportation systems that work for them. This is the argument posed in a report based on research in California that looked into the issues. The outcome of the research is a Mobility Equity Framework based on two principles: social equity and community power. The pose a three step process that serves as a guide to elevate community engagement in planning and decision-making. This is followed by 12 mobility equity indicators under three goals: Access, Clean Air and Economic Opportunity. It also provides a mechanism to evaluate the equity in transportation modes. The Greenlining Institute introduces the Framework:

“For too long, transportation planning has focused on cars rather than people while neglecting communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. This framework offers planners and community advocates a step-by-step guide to a more community-centered transportation planning process that focuses on the mobility needs of communities and puts affected communities at the center of decision-making.

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Barriers to travel not the same for everyone

Picture of people carrying luggage up 56 step to the train platform. There is a wheelchair platform lift folded up at the bottom.The latest article on inclusive travel by Bob McKercher and Simon Darcy presents a systematic framework of the range of barriers affecting the ability of people with disability to travel. It is classified into a four tier framework from generic to specific. Below is an excerpt from the abstract explaining more about the four tier framework:

Previous studies tended to aggregate barriers into a single group … The failure to recognise the complex, yet subtle interplay between tourism and different types of barriers results in the tendency to see people with disabilities as a homogeneous group where a one size fits all solution applies. In reality, they are a heterogeneous cohort who face the same types of barriers as everyone, some barriers that are common to all people with disabilities, those that are unique to each disability dimension and specific impairment effects that are individualistic.

The full title of the article is “Re-conceptualizing barriers to travel by people with disabilities”, and is available from Science Direct, or directly from Simon Darcy on Research Gate.  Published in Tourism Management Perspectives.  

 

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Transport and Health

Newsletter front cover showing a wide pathway with trees and shrubs on either side.The Professional Association for Transport and Health (PATH) newsletter has information for people interested in healthy transport and transportation. This quarterly newsletter has the following topics:

  • In the Know: What’s Happening Globally
  • A European Cycling Trip
  • Publications & Articles of Interest
  • Doctoral/Post-Doctoral & Employment Opportunities

Front cover of the journal: mostly green with some blue shading and white textOf most relevance to universal design is the special issue of the Journal of Transport and Health, Built Environment, Transport and Health. At the end of the newsletter there is a list of open access articles. One of interest to UD is Older People’s Experiences of Mobility and Mood in an Urban Environment

 

Editor’s Note: I have suggested that they might review the font type and size, and format for easier reading for their next issue.

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