November 30, 2004

Local Bad Design Equals Global Inaccessibility

Recently, I have been wondering. How does one determine when something is a local transportation policy issue and when it is a global or tourism transportation policy issue? Can that distinction still be meaningfully made?

Here's an example of the multiple layers of impact that inaccessible transportation has on residents in the UK -- and the implications for tourism.

In my personal experience the same issues meant that I could not travel independently (read, "spend my tourist dollars locally") when I was last in Abergenny, Wales; Oxford, London, or the Cotswalds, England.

Activists Ride Rails To Show Lack Of Inclusion

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 30, 2004

LONDON, ENGLAND--Dozens of disability rights campaigners plan to travel by rail to London Wednesday to bring attention what they call the "shameful" lack of accessible trains and stations, the Scotsman reported.

Activists from Cardiff, Wales are expected to join those from Doncaster and Plymouth, England at London's Kings Cross station.

Organizers claim that the lack of access amounts to "social exclusion". Wheelchair spaces on trains are often used by people standing because of overcrowding, they claim. Buffet cars and restrooms are difficult or impossible to reach. Many stations in the London Underground still have stairs. While some have lifts, many are inoperable or do not have staff trained to use them properly.

The campaign is being led by the disability charity Scope and others.

Jenny Ridley, a gold-medal winning Paralympian, is joining the effort, in part to warn officials that London's bid to stage the 2012 Olympics will certainly be affected by Britain's lack of accessible transportation.


Time To Get Equal

"Disappointment over rail access" by Geoff Adams-Spink (BBC News)

Posted by rollingrains at 11:29 PM | TrackBack

November 29, 2004

Accessible Gas Station Directory in Michigan

iCan reports on a voluntary consumer education service in Michigan:

Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America and participating gas stations in the state of Michigan have embarked on a project to identify themselves as providing these ADA compliant services:

Provide refueling assistance upon the request of an individual with a disability*.
Let patrons know that a customer with disabilities can obtain refueling assistance by honking or otherwise signaling an employee.
Provide the refueling assistance without any charge beyond the self-serve price.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:02 AM | TrackBack

November 28, 2004

Third Global Summit on Peace Through Tourism


Hold the dates for the 3rd Global Summit on Peace through Tourism to be held at the award winning Royal Cliff Beach Resort and Conference Center, Pattaya, Thailand, October 2-5, 2005. The Summit will again bring together leaders of the travel and tourism industry from around the world as well as leaders from the areas of Culture, Sport, Environment and Sustainable Development.

The 3rd Global Summit builds on the foundations of previous Summits in Amman, Jordan, November 2000, under the Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II; and Geneva, Switzerland, February 2003, under the Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania.

The Summit will continue International Institute for Peace through Tourism ’s focus on the Role of Tourism in Poverty Reduction as well as other areas including Tourism and the Environment, Social and Cultural Dimensions of Tourism, and Security for Travel Destinations, the Role of Tourism, Culture and Sport in Healing the Wounds of Conflict, Community Capacity Building, Micro-Financing for Community Tourism, Philanthropic and Volunteer Tourism and more.


The 3rd IIPT African Conference on Peace through Tourism will be held at the Hotel InterContinental Lusaka, Lusaka, Zambia, February 6-11, 2005 under the patronage of His Excellency Levy Mwanawasa, President of Zambia, who will open the Conference.

The Conference is being organized by the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) in partnership with the Africa Travel Association (ATA), and hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Zambia.


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November 27, 2004

Accessible Lodging in Australia @ Wheelie Easy

A helpful service from Wheelie Easy in Australia --

Accessible House Hosting Australia.

From a press release:

Wheelie Easy Pty Ltd - Supported Holidays & Tours

If it's not wheelchair friendly, it's not Wheelie Easy!

With the commencement of 2005 we are introducing some changes to our e-newsletters and to our website. Please bear with us if you cannot find our website - it's going to be easier to navigate and will have more information once it's up.

The latest information about our Day Tours

Going to Melbourne? Here's some information to makes travel there Wheelie Easy!

If you know of something you'd like to pass on to our readers, please drop me a line!

Irene Chapman
Director, Wheelie Easy Pty Ltd * Supported Holidays & Tours * ABN 55 934 150 592 * ACN 108 829 429 * PO Box 461 ATHERTON 4883 * Tel/Fax (07) 4091 4876

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November 26, 2004

How We View Being Deaf

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND--The following three paragraphs are excerpts from a column by Belfast Telegraph "Deaf Talkabout" editor Bob McCullough (source: Inclusion Daily Express)

One of the biggest difficulties in writing this column is trying to bridge the gulf between those who see sign language as the solution to all our problems and others who prefer the term 'hearing impaired' and want to make use of modern means of amplification such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.

The first group insist that it is the experience of being deaf and not the condition of being audiologically deaf that is significant.

Deafness is not viewed as an inadequacy and they take exception to those parents who feel they must go through a grieving process when they learn that their child is deaf.

