While urban areas often appear accessible with their ample walking routes and various forms of public transportation, that is not always the case for people with physical limitations. Recently, The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation studied 100 of the nation’s top cities ranking them based on ADA compliance, wheelchair access and general quality of life for those with disabilities. The group also took into consideration the climate, job market statistics,, medical facilities and recreational opportunities.
Based on the Reeve Foundation’s research, the top-10 U.S cities are as follows, each including a little bit about why the city was selected:
10. Lubbock, Texas
Why: Lubbock offers a hybrid bus system specifically equipped to accommodate wheelchairs and a moderate (~60 degree) climate.
9. Orlando, Florida
Why: Orlando boasts a comfortably consistent climate, wheelchair accessible bus systems and modern day construction amenities as well as a large healthcare network.
8. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Why: Winston-Salem is a retiree-friendly community with ample health care and modern construction providing easy-to-manage facilities
7. Birmingham, Alabama
Why: Birmingham enjoys a consistent climate with temperatures no lower than 60 degrees, is home to a top national health care facility thanks to HealthSouth and the University of Alabama and also features a fleet of nearly 25 paratransit buses servicing the city.
6. Chicago, Illinois
Why: Despite its colder climate, Chicago offers a fully-accessible transit system, extensive health care infrastructure and its Health Mapping System which provides information on the accessibility of city buildings, fitness centers, sidewalks and stores letting users know where amenities are best.
5. Portland, Oregon
Why: Portland is home to the Legacy Health System and Oregon Health & Science University Hospital which, together in partnership with other health care facilities, offer plenty of options for care. Portland also boasts an accessible public transit system as well as mini buses and cars to help transport wheelchairs around the city.
4. Denver, Colorado
Why: Denver has made improvements to its bus and rail system making all forms of transportation full accessible while also offering the access-a-ride program which gives wheelchair a ride anywhere within a ¾ mile radius of the transit system.
3. Reno, Nevada
Why: Reno residents enjoy dry year-round weather while the city offers public transportation services at discounted rates for those with disabilities riding their transit system both inside and out of city limits.
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Why: Albuquerque’s pleasant climate, ADA-compliant transportation services and top state-wide medical centers make the city a great place for those with accessibility limitations.
1. Seattle, Washington
Why: Medical centers, an accessible and informative transit system and reliable weather make Seattle the top city in the U.S. for wheelchair users.