TRANSED 2018 Keynote Speech from APCD | Eden Social Welfare Foundation

Translator | YuWei Chen   Proofreader | Natalya Posumentova

 

 

Low-floor buses can be taken by persons with disabilities or elderly people, and they can take Rehabus taxi for general use or for transportation to rehabilitation centers. Persons with disabilities and elderly people can also take airplanes without inconvenience. This seamless transportation has been gradually achieved in Bangkok.

 

Amb. Piroon Laismit, executive director of the Asia-Pacific Development Center (APCD) in Bangkok, stated he looks forward to the day when accessible transportation is universally available and the world is thus a fairer place. At the TRANSED Conference in 2018, Laismit shared the purpose of APCD, that is improving the availability of accessible transportation, so all persons can be fully included in society.

 

Reflecting upon the current available software and hardware facilities in many places around the world, the needs of persons with disabilities are often neglected, and even the legal protection is inadequate. The rates of persons with disabilities living in poverty are high in many places over the world. According to a report from the World Health Organization and the World Bank, persons with disabilities generally have poorer health, lower education achievements and fewer economic opportunities, ‘[Disabled persons] face many obstacles in daily life, and furthermore have barriers such as rehabilitation and employment; it is difficult for them to develop their strengths’.

 

Moving to the issue of population aging, according to a 2017 United Nations report, the elderly population is significantly high: ‘The population aged 60 or over is growing faster than younger age groups’. It was also found that ‘fertility is declining while life expectancy rising throughout the world’. It is estimated that the population of elderly people will reach 1.4 billion in 2030 and it will rise to 2 billion in 2050. The United Nations has begun to pay attention to the issues of population aging and persons with disabilities, with an aim to improve quality of life.

 

Paying attention to the needs of elderly people and persons with disabilities

 

Amb. Piroon Laismit looked to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Assistive Products and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as examples who are pushing forward, aiming to improve the lives of persons with disabilities and enable them to integrate fully into society. In addition, to give disabled persons respect and equal opportunities, to enable them to make choices and find work.

 

Assistive Products and Sustainable Development Goals emphasize the use of assistive equipment for persons with disabilities, enabling disabled persons to become productive members of society.

 

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities emphasizes that persons with disabilities possess the right to participate in cultural activities, and so should be represented in cultural, artistic and sporting events. In the ASEAN Autism Competition held in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018, there were approximately 162 swimmers with disabilities and 150 athletes, an undeniable exemplar for equal rights for persons with disabilities in practice.

 

Examining hardware facilities, accessible transportation in the metropolitan area is just as important as in rural areas. Laismit pointed to the ASEAN Jakarta Secretariat’s launching of a design workshop. Drawing up principles and criteria, understanding the requirements of barrier-free space, and the application of facilities for construction, were all explored through this workshop.

 

The Project of Accessible Facilities

 

From 2012 to 2014, the Japanese Association for the Advancement of Funds (JAIF) improved accessible environments for persons with disabilities such as establishment for ramps and planning for barrier-free toilets in Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, making it convenient for persons with disabilities to live in the community.

 

In order to provide elderly people with a suitable purchasing space, there is also focusing on making changes to shops. In addition, producing publications to inform others of and promote concepts of accessible spaces. All these kinds of thinking strategies are aiming to reduce inequality through education and sanitation. The goal of sustainable development lies in ending poverty.

 

The Asia Pacific Development Center (APCD) in Bangkok actively seeks partners to turn principles into actions for helping elderly people and persons with disabilities to overcome the barriers based on universal design. “No matter what your age or status is, all you are equal”, Laismit said.

 

Friendly Design is Everywhere

 

Promotions in Thailand for friendly design hope to develop an environment that is considerate towards everyone’s needs. In promoting the ‘Tourism for All’ campaign, this concept was applied in the restaurants, attractions and airports and other tourism spots. Laismit stated that in order to make more people move safely and comfortably, the Bangkok Municipal Government imported 300 Low-floor buses and 30 Rehabus taxis to operate in the city. In railway stations, an accessible toilets project was also conducted in order to make traveling for everyone comfortable. In addition, the Friendly Design Foundation held a Family Care Expo in Thailand at the end of 2018, promoting ‘Smart Life and Increased Convenience for Elderly People’, increasing public awareness and drawing more attention to convenient public transportation.

 

In the past, persons with disabilities and elderly people encountered obstacles everywhere, even being refused by taxi drivers when trying to take a taxi. These days because of advocacy, persons with disabilities can take an airplane or taxi without issue. They also able to access elevators, and are offered smart transportation by using various apps. Enjoying the barrier-free transportation when leaving the house is the objective.

 

Developing seamless transportation through building a smart city, the 'Tourism for All' campaign’s objectives will be achieved.

 

 

 

[About TRANSED]

TRANSED was created by the US Transportation Research Board in 1978. Held every three years, TRANSED conferences have been co-sponsored by the Transportation Research Board. The 1st TRANSED was held in Cambridge, England. Throughout the years, TRANSED was held 14 times in 11 countries, such as Orlando in the US, Vancouver in Canada, Stockholm in Sweden, Lyon in France, Perth in Australia, Warsaw in Poland, Hamamatsu in Japan, Hong Kong in China and New Delhi in India. Taiwan is the fourth city in Asia to host this event following India. Eden Social Welfare Foundation has the honor of hosting the 15th TRB conference. The theme of this year is “Mobility for All- Connecting the World with Accessible Transportation”.

 

TRANSED2018 is contained with Long-Term Care 2.0 in Taiwan’s 10-year program: To improve caring service for the elderly and persons with disabilities, to enhance accessible transportation, and to make a better barrier-free living environment, etc. In the conference, there are the exhibition areas where local governments display some achievements of the accessible transportation environment in Taiwan. In addition, academic units, social enterprises, and NGOs are going to display the latest accessible vehicles, and smart-tech assistive devices during three days.