Entire article:
How we view being deaf

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November 25, 2004

Bo Beolens @ Disabled Birders

Bo Beolens founded The Disabled Birders Association and the birdwatching site

Here's from the DBA site:

Whilst many reserves are sensitive to the needs of some disabled people many more do not. Very, very few have thought through the needs of all disabled birders. There is still a tendency, in the UK at least, to make the assumption that disability access and wheelchair access are one and the same. Clearly there is a need to make hides and walks accessible to people who use wheelchairs… indeed it would be a great start, but this would not help many people whose mobility is limited, nor those who have problems with sight, hearing etc. Until very recently no organisation existed to focus on these problems and bring some pressure and information to bear...


Further Links:

Disabled Birder Association - UK

Disabled Birder Association - USA

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November 23, 2004

The Guided Tour

The Guided Tour is a specialty tour operator with a focus on travelers with developmental disabilities.

From their web site:

What Makes The Guided Tour Different? We were the first professionally supervised travel and vacation program in the United States for persons with developmental and physical challenges. In our 33rd year, we continue to pioneer in this field. Our staff are paid professionals, with most of them working or having worked in the field of MR/DD. We do not seek volunteers and we have virtually no staff turnover.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:15 AM | TrackBack

November 22, 2004

The Disability Research Discussion List @ University of Leeds

One of the immediate benefits to The Rolling Rains Report since Simon Darcy has completed his PhD (Congratulations. mate!) is that he now has the leisure time to add his critique.

And he has done so in an important way by noting the lack of reference to a valuable resource on travel & disability:

The Disability-Research Discussion List managed by the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Leeds

For example. below is a new bibliography on "transportation for disabled persons and more generically, transportation equity."

-----Original Message-----
From: The Disability-Research Discussion List
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 7:18 AM
Subject: updated bibliography re:transportation for disabled /
transportation equity

Hello everyone. Please find below an updated bibliography focused on issues
pertaining to transportation for disabled persons and more generically,
transportation equity. This bibliography contains suggested items forwarded
to me by folks on this listerv ( Thanks to all those who responded to my
inquiries on the list!) material in my bibliography from last year as well
as some recently published articles. I also conducted a search on hein
online, a legal database on which I located some additional legal articles /
case notes. Hope this is helpful to those advocating in the area. By all
accounts, we certainly have a long way to go! Lilith

Updated Bibliography

Armstrong, Sarah. (2003) Disability Advocacy in the Charter Era. University
of Toronto Journal of Law and Equality, 33, 1-50.

Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand. (2004) Submission to the Human
Rights Commision of New Zealand RE: the Public Transportation Inquiry.
August 31st.

Barnes, Colin and Mercer, Geoff (editors) (2004) Implementing the Social
Model of Disability: Theory and Research. Disability Press: London, England.

Brennan, Grant. (2003) Nova Scotia Inclusive Transportation Pilot Program.
Halifax, Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia Department of Housing and Municipal

Brooks, Patricia (2004) Bus service a bust, disabled couple say: Metro
Transit says it's working to ensure pair not left at curb. Halifax
Chronicle Herald, September 23rd.

Brose, Mark and Feld, John. (2003) Report on Wheelchair Accessibility in
Toronto Subway Stations. Toronto, Ontario: Transportation Action Now (TAN).

Danermark, Berth and Gellerstedt, Lotta. (2004) Social Justice:
redistribution and recognition-a non-reductionist perspective on disability.
Disability and Society, 19:4, 339-353.

Disabled Persons' Commission. (1995) Report and Recommendations for the
Establishment and Support of Inclusive Transportation Services in Nova
Scotia. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Disabled Persons' Commission

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee. (2002) Attitudes of Disabled
Persons to Public Transport. London, England: Disabled Persons Transport
Advisory Committee.

Finkler, Lilith (2004) Disability Perspective on Car Free Day. Car Free
Halifax, Nova Scotia: Ecology Action Centre. September.

Gratwick, John. (1993) Canadian Transportation: Origins, Perspectives and
Prospects. Tantallon, Nova Scotia: Seawinds Consulting Services.

Haider Murtaza, Siu Wing Sze and Merissa Rahel. (2004) A Study of Travel
Behaviour of Transportation Disadvantaged in Montreal. Montreal, Quebec:
McGill University.

Halifax Regional Municipality Transit (2003) Access-A-Bus Application Form.

Halifax Regional Municipality Transit. (1995) Access-A-Bus Service Delivery
Review. Staff Report. September 1995.

Haynes, Roy. (2004) From Charitable Relief to Social Control: The
Criminalization of People with Disabilities in Nineteenth Century Canada.
Review of Disability Studies, 1:2, 88-99.

Hine, J. Scott, J. (2000). Seamless, accessible travel: users` views of the
public transport journey and interchange . Transport Policy. 7: 3, 217-226.

Hine, Julian and Mitchell, Fiona. (2001) Better for Everyone? Travel
Experiences and Transport Exclusion. Urban Studies, 38: 2, 319-332.

