Social Factors in the Accessibility of Smart Cities and Urban Areas for People with Motor Disabilities

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities recognizes the right of people with disabilities to attain full social participation without discrimination on the basis of disability. Mobility is one of the most important life habits for achieving such participation. Providing people with disabilities with information regarding accessible paths and accessible urban places therefore plays a vital role in achieving these goals.

The accessibility of   urban places and pedestrian networks depends on the interaction between human capabilities and environmental factors and may be subdivided into physical or social factors. An optimal analysis of accessibility requires both kinds of factors, social as well as physical. Although there has been considerable work concerning the physical aspects of the environment, social aspects have been largely neglected.

In this paper, we highlight the importance of the social dimension of environments and consider a more integrated approach for accessibility assessment. We highlight the ways by which social factors such as policies can be incorporated into accessibility assessment of pedestrian networks for people with motor disabilities.

Furthermore, we propose a framework to assess the accessibility of pedestrian network segments that incorporates the confidence level of people with motor disabilities. This framework is then used as a tool to investigate the influence of different policies on accessibility conditions of pedestrian networks. The methodology is implemented in the Saint-Roch neighborhood in Quebec City and the effectiveness of three policy actions is examined ….


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