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Transport Boards Must Include People With ‘Experience of Disability’

Updated / Wednesday, 7 Feb 2018 18:31

Last week Iarnród Éireann launched a pilot scheme on DART services to improve accessibility for wheelchair users

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has announced that the boards of public transport bodies must include at least one person with “raw, personal, experience of disability.”

Mr Ross’ spokeswoman said his announcement means that individuals with experiences of disability will be appointed directors of organisations such as the National Transport Authority, Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann and CIÉ.

In an address to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, the Independent Alliance minister said that in recent years, access to public transport had been improved but that progress had been unacceptably slow.

CNIB Calls for Senate of Canada to Include Strengthened Requirements to Accommodate Canadians With Sight Loss

OTTAWA, Jan. 30, 2018 /CNW

CNIB is calling on the Senate of Canada to make amendments to strengthen requirements to accommodate Canadians with sight loss. As the Senate resumes sitting at the end of January, they will continue their study of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act. CNIB supports the passage of this important piece of legislation, specifically the creation of an airline Passenger Bill of Rights.

Canadians with sight loss have difficulties travelling in Canada independently, especially when travelling on an airplane. Problems exists in all facets of airline travel: from booking tickets, to navigating airports, and providing sufficient space for passengers with sight loss and their guide dogs.

This Self-Driving Shuttle Puts Accessibility First

Accessible Olli was designed from the ground up to help people with disabilities get where they need to go. by Ben Fox Rubin
January 26, 2018

Jay Rogers stood a few feet from his company’s futuristic-looking shuttle bus, called the Accessible Olli.

The all-electric, partially 3D-printed, autonomous vehicle, sitting in the middle of the bustling Las Vegas Convention Center during the CES tech show, packs features to help people with disabilities and the elderly get around.

There’s a retractable wheelchair ramp, software that can process sign language, and displays inside offering simplified information and reminders for people with cognitive disabilities like memory loss.

Supreme Court Orders Second Look at Complaint About Airline Bumping Obese Passengers

Canadian Transportation Agency had refused to investigate 2014 Gabor Lukacs’s complaint because he isn’t obese CBC News
Posted: Jan 19, 2018

Gabor Lukacs complained to the Canadian Transportation Agency in 2014 that Delta Air Lines was in the habit of bumping larger passengers from full flights.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to take another look at a complaint about how Delta Air Lines deals with obese passengers.

The complaint was filed by Halifax-based passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs.

In 2014, Lukacs complained to the agency that Delta was in the habit of bumping larger passengers from full flights in the hopes they would buy a second seat.

Transit Accessibility for All Remains a Dream Unfulfilled Across Canada

Oliver Moore
The Globe and Mail, December 29, 2017

MONTREAL – There’s a pair of elevators to nowhere at one of the busiest subway stations in Montreal.

Get off the train at Place Bonaventure and it’s 36 stairs up to the next level. The elevators are there for riders who can’t do that walk, but they go only from the train platform to the ticket-booth area, one level up. It’s a long walk and many more stairs from there to the street.

The station has been like this for eight years, a jarring reminder of how much of the system is off-limits to those unable to walk.

All VIA Rail Trains to Allow Two Mobility Aid Scooters on Board

PRESS RELEASE PR Newswire
MONTRÉAL, Dec. 20, 2017 /CNW

Telbec/ – VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announced today that, following an order by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), its accessibility policy was revised on December 18, 2017 and will take effect on January 3, 2018. The Corporation will offer space for two passengers travelling together on the same train with qualified 3-wheel scooters either by having two tie-down spaces per train or by securing two unoccupied scooters in one tie-down.

Lyft Is Making The App More Accessible For Visually Impaired Riders & Heres Why Its Important

Source:Courtesy of Lyft
ByJames Loke Hale
December 20, 2017

Lyft has made accessibility a priority in 2017. First, in April, it announced its partnership with the National Association of the Deaf, along with changes to the app that would make it more accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing riders and drivers. Now Lyft is embracing its visually impaired riders by announcing its new partnership with Aira, which will make Lyft more accessible for visually impaired riders.

