Disability Group Urges More ‘Inclusive’ Transportation Planning

The Washington State-based Disability Mobility Initiative (DMI) recently issued an 82-page report urging the state to undertake “inclusive” transportation planning measures and shift more funding to serve the needs of “non-drivers.”

[Above photo by WSDOT]

“For too long, transportation policy has been written by and for drivers. For those of us who cannot drive or cannot afford to drive, this creates major barriers for us to access school, jobs, medical care, grocery stores, religious services and everywhere else we need to go in order to fully participate in our communities,” the group said in a statement.

Photo by WSDOT

“To ensure this redistribution of resources, non-drivers must have a seat at the table,” DMI emphasized. “This begins with transportation planners and decision makers viewing us as the experts we are. Our knowledge is rooted in years of navigating sidewalks, buses and paratransit systems that most transportation professionals rarely use. We must … meaningfully contribute to policy and planning decisions.”

The group divided its report into 15 individual yet interrelated mobility topics. While each section contains mode-specific details and recommendations, “it is important to remember that mobility across the state isn’t reduced to one mode; rather it is the network of transportation options that make movement possible.”

Key recommendations made in the report include:

  • Shift resources to prioritize funding for accessible pedestrian infrastructure and reliable transit service.
  • As the state develops fuel tax alternatives, it must invest that new revenue in multimodal infrastructure and transit service.
  • Limit new housing construction to within urban growth boundaries, ensuring connections to transit routes and within walkable and “rollable” distances to essential services.
  • Create requirements and incentives for employers to make remote work accessible for more employees alongside deployment of reliable and affordable high-speed internet access to support more work-from-home options.
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