While advocates have made progress, some students feel the University still isn’t equipped to support their needs.
UB’s IDeA Center received a $600,000 grant to test two new types of securement systems for public transportation riders who use a wheeled mobility device.
Transport for London has launched the “spectator journey planner” online in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. The spectator journey planner helps visitors use the public transportation system to get to Olympic venues.
The spectator journey planner includes various accessibility options, and can plan a route around a traveler’s needs. Uses can request a journey with staff assistance at stations, stops and piers, or plan a trip that only stops at stations that are wheelchair accessible. Users can also plan to avoid the London Underground altogether, or plan a trip that has the fewest interchanges. Transport for London also has a map of the London Underground that only displays step-less stations. They have also completed audits of key interchange stations, in order to map out accessible routes through the station.
The minivan has long been the standard vehicle to adapt for wheelchair accessibility, because of its low height, large interior, and capacity to carry the extra weight of an electric wheelchair. According to USA Today, however, the young vets are prompting some rethinking within the accessible vehicle industry.
These young vets, mostly men in their 20s and 30s, want stylish accessible vehicles. Sometimes this can be achieved by customizing a traditional minivan with features that make it look more like an SUV. For instance, Vantage Mobility International, a company in Phoenix that converts accessible vans, has been showing a van at trade shows that has been customized to include “20-inch custom wheels, a blacked-out grille, darkened windows, two-toned inserts in the seats.”
Pickup trucks are also a popular option for young vets, but as trucks are higher than minivans they can’t be easily accessed by ramps. This issue is solved with seats that swivel and then lower out of the driver’s-side door, allowing for transfer directly to the driving seat. A crane is then used to lift the wheelchair into the back of the pickup. Alternately, there are accessible pickups that feature a sliding driver’s-side door that moves out of the way to make room for a wheelchair lift.
With the addition of 47 taxis, the number of wheelchair accessible cabs has increased up to 50% in 2012 in the state of Chicago.
In July of this year, a new ordinance will go into effect, mandating all cab companies to provide accessible cabs. An incentive to this ordinance is that the wheelchair accessible cabs get to stay operative on the road for 5 years, as opposed to the 4 year limit that a non-accessible cabs must adhere to. In addition, if the accessible cab is in good condition at the 5 year mark, it may be granted an extension of one more year.
More costly than your average taxi, the MV-1 has been the main alternative choice of fleet owners when seeking accessible cabs. Accommodating two passengers in wheelchairs and three able bodied passengers, the MV-1 also operates on natural fuel.