Tillgänglighet för personer med funktionsnedsättningar
Since the design of our cities tends to constrain people with impairments from performing their daily activities, removing barriers and making public space accessible for everyone is becoming a human rights-issue. Due to an ageing population, the number of impaired citizens is expected to increase substantially over the next 50 years. Hence, there is a current demand on urban planners to find a way to adjust their cities, in order to make them usable for every-one, which will grow stronger as the number of elderly in the society increases over the next few decades. However, efficiently improving accessibility requires knowledge about the loca-tion of obstacles in the urban environment and how these affect accessibility.
Using GIS-models to map and measure accessibility, this study aims at providing new knowl-edge about the spatial distribution of accessibility and the possibility for impaired persons to travel independently in seven Swedish towns. Furthermore, the study aims at revealing how certain details in the design of the urban environment constrain mobility and restrict accessi-bility for certain groups of impaired citizens.
Based on field inventories, detailed digital models of the pedestrian and public transport net-works were created for each town, using traditional digitizing methods. Using GIS for net-work analyses, these models were used to evaluate the possibility for vision and mobility im-paired citizens to reach different destinations. The applied method pays attention to the entire travel chain, starting from any residence in the town, thus analysing the possibility to reach a destination by using a combination of available and usable modes of transport.
The results from the study reveal how different types of flaws in the pedestrian network cause interruptions or forces travellers to detours, thus restricting accessibility. The results show where it is possible to live and independently perform daily activities as an impaired citizen, and also how accessibility varies considerably between mobility and vision impaired citizens. The results also reveal how accessibility for impaired citizens is better in densely populated towns and cities. Size and density of urban areas tend to correlate, as does the supply of facili-ties and public transport. Thus, accessibility for impaired citizens appears to be better in cities and larger towns.
In conclusion, the study provides new knowledge about accessibility for impaired citizens in Sweden. Furthermore, the study shows how urban planners, by using GIS-models, can easily enhance their knowledge about how flaws in their cities affect accessibility for impaired citi-zens. This study also shows how planners could use these models to simulate potential actions towards improving accessibility. The results from such simulations reveal what effect a cer-tain action would have on accessibility for impaired citizens, thus making it possible to iden-tify and prioritize those actions that would generate the most positive outcome.
Keywords: accessibility, disability, functional limitations, GIS, impairment, urban planning.