Human Resources Development Canada (2002) Advancing the Inclusion of Persons
with Disabilities. Ottawa, Canada: Government of Canada.

Human Resources Development Canada (2003) Defining Disability: A Complex
Issue. Ottawa, Canada: Government of Canada.

Human Resources Development Canada (2003) Disability in Canada: A 2001
Profile. Ottawa, Canada: Government of Canada.

Human Rights Commission of New Zealand. (2004) Inquiry Into Accessible
Public Land Transport: Consultation Report. Christchurch, New Zealand: Human
Rights Commission of New Zealand.

IBI Group. (1993) Access-a-Bus Service Review: Executive Summary. Halifax,
Nova Scotia: IBI Group.

Imrie, Robert. (1999) The Role of Access Groups in Facilitating Accessible
Environments for Disabled People. Disability and Society. 14:4, 463-482.

Imrie, Robert. (1996) Disability and the City. London, U.K.: PCP Publishing.

Johnson, Mary and Shaw, Barrett. (2001) To Ride the Public's Buses: The
Fight that Built a Movement. Louisville, Kentucky: Advocado Press.

Kallen, Evelyn. (2004). Social inequality and social injustice: a human
rights perspective. Palgrave, Macmillan: U.K.

Kitchin, Rob. (1998) 'Out of Place', 'Knowing One's Place': space, power and
exclusion of disabled people." Disability and Society, 13 (3): 343-356.

Lawson, Anna and Mathews, Bryan. (2004) Dismantling Barriers to Transport by
Law: The European Journey. IN Barnes C. and Merser J. (editors) Disability
Policy and Practice: Applying the Social Model. Leeds, England: Disability

Lewyn, Michael. (2001) "Thou Shalt Not Put a Stumbling Block Before the
Blind": The Americans with Disabilities Act and Public Transit for the
Disabled. Hastings Law Journal, 52, 1037-??

Littman, Todd. (2002) Evaluating Transportation Equity. World Transport and
Practice, 8:2,50-65.

Lyons, Christian. (2003) ARCH Fights for Equal Transit Services for Persons
with Disabilities. ARCH Alert. June 5.

Martin, Sheilah. (2001) Balancing Individual Rights to Equality and Social
Goals. Canadian Bar Review, 80, 299-373.

Matthews, B. (2002) The Disability Discrimination Act & developments in
accessible public transport in the U.K., World Transport Policy & Practice,
8:2:, 42-49

Mayor's Task Force Re: Disabled and Elderly. (1973) This City is for all its
Citizens: The Mayor's Task Force Report Re: Disabled and Elderly. Toronto,
Ontario: City of Toronto

Mosoff, Judith. (2000) Is the Human Rights Paradigm "Able" to Include
Disability: Who's In? Who Wins? What? Why? Queen's Law Journal, 26 : 225,

Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities. (2003) NS-LEO Position Paper on
Transportation and Accessibility. February 10th.

OC Transpo. (2001) Survey of Demand for Transportation by Persons With
Disabilities and a Recommendation for Demand Management: Final Report.
Ottawa, Canada: OC Transpo.

Ontario Human Rights Commission. (2002) Human Rights And Public Transit
Services In Ontario.
(accessed November 14, 2004).

Porter, Alison. (2002) Compromise and constraint: Examining the nature of
transport disability in the context of local travel. World Transport and
Practice, 8:2, 9-16.

Rennert, Sharon. (1988) All Aboard: Accessible Public Transportation for
Disabled Persons. New York University Law Review, 63, 360-415.

Rickert, Tom. (2004) Making Access Happen: How to Promote Access for
Disabled Persons and Elders to Buses, Trains, Taxis and Other Modes of
Transport. California, U.S.A.: Access Exchange International.

Rodgers, Donna and Zein, Bill. (2002) Balancing Act: Stabilizing paratransit
The American City and County, 117:17, 22-28.

Rovner, Laura. (2004) Disability, Equality and Identity. Alabama Law Review,
55: 4, 1043-1099.

Sclar, Elliot and Schaeffer, K.H. (1975) Access for all: transportation and
urban growth. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books.

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. (2003) Community Transportation
Assistance Program : Program Guidelines and Application. Halifax, Nova
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

Spielberg, Frank. (2004) Transit Co-operative Research Program Report # 95:
Demand Responsiveness /ADA. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research

Swain John, French Sally, Barnes Colin and Thomas, Carol. (2004) Disabling
Barriers-Enabling Environments (2nd edition). Sage Publications: London,

Tisato, P. (1997). Travel Affordability for People with Disabilities. Urban
Policy and Research , 15: 3, 175-188.

Wexler, Haskell (2001) Bus Riders Union. (video).

