Action Kit: Providers of services


Ensure that persons with HMD have full access to services, public and private, without having to walk too far or stand too long and including the ability to use cars in order to access those services.

Main message:

Millions of people have functional limitations in the distance they can walk and the time they can stand unsupported. A range of services (health, banking, legal, recreational, supermarkets, etc.) may be located a distance from parking and designed so that they become inaccessible to persons with HMD.

“If not for my car, I would never be able to get out. If I think I will have to walk too far, I just don’t go.”

Further, they assume that a reasonable “short” walking distance is one-quarter of a mile, or a couple of blocks, or 1,320 feet. Those with HMD need design principles to address their activity limitations:

  • Short distances to walk:  35-50 feet, but no more than 70 feet.
  • Brief periods to stand:  1-2 minutes, but no more than 5 minutes.

Types of accommodation needed:

  • Services accessible within 50 feet of parking or public transit.
  • Service designed with a seated alternative to waiting in line.
  • Car use and parking close to services supported and protected.
  • See suggested accommodation guidelines.

Sample email:

Because of [the reasons for writing], I’m writing to share with you highlights of research on the lived experience of persons with hidden mobility disabilities – those who are able to walk but only a short distance and able to stand unsupported but only for a short time. The specific findings, which are detailed at are that:

  • Short distance = 35-50 feet, or at most 70 feet
  • Brief time = 1-2 minutes, or at most 5 minutes

Requirements to walk further or stand longer have serious health consequences and prevent persons with hidden mobility disabilities from engage in community activities.

Please share these findings with colleagues and other interested parties. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what changes you can effect to improve the ability of persons with HMD to participate fully and effectively in community life, particularly with regard to [the specific changes you are requesting].

Resources to use:

Examples of people to target:

  • Urban planners
  • Managers of favorite services
  • Managers of shopping centers and malls