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Measuring accessible journeys: A tool to enable participation

Authors:

Abstract

This study set out to demonstrate the feasibility and usefulness of a series of pedestrian counts, including counting the subset of pedestrians who use visibly identifiable mobility aids. The resulting proportion of mobility aid users can then be used as a proxy measure of relative accessibility for each count site. The study acknowledges the diversity of disability, and the count is not intended to capture all people who identify as having disability of any kind. It was estimated from Statistics New Zealand data that approximately 3% of New Zealand’s adult population uses a mobility aid for travel at any particular time. This figure includes those identifying as having permanent disability, as well as an estimate to account for those not included in this figure, namely children, people who do not identify as having a disability but nevertheless use a mobility aid, and those with temporary disability requiring use of a mobility aid. The study identified opportunities to use the tool to remove gaps in the delivery of accessible transportation, across all parts of its system from policy and planning, through design, construction and monitoring. Its widespread promotion will support more objective measurement of inclusion, to inform best-practice infrastructure investment for all.
Measuring accessible
journeys: a tool to enable
participation
Bridget Burdett BE (Hons),MET,MIPENZ,CPEng (NZ)
Senior Transportation Researcher, Traffic Design Group, Hamilton, New
Zealand
This study set out to demonstrate the feasibility and usefulness of a series of pedestrian counts, including counting
the subset of pedestrians who use visibly identifiable mobility aids. The resulting proportion of mobility aid users can
then be used as a proxy measure of relative accessibility for each count site. The study acknowledges the diversity of
disability, and the count is not intended to capture all people who identify as having disability of any kind. It was
estimated from Statistics New Zealand data that approximately 3% of New Zealand’s adult population uses a mobility
aid for travel at any particular time. This figure includes those identifying as having permanent disability, as well as an
estimate to account for those not included in this figure, namely children, people who do not identify as having a
disability but nevertheless use a mobility aid, and those with temporary disability requiring use of a mobility aid. The
study identified opportunities to use the tool to remove gaps in the delivery of accessible transportation, across all
parts of its system from policy and planning, through design, construction and monitoring. Its widespread promotion
will support more objective measurement of inclusion, to inform best-practice infrastructure investment for all.
1. Introduction
Data and counting are fundamental tools for engineers to use in
policy development, planning and design. Most on-road traffic is
counted regularly, such that all state highways and most local
roads in New Zealand have readily available traffic count data
summarising average annual daily traffic (e.g. Auckland
Transport, 2013; NZTA, 2013a). As well as informing engineer-
ing practice, traffic count data are based on public road networks
that are so well communicated that any person with access to the
internet or a street directory can find out directions between any
origin and destination worldwide.
In contrast to planning and design for streets, data that inform
pedestrian network planning and its use are less routinely
collected and much more poorly communicated. In New
Zealand, networks of footpaths and road crossings are
informed by guidance such as the pedestrian planning and
design guide (NZTA, 2013b), local guides, for example local
city development manuals (e.g. Hamilton City Council, 2013),
and user-specific guidance such as RTS14: Guideline for
facilities for blind and vision-impaired pedestrians (NZTA,
2007). Roads are also designed and built based on guidance,
although their origin and specifications are also at least
partially informed by traffic patterns that are modelled from
widespread actual and repeated on-road traffic counts.
The lower priority of footpath networks is clear not only in the
way that they are planned for and designed, but also in the
absence of their explicit communication to the pedestrian
public in many urban areas. A visitor to a city can navigate
relatively reliably by car, using publicly available vehicle street
maps, with reasonable confidence that the roads on these maps
will be designed to suit travel by motorised vehicle. A visitor
wishing to navigate a city by the pedestrian network, however,
must generally assume that there will be footpaths and suitable
road crossings in the vicinity of the streets shown on maps
designed for negotiation by motor vehicle traffic. Whether or
not such footpaths exist will be discovered only when the
pedestrian sets out. The nature of road crossings is rarely
publicised. Furthermore, the design of footpaths is much more
variable than is the design of roads, particularly when
considering the range of users that may reasonably be expected
to want to use them. Although there are increasingly detailed
maps available using satellite imagery, these are not as reliable,
and the nature of footpaths and crossings are not as
consistently universally designed for all people as vehicle
streets are universally designed for all vehicles.
