Objective evaluation of architectural obstacles encountered in two Canadian urban settings by mobility device users

Authors

  • Stéphanie Gamache Center for interdisciplinary research in rehabilitation and social integration CIUSSS de la Capitale Nationale Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec And Department of rehabilitation, Université Laval
  • Francois Routhier Center for interdisciplinary research in rehabilitation and social integration CIUSSS de la Capitale Nationale Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec And Department of rehabilitation, Université Laval
  • W. Ben Mortenson Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. AND Rehabilitation Research Program at GF Strong University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • William C Miller Rehabilitation Research Program, Vancouver Costal Health Research Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. AND Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Kathleen A Martin Ginis School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17411/jacces.v10i1.186

Keywords:

mobility limitation, environmental barriers, social participation

Abstract

Individuals using ambulation or wheeled assistive technologies encounter obstacles when accessing built environments. Although there are many environmental evaluations allowing the identification of these obstacles, very few take into consideration both outdoor and indoor environments. Since we know little about the environments of individuals with mobility impairments regarding their mobility assistive technologies (MAT) and mobility in general, the aim of the project was to objectively describe environmental obstacles encountered by mobility device users in two Canadian urban settings. Locations to be evaluated were nominated by community dwelling MAT users during focus groups in Quebec City (n=25 participants) and community forums in the Vancouver region (n=30-45). The measure of environmental accessibility (MEA) was used to evaluate the outdoor and indoor identified barriers. Relevant MEA sections were completed based on problems that were noted by MAT users, and non-compliant items were recorded. Nineteen locations (buildings and exterior spaces) in Quebec City and 20 in the Vancouver region were evaluated. Fifteen MEA sections were used in Quebec City and 12 in the Vancouver region (out of 29): curb ramps; sidewalk; parking; outdoor signage; doors; accessible routes; walls; obstacles; access ramps; handrails and guardrails; elevators; equipment (automatic teller machine); locker rooms; toilet, changing and shower stalls; and washrooms. Non-compliant items were similar in Quebec City and the Vancouver region. The most frequently encountered ones were similar in both locations. The most problematic MEA sections (with more non-compliant items) were access ramps and washrooms. This study provides a better understanding of the objective characteristics of outdoor and indoor environments impeding access among mobility device users, and consequently, the elements which should be considered for improvement.

Author Biographies

Stéphanie Gamache, Center for interdisciplinary research in rehabilitation and social integration CIUSSS de la Capitale Nationale Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec And Department of rehabilitation, Université Laval

PhD candidate in experimental medicine

Francois Routhier, Center for interdisciplinary research in rehabilitation and social integration CIUSSS de la Capitale Nationale Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec And Department of rehabilitation, Université Laval

Associate professor, department of rehabilitation

W. Ben Mortenson, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. AND Rehabilitation Research Program at GF Strong University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

William C Miller, Rehabilitation Research Program, Vancouver Costal Health Research Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. AND Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and Associate Dean, Health Profession

Kathleen A Martin Ginis, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

Founding Director of SCI Action Canada

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Cover of the article

Published

2020-05-30

How to Cite

Gamache, S., Routhier, F., Mortenson, W. B., Miller, W. C., & Martin Ginis, K. A. (2020). Objective evaluation of architectural obstacles encountered in two Canadian urban settings by mobility device users. Journal of Accessibility and Design for All, 10(1), 98-123. https://doi.org/10.17411/jacces.v10i1.186