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Accessibility Audit Tool

Jonathan Garrett - 2020 Spring Graduate 

Since its inception in 1991, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the United States Access Board have helped create a more equitable public realm by developing design standards for public infrastructure and enforcing compliance. This has increased opportunity for, and participation of, people with disabilities at places of work, school, and beyond. On the other hand, it has also made clear there is still much work to do. The laws and standards that currently govern accessible design and other accommodations are seen as a failure to many people with disabilities as they have not torn down the “wall of exclusion” (Kanter, 2015).

To combat this “failure”, this project, completed for Stantec Consulting, Inc., has developed an Accessibility Audit Tool, informed by literature, user surveys, field work, and pilot tests that collects quantitative and qualitative data pertaining to sidewalks and crosswalks – two critical pieces of infrastructure that have a great impact on the mobility of many people with disabilities. The project sought to 1) support crowdsourced data input; and 2) define inputs and criteria that seek to optimize the user experience beyond ADA minimum design standards. The result is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that a user can access via the Excel mobile application or a printed version to start collecting street data anywhere at any time. It includes an infrastructure rubric to help people consistently rate the more qualitative measures required for evaluation as well as instructions for how to collect the data. In a later phase of this project, the audit tool will be validated by users, in particular, people with disabilities. Input categories and criteria will also be expanded. Lastly, the audit tool will take the form of a dedicated accessible mobile application for iOS and Android that stores collected data for research team retrieval and future analysis.

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