Access Board Updates ADA Guidelines for Buses and Vans

December 14, 2016

The Access Board has issued a final rule updating sections of its accessibility guidelines for transportation vehicles covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The rule revises provisions in the guidelines that apply to buses and vans to enhance accessibility and to address industry trends and improvements in design and technology.

The guidelines, which the Board originally published in 1991, apply to new or remanufactured vehicles (they also include provisions for rail vehicles that the Board will update separately).

The guidelines for buses and vans address boarding access, fare devices, interior circulation, seating and securement, signs, lighting, and announcement systems.

London Unveils Badge Program for People With Invisible Disabilities

London’s transportation department wants to help people with invisible conditions find a seat on public transportation. Starting September 12, Transport for London (TfL) will spend six weeks testing a badge program for people with invisible illnesses and disabilities. The badges, which say “Please offer me a seat,” are designed for people who are unable to stand, but appear like they can. Those who see someone wearing a badge will then be encouraged through campaigns and materials distributed by the TfL to offer up their seat.

The TfL is currently recruiting 1,000 people for its trial program. Those receiving a badge will also get a card to present to transportation staff. According to the TfL website, if the trial is successful, more people will be able to apply for the program.

Individuals With Disabilities More Likely to Be Employed in States With Expanded Medicaid

Wed, 12/21/2016

LAWRENCE Individuals with disabilities are significantly more likely to be employed if they live in a state that has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study has found.

Researchers at the University of Kansas co-authored a study that found a 6 percentage-point difference in employment rates among working-age adults with disabilities in states that expanded Medicaid and those that chose not to.

How Do Deaf-Blind People Communicate?

American Association of the Deaf-Blind

Deaf-blind people have many different ways of communication.
The methods they use vary, depending on the causes of their combined vision and hearing loss, their backgrounds, and their education.

Below are some of the most common ways that deaf-blind people communicate. These methods described are used primarily in the United States.

Sign Language and Modifications

Signed Languages:

Some deaf or hard of hearing people with low vision use American Sign Language
or an English-based sign language. In some cases, people may need to sign or fingerspell more slowly than usual so the person with limited vision can see signs more clearly. Sometimes the person with low vision can see the signs better if the signer wears a shirt that contrasts with his or her skin color (e.g., a person with light skin needs to wear a dark-colored shirt).

5 Ways New Technologies are Empowering People with Disabilities

by Maggie Hammond

While the term adaptive technology is fairly new, throughout history humanity has used technology to make life easier for the sick and disabled. As a matter of fact, one of the oldest and most recognizable examples of adaptive technology is the simple cane used by the blind. Today, adaptive tech is so advanced that it can sometimes border on science fiction. Here are five new technologies that are empowering people with disabilities.

1. The DynaVox EyeMax

The EyeMax allows people with cerebral palsy, stroke, and paralysis to communicate using only their eyes. As they read on an on-screen keyboard, a scanner tracks their eye movements and formulates words and phrases. These are then translated into sound using text-to-speech technology.

In Quebec, French-Language Media Aren’t Talking About Accessibility

“When we talk about people with disabilities, theyre either shown as inspiring models of overcoming adversity, or as people left helpless. Ruby Irene Pratka
CANADALAND, December 15, 2016

For the 50th anniversary of the Montreal Métro, dozens of wheelchair users were able to do something theyd never done beforeenter the Place-des-Arts station. Only 10 of the subway networks 68 stations are currently accessible, to the consistent frustration of wheelchair users. For the anniversary celebrations, employees had set up a temporary ramp giving people in wheelchairs access to the station.

Co-organizer Laurence Parent did two TV interviews, one with CBC and one with Global. Weve been waiting for 50 years, Parent said, in her second language. Accessibility is coming but its not coming fast enough.

Blind Man Sets Out Alone in Google’s Driverless Car

By Ashley Halsey III and Michael Laris
Washington Post, Dec. 13, 2016

A blind man has successfully traveled around Austin unaccompanied in a car without a steering wheel or floor pedals, Google announced Tuesday.

After years of testing by Google engineers and employees, the company’s new level of confidence in its fully autonomous technology was described as a milestone.

“We’ve had almost driverless technology for a decade,” said Google engineer Nathaniel Fairfield. “It’s the hard parts of driving that really take the time and the effort to do right.”

Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, was the first non-Google employee to ride alone in the company’s gumdrop-shaped autonomous car.

Your quiet hybrid is likely to make itself heard in the not-so-distant future

Coming soon to your quiet hybrid:
By Fredrick Kunkle
Washington Post, November 23, 2016

Under a new safety regulation issued by the federal government, hybrids and electric cars will be equipped with a device that emits sound to alert passersby that the vehicle is running. Manufacturers have until Sept. 1, 2019, to meet the requirement.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in announcing the new safety standard, said adding noise to the nearly soundless vehicles could prevent nearly 2,400 injuries a year to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The measure is of special importance to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Sobey’s Hardware/Software Upgrade Denies Access to Visually Impaired Long-Term Employee

The hearing dates in the case of Jones v Sobey’s West Inc., Case #12888, have been confirmed and will proceed as scheduled, January 16 to 18th 2017.

My name is Juanita Jones, and I have been employed by Safeway since July 2001 as a cashier. During this time I have been very successful in my position even though I am partially-sighted. Over the years, I have received many compliments from regular customers, both as a cashier and as a customer service representative, at my local Safeway store in Surrey, BC.

Canada Makes Further Commitment to Support Rights of Persons With Disabilities

December 1, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, today announced that the Government of Canada has begun a consultation process on Canadas accession to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Optional Protocol).

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities protects and promotes the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities without discrimination and on an equal basis with others.