Yee, Silvia and Breslin, Mary Lou. (2002) Disability Rights Law and Policy:
International and National Perspectives. Disability Rights Education and
Defense Fund (DREDF) Berkeley,CA and Washington, DC


Archives and tools for the Disability-Research Discussion List
are now located at:

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November 21, 2004

Dr María Antonia López-Burgos @ "Viajeros e Hispanistas”

Dr. María Antonia López-Burgos of the University of Granada, Spain researches the writings of travelers to Spain. She has issued a first Call for Papers for the October 5 – 8, 2005 conference that she is organizing with her research group “Viajeros e Hispanistas” of the “Consejería de Educación de la Junta de Andalucía.” (Spain).

You will read in the announcement below, “The organizers encourage new reflections on British and American travel literature, art, music and tourism themes in comparative perspective and in various historical periods.” Knowing Dr. López-Burgos’ interest in travel and disability (unpublished article) I would interpret this note as a reciprocal invitation to Disability Studies scholars to extend their research interests into the themes presented at her conference – BRITISH AND AMERICAN TRAVELLERS IN SPAIN: WRITERS, PAINTERS AND MUSICIANS.

Dr. López-Burgos’ expertise includes knowledge of understudied travel literature written by persons with disabilities and with various illnesses. Her period extends back to the ers when the medical model was being formulated. The line of inquiry she is opening up holds promise for new understandings of the effect this model has on the self-understanding of persons with disabilities as well as its early dissemination.




6 - 8 October 2005

1st Call for Papers

Organised by the Research Group HUM-594 “Viajeros e Hispanistas” of the “Consejería de Educación de la Junta de Andalucía” (Spain).

The organizers encourage new reflections on British and American travel literature, art, music and tourism themes in comparative perspective and in various historical periods, from the 17th century to the present.

This conference will run parallel to the Art Exhibition of the famous British romantic painters John F. Lewis, David Roberts and Richard and Harriet Ford, whose opening will coincide with the first day of the conference.

Practical information: We invite you to submit proposals for papers to Prof. María Antonia López-Burgos using either e-mail: or fax: 34-958-243729. You are requested to supply a title and a short précis of your proposal not later than 30th December 2004 and the final text by 30th June 2005.

Papers will be allocated into different sections according to their themes, and they will be handed out prior to the Conference. In Granada speakers will briefly present their hypotheses and a session of discussion will follow.

Contributions will run from 5 to 7 single-spaced pages or 4,000 to 5,000 words (15 minutes delivery). Do not use footnotes at the bottom of the page or any imbedded notes. All notes, if used, must be endnotes. References, endnotes and acknowledgements will appear at the end of the text.


Prof. Dr María Antonia López-Burgos. University of Granada. Spain.
Address: Universidad de Granada
Facultad de CC. Económicas
Campus de Cartuja, 18071
Granada, España

Prof. Dr. Jesús Majada Neila

Prof. Dr José Ruiz Mas

The three team members of the Research Group “HUM 594 - Viajeros e Hispanistas”, founded and directed by M. A. López-Burgos in 1997, focus their investigation on travel literature in Spain written by foreign travellers and have published a series of books on travellers from abroad (mostly British and American) of all ages. Their articles on travel literature and travellers have appeared in prestigious journals.

More information on registration procedures, the programme and accommodation will be sent out in due course.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:55 PM | TrackBack

November 20, 2004

Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED), June 18-21, 2007

Canada is proud to host the 11th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED), to be held June 18-21, 2007, at the Palais des Congrès in Montréal under the theme Benchmarking, Evaluation and Vision for the Future. The conference will review advances in research, evoke international break throughs and explore perspectives for technological innovations in order to respond to the mobility challenges of an aging population and of persons with disabilities, as part of an inclusive society.

The conferences are held triennially under the auspices of the U.S. Transportation Research Board, and are extremely important in the field of accessible transportation, attracting researchers, policy-makers and other specialists to share innovation and best practices.

The conference will offer an exhibition where participants will have an overview of the deployment of innovation in the field of accessible transportation. The conference will include plenary and parallel sessions that may take a variety of forms, including roundtables, panels and tutorials. The structure will be based on the number of contributed papers and symposia accepted.

Canada is delighted to host the 11th edition of TRANSED and welcomes you to attend!

Posted by rollingrains at 02:22 AM | TrackBack

November 19, 2004

Scott Rains @ Shizuoka Universal Design Exhibition in Hamamatsu, Japan

Rolling Rains editor, Scott Rains will be keynote speaker at the Shizuoka Universal Design Meeting and Exhibition in Hamamatsu, Japan on Friday 17th December, 2004.

The event is jointly hosted and organized by the Shizuoka Prefecture, the City of Hamamatsu, and the Shizuoka University of Art and Culture.

The keynote lecture will be followed by a presentation by Dr Satoshi Kose, one of Japan's foremost exponents of Universal Design.