People with disability have particular mobility needs that are
not always met by the pedestrian network. For example, it has
been demonstrated that increasing footpath crossfall is related
to increasing difficulty of negotiation for manual wheelchair
users (Holloway and Tyler, 2013). The nature of curb
transitions between the footpath and road crossings can also
be problematical for users of wheelchairs (Bennett et al., 2009).
Pedestrians with visual impairment require clear tactile
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Municipal Engineer
Volume 000 Issue ME000
Measuring accessible journeys: a tool to
enable participation
Burdett
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers
Municipal Engineer 000 Month 2014 Issue ME000
Pages 1–8
Paper 1400004
Received 13/01/2014 Accepted 05/05/2014
Keywords: infrastructure planning/social impact/transport
planning
ice
|
proceedings ICE Publishing: All rights reserved
1
communication of route direction and of hazards (NZTA,
2013b). Some people rely on colour contrast to see where to go,
or on height differentiation (e.g. between a wall and a
footpath) to negotiate safely with a walking cane (NZTA,
2013b). Some people who experience pain from walking cannot
walk far without a rest, and need access to public seating or
something to lean against before progressing (Rolland et al.,
2004). The nature of footpath and road crossing surfaces can
be slippery, rough, or unknown, influencing the confidence
among pedestrians of their relative safety when compared with
other routes, or with other modes of travel. Access to public
transport systems requires seamless linkage between a travel-
ler’s origin and their point of access to the bus or train, and the
bus stop or station must itself be accessible, with appropriate
grades, surfacing and information, for example.
The range of requirements of people with disabilities for
independent usage of the pedestrian network leads to less than
seamless usage of these networks. However, to date, the nature
and extent of pedestrian usage of pedestrian networks in New
Zealand has not been routinely measured. In contrast to
planning and design for road networks, there have not been
any regularly collected data about the number and types of
users on the pedestrian network to provide an objective way to
prioritise investment. Developments in measurement of walk-
ability have resulted in a range of tools for road controlling
authorities to assess the attractiveness of particular routes with
a ‘walkability’ score. However, the relationship between
walkability and accessibility, defined as the ability to partici-
pate, is not direct (Manaugh and El-Geneidy, 2011). The result
of this lack of data is an ad-hoc approach to pedestrian
infrastructure investment, with no monitoring of any real or
likely benefits realised through its construction.
In the absence of data that inform pedestrian network policy,
planning and design, advocates working in the disability sector
in New Zealand rely on reactive advocacy to contribute to
guidance, and to specific projects or issues as they arise. The
methods described in this paper were developed in collaboration
with representatives of the disability sector to provide an
objective way to prioritise best-practice pedestrian and public
transport network infrastructure. The rationale from the
perspective of the disability sector is to demonstrate the value
of access by counting people with disabilities in some measur-
able way, and to use these data to monitor the effectiveness of
infrastructure investment. The process is intended to be a
proactive method for transport planners and engineers to
demonstrate the provision of best-practice access. Ultimately,
it could negate the requirement for people with disabilities to
advocate for access in a reactive, case by case manner.
The pilot project summarised in this paper had three primary
aims.
&Counting people: To count the number of people (pedes-
trians) at six locations around Hamilton, and at eight access
points to one location, including the subset of that number
who use visible mobility aids.
&Expected numbers: To estimate the proportion of mobility
aid users in the population, and thereby identify relative
accessibility of counted sites by the difference between the
expected proportion of people with mobility aids and the
proportion observed at each site.
&A transferable method: To develop the project methods
for use by local and national road controlling authorities
and other organisations as a pedestrian network planning
tool.
The project does not aim to count all people with disability or
with mobility impairment. It is intended as a step towards the
measurement of accessible journeys, by counting what is
objectively countable. Through simplification of the definition
of disability and the proxy of a visible mobility aid, it is
intended that the methods used will be readily adoptable by
road controlling authorities and other interested organisations
in providing an evidence base to support improvements in the
provision of accessible transportation systems.
2. Objectives
The project brings transportation planning and engineering
together with social and community objectives. Pedestrian
counting is by no means new. It is more or less an established
part of transportation network planning, and is also used in
many other fields including the commercial property and retail
sector as an indicator of the use or attractiveness of areas and
facilities. What this study aims to do is first to promote more
frequent and routine counting of pedestrians, just as on-road
traffic is rigorously counted. Second, the study aims to equip
those undertaking pedestrian counts for whatever reason with
tools that enable them to dig deeper, to reveal more about the
travel patterns of the entire community and some of the most
vulnerable users of the transport system.
