Being disabled has given me insight on a variety of issues specific to disabled persons that are simply unobserved by able body persons. The main disadvantage being that of the problems associated with accessing public transportation.
My experience is limited as the only places I’ve utilized the transportation system in are New Orleans, NYC, Tampa, and New Brunswick. Based off these personal observations I deduced that the public transportation options are extremely ill equipped in managing disabled persons.
According to the US Census 19 percent of the population in the US had a disability in 2010. These disabilities include both mental and physical impairments. Yet despite this significant percent of persons with disabilities there remains an ineptness to serve them. Adhering to standards set by the ADA is mandatory for publicly funded infrastructure. Yet its apparent that these standards are not currently adhered to.
Broken elevators in the subways of New York, unproper bathrooms, and uncovered bus stops characterize the public transportation. Broken sidewalks llead to curbs that do not leave areas beyond inaccessible. Inadequacies do not end with failing infrastructure, untrained staff also pervade public transportation. An example is the staff of New Orleans RTA shuttle bus service. Provided only to disabled persons, principal stops include hospitals and grocery stores. Despite efforts to serve a distinct population, the lack of wheelchair seating and obvious lack of knowledge by staff in use of the existing seating makes the overall venture a failure.
Ways in which transportation accessibility can be improved are:
- Annual adjustments to transportation infrastructure with disability considerations
- Public participation requirements that include a provision to include a person with a disability
- Annual reiteration of how to use disability instruments on public transit vehicles for employees
The simple improvements to transit will greatly improve transportation for disabled persons.