Dr. Rains will speak from his expertise on accessible travel, and include a report on the third International Conference on UD in Rio de Janeiro (Designing for the 21st Century III), as well as highlight the most recent developments on UD in the States.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:03 AM | TrackBack

November 18, 2004

Session on Disability and Anthropology at UC Berkeley

The Disability Research Group of the SMA is holding its AAA activities on Friday, Nov. 19, 2004 in Berkeley, California under the sponsorship of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, Ed Roberts Postdoctoral Fellowship in Disability Studies. In the Garron Room, 275 Kroeber Hall (on Bancroft at College) from 10am - 2pm ALL ARE WELCOME! Please call 510-206-5767 by noon on 11/18 if you need ASL.

Title: Situating Impairment-Disability in the Academy, the Service Sector, and in Policy


Co-Organizer 1: Devva Kasnitz, Affiliation: UCB, Email Address:


Russell Shuttleworth, Affiliation: San Francisco State, Email Address:


10:00 AM TO 10:20 AM: Devva Kasnitz, Affiliation: UCB, Email Address: Role: Paper

10:20 AM to 10:40 AM Russell Shuttleworth, Affiliation: San Francisco State, Email Address:, Role: Paper

10:40 AM to 11:00 AM: Lakshmi Fjord, Affiliation: U of Virginia, Email Address:, Role: Paper

11:00 AM to 11:20 AM: Jessica Skolniko, Affiliation: Roger Williams University, Email Address:, Role: Paper

11:20 AM to Noon: Sumi Colligan, Affiliation: Mass Coll of Liberal Arts, Email Address:, Role: Discussant



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November 17, 2004

Disabled Owner of Inclusive Malaysian Resort

Quadriplegic Resort Owner Far From 'Bedridden'
November 15, 2004

PETALING JAYA, MALAYSIA--The Star's "Wheel Power" columnist Anthony Thanasayan wrote last Thursday about Kalliyaney Kuppan, a 36-year-old Malaysian entrepreneur who defies the stereotypes of quadriplegic or tetraplegic women.

Kalliyaney, known affectionately by her friends as Kala, owns and operates Rose Lovely, a "disabled-friendly" resort in Taman Sri Bayu in Bahai Lalang.

Accessibility is as important to Kala as it is to her guests. She became paralyzed from the neck down after being hit by a motorcycle in 1991.

Thanasayan pointed out that, even though the budding businesswoman relies on others for her personal care, she has her sights on expanding her ventures.

"There is always hope at the end of the rainbow -- even for someone who is bedridden," said Kala, who plans to open a second resort next January.


"Paralysed but not defeated"


International Disability Rights News Service

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November 16, 2004

Theme Parks and Real Life

Brazil is the second nation to hold a conference on travel and disability. The Congresso Ibero-Americano de Acessibilidade no Turismo begins tomorrow.

Below is an essay on my topic for the Congresso, "Theme Parks and Accessibility."

Theme Parks and Real Access

How many theme parks can you name?

Disneyland, Six Flags, Marine World, and Great America are some better-known US theme parks. Tivoli in Denmark, Huis Ten Bosch in Japan, and GRS Fantasy Park in Mysore, India might turn up on your list if you are a theme park connoisseur. Cadbury World, Hershey Park and Hershey World might also come to mind if chocolate is your passion.

Now, turn the question around. How do those theme parks name you? That is, who are you allowed to be once you enter the magic of a theme park?

What is a theme park?

It is first a park. Extent and boundaries define a park. A park occupies space in a particular location. Unlike a nomadic circus or a traveling carnival it has permanence of place. We go to a park.

A park is a physical space that can be marked. Parks create frontiers -- the contrast between "inside" and "outside".

The frontier is also a psychological and social space, as anyone who lives near a national border, knows. Reality changes somehow when we cross a frontier or when we pass into a park.

The tension between inside and outside creates anticipation for the traveler - a spirit of pilgrimage that can only be satisfied by arrival at the goal. For the traveler with a disability arrival may not be easy � and it is most likely only the start of new kind of tension.

This fact is captured in the title of the very first study in English on the travel behavior of consumers with disabilities. The article, "From Anxiety to Access" by Simon Darcy of Australia, launched the field of inclusive travel as a topic for academic study in the English-speaking world.

Simon revealed to the travel industry what those of us with disabilities who travel want as consumers. We want exactly the same thing that other travelers want! That is not a difficult concept � �exactly the same thing.� As visitors to a theme park we want to be �inside.� We want the magic to work on us.

The psychological-social definition of "inside" changes depending on the type of park. So, let's consider the varieties of park -- park typology.

Kinds of Parks

One type of park may be offer nothing more than the features of its location.

These parks exist to guarantee access to some location that is often entirely natural. The site may be only slightly modified for human use if at all. Once inside the park boundary we move in order to observe nature. Examples include:

� Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone National Parks in the US
� Ngongoro, Kilimanjaro, or Serengeti in Tanzania.

Another type of park may exist to preserve a place that is entirely manmade because of its historical or cultural purpose. In this sort of park observation is secondary to preservation. In fact, entry into some buildings may be entirely prohibited � or the preserved architectural features, such as stairways for example, may make entry difficult or impossible for someone with a mobility disability.

