Thanks to major input from key players around the sustainable world ideology, Accessibility has truly found a front and centre position on the global stage. United Nations, Google, Microsoft, Valuable 500, Purple, Changing Places and many others have slowly but surely succeeded in creating enough awareness around a world that is accessible to everyone, so much so that the world has started to pay attention… But has it really done enough?
One only has to look at the disability groups on social media and some of the other disability forums online to find that the reality is not as the media or the world would like one to perceive! People with disabilities are still, let me repeat, STILL, the most marginalised demographic in the world… If you do enough research and dive deep enough you will find shocking stories or sickening statistics on what people with disabilities have to go through on a daily basis.
So let's give the benefit of the doubt to those who don't have a disability for a second, Accessibility has become such a broad word that covers so many different facets of life, work, physical space as well as the digital world. The trouble is most organisations and people don't even know where to start or who to look to for help, and in most cases just don't bother at all because it seems like an insurmountable challenge to solve. It is at this point where the line needs to be drawn because there are so many solutions out there including the ones here at CityMaaS that can aid businesses, organisations, and people with disabilities to improve levels of accessibility, grow revenue streams, and ensure sustainable business growth.
We are fighting so hard to make the world accessible online and off-line, developing tech to help solve real pain points on a global scale and yet we see that even at one of the world's most prestigious international gatherings, COP26, that the very leaders who help to instil disability rights into their legislations and their event organisers, are able to overlook Accessibility and set an example that it's made okay by just responding publicly "it is shocking to see that this has happened" or by apologising directly… This comes from the recent incident where Energy Minister was stuck for two hours trying to gain access to the event to represent Israel and help towards building a sustainable future for everyone as some reports show
(https://www.jpost.com/environment-and-climate-change/disabled-israeli-minister-left-out-of-inaccessible-climate-conference-683730, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/02/world/israel-energy-minister-cop26-wheelchair-access.html, https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/02/middleeast/israel-cop26-wheelchair-access-intl/index.html) Naturally, Minister Elharrar has handled this situation pragmatically as many other disabled people are forced to do.
This is 2021 and instances like this should not be occurring, there is so much technology available to the world to help overcome challenges like this! The only way our current Accessibility Status is going to change is when it is no longer an afterthought and something that is implemented in any plans as one of the fundamental things to focus on! (I'll stop ranting now)
Mobility Map by CityMaaS, seeks to aid disabled users by providing them with the vital information required when travelling from A to B ensuring that they can travel confidently and knowing exactly how accessible their destinations are… We use AI and machine learning technology to help ensure that we not only display existing accessible information but also predict places that are currently unknown with prediction accuracy is as high as 90% in some use cases. Having accessible information and real-time updates would help create a world that allows people with disabilities to live independently and travel safely! It most certainly would have highlighted to Minister Elharrar or even the event organisers areas of venue Accessibility concerns…
Check it out for yourselves: https://demo.citymaas.io/
About the Author: Luis Canto E Castro (CityMaaS Partnership Manager)
Luis is an extremely dedicated disability advocate, always trying to help the world understand what it's like to live with a disability. His positive attitude is infectious and is determined to show the world that anything is possible!
Resources: CNN, New York Times and the Jerusalem Post
Images: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/israeli-minister-cop26-receives-apology-25359457 , Mobility Map search of COP26 venue in Glasgow, Scotland