From the CEO: Accessibility Around the World

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accessible bus ramp

We are so lucky to have ADA in this country.

That was my thought when I recently visited a city that, while beautiful with its cobblestone streets and trams throughout, made me wonder how a person with a physical disability could navigate those historic streets. I quickly concluded that the person with a disability was likely living a life of seclusion when, at the end of the week, I realized I had seen no wheelchairs and only one person on crutches.

Inability to navigate environments that are both visually oriented as well as busy and cluttered limits daily mobility and contributes to fear of traveling for those with disabilities.

Consistently, the most accessible cities are those with accessible 24/7 transportation.

No city can claim to be fully accessible because the definition of accessibility is as unique as the person, but I still decided to do the research. Is there a most accessible city? What I found was a list of attributes that were highlighted in a particular city. What can Fort Wayne do to enhance accessibility?

  1. Pedestrian crossings can be activated by approved cards to allow a longer time for crossing. (Singapore)
  2. ALL buses are wheelchair accessible. (Barcelona)
  3. Beacon technology helps visually impaired residents move independently with the use of a smartphone. (Warsaw, Poland and Seattle, WA)
  4. Pavements in good repair with curb cuts and tactile paving. (Denver)
  5. Public toilet map including accessible bathrooms with changing place. (Melbourne, Australia)
  6. Universal design principles for all new buildings, products, and environments. (Oslo, Norway)
  7. Handrails on both sides of stairs, wider gates, and hearing loops throughout the metro system. (Seattle, WA)
  8. Hotels with rooms that include ceiling hoists.
  9. Subways with priority elevators, tactile wayfinding, and visual & audible indicators on platforms. (Singapore)
  10. Taxis that accommodate wheelchairs for airport transfers.
  11. Removal of cobblestone and brick-paved streets. (Warsaw, Poland)
  12. Accessible attractions offering ability to go to the head of the line, free entry for companion, guide dog-friendly rules, and free shuttle services.

Fort Wayne International Airport is in the process of a multi-year renovation that will include many enhanced features. These changes will include a family bathroom and changing place, a sensory room, a hearing loop, and a cane trail. This month they announced the implementation of The Sunflower Program to help identify those with invisible disabilities who might need a little extra assistance as they navigate the airport. Watch for more information as AWS Foundation provides grants and ongoing training to help us be a little more accessible to those who call Northeast Indiana home.or just come to visit.