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Facing challenges on public transportation, persons with disabilities have even more rights to safe and sustainable mobility, especially for persons with mental health conditions. Roger Mackett, a professor at University College London, has devoted himself to studying the convenience of transportation for persons with mental disabilities in the United Kingdom. He states that the relationship between accessibility and transportation behaviors needs to be improved.
Causes of Anxiety When Travelling
Mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, agoraphobia, and schizophrenia, etc, lead to a lack of self-confidence, difficulty making decisions, and panic attacks. In 2018, Professor Mackett carried out a survey of 42 questions that asked respondents about their mental conditions whilst using different types of transportation such as buses, trains, bikes, on foot, etc, that aimed to find the effects of having mental health condition on traveling. Prof. Mackett finds that there are three main causes of anxiety when traveling. First, the problem of communication with strangers or staff causes massive panic attacks for persons with mental health conditions. Second, they often feel disoriented beyond poor wayfinding. Therefore, persons with mental disabilities are at the risk of getting lost or having to make decisions about where to go. Third, unfriendly transportation system services bring about uneasiness, such as unsuitable toilet facilities. The noise and crowds make persons with mental health conditions anxious and disoriented, feeling like they are being trapped and cannot see a way out.
What Can Be Done?
To solve the aforementioned difficulties, we need to increase the confidence of travelers through travel training. As well, staff training is helpful as it teaches effective communication with persons with mental health conditions. In addition, staff could also provide a ‘Please Offer Me a Seat’ badge if needed. For wayfinding improvements, persons with mental health conditions can use mobile applications, that can clearly guide them in order to regain their senses of direction; ticket vending machines can even be designed better to meet the needs of travelers. The most important result it to create more friendly transportation environments for persons with mental health conditions.
Mobility for All – Safety & Sustainability
All in all, Prof. Mackett thinks that not only should transport operators improve to reduce anxiety for their passengers through staff training, providing better information and better design of some facilities, but also the public should improve their recognition of the needs of persons with mental health conditions.
TRANSED2018 was held by TRB and Eden in Taipei International Convention Center (TICC) from November 12th to 15th. TRANSED2018’s theme was “Mobility for All: Connecting the World with Accessible Transportation”.
Eden hopes this conference can help Taiwan can create a friendly environment through the discussion and advocacy of international representatives such as scholars, experts, and government officials. Taiwan’s society is aging; Eden will continuously advocate “Accessible Taiwan - Mobility for All” for the rights of the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Read more about TRANSED: https://www.facebook.com/79410061439/posts/10155658774971440/