Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Making Calgary The Most Accessible City in the World

The goal is to make Calgary the most accessible and inclusive city in the world whereby equal opportunities exist for all citizens to reach their full potential in places of work, live and play. This opportunity will foster an environment of innovation, collaboration, reflection and participation for all citizens leading to diversified economic growth in a variety of industries.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

In the Canadian Survey on Disability (2012) by Statistics Canada, it is reported that 1 in 7 Canadians aged 15 and older have a disability (14.2%). Based on the current total population of 36.9 Million in Canada and 1.2 Million in Calgary, this represents 5.2 Million individuals or 175,000 Calgarians living with a disability, respectively. In addition to this, according to the Alberta Treasury and Finance Board, the number of people Aged 65 and older in Alberta is expected to increase from 527,455 in 2018 to 1,171,845 in 2041, and most of the increase is expected to occur over the next 12 years. Although the current average age of Calgarians is 38 years, it is anticipated that Calgary will have more Seniors than Youth (15 and under) by 2030, and therefore, highlights the importance of being an Senior Age-Friendly City.

Upon review of the current landscape, the most common issues / challenges for People with Disabilities and/or Seniors include (and not limited to) the following:

  1. Access to Education ;

  2. Access to Reliable / Predictable Transportation ;

A. Transit Announcements
B. Accessible Train / Bus Stations

  1. Access to Retailers (not including Food) ;

  2. Access to Restaurant and Entertainment / Arts/ Cultural Activities ;

  3. Access to Professional Services such as Medical / Dental offices ;

  4. Access to Workplaces / Employment ; According to Statistics Canada in 2011, the employment rate of Canadians aged 25 to 64 with disabilities was 49%, compared with 79% for Canadians without a disability.

A. Better Barrier-Free Physical Access
B. Access to Ergonomics and Assistive Technologies
C. Better Understanding and Attitudes
D. Access to Flexible / Adaptable Work Arrangements

  1. Access to Aging-in Place Housing or Accessible Accommodation ;

  2. Social Isolation

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Addressing these barriers / issues will become increasingly important over the next 13 years because the Conference Board of Canada estimates that the accessibility challenged population in Canada will grow by 1.8 per cent annually during this time period, which is nearly double the pace of projected growth for the total population (0.9% annually). As a result of this projected growth, it is estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians will report having a Disability or being a Senior by 2030 (20% of general population).

Quite often improvements in accessibility is are generally viewed with through a social lens in terms of being implemented because it is “the right thing to do”, however the Conference Board of Canada recently published a study to quantify the economic impact on labour force participation and consumer spending.

The highlights of the Conference Board of Canada study on accessibility are as follows:

I. Accessibility Challenged Canadians represents 14% of the total consumer market and $165 Billion in Spending.
II. Assuming higher incomes due to better access to employment and rising proportion of Canadians with a disability, spending power rises substantially by 2030 (at 3X the pace of overall population).
III. By 2030, spending could nearly rise to nearly $316 Billion Annually (in 2017 $), and account for 21 per cent of the total consumer market.
IV. Employers would benefit from access to a larger talent pool, as 550,000+ Canadians would be fully engaged in the workforce through 2030.

The overall economy stands to benefit as nearly $16.8 Billion would be added to Canada’s GDP by 2030.

By creating a more accessible Calgary, it will not only help create vibrant and inclusive communities across the City, but also create economic opportunities for individuals and businesses within diverse industries.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

Many Ideas with technology could help make this happen, but some examples include:

  1. Crowdsourcing Mapping Data specifically for accessibility that could help an individual or navigate the following:

A. Accessible +15 Routes and Pathways;
B. Accessible Washrooms
C. Accessible Entrances and Parking Spaces
D. Accessible Places of Business and Retail Stores
E. Accessible Professional Services such as Medical and Dental Offices
F. Accessible Entertainment Venues and Arts/Culture Venues (e.g. City of Calgary Civic Partner Venues, Tourism Venues)
G. YYC Airport, and the Universities within the City of Calgary

  1. Installing Voice Over Technology such as Blindsquare (e.g. Beacons) to help individuals navigate the built environment. BlindSquare has some unique algorithms to decide what information is the most relevant and then speaks out with high quality speech synthesis. When the Smart Device application is started, it will start telling the interesting places and street crossings around the user (e.g. upcoming transit stops and retail stores).

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Submission No. 155