You may be asking yourself, “So Why SCOOTY?” Well, the answer breaks down into three reasons…all of them with the same goal of making travel easier for people with disabilities.
To Help Others with Disabilities Travel
I grew increasingly frustrated that my weeks/months of pre-trip research, as well as lessons learned from traveling, became moot the moment we returned home from a trip. They were just random e-mails in my inbox, word documents with lists of places and people, etc. None of it was in a format that could be accessed by others thinking of visiting those locations, even though the information could prove invaluable. I was tired by the inaccessibility of my accessibility information.
Moreover, I was re-inventing the wheel on every trip I planned. Although more than 1.6 billion people live with significant disabilities, there are shockingly few videos, photos, blogs, etc. available that detail the accessibility of places or public transportation. And most of the information has vague assurances of accessibility, which can mean different things to different people with different abilities. As such, I was often trying to piece together scraps of information from different sources to try to understand if a place or route was accessible. A task made more daunting by the fact that I wouldn’t know the truth of the accessibility until I was half a world away and committed to my trip.
I grew tired of having minimal accessibility resources for planning my trips, and then frustrated that I was not passing along the information I learned from my own travels. It was a compounding cycle.
SCOOTY stops that cycle.
To Help Others Learn Different Types of Accessibility
Other states, countries, and cultures handle accessibility issues differently…often with amazing success. I have been fortunate to be able to take those lessons and apply them in my own life and community, both to create better tools and policies for accessibility.
To Create Awareness of Obstacles to People with Disabilities Traveling
People with disabilities need to travel to create awareness of accessibility issues (both problems and solutions). The more that people with disabilities travel, the more normalized it will become. In turn, the general public will be exposed to accessibility problems, and (hopefully) more willing to understand and engage in solutions. Awareness is critical to access, and our traveling/writing/speaking is necessary to creating awareness.