Sharing Voices, Driving Change
Since 1972, BraunAbility has been dedicated to changing the lives of people living with mobility challenges and those who care for them. Every day we devote ourselves to making life a moving experience for all by shaping the future of global mobility transportation. Together with our employees, we focus on improving the communities in which we live, work and do business through our commitment to mobility inclusion, independence and corporate citizenship.
This year represents the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since then, our society has made progress toward increased inclusion for people with mobility disabilities - but we still have a long way to go.
Our first annual BraunAbility Drive for Inclusion Report Card highlights the voices of our own mobility advocates, The Driving Force, and their views on the state of mobility inclusion and the barriers that still exist that prevent advancement. The report card also details stark differences between how the average American and those with mobility challenges believe they are accommodated. We also recap the actions and accomplishments of the inaugural year of Drive for Inclusion.
We encourage you to download and share the full report card or keep reading below.
2020 Drive for Inclusion Report Card
Even after 30 years since signing the Americans with Disabilities Act into law, the needs of people with mobility disabilities are still overlooked, and still their voices go unheard. Mobility impairment represents the most common type of disability in America, affecting 1 in 7 adults; yet, only 15% of people included in the 2020 Drive for Inclusion survey are satisfied with the effectiveness of the ADA today. And nearly half feel excluded most of the time from fully participating in society because of their disability.
BraunAbility believes hearing from people with mobility disabilities is where inclusion starts. As a group, the challenges and needs of people with mobility disabilities and their caregivers are often overlooked. Marginalizing people with mobility challenges is not intentional, but a function of a lack of awareness of needs and exposure to people with mobility impairments. A greater understanding of issues facing those with mobility challenges will lead to more support, advocacy and access, ultimately leading to a more inclusive society.
Through Drive for Inclusion, BraunAbility’s vision is to give every person with a mobility disability a platform to share their voice and help solve challenges that impact this community by sharing their insights with others. These inclusion advocates are people with mobility challenges and their caregivers. We call them The Driving Force. At the time of publication of the 2020 report card, The Driving Force is 1627 members strong (1143 people with mobility challenges and 484 caregivers).
ADA & Fair Accommodations: Room For Improvement
Thirty years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, and although notable progress has been made, there is still significant opportunity for change. Two-thirds of the general public believe people with mobility challenges are fairly accommodated and included in society. Only 25% of The Driving Force agrees.
The general public thinks businesses and governments know how to, and actually do, accommodate people with mobility challenges, but that is far from reality for the people actually living with mobility challenges and their caregivers. 67% of the general public believes people with mobility challenges are fairly accommodated and included in most aspects of society.
According to The Driving Force, enforcement of ADA laws and a lack of understanding of their accommodation needs is the root of the issue, not the ADA laws.
"Awareness, action, and implementation of real life changes (are) needed for those with mobility challenges to integrate with non-mobility challenged people seamlessly. Rather than a minium requirement based policy enforecement, there should be a practical assessment of what change is required for mobility challenged people's everyday inclusion." - Member of The Driving Force
- Do you believe people with mobility challenges are fairly accommodated so that they have the opportunity to be included in most aspects of society?
The Driving Force: 75% No
General Population: 33% No
While a full quarter of the general population believes businesses, cities and organizations take people with mobility challenges into considerstaion when they design buildings and create diversity and inclusion programs, a mere 8% of those with mobility challenges and their caregivers agree.
- Even when compared with the many marginalized groups in the U.S., both groups ranked people who have other mobility challenges highest among other often-marginalized groups in the following categories:
Fewest accommodations to be included in all aspects of society.
Least representation in society and having the least input on decisions that impact them.
- According to The Driving Force, the #1 area that lacks the most inclusion for people with disabilities is the design and development of accessibility accommodations in business.
"Money" and "being a lower priority" are ranked high by both audiences when asked why accessibility features are not developed more often. In contrast, while the public feels that certain features for wheelchair users are simply forgotten, The Driving Force believes designers/developers think they already understand how to best make accommodations without asking anyone who actually uses a wheelchair.
- Why do you feel more accessibility accommodations are not made for people with mobility changes?
The Driving Force
- Mobility accommodations are lower priority than other societal needs: 57%
- Money: 49%
- Designers and developers think they know what accommodations are needed: 54%
- Mobility accommodations are lower priority than other societal needs: 44%
- Money: 47%
- Forgotten altogether: 32%
Both groups also agree on the biggest barrier to inclusion: a lack of awareness of the needs and challenges of people with mobility disability among governments, business and individuals.
Not everyone agrees on how to best break down these barriers. However, both groups agree one of the best opportunities for impact to increase inclusion is for organizations to simply seek input from people with mobility challenges. By increasing exposure and understanding, we'll find increased inclusion.
