Review: 2022 DOT ADA Celebration
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Aug 11, 2022
Recommended for: Clinicians, consumers, caregivers, assistive technology professionals, disability advocates/stakeholders
Summary: Originally broadcast on July 26, 2022, this Department of Transportation (DOT) Webinar provided updates on accessibility while traveling by air, rail, and road. Winners of the Inclusive Design Challenge, with the goal of making autonomous vehicles more accessible to people with disabilities, were announced.
EASI Rider team members with their winning Inclusive Design Challenge entry.
“One in four Americans has a disability, and any American who doesn’t have one today might develop one later on,” said Sec. Pete Buttigieg, in his opening remarks. “In fact, two in five people over the age of 65 have a disability, so the reality is sooner or later, a large percentage of Americans will end up benefiting personally and directly from the landmark civil rights afforded to us by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
“We have yet to live up to the promises of the equality and full accessibility that were enacted in that law 32 years ago.”
Soundbyte: “No other form of transportation — trains, buses, boats — forces you to give up your mobility device when you board. The same ought to be true for airlines” —Buttigieg, in explaining the DOT goal of enabling people to take their wheelchairs with them into airplane cabins.
Editor’s note: This was a consolidated update on DOT efforts to make all public transportation more accessible. Presenters demonstrated significant understanding of current (and dangerous) travel strategies… such as when Buttigieg said, referring to people who use wheelchairs, “No one should have to choose between dehydrating themselves and avoiding air travel altogether.”
The Secretary added that the DOT’s goal is to make transportation accessible so people with disabilities can travel “freely, fairly, safely, affordably, and spontaneously.” Wow. “Spontaneous” is one of the last words you’d use to describe what transportation is like today for people who use wheelchairs.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.