3. Methods
The main research component of this project was in estimating
the overall prevalence of mobility aid users in New Zealand,
and applying this information to particular catchments. The
study also involved developing a pedestrian survey template,
including the proportion of pedestrians who use mobility aids.
3.1 Estimating the prevalence of mobility aid use
It was estimated in New Zealand’s Household Disability
Survey (undertaken with the same frequency as the New
Zealand Census, nominally every 5 years) that 78 000 adults
and 9500 children had a mobility disability in 2006, and used
some form of mobility equipment in relation to permanent
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disability. This represents approximately 2% of the total
resident population (including children aged under 15 years).
The following data (NZ Household Disability Survey:
Disability and Formal Supports in New Zealand 2006)
summarise different types of mobility aids used by adult New
Zealanders with permanent disability. ‘Permanent disability’
requires that a person lives with a particular impairment for at
least 6 months. The proportions noted in Table 1 are not
summative; that is, a survey respondent could list as many
mobility aids as they had access to. The mobility equipment
highlighted in bold in Table 1 represents visible mobility aids
selected for inclusion on the count sheets for this study.
Data for children are not provided to the extent shown in
Table 1. There are no known data about the use of mobility
aids for people with temporary disability, or for people who
live in
=residential care facilities.
In sum, it is estimated from Table 1, and by the data not
included in this table that approximately 3% of the adult
population use a visible mobility aid. The following people are
excluded from the data in Table 1 but will nonetheless be
represented in any count statistics
&people with temporary disability, due primarily to injury or
illness
&people who use a mobility aid but do not identify as having
a disability, and are therefore not included
&children aged under 15 years, and
&people with visible aids not represented in Table 1,
specifically, guide dog or walking cane.
The data in Table 1 therefore underestimate the proportion of
people in the population who use a mobility aid. In the absence
of any other data to estimate a more accurate figure, 3% was
adopted as an initial estimate of the ‘expected’ proportion of
visible mobility aid use generally. It is expected that over time,
continued research will improve this estimate or its reliability.
There are of course a number of people with mobility
impairments who do not use visible mobility aids, who are
therefore excluded by the estimate. In addition, some mobility
aids are not necessarily visible; for example, orthopaedic footwear
and leg braces or splints. As stated in the introduction, this project
is intended as a step towards the measurement of accessible
journeys, by counting what is objectively countable. Types of
mobility and other impairments affecting peoples’ ability to travel
independently include (but are not limited to), for example
&non-visible mobility impairments; for example, artificial
limbs, pain affecting mobility, visual impairment
&intellectual impairment including mental illness, and
&hearing and other non-visible sensory impairment.
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Type of mobility equipment
Age group: years
Total
15–64 65+
N%N%N%
Back or leg brace, splint, or support 4300 0 2100 0 6400 0
Orthopaedic footwear 2500 0 2200 0 4700 0
Artificial foot or leg – – – –
Walking frame 1900 0 15 900 3 17 800 1
Walking stick 13 400 1 45 000 10 58 400 2
Crutches 6200 0 6200 1 12 400 0
Mobility scooter – – 7000 2 8800 0
Manual wheelchair 3600 0 4100 3 7700 0
Motorised wheelchair – – 2900 0
Other equipment for moving about 2600 1 3900 0
No equipment 127 900 5 78 800 17 206 700 7
Any equipment 24 000 1 54 200 12 78 300 3
Total mobility-disabled adults 152 000 6 133 100 29 285 000 9
The mobility equipment highlighted in bold represents visible mobility aids selected for inclusion on the count sheets for this study.
Source: Table 5.22, NZ Household Disability Survey: Disability and Formal Supports in New Zealand 2006
Table 1. Estimated proportion of adults using mobility equipment
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The nature of a wide range of impairment and its effect on
peoples’ use of the transportation system was explored by
interviews as part of this study.
With limited data around the prevalence of disability in the
population generally, and at particular locations, counting
people with mobility aids will be a relative, and not an
absolute, measure of access. Their usefulness in the absence of
more comprehensive, location-specific demographic data is to
inform public and private stakeholders about which places are
observed to be more accessible than others. More comprehen-
sive statistics would improve the tool such that the gap between
what is observed, and what is reasonably expected, can be
more reliably ascertained.