Aira “develops transformative remote assistive technology that connects the blind with a network of certified agents via wearable smart glasses and an augmented reality dashboard that allows agents to see what the blind person sees in real time.”

Canada’s Aging Population Signals Need for More Inclusive, Accessible Transportation System: New Expert Panel Report

PRESS RELEASE GlobeNewswire
Dec. 14, 2017

As the number of Canadians aged 65 and older continues to grow faster than any other age group, so too does the need for a more inclusive and accessible transportation system, underscores a group of experts in a new report released today by the Council of Canadian Academies.

Older Canadians on the Move addresses key obstacles faced by today’s older travellers and explores innovative and technological solutions for adapting Canada’s transportation system to meet future needs.

Older Canadians on the Move. The Expert Panel report on the transportation needs of an aging population.

Uber Canada’s Service-Animal Policy Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Critics Say

By Peter GoffinThe Canadian Press
Mon., Nov. 20, 2017

The company’s policy says any drivers refusing rides to customers because of service animals will be dismissed, but it leaves room for exemptions.

Advocates say exemptions in Uber Canada’s service-animal policy could still lead to discrimination.

Uber Canada has launched a new policy on how its drivers deal with customers who have service animals, but some disability rights advocates say exemptions built into the rules could still lead to discrimination.

The company’s policy says drivers who refuse to give rides to customers with service animals will be dismissed.

Are Self-Driving Cars the Future of Mobility for Disabled People?

Srikanth Saripalli, Texas A&M University
SFGate, October 5, 2017

Self-driving cars could revolutionize how disabled people get around their communities and even travel far from home. People who can’t see well or with physical or mental difficulties that prevent them from driving safely often rely on others or local government or nonprofit agencies to help them get around.

Autonomous vehicle technology on its own is not enough to help these people become more independent, but simultaneous advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence can enable these vehicles to understand spoken instructions, observe nearby surroundings and communicate with people. Together, these technologies can provide independent mobility with practical assistance that is specialized for each user’s abilities and needs.

Canada and Manitoba Invest in Rural Transit Projects Across the Province

WINNIPEG, Sept. 25, 2017 /CNW

The governments of Canada and Manitoba recognize that strategic investments in public transit and active transportation infrastructure play a key role in developing dynamic communities, encouraging healthy lifestyles and ensuring everyone can get around their communities easily and efficiently.

Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable Jeff Wharton, Minister of Municipal Relations, announced the details of five transportation projects in rural communities. The work is being funded through the province’s Small Communities Transportation Fund, which is supported federally using a portion of Manitoba’s annual federal Gas Tax Fund allocation.

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative Application Development Awards

Sept 12, 2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded six application development research contracts, totaling $6.185 million* for a period of performance through FY 2019, under its Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) to improve mobility options for all travelers, particularly those with disabilities.

ATTRI is a multimodal departmental effort that has been at the leading edge of identifying and developing transformative transportation applications for all disabilities. “ATTRI’s success depends on working cooperatively with other agencies as well as the private sector,” said Michael F. Trentacoste, Associate Administrator for Research, Development and Technology; Director, Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center. “We recognize the interdisciplinary nature of accessible transportation research and actively seek opportunities to leverage resources, accomplishments, and knowledge advances both within the USDOT and across federal agencies. We can’t do this alone.”

Metro to Launch Abilities-Ride Program to Encourage Accessible Taxi Use as Alternative to MetroAccess in Maryland

Originally posted Sept. 6, 2017

MetroAccess customers will have a new, more flexible option for travel within Maryland with the launch of the Abilities-Ride program on Monday, September 18.

The new program offers an alternative to MetroAccess service by allowing eligible customers to use on-demand taxi services–without sharing a ride–at a discounted rate.

The Abilities-Ride program offers subsidized rides in partnership with Regency Taxi and Silver Cab. Eligible MetroAccess customers can request transportation through these providers for any trip that begins and ends within the MetroAccess service area in Maryland. Riders can request their trip in advance by calling the taxi company directly, or through their respective websites or smartphone apps.

