It's Time!! Adopt the new Accessible Icon

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History shows that the shape and form of what we see and hear does work on our cognitive understanding of the world.  For example, when we see symbols we know exactly what they mean.  They may conjure a feeling -- love & peace ☮.  They tell us what the weather will be like - cloudy ☁.  They make us aware and cautious ☠.

The International Symbol of Access (ISA) is world's most recognized symbol of disability.  We all see it every day.  It has looked the same since 1968.  In its original version, it is mechanical and static. 

But there is a new icon for accessibility that better represents individuals with disabilities.   The new icon shows a person leaning forward, navigating themselves in the world. 

But this is so much more than an icon.  It is about the perception of disability in public space.  It is about a cultural change in the way disability is understood. 

It is time to let the new accessibility icon shape our understanding of the world.  It is time to change. 

Currently, local and state governments are handcuffed to using the 1968 ISA in our public spaces (parking spaces and signage).  Why?  Because this is the symbol dictated in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devises (MUTCD).  

In 2020, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will updating the manual and is seeking input from the public.  NOW is our time to voice our input.  It is time for this change.  And quite simply it is the right thing to do.

We applaud the following states and cities for already adopting it (and there may be others!):

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • State of New York
  • State of Connecticut  
  • Durham, NC

"It's 45 years old," said former Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy at the time about the outgoing symbol.  "It was developed at a different time, when our own ideas as a culture and a society were much more about concentrating on that which held people back, as opposed to that which moves people forward, and so it was time."

We are asking the Federal Highway Administration and more broadly the US Access Board, Department of Justice and Department of Transportation to recognize BOTH symbols.  Why both?  Because then cost won't be a barrier to implementation.  Local and state governments can replace the logo as signage is added or replaced.

Remove the handcuffs.  It is time to embrace a symbol that moves us forward.  It is time to change the way disability is perceived.  Join your voice with ours - please sign today.

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