3.2 Pedestrian survey template
The method developed to count pedestrians involves establish-
ing a cordon, and manually counting every pedestrian who
crosses that cordon in a predefined time period. For this pilot
study, six sites were selected. At each site, a cordon was defined
and pedestrians were counted for a 4-h period, between 11?30
a.m. and 3?30 p.m. on a weekday. This time period was chosen
for counting convenience to suit volunteers and project staff.
More work is required to refine time periods of most use for
particular locations or to target particular population samples.
At the top of each count sheet, the date and time were noted, as
well as the surveyor name, site name, weather and wind
conditions. A site map was included so that the precise location
of the count could be marked. This provided reference for any
counts or monitoring that may happen in future at the same
location. Pedestrians were tallied, and the total number of
pedestrians crossing the marked cordon for each hour was
noted on a worksheet. As each count covered a 4-h period, four
worksheets were completed per count site. In addition, all
pedestrians with visible mobility aids were tallied on a table on
the same worksheet, according to their mobility aid. A sample
worksheet is shown in Figure 1.
A single page interview sheet was used to record information
from willing users of mobility aids who crossed cordons during
the count surveys. The questions asked what the person’s trip
purpose was, how they got to that location (mode of transport
and route), whether or not they use any other mobility aids,
and whether or not they sometimes travel with a companion
for mobility reasons. These data were collected to inform
potential future research.
4. Results
Each of the six count sites provided 4 h of continuous data in
April 2013. A total of 9525 pedestrians was counted, of whom
97 used a visible mobility aid. The proportions of different
mobility aid use are shown in Figure 2. The range of visible
mobility aid use across all sites is shown in Figure 3.
The data in Figure 2 show that there was meaningful variation
in both absolute numbers of pedestrians observed, and in the
proportion of those pedestrians using mobility aids. The site
with the lowest proportion of people with mobility aids was a
university and the highest proportion was observed at a
suburban shopping mall.
The results lead naturally to questions about what proportion
of pedestrians with mobility aids might realistically be expected
across a range of sites such as those surveyed. As it is known
that older people are more likely to have a disability requiring
the use of a mobility aid, it is reasonable that places and times
attracting a higher proportion of older people (e.g. a suburban
shopping mall in the middle of a weekday, or a hospital) might
show higher numbers of mobility aid users than a university,
which attracts a much higher proportion of younger people.
Further analysis of statistics related to characteristics of trip
generation and people living within the catchment of a
particular facility would provide more insight as to the
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Count Sheet Name: Start time: 11:30
Date: Thursday 4th April Finish time: 12:30
Site: Intersection of Anglesea and Bryce Streets Weather:
Wind:
Total pedestrians (tally or copy from clicker counter):
Across Anglesea (north): Across Bryce (west):
Anglesea: Bryce:
Pedestrians with visible mobility aids:
Walking stick or crutch (single)
Walking sticks or crutches (two)
Cane
Guide dog
Wheelchair: manual
Wheelchair: powered
Mobility scooter
Wheelchair: assisted
Walking frame
Back or leg brace, splint or visible support
Visible artificial limb
Other (specify)
Comments:
Figure 1. Sample pedestrian survey template
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expected proportions of people with mobility aids that might
be indicative of relative accessibility.
The data in Figure 3 show that a wide variety of mobility aids
was counted across all six pilot sites. Of the 12 categories
included on the count worksheet, two were not used (‘back or
leg brace, splint or visible support’ and ‘visible artificial limb’).
Generally, the proportions of mobility aids seen are only loosely
related to mobility aid usage data from Statistics New Zealand
(2013). A comparison of the pilot data with national statistics is
shown in Table 2
;. The Statistics New Zealand data do not sum
to 100 because they allows for people using different mobility
aids in different situations (e.g. a walking stick at home and a
walking frame or wheelchair when out shopping). It is not clear
why a higher proportion of wheelchairs was observed than the
proportion in the national data. More data may show regression
to the mean proportions, or they might uncover differences in
the nature of facilities or transport that foster trip attraction for
some users more than others.
As noted earlier, people counted may not self-identify as
having a disability (and indeed, several people questioned for
the interview data explicitly claimed not to be ‘disabled’).
Therefore, the count data will always be drawn from a larger
sample than those used to determine national statistics, which
are based on a survey of adults who self-identify as having a
permanent disability lasting 6 months or more.
Table 2 shows that the most prevalent mobility aid for the pilot
counts as well as nationally is a walking stick or crutch. People
using a single walking stick or crutch may be more likely to be
temporarily disabled, or to use such a device for comfort or
security, as much as to aid mobility. It is not clear why guide
dogs and canes for visually impaired people are not represented
on this table. It may be that this information is provided by a
separate survey.
