Project aims to make roads user-friendly for disabled

National, Normal

The National – Friday, June 24, 2011

A THREE-year research project between a consulting engineering firm and three institutions backing the Papua New Guinea Association of Disabled Persons aims to engage the government and stakeholders in making roads more user-friendly for persons living with disabilities.
Funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Development Research Awards, the research is coordinated by the Nossal Institute for Global Health (University of Melbourne), in partnership with Divine Word University, CBM Australia and Cardno Willing (PNG).
Dr Carolyn Whitzman, an associate professor in Urban Planning, mingled with the group from the Self Help Centre as they did their survey.
The training and survey exercise is to collect data on the kind of road and pedestrian safety awareness was in place such as the proximity of bus stops for disabled persons, their sidewalks, street lighting and other safety issues that will address their needs.
Whitzman said on Wednesday the government had just been a signatory to the Convention on Rights of People Living With Disabilities and it was time now that the two countries worked to develop guidelines for road infrastructure planners on how to include people living with disabilities in their activities.
The research will investigate how past and rural urban road projects have impacted on the lives of such people; how they were involved in road planning; and a recommendation for people with disabilities to be engaged in road consultations, planning and development.
PNG Association of Disabled Persons president Ipul Powaseu, who recently returned from the launch of the world disability policy in the United States, said almost a billion people around the world today lived with some form of disability.
“The report shows various causes such as old age, high rate of chronic disease, lifestyle disease, natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents and others.
“Running this training for them will be beneficial in the long run for all else,” she said.
The training will end today with group discussions and an interview by people living with disabilities.