The dignity experience of people with disability when using trains and buses in an Australian city
Authors: Kelsey Chapman, Carolyn Ehrlich, Jessica O'Loghlen & Elizabeth Kendall.
About the Article
Public transport systems can play an important role in enabling, facilitating and sustaining dignity for people with disability. When these systems are accessible and inclusive, people with disability experience dignity. Unfortunately, when using transport systems, people with disability can experience access gaps, which are the result of infrastructure, environment, information, and attitudinal barriers.
When personal mobility is constrained by physical, social and/or communication, barriers, people with disability experience exclusion and an increasing vulnerability to indignity. This study by The Hopkins Centre researchers Kelsey Chapman, Jessical O’Loghlen and Elizabeth Kendal explores the role of trains and buses in an Australian city in supporting access, inclusion and dignified mobility experiences for people with disability.
Kelsey Chapman describes some of the key take-aways from this research as relating to:
1. Universal design of systems and services are ideal, but not yet realised
2. When there are gaps in the design and delivery of systems and services, dignity can be challenged. Information and communication, empathic staff attitudes, and acknowledging the personhood and rights of people with disability can help protect and enhance their dignity.
3. While this study was conducted about the way people with disability use trains and buses in SEQ, many of the same principles apply to user experiences outside of transport.
The research found that If any part of a journey was inaccessible, participants were vulnerable to indignity. By contrast, accessible and inclusive information, infrastructure, and interactions with staff ensured dignified mobility experiences. These findings highlight the complexities involved with navigating public transport systems while maintaining dignity for people with disability.
The dignity experience of people with disability when using trains and buses in an Australian city. Kelsey Chapman, Carolyn Ehrlich, Jessica O’Loghlen & Elizabeth Kendall. (2023). Disability & Society. DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2023.2203307
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