Uber Discriminates Against Riders With Disabilities, Class-Action Suit Says

By WINNIE HU
New York Times, July 19, 2017

All around Valerie Joseph, there is a fleet of Uber cars rolling by on New York City streets.

But though she could really use the ride-hailing app, Ms. Joseph said she does not bother because Uber has so few wheelchair-accessible cars to dispatch. “It’s plain unfair,” said Ms. Joseph, 41, who relies on a wheelchair.

Now, Ms. Joseph is part of a class-action lawsuit accusing Uber of discriminating against New York City riders with disabilities by providing scant access to wheelchair-accessible cars at a time when ride-hailing apps are becoming a common alternative to public transit in the city. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by Disability Rights Advocates, a nonprofit organization.

Canadian Transportation Agency issues What We Heard Summary Report on accessible transportation

GATINEAU, QC, June 1, 2017
CNW

As part of the Regulatory Modernization Initiative, the Canadian Transportation Agency has issued a What We Heard Summary Report for its first phase of consultations on accessible transportation. The report highlights the key points that have emerged so far, such as the need for a clear, relevant and comprehensive set of rules for all modes of transport, and for those rules to be expressed in mandatory regulations rather than voluntary codes.

The accessibility needs of Canadians are varied and are increasing as the population ages and the percentage of Canadians with disabilities continues to grow. In a recent Government of Canada consultation on creating new national accessibility legislation, participants ranked transportation as third among key areas of focus for the Government of Canada.

Federal Court Dismisses VIA Rail Appeal on Couples With Mobility Scooters Travelling Together

Order means railway must expand mobility device spaces or prove doing so causes ‘undue hardship’ By Shanifa Nasser
CBC News Posted: Apr 30, 2017

Martin Anderson and Marie Murphy say they have long been working to get additional tie-down spaces for scooters and wheelchairs on VIA trains and are tired of waiting for the railway to act.

The Federal Court has dismissed an appeal by VIA Rail of a decision that would make it possible for a Toronto couple who rely on wheelchairs and scooters to travel together on a single train.

Lyft and the National Federation of the Blind Announce Comprehensive Accessibility Improvements for Lyft Riders Who Travel with Service Animals

Lyft and the National Federation of the Blind today announced a collaborative effort to ensure reliable and equal service to individuals who are blind and use service animals.

Lyft’s affirmative and proactive efforts will help ensure its convenient and affordable transportation services are available to riders who are blind and use service animals across the United States.

As part of that effort, Lyft today kicked off the company’s first Service Animal Month, which is part of a multi-pronged initiative to ensure that all individuals with disabilities who travel with service animals on the Lyft platform can fully enjoy the benefits of connecting with drivers through the Lyft app.

Toyota Develops WelWalk Robotic Brace to Aid in Rehabilitation of Stroke Patients

Anna Domanska , April 13, 2017

On Wednesday, Toyota launched a new robotic leg brace called the WelWalk WW-1000. The robotic exoframe is designed to help patients with partial paralysis walk again. The device is worn on the affected leg, with a large motor component at the knee joint that helps with functions such as supporting body weights and assisting with movements such as swinging the leg forward.

The WelWalk WW-1000 system will be made available to medical institutions in Japan later this year, with a rental model that charges a one-time fee of $9,000 and later $3,200 after that on a monthly basis.

Learning to Drive With a Disability

by Maggie Hammond

The thought of driving with a disability can be daunting, but with support and technological advancements, driving can be worthwhile and attainable for everyone. You could find a new lease of independence, as you no longer have to rely on other people to take you to the places that you need to go to.
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How the process works can vary depending on your personal circumstances. If you are returning to driving after a disability or illness then you must notify the driving agency, so they can assess whether your current licence can be continued. They may require you to attend an assessment. If you are not sure whether you need to notify the driving agency, you can check on their website for a list of medical conditions that you must inform them of. Failure to do so can result in a fine, so make sure you don’t neglect to inform the authorities.

Canadian Accessibility Guidelines Survey

A committee has been organized through the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers that has been tasked with reviewing accessibility guidelines published by various levels of government across Canada.