Planning Accessible Communities

PAS Memo 117

By Jeannine Godwin, AICP


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Transportation planners are called to consider the ramifications of a given project or program on vulnerable populations and anticipate the associated impact on community members’ mobility and access. But people with disabilities may not be strategically and regularly included in targeted outreach and prioritization efforts — and this means that planners may not be adequately identifying and addressing their accessibility and mobility needs.

Designing infrastructure with an accessibility mindset may immediately conjure up Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and requirements. But planning with an accessibility mindset goes beyond the built environment to encompass reexamining our default methods for conducting inclusive outreach and engagement, considering whether community members with vision, hearing, mobility, or cognitive impairments are able to meaningfully participate and share their lived experiences.

This PAS Memo explains the importance of planning and designing truly inclusive communities that engage people with disabilities and meet their accessibility and mobility needs.


Page Count
Date Published
July 1, 2023
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Jeannine Godwin, AICP
Jenny Godwin is a Transportation Planner with Consor Engineers out of Denver, CO. She received her MURP (Masters of Urban & Regional Planning) from UC Denver in May 2019.