5. Discussion
5.1 Suitability of tool
Overall, the pilot study was successful in demonstrating a
useful means for counting pedestrians, including a subset using
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5.6%
0.8% 1.3%
2.8%
1.5%
0.1%
0.0%
5.0%
10.0%
15.0%
20.0%
25.0%
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
5000
Suburban mall
CBD intersection Bus interchange Hospital Public reserve University
Proportion of pedestrians using mobility aids
Pedestrians per 4 h
Number of pedestrians Proportion with visible mobility aid
Figure 2. Proportions of mobility aid use by site. CBD, central
business district
<
Personal assistant, 2% Guide dog,
1% Visible artificial limb, 0%
Mobility scooter, 4%
Wheelchair: powered,
8%
Wheelchair: manual,
10% Wheelchair: assisted,
16%
Walking frame, 8%
Walking stick or crutch:
single, 39%
Walking sticks or
crutches: two, 5%
Back or leg brace, splint
or visible support, 0%
Figure 3. Overall proportions of mobility aids counted
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identifiable mobility aids. The cordon method was used to
define which count location worked to clarify those pedestrians
who were and who were not to be counted. The method was
found to be readily usable, reliable and repeatable.
It is acknowledged that counting pedestrians using mobility
aids does not directly measure ‘disability’, or ease of access, as
there are many reasons why people might have mobility
challenges that are unrelated to whether or not they use a
mobility aid. The particular numbers and proportions found in
this pilot study are not assumed to be a direct indicator of
relative access. They are an indirect indicator and ought to be
considered within a holistic assessment of what universal access
might mean for any particular facility and its transportation
connections.
As a method to collect qualitative data, the interview was
relatively straightforward. Approximately 37% of pedestrians
approached were willing to be interviewed. The questions used
on the survey were useful in demonstrating the complexity of
mobility impairment, and respondents found them straightfor-
ward to answer. The questionnaire worksheet format allowed
for the entry of more detail when this was offered. Several
people, for example, appeared willing to elaborate on challenges
they face in moving around their communities, more generally
than the specific trip that the survey happened to intercept.
5.2 Tool usability
Approximately 12 different people were trained on-site in the
use of the worksheets for recording count data and interview
responses. All surveyors reported that the worksheets were
easy to use and that the process was straightforward. Analysis
of approaches and results indicated that the methods were
robust, in that every surveyor followed procedures in the same
way. Results were not dependent on interpretation of the
methods, which indicates that the method itself is robust.
5.3 Survey bias and data limitations
By counting and interviewing pedestrians present at a
particular place, the interview data in particular are biased
towards those people who are motivated and able to travel.
Disability is complex, and there is a wide range of factors
influencing peoples’ propensity to travel, many of which are
outside of the realm of transportation provision itself. The
provision of quantitative data provides a picture of relative
accessibility. The higher the proportion of pedestrians with
mobility aids observed at a particular point the higher the
relative access of that place is, at least during the timeframe
covered by the survey.
While data from interviews provide insight into why people do
choose to travel, they do not help to determine why people do
not travel to a particular place. The absence of mobility aid
users, or comparisons between similar facilities or the same
facility over time, is perhaps more useful to begin to address
issues of inaccessibility.
5.4 Site selection and time of day differences
For this pilot study, pedestrians were counted between 11?30 a.m.
and 3?30 p.m. on weekdays during school terms. Therefore, only a
limited type of pedestrians could be observed. In terms of
developing a counting methodology, this was not problematical
for the pilot study. However, in order for results to be used to
prioritise pedestrian network planning and investment decisions,
a wider spectrum of timeframes and sites would provide more
comprehensive data.
6. Relevance and commendations
6.1 Development of method: counting
Given that the counting tool has been demonstrated to be
useful, it is recommended that the counting programme be
extended to more sites and a more comprehensive range of
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Proportion based on national statistics: % Proportion counted in pilot project: %
Back or leg brace, splint, or support 7 0
Orthopaedic footwear 5 0
Artificial foot or leg 0 0
Walking frame 19 8
Walking stick 63 39
Crutches 13 5
Mobility scooter 9 4
Manual wheelchair 8 27
Motorised wheelchair 3 8
Other equipment for moving about 4 8
Total 133 100
Table 2. Mobility aid types: national data and count data
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times and days. Data could then inform pedestrian and public
transport planning and investment decisions.
