Topic Editors

Dr. Maria Orchard
School of Law, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
School of Law, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda
The Victor Pineda Foundation | World Enabled, Fredericksburg, VA 22405, USA
Dr. Jim Walker
WALK21, Cheltenham, UK

Accessibility and Inclusion for Pedestrians with Disabilities: Law, Policy, Practice and Politics

Abstract submission deadline
closed (1 January 2024)
Manuscript submission deadline
closed (1 April 2024)
Viewed by
5393

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Navigating town or city streets is often made particularly difficult or dangerous for pedestrians with disabilities (including users of wheelchairs and other motorised assistance devices) by social, design, policy, legal or regulatory factors. Law can sometimes be part of the problem, as famously argued by Jacobus tenBroek in his 1966 article on ‘the right to live in the world’. Law and policy, however, are also a vital part of the solution. At the international level, this point has been highlighted in recent years by developments such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Habitat Agenda. Nevertheless, meaningful change on the ground often proves elusive.

This topic issue will bring together a collection of articles which explore and critically evaluate the role and effectiveness of, and the need for, law, policy and regulation to enhance the inclusiveness of urban streetscapes for persons with disabilities around the globe. It aims to reflect on the effectiveness of law and policy (at international, regional, national or local levels) in preventing and challenging the exclusion and disadvantage experienced by pedestrians with disabilities and to explore factors (including political profile and activist strategies) which operate as blockages or facilitators of success. Papers will critically reflect on established and emerging types of disabling barriers affecting pedestrians and on the need for, or effectiveness of, regulatory or other state responses or approaches. The nature of barriers and solutions will vary across boundaries of geography and legal systems. We are keen that the Topic reflect the richness of this diversity as well as the potential significance of global and regional initiatives to promote change.

We invite articles addressing areas including (but not limited to):

  • Pedestrian rights and their relationship with the rights of persons with disabilities and/or older people and allied movements;
  • The regulation of accessibility, inclusive design and road user behaviour in the context of pedestrian environments and streetscapes;
  • Relevant international instruments and initiatives (such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda);
  • Relevant regional instruments/initiatives—e.g., within the EU;
  • Challenges and/or successes in how key aspects of national/local law (e.g., equality, constitutional, tort, criminal, environmental or traffic law) operate to prevent and/or eliminate disabling barriers for pedestrians;
  • New or emerging modes of transport or urban design which are creating risks or barriers for disabled people who wish to access and use town or city streets and whether/how law/regulation is, or should be, responding;
  • Empirical evidence on experiences of exclusion faced by pedestrians with disabilities and the implications of this for political engagement, urban planning and/or regulatory reform.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Maria Orchard
Prof. Dr. Anna Lawson
Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda
Dr. Jim Walker
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • disability
  • accessibility
  • inclusion
  • pedestrian
  • urban design
  • transport

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Laws
laws
1.2 1.9 2012 29.6 Days CHF 1400
Social Sciences
socsci
1.7 3.2 2012 27.7 Days CHF 1800
Societies
societies
2.1 2.3 2011 32.6 Days CHF 1400
Urban Science
urbansci
2.0 4.5 2017 23.7 Days CHF 1600

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Published Papers (4 papers)

