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The ADA: Building Access in Boston? Cheryl Weiner, B.A. Boston University School of Public Health Abilities Expo September 2003 Boston, Massachusetts Project.

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Presentation on theme: "The ADA: Building Access in Boston? Cheryl Weiner, B.A. Boston University School of Public Health Abilities Expo September 2003 Boston, Massachusetts Project."— Presentation transcript:

1 The ADA: Building Access in Boston? Cheryl Weiner, B.A. Boston University School of Public Health Abilities Expo September 2003 Boston, Massachusetts Project funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, United States Department of Education

2 About the ADA Passed July 26, 2000 Establishes clear comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability Includes: employment, housing, public accommodations, education, transportation, communication, recreation, health services, voting, and access to public services

3 Goals of the ADA: Provide national mandate to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities Provide standards to address discrimination against individuals with disabilities To ensure Federal Government is central enforcement agency Use congressional authority to address major areas of discrimination faced by people with disabilities.

4 The ADA and Building Access “No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.” ADA Section 302 (a)

5 What is a Public Accommodation? Any place, building, or outdoor space which a member of the public can enter with or without a fee including: Service establishments: doctor and dentist offices, gas stations, stores Places of entertainment: restaurants,theaters, stadiums, museums Places of public gathering: auditoriums, convention halls, stadiums

6 What are the requirements for public accommodations? New buildings must meet all of the ADA Access Guidelines (ADAAG) unless state standard is stricter Existing public facilities must be made accessible if "readily achievable," i.e. "without much difficulty or expense" “Readily achievable" alterations are: ramps, curb ramps, rearranging furniture, widening doorways, putting tactile markers on elevators.

7 Is the ADA reaching its intended populations? Some gains, but most have focused on wheelchair users Few changes for those with mobility impairments who do not use wheelchairs Wayfinding barriers continue to exist for those with visual impairments

8 Why the Delay? Few facilitators (environmental factors) exist to improve access Lack of consistent methods to measure access Few incentives for buildings to change Lack of legal enforcement

9 A Pilot Study on the Functional Access of Persons in the Boston Area A study comparing the functional access of public buildings for persons with and without impairments Conducted by The New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health

10 Goals of the Study: To compare the performance of people with impairments to people without impairments To compare between and among performances of individuals with different types of impairments To identify barriers and facilitators to functional access

11 Research team members: 1: (WC) mobility impaired wheelchair user 2: (MI) mobility impaired, cane user 3: (VI) visually impaired 4: Control, no known impairments

12 Hypotheses: 1. Control will report highest performance for all measures 2. WC user will do better on all outcomes than MI and VI 3. Those reporting more barriers will have a lower rate of task performance than those who do not

13 Design: Functional access compared at 30 buildings and facilities in Boston area in 4 categories: Civic institutions: police stations, courthouse Educational buildings: colleges & universities Transportation facilities: bus and commuter rail stations Cultural/recreational facilities: gyms, movie theatres, museums

14 Developing “Challenge Protocol” Parallels ADA priorities: Accessible approach/entrance Access to building-specific goods and services Usability of restrooms Additional access (such as drinking fountains and public telephones)

15 “Challenge” Protocol Tasks performed by each team member: Enter building Use restrooms Use public telephones Use drinking fountains Access seating Site-specific tasks varied according to building type

16 Main Outcome Measures: Functional access based on: Experience of team member Number of tasks performed Time and distance to complete building challenges Reports of barriers and facilitators for each building challenge

17 Analysis: Summary measures of tasks completed Comparisons of tasks completed among team members Barriers and facilitators reported including: structural, amenity, interpersonal, wayfinding, and other factors

18 Structural Barriers: All team members reported wayfinding barriers, BUT VI and control reported higher percentages (59% and 58%) than MI (26%) and WC (10%) due to poor signage, lighting and confusing layouts Amenity, interpersonal and other barriers less frequently encountered

19 Facilitators Overall, facilitators were high compared to barriers WC and VI reported the most facilitators MI reported lowest facilitators Though results are statistically significant, differences may be due to different reporting standards between subjects

20 Hypothesis One Findings: Control will report highest performance on all measures Control reported high task performance, but task performance was high for entire team No significant differences were detected between time and distance among subjects Control’s performance score (100%) did not differ greatly from MI (98%) and VI (97%) WC reported lowest performance score (81%)

21 Hypothesis Two Findings: WC user will do better on all outcomes than MI and VI WC did not perform better WC also reported more barriers and facilitators This is despite the fact that architectural improvements have been made for wheelchair users

22 Hypothesis Three Findings: More barriers equal lower task performance WC reported more barriers and had lower task performance Control and VI reported fewer barriers and had high task performance MI reported high number of barriers but had high task performance

23 Conclusions Barriers and facilitators are crucial to understanding what restricts or enables access for persons with impairments Perceptions of barriers and facilitators vary according to impairment Further research and action is needed to improve functional access for people with varied impairments & functional access

24 Rising to Action Strength in numbers – people are out there making a difference and so can you!!! Contact your federal and state agencies and congress people Know your rights!!!

25 Strategies for becoming an effective advocate Document and file complaints of violations Educate business owners about the law and compliance measures Commission functional access surveys for public accommodations

26 Ways continued Encourage others to make their voices heard Go to the press Seek legal recourse or mediation services if necessary (after thorough research)

27 Organizations making a difference: Adaptive Environments: promotes accessibility and universal design through education programs, technical assistance, training, consulting, publications and design advocacy to enable every individual to participate fully in all aspects of society.

28 More Organizations Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities: advocacy-based coalition of national disability organizations furthering self determination, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society.

29 Organizations Continued Access Board: Federal agency dedicated to developing and maintaining accessibility requirements for the built environment, transit vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and IT equipment. Also provides technical assistance and training and enforces accessibility standards.

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