Making change by Travelling in the Shoes of Others
DATE: 21 August 2017
Yooralla Occupational Therapist, Emelia Young, is set to feature in a video made by Public Transport Victoria (PTV) for their Travelling in the Shoes of Others initiative, which they run in collaboration with Yooralla, Vision Australia, Guide Dogs Victoria and the Spina Bifida Foundation.
"Travelling in the Shoes of Others is all about involving staff from different areas of PTV, including engineers and designers of the transport network, to experience what it's like to have a disability and try to use public transport. The ultimate goal is that they then put their experience and new knowledge into actions that make local transport more accessible for everyone," said Emelia.
Staff from Vic Roads participated in the program a few weeks ago, which Emelia believes is important as they are currently working on the Swan Street and Punt Road development.
"This particular area is a high volume traffic and transport area where the current bus stops are incredibly difficult to access – especially for people using mobility aids or with vision impairments," continued Emelia.
"Vic Roads project designers were able to experience the challenges of using a mobility device around the Punt Road and Swan Street intersection, such as the narrow loading area and cars rushing about which add to the stress of the situation.
Following the workshop, many participants commented "how does anybody do that?" and "that was really frightening". According to Emelia, another key point made by a lot of participants was how rushed they felt when attempting to board the bus, and how they felt like a burden on the other travellers.
"They experienced all the stares and comments and other peoples huffing and puffing," said Emelia, "which all too often is what people with disability face when using public transport".
"Although it is confronting for the participants, it's also essential for them to experience the network and environment as it currently is – inaccessible for many people with disability. The participants are responsible for implementing changes that will affect thousands of Victorians, and if they do not have all the information available, they cannot create and accessible and easy to use transport option," she said.
"The program is very enlightening for the people who participate in it and it gives them a new appreciation for what people with a disability face every day".
"They come away saying they've got to make so many changes – some of which are quite easy too. Quite a few changes have occurred because of the program and we're hoping it can continue to be the catalyst for future changes".
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