Urban Accessibility Challenges for Persons with Disabilities
Persons with Disabilities (PwD) form the largest minority group in India with non-government estimates pegging the number over 100 million. PwDs need safe, accessible, reliable and affordable transportation for accessing a variety of socioeconomic opportunities. However, in India, accessibility considerations often get overlooked during the planning phase of urban transport systems – an observation further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This, in turn, perpetuates the exclusion of PwD from accessing various opportunities. An economy pays the cost of such exclusion in the form of reduced productivity of the Persons with Disabilities, as well as their carers, such as family members, who otherwise would have a higher economic output. According to the International Labour Organization, the cost of excluding Persons with Disabilities from the workforce could be as high as 7% of GDP representing a huge economic loss. Thus, there is an urgent need to improve accessibility of urban transport systems and to make them more disability inclusive.
This session will include:
* The urban travel experience of Persons with Disabilities
* Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel experiences of PwD
* Select recommendations for improving the accessibility of urban transportation
About the Speaker
Apoorv Kulkarni : Apoorv has established and drives the Accessibility & Inclusion track at The Ola Mobility Institute (OMI). OMI is a policy research think tank operating at the intersection of mobility, innovation and public good. He champions the rights of Persons with Disability and is working towards making the urban mobility ecosystem Universally Accessible. Before OMI, he was a part of Ola’s Product team and strove to make Ola’s customer app accessible. He also mentored the tech & design teams to improve the experience of the Driver Partners on the platform. In addition, he collaborated with the Human Resource teams that pioneered inclusive hiring in Ola and its group companies.
He is also a member of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, working to make corporate India more aware, sensitive and committed towards inclusive business practices. He is also on the Advisory Board of National Institute of Urban Affairs and supports their efforts to make urban environments accessible for the PwD. He routinely writes for the Financial Express, Business World, the Daily Guardian and other news publications to raise awareness around opportunities to improve urban transport accessibility.