193910 Assessing progress in achieving access goals of the ADA using a community sampling framework

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3:06 PM

Tom Seekins, PhD , Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Nancy L. Arnold, PhD , Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Catherine A. Ipsen, PhD , Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted without any baseline data against which to measure progress on achieving its goals for public access. To date, no community, state-wide, or national data have been collected to establish such a baseline or to assess progress empirically. We developed a simple accessibility assessment tool that can be summed across businesses and communities. We developed a sampling frame for all Montana incorporated communities with a population of 2,500 10,000 and randomly selected 327 businesses to observe from among a universe of 2,151 that met inclusion criteria. We trained accessibility advocates across the State in conducting observations. These advocates conducted observations of 239 businesses in 20 communities. Combining ratings across nine categories of accessibility, the State's small cities and towns achieved an overall accessibility rating of 64% (2.57 on a 4-point scale), including average ratings of 2.73 for municipal parking availability, 1.94 for municipal parking accessibility, 2.28 for private for parking availability, 1.99 for private parking accessibility, 2.91 for safety and accessibility of municipal route to a business, 3.01 for private route to a business, 2.81 for accessibility of business entries, 2.42 for accessibility of doorway, and 3.10 for accessibility of business interior. Results are discussed in terms of the value of having data that can represent the accessibility of communities over time.

Learning Objectives:
Assess the quality of evidence used in estimating progress in changes in community environments that meet the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Keywords: Disability Policy, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ph.D. in Psychology - most relevant recent publications include Seekins, T., Traci, M., Cummings, S.J., Oreskovich, J., & Ravesloot, C. (2008). Assessing environmental factors that affect disability: Establishing a Baseline of visitability in a rural state. Rehabilitation Psychology, 53, 1, 80-84. AND Seekins, T., Ipsen, C., & Arnold, N. (2007). Using Ecological Momentary Assessment to measure participation: A preliminary study. Rehabilitation Psychology, 52 (3), 319-330.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.