- Actions that would make the biggest impact on increasing societal inclusion of people with mobility challenges according to The Driving Force:
- Improving, increasing/or enforcing public policy and laws on accessibility
- Increasing accommodations for people with mobility challenges
- Seeking input from people with mobility challenges on the design and development of accessible accommodations
In 2020, we were witness to a rapid and major set of adjustments globally as we faced COVID-19 and new stay-at-home orders. In the same vein, we also saw marginalized groups take a stand against discrimination and prejudice with demands for equality and inclusion. Together, these major events provided the general public with new-found empathy toward the mobility disability community.
Nearly half of the general public said they had a better understanding of the daily isolation that sometimes accompanies mobility restrictions, and almost 70% expressed having a greater willingness to understand and accommodate others who experience difficulties leaving their home because of a mobility challenge.
When motivated, people act quickly, and the same impressive passion should be applied to the mobility disability community.
An important part of our annual report is in keeping ourselves accountable and ensuring we’re acting on what we learn from The Driving Force. Below are the actions of BraunAbility and The Driving Force have taken during the past year to move toward a more mobile-inclusive world.
3D Access Aisles
One of the biggest issues people with mobility disabilities face is accessible parking. An astounding 84% of BraunAbility customers surveyed during program development expressed interest in addressing the abuse of accessible parking and misuse of access aisles.
In response, BraunAbility created the first-ever 3D access aisle to draw better attention to these spots reserved for wheelchair accessible vehicles, but oftentimes are blocked by non-wheelchair users, restricting passengers from exiting or entering their vehicle. In a word, they are trapped.
Last year, major companies, including Microsoft and Chrysler, joined dozens of BraunAbility dealership partners across the country to install the 3D design that aims to make drivers take a second look before parking illegally. In all, 35 3D access aisles were completed in 2019.
"As someone without a disability, I never knew that's what those blues lines were in the accessible parking space. Thank you for educating me and others." - Social Media User
Inclusion Inside and Out
BraunAbility is committed to increasing the representation of employees with disabilities within their workforce through four key initiatives:
- Ensuring job openings at the company are sent to disability referral sources throughout its headquarters state of Indiana.
- Continuing to participate in Eskanazi Health’s summer internship program for college students with physical disabilities.
- Designing a new headquarters with input from people with physical disabilities, and creating a space that is accessible and inclusive to people with mobility challenges.
- Joining the Valuable 500, and a global initiative of private corporations dedicated to disability diversity in the workplace
BraunAbility also looked to The Driving Force to spark new ideas, projects, and products. Through creations such as a collapsible, portable parking cone to combat accessible parking abuse, to the ongoing development of a mobile application that allows users to rate the state of accessible parking in their own communities, BraunAbility is continually looking for new ways to include and elevate the voices of The Driving Force in their effort to create a more mobility-inclusive society.
Drive for Inclusion Volunteers
Many BraunAbility employees and partner dealerships have contributed their time, money, and efforts to Drive for Inclusion over the past year. In fact, our employees logged a total of 4,320 hours of volunteering in 2019, ranging from painting accessible parking spaces, building ramps and constructing Save My Spot parking cones.
Our Pledge: Nothing About Us Without Us
To honor the continued support BraunAbility has received from The Driving Force community in the form of insightful feedback, power of voices, and recruitment efforts, we’ve made a formal pledge to include the voices of The Driving Force in every innovation we bring to the market — because inclusion must start with hearing from and understanding those whom it impacts the most.
We Need You
Drive for Inclusion is uniting the mobility disability community, BraunAbility employees and partner dealerships, major corporations and allies to improve mobility inclusion, but the movement is just starting and it needs more allies. It’s time to unite, mobilize, and show your support for members of the mobility disability community by lending a listening ear to their experiences.
The more voices we gather is directly correlated to the amount of change we can enact. Don’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of that change. If you have a mobility disability or are a caregiver of a person with a mobility disability and are not a member already, sign up to be a member of The Driving Force — together, we can do more to ensure every person with a mobility disability has the opportunity to influence the design of a mobility-inclusive world.
"Inclusion for people with mobility challenges can only be possible when everyone is able to fully participate in society, without discrimination, bias, lack of understanding, or simply inadequate access. BraunAbility was founded with an innate commitment to improve the lives of people with disabilities because we have always built solutions through the eyes of our consumers. We promise to continue to do this for our own brand, and use our platform to elevate the voices of this community further."
- Staci Kroon, President, and CEO, BraunAbility
The research shared in this report card was gathered through a survey of 1500 US adults (June 2020) and a survey of The Driving Force (June 2020). Survey questions focused on perceived barriers and ways to improve inclusion for people with mobility disabilities. The margin of error for this study ranged from +/- 3% to +/-8% at a 95% confidence level.
In addition to a benchmark on the State of Inclusion, the 2020 report card uncovers discrepancies between general population perceptions and the realities for those with mobility challenges. It highlights areas for improvement after 30 years of the ADA, and shows hope for a newly emerging form of empathy created by mass isolation resulting in from COVID-19. At a time when acknowledgment of the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion is at an all-time high, we also track how mobility disabilities are considered among other often-disenfranchised groups.
Keep up to date on the latest from The Driving Force by joining the community.
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