The count method itself would benefit from investigations into
automation of the process. An example of this would be video
analysis, which would not require manual counting. Video
would enable continuous recording at a count cordon that
could be either manually processed later, or portions of the
processing could also be automatised. There are several
potential benefits from automation, including for example
insights about relative pedestrian speeds, desire lines in open
spaces, automatic recognition of different types of mobility
aids, and capturing of pedestrian/vehicle conflicts (Ismail et al.,
2009). It is therefore recommended that the count process be
extended to more sites and across more varied times of the
week and year, and that investigations into automation of the
count process continue.
6.2 Development of method: expected proportions
There are currently only very limited data available about the
presence and nature of disability in New Zealand. Further
research is recommended into the prevalence of mobility aid
use, and its correlation with other factors (such as age,
socioeconomic deprivation and employment status) such that
more meaningful expected proportions can be determined to
support planning based on the count data that this tool
provides.
6.3 Informing asset management
As the database of pedestrian numbers and mobility aid
proportions grows, it is recommended that it is used to inform
asset management decisions. It is recommended that measure-
ment of accessible journeys informs the prioritisation of
infrastructure maintenance and capital works expenditure,
through incorporating counting of pedestrians with mobility
aids into regular pedestrian count programmes, or the
initiation of a comprehensive series of counts.
6.4 Informing transport policy and planning
Data about how pedestrians travel, and in particular, relative
proportions of mobility aid use can help to inform the
transportation industry at a policy level. It is recommended
that more sites are counted so that data can inform paratransit
policy and prioritising areas of greatest need, public transport,
network modelling and planning for future growth within
existing areas and for future development, and guidance
documents around the provision of pedestrian infrastructure
such as footpaths and road crossings.
6.5 Informing social and health policy and planning
At a higher level, the absence of accessible journeys affects
peoples’ ability to participate in recreation, in employment,
and in life generally. It is recommended that the tool be
developed further to analyse peoples’ access to transport and
the implications that this has on their lives.
6.6 Informing education, commercial and retail
policy and planning
The delivery of accessible and inclusive transportation systems
does not rest solely with the road controlling authorities and
the public sector. The tools could also be provided directly to
organisations that have an interest in ensuring that their own
facility is accessible. Audits across a range of facilities could
help to prioritise whether infrastructure is targeted towards a
range of improvements to a single facility or a series of changes
across all facilities. Before-and-after counts of people using the
facilities could help to identify the nature of design that best
supports universal access. It is recommended that the tool be
promoted for use by commercial and retail developers to
inform policy, planning and design.
Acknowledgements
The author would like to acknowledge CCS Disability Action
and the New Zealand Ministry for Social Development, which
collectively funded and contributed to this project.
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Article
The ability to travel freely and independently to participate in society is essential for an individual’s wellbeing and quality of life. People with disabilities are often unable to access public transport due to barriers in the urban environment and public transport systems. This review provides a comprehensive examination of the barriers faced by people with disabilities who are independent public transport riders. It includes: (a) barriers encountered from the perspective of the whole journey chain, from origin to destination for public transport trips; (b) investigates the commonalities and differences in the perceived barriers for different disability types; (c) discusses the impacts and shortcomings of universal design; and (d) limitations to data collection procedures. Evidence from the review of the existing literature has shown that there is limited research on travel behaviour relating to the whole public transport journey chain for people with disabilities. The consequences of not being able to make a journey due to the barriers in public transport inhibit participation in society that can have a range of negative impacts on the wellbeing of people with disabilities. This paper highlights the importance of the “bottom-up” approach for policy implementation and engagement with the disability community. It concludes with directions for further work and recommendations for practitioners.
Article
Inclusive access to transport is an important determinant of health for older and disabled people. Despite transport policy increasingly focusing on wellbeing and equity outcomes, transport professionals’ understanding of and approaches to delivering accessible transport remain poorly understood. Transport professionals (N=175) from a range of government and private sector organisations in Aotearoa/New Zealand completed a web survey. Questions covered respondents’ views on what might make inclusive access a more prominent transport policy objective; their approach to accessibility for older and disabled people in their work; and the extent to which they engage with older and disabled people in transport practice and design. Analyses suggest that inclusive access is a complex issue for transport professionals. There was a range of perspectives on why it is not more prominent in transport policy, or why outcomes are not better for older and disabled people using transport. In-person engagement between transport professionals and older and disabled people is infrequent. We argue that these findings are reflective of inclusive access being vaguely defined and poorly measured in transport. Consequently, compared with transport policies such as road safety which have clearly measurable outcomes, improved equity of mobility is reliant on design standards and transport professionals’ awareness and training. It is recommended that inclusive access in transport policy is improved with measures that link policy and design choices to outcomes, ultimately benefitting the health of all people, and that of older and disabled people in particular.
