wireless technologies could provide an answer quickly and inexpensively. Furthermore, technologies developed to overcome one type of disability can help overcome others and benefit travelers without disabilities as well. Technologies can apply to many travel modalities, including sidewalks, automobiles, buses, trains, and planes, as well as many reasons for traveling, including work, school, errands, and leisure. And technologies can be particularly powerful if they are inclusive and universal so that the same technology works in Chicago or San Diego.

Data standards are a big piece of the puzzle, said Yousuf. Is an elevator working? Is a bus wheelchair accessible? Answering such questions requires data capture and management from vehicles, cell phones, and other devices. Smartphones, cloud computing, and analysis of “big data” all could be harnessed to meet these needs if standards for data and metadata are in place.

The proper use of technology can support all aspects of travel, from the initial planning to the end of a trip. User needs can be integrated so that if someone is traveling to Chicago, for example, he or she will know if a hotel is accessible and has the kind of bathroom that is needed. Travelers will be able to get to their destinations safely, reliably, and on time.

Yousuf, who has a physical disability himself, closed with a vision of a transportation system in which he could take a Segway-type device to a bus stop, leave the device there, and then pick up a similar device when he gets off the bus, just as bike-sharing systems allow people to acquire bikes when and where they need them. People with disabilities should not have to worry about how to get from point A to point B, he said.


Jon Sanford, M.Arch.

Georgia Tech

Workplace accommodations support the execution of work-related tasks, coordination of group and collaborative activities, transmission of office culture, and team building. They enhance work outcomes through higher individual and firm productivity, increased satisfaction with colleagues and their work, and lower levels of intention to leave their jobs. Thus, workforce accommodations have positive benefits for individuals who work and for the firms in which they work.

These accommodations are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.2 Title III of that act mandates particular technical requirements for public facilities. For the workplace, Title I of the act mandates “reasonable


2Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Public Law 336, 101st Congress, 2nd sess. (July 26, 1990).

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