The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that mandates equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. The ADA also prohibits discrimination in access to jobs, public accommodations, government services, public transportation, and telecommunications. To achieve assurance these elements are provided equally to all, public entities providing programs, services or activities to the general public are required to develop a comprehensive transition plan.
Each Title II Entity must undertake an inclusive evaluation of its policies, programs, and facilities to determine the extent to which individuals with disabilities may be restricted in their access to programs, services and activities offered by the entity. The transition plan document describes the process developed to complete the evaluation of the entity’s activities, provides policy and program recommendations, and presents a Transition Plan for the modification of facilities, public rights-of way, and programs to ensure accessibility, which will guide the planning and implementation of necessary program and facility modifications over a period of time.
The ADA Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan is significant in that it establishes the entity’s ongoing commitment to the development and maintenance of policies, programs, and facilities that include all of its citizenry.
The Accessology team brings more expertise to transition plan development than any team we’ve met. There are many facets to developing a comprehensive Transition Plan document and it goes way beyond taking inventory of the sidewalk condition and curb ramps, although that is an important piece. A Transition plan looks at every aspect of community life and makes sure everyone in the community benefits. It ensures every citizen can pay their water bill, serve on City Council, walk to the store down the street and/or vote in the upcoming election. It brings the young and old together and honors each person regardless of their abilities. Access is used by and is provided for everyone.
When hired to help with transition plans, we start by facilitating a “kick off” meeting that helps clarify the goals and scope of work, looks at what has been done to date, and what is left to do. This engages the client, mulls the team and provide the foundation for which we can build. At this point we also look at planned construction activity and help the team members understand the daunting nature of the tasks ahead. We break the work into smaller, more manageable chunks and help each department understand their role.
We orchestrate an approach that opens communication within the departments so conquering access becomes a city wide team approach and not just the responsibility of a single person. Every department is effected by the work to be done, so every department should have some responsibility in helping assure compliance is achieved. They understand the inner workings of their department much better than an outsider would so we make it easy for them to participate in their own compliance.
Once the scope of work is determined, we set up the necessary teams to ensure our technology will interface with their GIS system so all data collected is put directly into a usable format for the client and set up our QA/QC systems. All of this is done before the facility/exterior evaluations to ensure the data collected is accurately presented. Then the evaluations begin.
While the evaluation teams are working the programs, services, activities, grievance procedure, boards and commissions, hiring practices and emergency evacuation plans are being reviewed by another team, along with the design standards currently being used. This ensure we are finding the issues that need resolution, resolving them and helping everyone that is part of the process understand their responsibilities.
Our clients have full control of all data collected and provide valuable input into the process to ensure the system we put in place speaks to the culture of the community. In short, our goal is to continue partnering with clients in the shared endeavor of creating access for all.