A third type of park may obliterate the original local features that were either built or natural. This is often the strategy taken by theme parks. Theme parks create a coherent artificial space. By doing so theme parks acquire a degree of ethical responsibility not shared by the previous types of park.

Degrees of Responsibility

Theme parks have a responsibility to be 100% accessible.

Why? Because they can be 100% accessible in the way that the natural environment of a national park or the historically authentic environment of an enclave of the past cannot. Theme parks have a responsibility to be accessible because of the definitions of disability and of discrimination.

Some individuals carry a certain deficit in capacity. In English we call the lack of capacity a �disability.� Some modifications change the environment making it useable only to those with that capacity. To build a system, building, product, or ideology that does not allow for the participation of persons with differing capacities is to discriminate, to isolate, to leave �outside.�

We call the lack of access through design �a handicap.� A handicap is a socially constructed reality that prevents social participation on the basis of difference in capacity.

Medicine may have something to say about improving capacity. Universal Design is the solution to the lack of access.

Universal Design

Universal Design starts with the fundamental assertion that people with disabilities are consumers. Universal Design is about engineering the full inclusion of the widest range of consumers � offering them appropriate choices in the marketplace and the dignity of participation.

In the end, the meaning of inclusion is social participation. Social participation is the second psychological meaning of �inside.�

A theme park that �names� a visitor as anything but a full participant in every activity that it offers names the visitor an �outsider.� It breaks the magic.

Magic by Design

Theme parks tell a story. Their magic comes from allowing visitors to participate in their story.

The measure of theme park accessibility is not simply physical accommodation for those with ambulatory disabilities; Braille signage for the blind; or auditory amplification for the deaf. The park must arrange all those things toward the goal of full participation by carriers of those differences in capacity; those disabilities. The architecture, the paths, the music, the signs, the staff and the returning visitors all work together to teach the visitor how to be an actor �inside� the theme park.

The key question is, do all those elements work together to allow visitors of every degree of capacity to play every available role in the theme park story?

Can a child with a developmental disability be the protagonist? The princess? The clown? Can the visitor with a mobility impairment be he adventurer conquering ride after ride? Facing wild animals like a hero? Can the person who does not take in information visually or auditorially find their stage cues as they play out the park�s fantasy?

The next time you visit a theme park � or build one � think beyond the minimum requirements set out by the Americans with Disabilities Act in the US or the relevant building and safety codes in your country. Imagineer an environment where the differences in capacity between children and seniors are bridged. Stage a world where those with disabilities and those enjoying those temporary phases of life where they are not experiencing one can recreate side by side. Name yourself as hero.

Bring home a memento of a place that still might only exist in fantasy � but can still come true by design if the right story is told.

Further Information:


Six Flags

Marine World

Huis Ten Bosch

GRS Fantasy Park

Cadbury World

Hershey Park and Hershey Chocolate World

From Anxiety to Access by Simon Darcy

Universal Design

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November 15, 2004

Scott Rains @ Global Access E-zine

The January issue of Global Access published by Ms. Marti Gacioch of the Global Access Disabled Travel Network will include "Accessing Downunder." The article chronicles various fauna, flora, and faux pauxs encountered downunder by the sometimes-travel-writer, Scott Rains.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:25 AM | TrackBack

November 13, 2004

LILA @ the Los Angeles Westside Center for Independent Living

Living Independently in Los Angeles (LILA) is a project of the Westside Center for Independent Living. It can be used as a tool for visitors to Los Angeles.

Behind the project is the sophisticated software of Neighborhood Knowledge of California. The database covers the entire sate of California.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:59 AM | TrackBack

November 12, 2004

Sprout in NYC

Sprout is a non-profit organization serving people with disabilities since 1979. They offer travel and vacation opportunities for residents of NYC.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:21 AM | TrackBack

November 11, 2004

London Fleet Taxi in the US

Finding the right taxi, rental car, or vehicle to purchase can be time-consuming and frustrating if you have a mobility problem, especially if you use a wheelchair. But there are a few vehicles designed to accommodate.

Vexel Quovis takes the small-and-personal approach.

London Fleet Taxi takes the industrial-sized, tried-and-true approach by offering the famous London taxi in the US.

From their web site:

For decades, the London Fleet Car has served as the only taxicab in England, and it is now available for purchase or lease here in the America. As the world’s only purpose-built passenger carrier, the London Fleet Car comes fully equipped with a suite of unparalleled features. No other vehicle in the world combines the ability to seat 5 adult passengers together, has a built-in wheelchair access ramp and child safety seat, and lasts 500,000 to 700,000 miles when properly maintained.

The London Fleet Companies are dedicated to making ownership of a London Fleet Car both easy and affordable. We offer flexible, specialized financing programs that cater to:

  • Taxicab Companies

  • Limousine Companies

  • Assisted Living Facilities

  • Hotels and Restaurants

  • Conventions
  • Contact us today at (312) 225-8944 or for a test drive in your area.