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18 pages, 778 KiB  
Article
Performance Metrics for Implementation of Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plans
by Yochai Eisenberg, Mackenzie Hayes, Amy Hofstra, Delphine Labbé, Robert Gould and Robin Jones
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci8020027 - 29 Mar 2024
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Safely walking or wheeling in a wheelchair in the community is a civil and human right. Some progress has been made in the US towards making walking/wheeling paths more accessible for people with disabilities through the construction of new curb ramps, fixing sidewalk [...] Read more.
Safely walking or wheeling in a wheelchair in the community is a civil and human right. Some progress has been made in the US towards making walking/wheeling paths more accessible for people with disabilities through the construction of new curb ramps, fixing sidewalk barriers, and installing accessible pedestrian signals. However, pedestrians with disabilities continue to be limited by infrastructure barriers on sidewalks and streets. To encourage progress and government transparency, we developed a set of performance metrics for local governments to monitor and report their progress in implementing barrier removal plans, called Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plans. We used the five-step Nominal Group Technique to systematically develop and prioritize a set of performance metrics with an expert panel of ADA coordinators, disability organizations, and state and federal Department of Transportation staff. The research resulted in obtaining 53 metrics across five goals and 14 objectives that can be used to measure all phases of implementation and are intended to be customized to fit different community contexts and capacities. The metrics could be used by federal and state transportation agencies, as well as internationally, with some adaptation to ensure that adequate progress in barrier removal is being made. Local governments can use the metrics to document and communicate their progress and effectively reduce ADA compliance litigation concerns. Full article
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16 pages, 259 KiB  
Article
Leveraging Continental Norms and Mechanisms to Enhance Barrier-Free Access for Pedestrians with Disabilities in Kenya
by Lawrence M. Mute and Agnes K. Meroka-Mutua
Laws 2024, 13(2), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13020011 - 28 Feb 2024
Viewed by 801
Abstract
When it is realised meaningfully, barrier-free access enables pedestrians with disabilities to use streets without being impeded by non-existent or poorly maintained sidewalks, inaccessible overpasses or underpasses, crowded sidewalks, lack of traffic controls, lack of aids at street crossings, unsafe motorist behaviour, and [...] Read more.
When it is realised meaningfully, barrier-free access enables pedestrians with disabilities to use streets without being impeded by non-existent or poorly maintained sidewalks, inaccessible overpasses or underpasses, crowded sidewalks, lack of traffic controls, lack of aids at street crossings, unsafe motorist behaviour, and poor signage and lighting. While Kenya has laws in place that are intended to facilitate barrier-free access, in reality, these laws are not implemented, resulting in the violations of rights of pedestrians in general, and pedestrians with disabilities in particular. Using the lived experiences of pedestrians with disabilities, this article reflects on the policy, legislative, and practical contexts which undermine access. It shows that despite the range of policy and legal instruments which Kenya has adopted or enacted to ensure the public in general can access streets, pedestrians with disabilities enjoy arising benefits only marginally. The article’s thesis is that continental policy and normative instruments and institutions may impel Kenya towards ensuring that pedestrians with disabilities have meaningful barrier-free access. Full article
16 pages, 1730 KiB  
Article
The Needs and Requirements of People with Disabilities for Frequent Movement in Cities: Insights from Qualitative and Quantitative Data of the TRIPS Project
by Tally Hatzakis, Laura Alčiauskaitė and Alexandra König
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci8010012 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1231
Abstract
Moving is an indispensable component of travelling. This paper discusses the experiences of persons with disabilities when moving around cities on foot or wheels, based on research conducted during the EU-funded project TRIPS. Findings comprise participants’ vignettes from 49 interviews in seven European [...] Read more.
Moving is an indispensable component of travelling. This paper discusses the experiences of persons with disabilities when moving around cities on foot or wheels, based on research conducted during the EU-funded project TRIPS. Findings comprise participants’ vignettes from 49 interviews in seven European cities, views on smart assistive technologies (e.g., Augmented Reality) from a pan-European quantitative survey, and design concepts related to walking based on a co-creation workshop that actively engaged persons with various types of disabilities in ideation. Findings suggest that people need reliable and clear wayfaring information on accessible travel routes featuring the coordinated design of streets, pavement, stops, stations, and vehicles to ensure seamless, step-free, and obstacle-free access, as well as disability-sensitive management of disruptions such as maintenance works, for example. Findings also suggest that users are open to using any assistive technology that can enable them to live more independently, assuming it is accessible, and are keen to co-innovate. Finally, we make recommendations for policy changes that can facilitate the redesign of urban infrastructure to make cities more accessible for people with disabilities and drive structural changes in urban planning. Full article
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12 pages, 236 KiB  
Article
The Americans with Disabilities Act and Equal Access to Public Spaces
by Barry A. Whaley, Jonathan G. Martinis, Giuseppe F. Pagano, Sara Barthol, Jessica Senzer, Pamela R. Williamson and Peter D. Blanck
Laws 2024, 13(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13010005 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2050
Abstract
Since the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the United States federal government, states, and localities have passed laws and created policies intended to ensure that people with disabilities had full and equal access to public spaces. Nevertheless, more [...] Read more.
Since the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the United States federal government, states, and localities have passed laws and created policies intended to ensure that people with disabilities had full and equal access to public spaces. Nevertheless, more than three decades after the ADA, people with disabilities continue to face architectural and other barriers to community inclusion and participation. This article describes laws, policies, and initiatives that are implemented in the United States at the federal, state, and local levels to address these barriers, examines their effectiveness, and describes the views of advocates working in furtherance of the rights of people with disabilities and the inclusiveness of public spaces. We conclude by providing brief recommendations for ways federal, state, and local governments may ensure people with disabilities have full and equal access to public spaces. Full article
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