Research & Development
Meeting the Challenge maintains an active program of both internally funded and externally funded Research and Development. The goal of this division of the company is to ensure that the work conducted by other divisions is research-informed.
In addition, as the need for materials or other products are identified, the R&D division conducts the necessary research to ensure the product to create the best product possible and then directs the development activity. The R&D division regularly calls on staff from the Training and Information Services division to provide the content expertise needed to develop the product.
The R&D division is augmented by an external research partner network consisting of the nation's foremost researchers in disability issues working independently or at major universities.
Current and Recently Completed Projects
U.S. Access Board - Innovation in Implementation and Enforcement of State Accessibility Codes
The U.S. Access Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities with regard to accessibility of the built environment. In most cases, the Board develops "guidelines," which do not directly affect the public but instead serve as the basis for "standards" issued by other agencies. In addition to Federal guidelines and standards there are specific state accessibility requirements that must be considered in design and construction. Some states have developed their own building codes but many have decided to adopt model codes instead. The practice of developing, approving, and enforcing building codes varies considerably among states.
MTC was contracted to examine the variety of state-level approaches to accessibility. The focus of the project was to promote compliance with design requirements through a review and compilation of best practices for the implementation and enforcement of state accessibility codes.
Federal Transit Administration - Riders Survey
In conjunction with MTC's materials development project for the Federal Transit Administration, we determined that very little hard data existed from transit riders with disabilities documenting their perceptions of various aspects of the transit systems around the country. MTC developed and field tested a comprehensive survey instrument to collect data on this subject. The survey was distributed electronically allowing individuals to either respond electronically or contact MTC staff for assistance in completing the survey. Over 7,000 surveys were collected. The data from the survey is currently being analyzed and will be published in a research document later this year. Results from the research are already being used to inform the materials development portion of the project.
NIDRR - ADA Information Center Research Program
Part of MTC's ADA Information Center Project is a research program covering a range of subjects. Currently we are conducting a needs assessment focusing on various groups of businesses to determine what the understand about the ADA and what they need in terms of training and materials to better understand and implement the law. The results of this research effort, including new materials developed based on the results, will be fed into our Training and Information Services Division to inform the development of training and dissemination of materials and information.
Invisible Voices DVD Project
Meeting the Challenge recognized the need for materials to influence public opinion with regard to disability. The ADA legislation forms the foundation for equal rights for people with disabilities. However, public opinion cannot be legislated. To address this need MTC commissioned a theatrical performance titled Invisible Voices. This production was created by Ping Chong & Company as part of their Undesirable Elements series. Ping Chong is an internationally recognized playwrite and director. The production presents the life stories of six people with disabilities, showing them as ordinary people with extraordinary life stories. The performance is beig converted into a DVD that will be available to the public in June 2010.
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