Article
Full-text available
Gait classification is an effective and non-intrusive method for human identification and it has received significant attention in the recent years due to its applications in visual surveillance and monitoring systems. We analyse gait signatures using spatio-temporal motion characteristics of a person to answer the question ``is there a discriminating feature in the gait signal that can help to categorise a disabled person from healthy?''. The procedure has three steps: detection of a pedestrian using YOLO followed by the silhouette extraction using the Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM). Finally, skeletonization from the silhouette image to estimate head and torso locations and their angles with the vertical axis. Furthermore, velocity and acceleration signals were recorded to look for accelerating behaviour of person walking with a limp. Manual segmentations shows that the gait signal has information about unusual walking patterns but existing pedestrian detectors lack accuracy in extracting an accurate gait signal due to localization errors.
Article
Full-text available
Gait classification is an effective and non-intrusive method for human identification and it has received significant attention in the recent years due to its applications in visual surveillance and monitoring systems. In this project, we analysed gait signatures using spatio-temporal motion characteristics of a person to answer the question ``is there a discriminating feature in gait signal that can help to categorise disable person from healthy?''. The procedure has three steps. detection of a pedestrian using YOLO followed by the silhouette extraction using the Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM). Finally, skeletonization from the silhouette image to estimate head and torso locations and their angles with the vertical axis. Furthermore, velocity and acceleration signals were recorded to look for accelerating behaviour of person walking with a limp.
Article
Full-text available
To determine the extent to which curb ramps in an urban area met a set of wheelchair accessibility guidelines. For each of 79 intersections in an urban area, we collected data about eight accessibility characteristics, based on existing guidelines. A total score (0-8) was calculated for each intersection, based on the number of criteria met. Of the 79 intersections assessed, 98.7% had curb ramps. Of the curb ramps, 53.8% provided direct lines of travel from the sidewalks to the crosswalks, 93.6% were >or=915 mm in width, 43.6% had ramp slopes <or=4.8 degrees (1:12), 57.7% had gutter counter-slopes of <or=2.9 degrees (1:20), 26.9% had smooth transitions (<or=13 mm) from the curb ramps to the gutters, 85.9% were free from irregularities and 100% were free from drainage grates. The mean (+/-SD) total score was 5.6 (+/-1.1). Only 2.6% of the intersections met all eight criteria. Although curb ramps were usually present at intersections, only a small proportion of them met all of the accessibility criteria evaluated. This finding has implications for those responsible for installing and maintaining curb ramps and suggests that wheelchair users and their caregivers should learn the wheelchair skills needed to overcome such accessibility barriers.
Article
There are a growing number of people with mobility impairments who use wheelchairs to get around the built environment. This number is likely to increase in the future due to an increasingly ageing population combined with advances in medical technology which help to overcome some of the barriers to access that have hitherto prevented people from leading as full a life as they would have liked. Footways form an integral part of the transport network and therefore it is essential they can be accessed by all people. Currently, however, there is no well-defined method to measure the accessibility of footways for wheelchair users. One aspect of a footway is the crossfall – the transverse gradient designed to facilitate surface water drainage – which adds to a wheelchair user's difficulty when progressing along the footway. This paper first reviews previous research on measuring the effect of crossfalls on wheelchair accessibility, highlighting the need for a new approach. It then proposes the Capability Model as a starting point for this new approach. The model is updated and populated with an initial capability set chosen to measure footway accessibility across footways with three different crossfall gradients (0%, 2.5% and 4%). The focus is on the physical work provided by the user to the wheelchair in order to keep it travelling in a straight line. It is shown that in order to travel in a straight line when a footway is flat only a single principal capability is required: the ability to produce sufficient force over the required distance to overcome the inertia and rolling resistance and keep the wheelchair moving at the chosen velocity. When a positive crossfall gradient is introduced a second capability is required: the ability to apply different levels of force to the left and right sides of the wheelchair. It is concluded that it is possible to measure these two capabilities and these provide a good insight into the effect of crossfalls on footway accessibility for wheelchair users.
