The demand for accessible products and services in the United States and Canada is already high, and the number of citizens with disabilities or functional limitations who need them is set to grow significantly with the progressive aging of the population. In an environment where products and services are more accessible, society is more inclusive and the autonomous life of citizens is easier.
On the other hand, the concept of active aging highlights the importance of creating accessible or suitable environments for the elderly or disabled, so that they can live an independent life in the local community for as long as possible. Accessibility is one of its essential components. Given the close correlation between disability and aging, accessibility is essential if older persons or persons with some degree of disability are to remain active, live independently, and contribute to the so-called “silver economy”.
Design for all as a tool to improve accessibility.
The initiatives currently underway seek to harmonize functional accessibility requirements so that they are based on what has been termed “design for all” or “universal design”.
Within the framework of “design for all” it is conceived or projected, from the origin, and whenever possible, it is worked so that environments, processes, goods, products, services, objects, instruments, devices or tools, can be used by all people, as far as possible.
Addressing the challenges of accessibility in the streets, innovation in the management of urban space, especially on roads and sidewalks, as well as in transit and public transport has become a priority issue on the political agendas of city governments around the world. This innovation poses a technical and technological challenge for cities, but also a cultural one.
At ZICLA, we are aware of these challenges and therefore offer our solutions to transform the streets of cities and make them more accessible, and this builds on our experience and proven knowledge in dozens of cities around the world that have adopted our systems and product families over more than a decade to solve some of their accessibility problems.
Accessibility and the ZICLA’S Vectorial® system.
Urban dwellers, especially the elderly, mothers, and fathers with strollers with babies, and citizens with reduced mobility, encounter accessibility problems which are evident at bus stops. The bus stop is located on the border between the road and the sidewalk and is a strategic link in which it is necessary to ensure accessibility, making it easy for the bus to approach the curb of the sidewalk without difficulty and quickly. When the bus does not have enough space to carry out a correct maneuver of approach to the said curb, problems of accessibility for the users of the bus are generated and the bus unit load times are extended. The classic way to solve this problem has been to extend the sidewalk through permanent civil works towards the center of the road.
In 2009 ZICLA proposed an alternative solution consisting of the extension of the sidewalk towards the center of the road using a series of modules that connect to each other like a puzzle and that allow building very varied configurations. This is how the Vectorial® system was born, the result of an ecodesign project carried out with the focus on design for all.
This system allows us to build in a fast, simple, and economic way, semi-permanent modular platforms with multiple configurations that get the same result as the permanent work, but without compromising the use of the road.
From its beginnings, the Vectorial® system has been subjected to a process of continuous innovation by which it has matured and has been improved to adapt to the requirements and regulations of different countries, and to the demands of different users. In the case of the United States, compliance with ADA regulations has been considered.
The Vectorial® system use is not limited to bus stops. At present we are working on the improvement of accessibility of parking areas of vehicles when they are separated from the sidewalk by a bike lane, by connecting the sidewalk with the parking area, installing a Vectorial® system bus border platform.