    Posted by rollingrains at 06:51 PM | TrackBack

    November 10, 2004

    The New American Home ® (TNAH)

    Want to buy a hurricane proof, universally designed showcase home in Florida? Even if not, it might be worth a look to find some good design ideas.

    This is reportedly a "handicapped-accessible, 9,036 square-foot house [that]incorporates home automation, new technology, energy efficiency and healthy home construction techniques" according to Real Estate News.

    From the press release at real Estate News:

    Builder Goehring and Morgan Construction, Inc. collaborated with architects Bloodgood Sharp Buster Architects and Planners, Inc. and interior designer Saxon-Clark to craft an elegant Mediterranean-style home with family-friendly amenities that works in harmony with the outdoor environment.

    “We believe we’ve designed a home that is not only integrated with the natural environment, but that supports a lifestyle that allows families to grow and age in comfort,” said Kim Goehring, President of Goehring and Morgan Construction. “We achieved that by constructing a home that embraces, but is not overpowered by, new technology and automation,” added architect Ed Binkley, a partner with Bloodgood Sharp Buster.

    From The Builders Show web site:

    THE NEW AMERICAN HOME® is a ‘real-world’ laboratory demonstrating concepts, materials, designs and construction techniques that can be replicated — in whole or in part — in housing built any place and in any price range. Incorporating such elements as energy efficiency, indoor-air quality, safety, market value and other components of the building block is a principal goal of THE NEW AMERICAN HOME program. The TNAH mission is to show that “housing performance” can be incorporated into the most simple or most complex homes, and that it’s equally as important as aesthetics.

    Celebrating its 22nd anniversary, serves as the official showcase house of the annual International Builders' Show®. The National Council of the Housing Industry — The Supplier 100 cosponsors the construction of this show home along with BUILDER Magazine, featuring products, technologies, and design ideas. Since its inception in 1984, The New American Home® has the distinction of being both a show house and a for-sale product, balancing architectural freedom and the bottom line. It is a collection of ideas for the industry to take away — in large pieces, or bit-by bit — and put into millions of homes across the country each year.

    This article has been reprinted with permission of RISMedia
    (, publisher of National Relocation & Real Estate magazine.

    Posted by rollingrains at 06:00 PM | TrackBack

    November 09, 2004

    Scott Rains @ Suite

    Dr. Scott Rains has published a new article, Trekking Through the 2004 Adventures in Travel Expo in the Travel and Disability section of Suite

    Posted by rollingrains at 07:59 PM | TrackBack

    November 08, 2004

    What will TSA's SPOT see?

    This news note from the Daily ARTA Newsletter flags an development that may be relevant to some travelers with disabilities. With such an ill defined mandate what impact will the new TSA SPOT program("Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques") have on travelers with disabilities of all types?

    "The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit
    yesterday challenging the constitutionality of a so-called "behavioral
    assessment" program adopted by the Massachusetts Port Authority and the
    Massachusetts state police."

    blockquote>The program allows officals to stop and detail people for questioning at Logan airport. "This program is another unfortunate example of the extent to which we are being asked to surrender basic freedoms in the name of security," said the Legal Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "This
    allows the police to stop anyone, any time, for any reason."

    Behavioral profiling has been used as the basis for stopping passengers since 2002 when Massport announced that State Police troopers at Logan were being
    trained by an outside security consultant.

    A similar program, called SPOT ("Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques"). will be launched soon by the TSA at airports nationwide. Current law permits the police to stop and question someone when they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is committing, has committed, or was about to commit a crime. The "behavioral profiling" program instructs officers to detain anyone who they believe is exhibiting "unusual" or anxious" behavior.

    What constitutes this behavior is left to the individual officer's discretion.

    Posted by rollingrains at 07:40 PM | TrackBack

    November 05, 2004

    Need for Univeral Design in Tamilnad

    Here is a report on an important public transportation link that overlooked the principles of Universal Design. Travelers with mobility impairments wishing to use the Broad Gauge rail system in Chennai(formerly known as "Madras" or "Madurai"), South India face an unneccesary obstacle on the way to the beach:

    See: "Boarding, Alighting from BG EMUs Prove Tough" at

    For updated information on Chennai see:

    News Today

    Chennai Online

    Posted by rollingrains at 07:18 PM | TrackBack

    November 04, 2004

    Curb Cut Design @ Institute for Community Inclusion

    The Curb Cut Design blog of the Institute for Community Inclusion is undergoing revitalization.

    You can see it at:

    Posted by rollingrains at 06:05 PM | TrackBack

    November 03, 2004

    The "Equity of Use" Principle

    When designing private residences for Baby Boomers, “It’s the equity-of-use principle. What works well for a 4-year old works well for a 90-year old,” says architect Rick Jolson, director of architecture and design for Barrington Venture, owner of The Garlands of Barrington, which won a 2004 American Institute of Architects design award.

    Sharon Stangenes, a writer with the Chicago Tribune, reports in "Young, Old Benefit from Home Features Aimed at Baby Boomers":

    design elements such as the wider doorways and no-step entry have long been promoted by architects and advocates of the elderly and those with physical handicaps.

