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July 6, 2009

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AROUND THE INDUSTRY

Pittsburgh Event Explores Support for Accessibility

As part of an effort to generate momentum for signing and ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), people with roles in the disability movement convened a conference on accessibility issues in June at the University of Pittsburgh. APTA President William Millar addressed transportation accessibility issues during the program.

The UN adopted the CRPD in December 2006. The convention received the largest number of opening-day signatories in UN history on March 30, 2007, including the European Union and 80 countries—but not the United States.

President Barack Obama has announced that he plans to sign the CRPD as part of the administration’s announced plan to make disability issues a high priority, including independent living, education, and employment of persons with disabilities.

The conference explored transatlantic perspectives on accessibility, focusing on the current status of transportation standards and policy. Participants considered implications of the convention for accessible transportation, noting such crucial elements to ensuring the success of the convention as incorporating the disability perspective into the broader legislative, policy, programmatic, and academic discourses, and building the capacity of participants as disability rights advocates.

In his comments, Millar cited both historical and current efforts toward developing accessibility standards for the sector. He discussed improving accessibility for public transit vehicles, transit stations, and other facilities, and how this effort translates to more equality and increased opportunity for persons with disabilities.

“As America itself expands and advances, it should and must expand and advance the ability of all citizens to have same potential for prosperity—to share an equal measure of hope,” Millar said.

July 26 Event
APTA is joining the Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. International Council on Disabilities to host an event July 26 at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, DC, to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to recognize the CRPD, and to honor former Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta for his lifelong commitment to accessibility and disability rights.

Information about this event is available from Chelsea Wright or Jessica Bechir.

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