by: Brittany Maher
Marketing Content Writer
Contributor: Pepper Harward
VP of Transit Solutions
What is accessibility?
Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, technologies or environments for community members who experience a wide range of abilities.
Accessibility is essential in order to create modern tech tools that veer away from excluding people from using transit products and services.
However, when tech tools are designed with accessibility as an afterthought, it creates barriers that tend to exclude people from using them. Even as new on-demand technologies emerge, with rider experience at the forefront of the transportation revolution, there are still riders with unmet needs. With the explosion of innovative technologies, certain groups of riders are being left behind, creating pockets of orphan mobility markets.
People may have access to the technology, but often times they can’t easily navigate it. This occurs for a number of reasons, including:
- Visual/perceptual impairments
- Hearing impairments
- Dexterity issues
- Cognitive issues
- And many others
- Socio-economic disadvantages
- Lack of cellular coverage
- Unbanked riders
- And more
These common circumstances make up a larger part of the rider base than one might think. Which makes certain types of technology less than user friendly.
Groups of riders who don’t fit within the confines of current service operations may seem like a relatively small group. But, when you add up all those sub-sets of riders and micro-populations that aren’t being served…the number becomes significant.
With that in mind, let's consider these questions:
When we put Accessibility First, it opens up a world of possibilities for riders..
It starts when we put accessibility first and adapt our tools around it.
It happens when we embrace principles of equality first and design things with this in mind. Building and designing tools around inclusivity and addressing the most challenging circumstances upfront, rather than dealing with them last is the only way to provide equal access to equal opportunity.
We have to do all we can until it becomes a mobility first mentality, always striving to put the most challenging aspects first – aspects like assistive technology and adaptive technology options.
Assistive technology provides aid to a person in completing a task that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible.
Some examples include:
- Conversational voice recognition and voice tags
- Assistive listening devices
- Transcripts for audio
- Contextualized maps
- Keyboard input
- Alternative text for images
- Standard color code for color blind
- Screen readers
The solutions to breaking down complicated accessibility barriers take time and effort to develop and overcome. Overall, the capability of reaching these orphan mobility markets, and ultimately finding parents for them, has the power to motivate cities and citizens with equal opportunities for independent living. It’s a continuous effort toward improving the quality of life for individuals and their communities.
Want to know more?
Come visit us at CTAA where we’ll explore these topics in depth.
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