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Enhanced Urban Mobility: The People's Way

What can we learn from an award winning transport system in India regarding designing for accessibility through features which are widely popular?

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A few years back I covered a story for Design Observer on the Bus Rapid Transit System in Ahmedabad, India. Locally it is called Janmarg – or People's Way – fitting given the accessibility considerations which have been made by designers and planners across the multi-modal system.

While researching the story I spent 2 weeks catching the buses across this sprawling city of 6 million +. I found a couple of accessibility features great myself. The first was at level boarding (not having to climb up steps to board the bus) from within pleasantly designed bus stops. This made entering and exiting the buses a smooth experience – especially given the sometimes chaotic nature of Indian roads.

As I interviewed passengers it seemed that this feature was not only appreciated by the elderly, the young and those who were physically challenged – but by just about everyone. The second was visual displays inside the bus of where buses were up to. Many of you know how it can be when you are travelling and using transport systems away from home – you're constantly stressed and looking outside to get a hint of what station you are up to. Audio announcements were also a feature – benefitting not only the blind but also those who had limited literacy or who who were not familiar with the key local languages. As bus operator Panchal Kirti reports: “Not only can deaf people watch and blind people listen but people who can’t read are not excluded from being informed. So everyone on board can relax till their destination is announced.”

Arun Amrutla, an Ahmedabadi man who has been crippled since birth commented “Its so easy for people like me to get on and off the Janmarg buses,” he says. This kind of system, he continues, can truly change people’s lives — especially those who are physically and financially challenged. “Janmarg gives us access to parts of the city that we couldn’t access before — for education, employment or enjoyment — so today it's more our city now than it ever has been.”
 
How might we design accessibility features for elections which are appreciated by all participants? How might we empower those with accessibility issues during elections to feel that it's more their country that it ever has been?
 
 

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DeletedUser

A very good concept which can change the way of travelling experience for the indian citizens where the most of the citizens use bus as the mode of transport

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