Article
This study uses home-based trips obtained from the 2003 Montréal Origin–Destination survey to examine the correlation of walkability scores with household travel behavior while controlling for individual, household and trip characteristics. Further clustering of households allows the calculation of elasticities across household types. The findings show that walkability indices are highly correlated with walking trips for most non-work trip purposes, although socio-demographic characteristics also play a key role. Additionally households with more mobility choices are more sensitive to their surroundings than those with less choice. Our findings highlight the fact that a walkability index will not have the same correlation with travel behavior for all individuals or households.
Article
OBJECTIVES: To assess the test-retest reliability of the 400-m usual-pace walk test (400-MWT), and to determine whether the 4-m walk test predicts inability to walk 400 m. DESIGN: Observational. SETTING: Community, 20-m tract course. PARTICIPANTS: Sixty study participants (aged>or=65) were enrolled from the community and met the following eligibility criteria: self-reported difficulty in two or more of four functional domains (mobility and exercise tolerance, upper extremity function, basic self-care, higher functional tasks of independent living) and a score of 18 or higher on the Mini-Mental State Examination. METHODS: The 400-MWT and 4-m walk test were each repeated within 7 days. RESULTS: The mean age+/-standard deviation of the study population was 84.3+/-6.3; 88.3% were women. Nineteen participants (31.7%) failed both 400-MWTs, and 41 successfully completed both tests (kappa=1). Mean walking speed for the 4-m test was 0.87+/-0.18 m/s for those who completed the 400-MWT and 0.53+/-0.17 m/s for those who failed (P<.001). The Spearman correlation coefficient between 4-m and 400-m walking speeds was 0.93. The estimated area under the receiver operating characteristic curve between 4-m walking speed and the ability to perform the 400-MWT was 0.91. The 4-m gait speed averaged less than 0.6 m/s in 80% of subjects who failed the 400-MWT. CONCLUSION: The test-retest reliability for inability to complete the 400-MWT is high. Four-m walking speed is highly predictive of ability to perform the 400-MWT. These findings may prove useful to future clinical trials and observational studies that involve assessment of mobility limitations in older adults.
Article
To assess the test-retest reliability of the 400-m usual-pace walk test (400-MWT), and to determine whether the 4-m walk test predicts inability to walk 400 m. Observational. Community, 20-m tract course. Sixty study participants (aged>or=65) were enrolled from the community and met the following eligibility criteria: self-reported difficulty in two or more of four functional domains (mobility and exercise tolerance, upper extremity function, basic self-care, higher functional tasks of independent living) and a score of 18 or higher on the Mini-Mental State Examination. The 400-MWT and 4-m walk test were each repeated within 7 days. The mean age+/-standard deviation of the study population was 84.3+/-6.3; 88.3% were women. Nineteen participants (31.7%) failed both 400-MWTs, and 41 successfully completed both tests (kappa=1). Mean walking speed for the 4-m test was 0.87+/-0.18 m/s for those who completed the 400-MWT and 0.53+/-0.17 m/s for those who failed (P<.001). The Spearman correlation coefficient between 4-m and 400-m walking speeds was 0.93. The estimated area under the receiver operating characteristic curve between 4-m walking speed and the ability to perform the 400-MWT was 0.91. The 4-m gait speed averaged less than 0.6 m/s in 80% of subjects who failed the 400-MWT. The test-retest reliability for inability to complete the 400-MWT is high. Four-m walking speed is highly predictive of ability to perform the 400-MWT. These findings may prove useful to future clinical trials and observational studies that involve assessment of mobility limitations in older adults.
Infrastructure Technical Specifications
  • Hamilton City Council
Hamilton City Council (2013) Infrastructure Technical Specifications. Hamilton, New Zealand. See http://www. hamilton.co.nz/our-council/council-publications/manuals/ Pages/default.aspx (accessed 13/01/2014).
State Highway Traffic Volumes
NZTA (2013a) State Highway Traffic Volumes 1975-2012. Wellington, New Zealand. See http://www.nzta.govt.nz/ resources/state-highway-traffic-volumes/ (accessed 04/01/ 2013).
Pedestrian Planning and Design Guide
NZTA (2013b) Pedestrian Planning and Design Guide 2007. Wellington, New Zealand. See http://www.nzta.govt.nz/ resources/pedestrian-planning-guide/ (accessed 13/01/2014).