Are we reaching the goal of barrier-free Taipei? - “2017 Cooperation Forum on Accessibility and Prosperity in Cities”

Are we reaching the goal of barrier-free Taipei? 

  “2017 Cooperation Forum on Accessibility and Prosperity in Cities”

 

As the preparation event for “2017 Cooperation Forum on Accessibility and Prosperity in Cities”, Eden Social Welfare Foundation conducted a focus group constituted by 7 members of representatives from different NPOs in Taiwan and academics in the tourism field examined the accessible public transportation in Taipei.

The group visited Fulong Beach and exploring National Palace Museum (NPM), Taipei, throughout the inspection tour, the group concluded drew several suggestions. Let us listen really closely to what persons with disabilities and their carer (parents) have observed. 

Sharing her experience travelling to NPM with the audiences, Ching-Wen Wang, Director-General of Parents’ Association for the Visually Impaired, Taipei, suggested that, although the number of low-floor public buses in Taipei has risen from 30 buses in the year 2008 to 2810 buses at present (80% of all public buses), the accessibility of its service still needs to be improved.

    

Ms. Wang stressed that the wheelchair accessibility at bus stops as well as drivers' and public awareness needs to be increased. She further pointed out, improvement in information technology and PR can improve bus services, providing a more accessible and convenient travel experience for persons with disability. 

In addition, Jacky Hsu, Director General of Taiwan Access for All Association, pointed out a barrier-free living is a circular process, it constitutes the circle of Access, Civic Participation, and Public Awareness, and these three elements work together and create a path for a barrier-free lignin. 

Mr. Hsu focused his observation on the challenges to access on the Taipei MRT, he pointed out issues in its accessibility such as,

  •  Accessibility requirements not met in some buildings (transit stations)  
  •  MRT guidelines incompatible with local laws
  •  Older accessible restrooms too narrowly constructed
  • Number of carriages with barrier-free facilities is inadequate
  • Gap between train and platform too wide
  •  Limited Entrance/Exit area
  • Signage and other information displays are either unclear or too high for wheelchair users to see.
  •  Barrier-free lines of movement in conflict with those of other passengers

 

The principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) brings new momentum to ensuring accessibility in the delivery of transport infrastructure and services. However, accessibility of transport is not always a priority in transport planning and implementation. There can be barriers in the physical environment and delivery of services that render transport inaccessible. Therefore,

Transportation Planning should be incorporated the element of Universal Design, such as evaluating Accessibility for Transportation Planning.Therefore, transport professionals need to understand and develop expertise in operationalizing access and mobility issues for people with disabilities and people with limited mobility in the design and implementation of projects. The overarching objective is to suggest how to improve the implementation of accessibility features in transport projects for people with disabilities and people with limited mobility.

As Yu Ling Wong, Chairman of New Vitality Independent Living Association, Taipei, and a travel lover stressed that persons with disabilities have the right to travel, have access to wherever they want to be, and enjoy the beautiful sceneries of different parts of the world as normal people. “You want to travel, I want to travel too!”

Accessibility is a basic right. Accessibility isn’t just about budgetary allocations and infrastructure. It isn’t a minority constituency concern, but something that affects all of us at some point in our lifetimes. The purpose of the International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED) is to provide a platform which enables experts and academics to discuss and exchange expertise in the field in order to promote an enhanced barrier-free environment. Hosted by Eden Social Welfare Foundation, TRANSED 2018 will take place on November 12-15, 2018 at the Taipei International Convention Centre (TICC). Eden sincerely invites experts in the field across the globe to participate and to witness the first international accessible transportation conference in Taiwan. 

TRANSED 2018 Official Website: http://www.transed2018.com/