All Maps Lie – Week 2 – Final Project Proposal

The inspiration for my final project came from a group discussion I had in a class earlier this semester. The task had us discussing design and lead us to the idea of an awareness/‘shame’ campaign for busy metro stations that are not accessibility friendly. 

As a disabled person with mobility issues—I use a cane for balance and issues with my hip—one of the first things I noticed in NYC was how inconsistent accessibility services were among MTA’s stations… and was frustrated with what that would mean for navigating this city.

A Map of the New York City Subway System with Only Stations with Accessible Stations Source: ny.curbed.com
A Map of the New York City Subway System with Only Stations with Accessible Stations. That leaves a lot of walking… oh, wait. Source: ny.curbed.com

My final project is heavily inspired by this frustration, along with a strong desire to help empower others. I would begin with data sets with information on MTA stations—specifically, their ridership information and which ones are not accessibility friendly. By comparing and mapping this information, I aim to create a list of stations with highest ridership that do not have accessibility services.

From there, I would briefly profile the surrounding neighborhoods of five from the top 10 (or 20), later more deeply profiling the surrounding areas of 3 of those 5. I would select these 3 areas based on things like:

  • Current Status: What is the situation like now? (Could use yelp, google maps, apple maps, for interior shots of how the situation is at the places.) Are there frequent complaints about needs for elevator repair??
  • Need: Based on factors like age (seniors, toddlers), utility (shopping baskets, luggage), mobility ability (canes, wheelchair, strollers), and distance to nearest options to enter the MTA system.
  • Benefit: Do locals benefit more or do tourists? How would that stop’s surrounding community benefit? Does the city depend on it as a hub? How can there be a win/win/win? (community/economy/city_system)
  • Interest: What kind information is out there on community interest for this? Are there (what are the) reasons this hasn’t been done? How can this project help in helping issues with mobility??
  • Other Factors: Keeping an eye out for Stuff (trends/outliers/etc) that comes up when you start to ‘dig’. i.e. could discuss the studied effects of poor transportation access and related studies.

Ideally, I’d love to be able to present the information I’ve found and collected to a community representative from one of the communities I’ve profiled who might be able to use it in raising community awareness of this issue or even petitioning for such accessibility improvements to be made.

CIDNY Subway Accessibility and Populations with Disability - CIDNY.org
CIDNY Subway Accessibility and Populations with Disability – CIDNY.org

I realize at this point, this issue may have to take a back seat; particularly since many of the people who likely most benefit from such improvements belong to groups that are advised to be home for the foreseeable future… and budgets will have a lot of refiguring done to them over the next months (and, sadly, years.) 

That said, I’d still love to have this project exist with links to resources to people moving forward should they need them and look for them online. I’d really like to see some kind of awareness/‘shaming’ campaign* to make riders aware of the fact people in their community are affected by this. 

 

Tentative Bibliography Sources:

  1. MTA’s Guide to Accessible Transit – http://web.mta.info/accessibility/stations.htm-MTA’s Accessible Station Lab – https://new.mta.info/accessibility/stationlab
  2. NYC Comptroller Reports – “Audit Report on the New York City Transit’s Efforts to Inspect and Repair Elevators and Escalators” – https://comptroller.nyc.gov/reports/audit-report-on-the-new-york-city-transits-efforts-to-inspect-and-repair-elevators-and-escalators/
  3. New York Times for Local Articles (such as) – “New York City’s Subway System Violates Local and Federal Laws, Disability Groups Say” – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/nyregion/new-york-subway-disability-lawsuit.html?_r=0
  4. Curbed.com for Local Articles (such as) – “Here’s what the NYC subway map looks like with just accessible stations” – https://ny.curbed.com/2017/9/25/16363262/nyc-subway-accessible-stations-map
  5. Center for the Independence of the Disabled – Subway Accessibility Maps – https://www.cidny.org/subway-accessibility-maps/
  6. TransitCenter – Access2024 – https://transitcenter.org/access2024/
  7. MTA Fast Forward Project – https://fastforward.mta.info

(*For the campaign, I envision something like a QR code riders can scan next to a sign reading “This stop does not have travel accessibility for all. By scanning this code, you can request your city do a better job at providing transit accessible to everyone.” The QR code would then take them to a page that would let them do things such as sign a petition requesting for accessibility upgrades for that station, resources to see whom they can contact for help in the time being, how to volunteer and get involved in this cause, etc.)

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