Examination of accessibility for disabled people at metro stations
Keywords:Architecture, accessibility, disabled, metro
According to World Health Organization (WHO), 10% of the population in developed countries and 12% of the population in developing countries are disabled people. And also researches by TUİK, in 2003, 12% of the population in our country are disabled. The problems that are faced in daily life, do not only affect disabled people but also their family. Therefore, it is said to be that half of our population have a disabled life.
According to Scherrer, “Anyone, who has handicaps, is not a disabled person in an accessible place. But healthy person will become disabled in a place without accessibility.” (Scherrer 2001). Accessibility can be provided through the continuity of interrelated daily activities without any interruption. When the connection between the activities breaks off, we cannot mention about accessibility.
Accessibility is not only plays an important role on disabled people by providing daily activities and physical requirements without any interruption but also by sustaining to live as independent individuals in society. Therefore, we have to re-design our urban accessibility to achieve uninterruptible and independent daily life in cities.
In our country, disabled people also have difficulties to access indoors and outdoors and also have to face significant problems to be included in daily life despite the current regulations and laws. However, disabled people are entitled to have all social and cultural benefits independently as healthy people do. Realization of this act can be possible, if we re-design our buildings, transportation systems and the city life to achieve the accessibility requirements of disabled people.
All around the world and also in our country, various laws, design rules and standards are tried to level the playing field on accessibility for public transportation systems with their service stations. However, despite of ensuring laws, regulations and standards on accessibility, lack of reglementation and enforcements, as well as insufficient user’s knowledge cause our cities inaccessible.
Therefore, we have to increase the awareness of our community on accessible city life and transportation systems rather than make laws and hope for recovery. In this context, a case study is intended to examine the approaches on barrier-free design and level of accessibility at metro stations in Turkey.
With the scope of this case study, current informative, stimulating and guiding regulations, vertical and horizontal implementations on circulation areas at metro stations are examined by an accessible design control list
Accessible design control list consists of 28 questions that have been selected from Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies-People with Disabilities and Elderly General Service Accessibility check Lists and Turkish World Handicapped Foundation- Outdoors and Indoors Accessibility Check Lists. With the help of question we can examine the passengers’ expectations on the quality of informative, stimulating and guiding signboards at entrance, circulations and surroundings of metro stations; except the legislations related to the product sizes and constraints that designers or professionals have to obey
The questions are answered by disabled passengers who use Kadıkoy Ayrılık Cesme main transmission metro station. Disabled passengers are divided into two subject groups. First subject group consist of 5 visually impaired and partially impaired people. The second subject group consist of 7 wheelchair users.
Experimentally, asked all the subject groups to make a journey beginning from the entrance of metro station to the train platforms without getting any help. After they completed their journey, they were requested to answer the questions of control list and describe the positive and negative situations from their experiences.
According to the result of examining the approaches on barrier-free design and the level of accessibility at Ayrılıkcesme main transmission metro station, there are distinctive data detected which are inacceptable accessible solutions for wheelchair users and/or visually impaired people.
In this context, to realize an accessible city life in our country, we have to take some significant decisions on training well-informed professionals, constituting the common shares on standardization of buildings, increasing the community awareness on accessibility and innovating technologies for all disabled groups
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