Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: I have a mobility disability and use a wheelchair to get around. I would like to travel this summer. What resources are available on accessible travel? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss the technology and universal designs that support independent and efficient multi-modal travel in everyday life; accessible air travel; high quality mobility devices being key to community involvement and independence; intelligent tools to measure accessibility of tourist destinations; research on tourism and disability; accommodating diners with disabilities; accessible destinations for people with visual disabilities; factsheets for travelers with disabilities who speak Spanish; a blog on the positive and challenging experiences of travelers with disabilities; an information portal on support/assistive technologies; and independent transportation and opportunities for people with disabilities. More about Answered Questions.
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Physical Access and Transportation (in English) (90REGE0007) empowers consumers, manufacturers, and service providers in the design, use and evaluation of accessible transportation, including equipment, physical environments, and the systems that deliver transit information. The project enables technology and universal designs that support independent and efficient multi-modal travel in everyday life, including for employment and social participation; and provides greater professional capacity in the domain of accessible transportation. The research and development activities of this RERC provide new tools, research findings, guidelines, and products that advance the accessibility of transportation.
From the NARIC Collection:
Air travel for people with disabilities continues to improve as new, more accessible airplanes and airports are constructed and as airlines train their employees to be more sensitive to the needs of travelers with disabilities. This booklet, Accessible air travel: A guide for people with disabilities (in English) (O20810), provides the information that people who use mobility aids, including wheelchairs, need to have a safe and enjoyable flight.
Research In Focus:
Over 9 million Americans use a mobility device to get around, from walking aides to manual or battery-powered wheelchairs. The Research In Focus article, For People with Mobility Disabilities, High-Quality Mobility Devices May Be Key to Community Involvement and Independence, discusses a survey of 250 people with mobility disabilities from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Improving Measurement of Medical Rehabilitation Outcomes (in English) (90RT5008). The participants answered questions about the type of mobility device they used most often and they used five–point scales to rate the reliability of their device and how easy it was to maintain and repair. The researchers noted that mobility devices can both help and hinder participation in the community. When they function well, mobility devices can offer access and autonomy, but device malfunctions or maintenance needs can interfere with community participation.
The article, An intelligent tool is developed to measure the accessibility of a destination for tourists with disabilities (Marcas y Turismo), discusses an intelligent tool, Accessibility Factor, based on an algorithm that uses the indicators named by the World Health Organization’s World Tourism Organization as those necessary to make a tourist destination accessible. This tool allows interested parties to calculate a destination’s accessibility deficiencies and, in turn, gives users an opportunity to identify and implement remedies.
The article, Scientific articles on tourism for people with disabilities in Ibero-American journals on tourism: A proposal on categorization (Pasos: Journal of Tourism and Cultural Heritage), discusses how tourism for people with disabilities is a field that is not touched upon by scientific journals on tourism in Ibero-America and that there is no consensus in terms of how to approach the subject. According to the authors, this is due to the fact that the concepts of disability, accessibility, and tourism have more discrepancies than agreement in the research community. This article uses a method of content analysis to categorize articles on tourism for people with disabilities published in scientific journals in Ibero-America depending on the interpretations of disability and accessibility.
This factsheet, Food Services: Accommodating diners with disabilities (O21519), from the National ADA Network (in English) (90DP0086) and the Mid-Atlantic ADA Regional Center (in English) (90DP0089) provides information to ensure that food service options offered by restaurants, hotels, convention centers, banquet facilities, and other businesses are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The factsheet includes tips for business operators, event planners, and food service staff regarding travel, seating, mobility devices, and self-serve items and includes advice on offering menus, straws, and assistance as needed.
Barriers to Travel:
The article, Travel without barriers: Accessible destinations for people with visual disabilities (esglobal), discusses how the concept of building a barrier-free society has penetrated the design of public spaces, including tourist areas. This concept emerged with International Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2006. The article discusses how new technologies and a growing awareness of accessible travel and universal design are supporting the rights of people with disabilities to travel without barriers and with greater autonomy. However, as the article discusses, there are still many obstacles and social conventions that still need to be overcome, even in tasks such as planning a trip or vacation.
- The ADA National Network (in English) (90DP0086) has several factsheets for travelers with disabilities who speak Spanish, including accessible lodging, food services, accessible parking, customer service for front line staff, customer service for business, and ticketing. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Regional Center (in English) (90DP0089), a member of the National ADA Network, provides several pocket publications in Spanish for people with disabilities that discuss access to restaurants and hotels under the ADA.
- Siller@s Viajer@s is a blog where people with disabilities can share about their travels and their experiences with accessibility and other topics while they travel. Under the Viajes (Travels) tab readers can find stories and experiences about accessible travel in Spain and other European countries, Africa, Asia, and the Americas – each area is then divided by country; and readers can find information on themed travel, including accessible gastronomic tours and cruises. Under the Experiencias Silleras (Seated Experiences), readers can find information on accessible travel, accessible schools, and more for people who use wheelchairs. The Radio Viajera tab provides downloadable mp3 recordings on accessible destination travel. Siller@s Viajer@s encourages readers to share their accessible travel experiences with their fellow readers.
- TecnoAccesible is an information portal on support/assistive technologies, accessibility of consumer technology products, and on Web accessibility computer tools. TecnoAccesible focuses on news and information on support/assistive technologies that assist people with disabilities all over the world in their daily lives, including travel. The information within the portal is interrelated between the different sections: A product can appear as a news item first, and if its technical information is already available, a reader can access its tab in the catalog via a link in the text of the news item. TecnoAccesible includes items and organizations from all over the world and notes this information within the information provided in the catalog.
- Wheel the World (in English) specializes in creating adventure getaways for people with disabilities and was created by two friends from Chile, one with and one without disabilities, after trying to plan a travel adventure in Chile and finding these types of travel to be inaccessible to people with disabilities. Wheel the World currently provides accessible adventure travel experiences in Peru, the US, Mexico, and Chile and hopes to expand to other countries. Learn more about their history and watch videos of some of their experiences in this article from El Universal.
- For people with disabilities, transportation can be a major challenge. If transportation is not available, accessible, and affordable, people with disabilities may not be able to fully participate in activities, such as traveling outside of their communities. The Research In Focus article, Independent Transportation Can Lead to More Opportunity for People with Disabilities, looks at a study from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC: Rural) (in English) (90RT5025) in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTCIL) (in English) (90RT5015) that compared how often people with and without disabilities use transportation and the types of transportation they use. The researchers found a connection between transportation use and time spent working and watching television: Participants who used independent forms of transportation spent more time working and less time watching television than those who stayed home throughout the day or rode in another person’s car. According to the authors, the findings of this study highlight the importance of accessible independent transportation, including public transit options.
About Answered Questions
Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.