Students test accessibility
Students in “PLAN 638: Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning” recently participated in an activity to demonstrate how pedestrian design elements and the built environment affect disabled individuals.
Students took turns traveling in wheelchairs along a designated on the streets near campus to gain an understanding of how factors such as sidewalk conditions (e.g. material, maintenance, continuity, width, grade), crosswalk conditions, transit stop design, and other sidewalk and street features affect travel options and accessibility for visually, hearing, and mobility impaired individuals.
“The most striking thing about this exercise is that traveling the assigned route by wheelchair would have been physically impossible without assistance,” says Lindsay Maurer, a second-year MCRP student, “we learned to examine the pedestrian realm from a new perspective and to reconsider design features that aren’t on the radar for most able-bodied pedestrians. Even within our ‘walkable’ campus environment, it became clear that dangerous and inconvenient sidewalk conditions greatly affect the mobility, safety, and independence of disabled individuals.”
Through this exercise, it’s hoped that students are better equipped to understand how to best design streets and sidewalks for users of all modes, ages, and capabilities.
Dr. Rodriguez is the course instructor, learn more about his teaching and research >>