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Accessible Parking Etiquette

The ability to safely park at one’s destination is an important component of community participation for people with disabilities. With the proper permit, people with disabilities should be able to use accessible parking spaces in public parking lots. However, a lot of people with disabilities have encountered barriers to parking.

Source Credit: University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living
This brochure is made possible by a grant from the Dole Institute of Politics, with funding from the General Electric Company.
Endorsed by the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns and the Kansas Association of Centers for Independent Living. View Online: Accessible Parking Etiquette

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Deterring Access Aisle Parking Violations

The ability to safely park at one’s destination is an important component of community participation for people with disabilities. With the proper permit, people with disabilities should be able to use accessible parking spaces in public parking lots. However, a lot of people with disabilities have encountered barriers to parking. Researchers at the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at KU conducted two studies on accessible parking. This study examined factors related to access aisle violations. Access aisles are the diagonally marked spaces adjacent to the accessible parking spaces that are designed for use by people with disabilities. Access aisles are usually marked with yellow, white, or blue diagonal stripes.

Source Credit: University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living
This material is reproduced with permission of the University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living. In addition, please add “The contents of this publication were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RT5015). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These contents do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, or HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

DOWNLOAD: Deterring Access Aisle Parking Violations Fact Sheet
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Encouraging Reservation of Van Designated Spaces for Lift-or-Ramp-Equipped Van Users

The ability to safely park at one’s destination is an important component of community participation for people with disabilities. With the proper permit, people with disabilities should be able to use accessible parking spaces in public parking lots. However, a lot of people with disabilities have encountered barriers to parking. Researchers at the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at KU conducted two studies on accessible parking. This study examined using different signage to encourage reservation of van-accessible spaces for people who use ramp- or lift-equipped vehicles. Wheelchair users who travel in a ramp- or lift-equipped van (RLEV) often reach their destination only to find the van-accessible parking space occupied by a non-ramp or lift-equipped vehicle (NRLEV) that does not need the wider access aisle placed next to van-accessible spaces. This study found that alternate signage for van-accessible parking spaces can prompt  rivers of vehicles without ramps or lifts to use a regular accessible space when available, reserving the van accessible space for RLEV users.

Source Credit: University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living 
This material is reproduced with permission of the University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living. In addition, please add “The contents of this publication were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RT5015). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These contents do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, or HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

DOWNLOAD: Parking Equity: Encouraging Reservation of Van Designated Spaces for Lift-or-Ramp-Equipped Van Users Fact Sheet
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Can Induced Empathy Cause Behavioral Change? A Pilot Study of Alternative Signage to Reduce Accessible Parking Space Violations

A pilot study that tested the effectiveness of an empathy targeting sign on decreasing the number of parking violations in accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities was conducted in Fairfax County. Observational data was collected during a six-week A-B-A design. During the treatment period the empathy targeting sign was placed below the traditional signs at four accessible parking spaces. Although no statistically significant differences were observed in parking behaviors, notable trends in the desired direction were seen during the treatment period (a reduction in the number of violations and an increase in the number of potential violations where drivers seemingly changed their minds about parking in the accessible spaces).

Source Credit: Michael Waltrip, Ami Getu, (George Mason University), Michael Perel (Fairfax Area Commission on Aging)

DOWNLOAD: Can Induced Empathy Cause Behavioral Change? A pilot study
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