A Global Perspective on Accessible Transportation in Taiwan

Easterseals’ Judy Shanley with Eden Social Welfare Foundation Host and Banner Acknowledging the Commitment of Mayors across Taiwan to Accessible Transportation

Easterseals’ Judy Shanley (left) with Eden Social Welfare Foundation Host (right) holding a banner acknowledging the commitment of mayors across Taiwan to accessible transportation

I am pleased to have Dr. Judy Shanley here with a guest post today. Judy is the Assistant Vice President of Education & Youth Transition here at Easterseals.

by Dr. Judy Shanley

A non-government funded organization called Eden Social Welfare Foundation promotes support for people with disabilities all over the world. When Eden hosted the 2017 Cooperation Forum on Accessibility and Prosperity in Cities last month, 14 invited professionals from nine countries came to observe accessible transportation modes of major cities in Taiwan. I was one of the two who had come from America.

Delegate Peter Cosyn from Belgium Boards Accessible Bus

Delegate Peter Cosyn from Belgium Boards Accessible Bus

Our delegation visited five cities to meet with city officials, tour diverse transportation modes, and experience the inclusiveness of mobility options first-hand. From the country’s southern city, Kaohsiung Metro Rapid Transit (KMRT), Kaisyuan Station to the north and Taipei City, Taiwan Railway Keelung Station, to the northern port of Keelung, we listened and learned how the country has been able to build an accessible continuum of transportation services in a very short time. Government officials expressed how a focus on accessibility has affected commerce, economy, community living, and tourism.

One impetus for the increased focus on accessibility and mobility options is the country’s aging population. Demographic statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior show that the 65-and-over population exceeded 2.69 million by the end of 2013. That means older adults are 11.5% of Taiwan’s total population. It’s expected that the population aged over 65 will exceed 20% by 2025.

Full International Delegation to the 2017 Cooperation Forum on Accessibility and Prosperity in Cities

Full International Delegation to the 2017 Cooperation Forum on Accessibility and Prosperity in Cities

Similar increases are evident in the country’s population of people with disabilities. Over 1.17 million people (4.9% of Taiwan’s total population) has a disability. By the end of the forum five city mayors had committed to continuing their focus on accessible transportation and mobility options for their citizens.

Comparative learning — learning from others at the international, national or local levels — is a valuable way to acquire strategies regarding accessible transportation and mobility. In the United States, national programs funded by the Federal Transit Administration enable individuals to learn from each other. I am co-director of one of these programs: the National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM). I am proud of what we do, and I encourage people to tap into the free resources available through projects like NCMM and participate in-peer-exchange forums to share practices.

To learn more about the Taiwan trip or NCMM, just leave a comment here  –I’ll be sure to get back to you.

For more articles about accessible transportation, check out:

 


 

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