Your Wish List for Accessible Cities

A Wish List for Accessible Cities

by Craig Meador,President, APH

At the American Printing House for the Blind, we believeaccessibility is for everyone, everywhere. But as we all know, most cities andcommunities aren’t fully accessible to people who are blind or visuallyimpaired. APH wants to change that, and we took a big step forward by asking peoplewho are blind or visually impaired what they want and need to navigate theworld independently.

Over the summer, we conducted a survey at major fieldconferences asking participants to give us their definition of an accessiblecity and community. We interviewed 397 people, including those who are blindand visually impaired, as well as caregivers, family members, and practitionersin the field. We also received 436 online survey responses, making this thelargest study of this topic to date.

First, I want to thank everyone who participated in oursurvey. Our vision of creating fully accessible communities — like theAccessible Louisville plan we’re already working on — won’t be a realitywithout your input and support. Your participation was invaluable.

I’d also like to share a little bit about what we learned. Youtold us you want all-inclusive cities that make true independence possible foreveryone. You want auditory and haptic pedestrian signals at every stoplight,with vocal feedback about crossing times and directions. You want beacons toread signs independently in public buildings, braille signage, and armor tileon all blended curb cutouts. You need more accessible solutions fortransportation and shopping.

Those are just a few of the things on your wish list for afully accessible community. Now, we’ll be using what we learned from the surveyto do even more research and explore partnerships with other organizations.We’ll also continue with our Accessible Louisville plan that will not only makeour home city more accessible but will create a template for other cities tofollow. This plan includes a 20-location pilot project of APH’s indoornavigation technology, NearbyExplorer Online with Indoor Explorer™.

If you participated in our survey, we want you to knowthat your perspective is guiding our accessibility priorities. We’ll keeplistening to what you have to say; you will hear much more from us about thistopic.

APH has always been committed to breaking down barriers tolearning and living. Now our classrooms are everywhere in this wide, changingworld, with opportunities to explore and discover that belong to everyone. Thankyou for being part of our work and helping us shape the future of accessibility.

For questions about APH’s accessible communities initiative,please email info@aph.org.
Top photo shows a man navigating a library with Indoor Explorer on a smartphone; bottom photo shows a talking street crossing unit.

Stan Greenwood
A humble human, who is always found working on something or drinking coffee. A perfect introvert who talks barely anything but shares a lot through his blog posts at FredForum.

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