    Such home features are part of the concept of “universal design,” constructing spaces so they are comfortable and accessible to all ages, the temporarily or permanently physically impaired as well as the healthy. The idea is that residential spaces should work for people not only when they are young and healthy, but as they age and circumstances change as with pregnancy or a broken leg....

    Until now, the response by most builders has been sporadic and changes have come mostly in response to government regulation. But with a huge and aging Baby Boomer generation moving toward retirement, builders, big and small, are beginning to incorporate more universal design features into more new homes, especially in housing aimed at buyers 55 and older.

    Posted by rollingrains at 06:30 PM | TrackBack

    November 02, 2004

    Awards to Innovators in Residential Design for Seniors

    New home construction and tourism don't seem to have an obvious relationshhip. That is, unless you consider those innovators in residential design and construction who have discovered Universal Design as they work with seniors.

    The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has honored four such pioneers. See "Home Builders Honor Four Icons of the Seniors Housing Industry."

    Posted by rollingrains at 06:48 PM | TrackBack

    November 01, 2004

    An Important New Study: Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace

    This link to Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace, a major
    report released at a press conference in Washington, DC yesterday was provided by Elaine Ostroff.

    It's big...covers a lot of ground in great detail. It includes defining the universal design of electronic and information technology, it's relation to assistive technology, market trends, product analysis in relation to different user groups....and has conclusions and recommendations. And, it's dedicated to Ron Mace. Following are some excerpts:


    This National Council on Disability report is dedicated to Ronald Mace, "a
    nationally and internationally recognized architect, product designer, and
    educator whose design philosophy challenged convention and provided a
    design foundation for a more usable world. He coined the term 'universal
    design' to describe the concept of designing all products and the built
    environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by
    everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life" (Center for
    Universal Design

    Here is the letter of transmittal from Lex Frieden, Chair of the National

    Dear Mr. President:

    On behalf of the National Council on Disability (NCD), I am submitting a
    report entitled, Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace. This
    report aims to educate designers and manufacturers about the way electronic
    and information technology (E&IT) intersects with the needs of individuals
    with disabilities, and how designing with access in mind can significantly
    increase the size of targeted markets for E&IT.

    Designing with access in mind can be accomplished through Universal design.
    Universal design is a process to ensure that electronic and information
    technology is inclusive, accessible, and usable by everyone, including
    people with disabilities. Incorporating universal design processes when
    developing E&IT is one solution to accommodating people with disabilities
    that also improves the usability of the products for the rest of the
    population. NCD's research attempts to understand the market for
    universally designed mainstream consumer products and services, document
    successful universal design development processes, understand consumer
    needs, understand universal design facilitators and barriers, and identify
    and address current issues in universal design.

    This research falls at a time when understanding and incorporating
    universal design into the development process are most crucial. We are in
    the window of opportunity for implementing Section 508 of the
    Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended). Section 508 requires the Federal
    Government to purchase accessibly designed E&IT. If progress is not made
    quickly in improving the skills of government and industry employees on
    accessibility issues, the window will soon shut with little having been

    Progress must be made now, and the purpose of this report is to present the
    information and recommendations that will guide this progress.


    Lex Frieden

    (The same letter of transmittal was sent to the President Pro Tempore of
    the U.S. Senate and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.)

    And here is the table of Contents:

    Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace

    This report is also available in alternative formats and on NCD's
    award-winning Web site (

    Executive Summary
    Findings and Recommendations


    of Universal Design

    Role of Assistive Technology in Universal Design

    Research Process

    Definition and Research
    of the Market Environment
    and Guidelines
    with Disabilities
    Customer Markets
    of Market Trends
    Digital Assistants

    Line Assessment Methodology
    Line Assessments

    Learning Software
    Digital Assistants
    Recognition Software

    of Facilitators and Barriers to Accessible Design

    Study Data Collection Methodology
    of Industry Data: Factors Influencing Adoption of UD Practices
    with Disabilities
    of the Industry Study Findings


    Sizable Market Exists for Universally Designed Products and Services
    Design Principles Can Be Easily Incorporated into Current Design Practices
    Designed To Be Accessible Sometimes Do Not Meet the Needs of Users
    Is Currently Both a Facilitator and a Barrier to Universal Design
    Industry, and Consumers Have Important Roles To Play in Promoting Universal
    and Consumers Would Benefit from Better Industry Coordination with AT Vendors


    of Purchase Decisions for Accessible Products
    of Strategies To Promote Universal Design and Strategies To Promote Safety
    of the Market for Universally Designed Products and Services
    of the Impact of Section 508
    of Industry Practices
    of Consumers of Universally Designed Products and Services

    of Acronyms and Abbreviations

    List of Tables

    Table 1.
    Grades for Each Target Population for the Six Product Lines
    Table 2.
    Between Promotion of Consumer Product Safety and Accessibility

    Posted by rollingrains at 06:34 PM | TrackBack