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Accessibility and snow removal
Image by kmardahl
This is a cleared path in the snow. I doubt it is good enough for a wheelchair. I have an idea for fixing this.
A bit of background first.
Underneath the snow, the area is a combination of asphalt and strips of dark stone that make a striped pattern. The transition between the stone and the asphalt is generally not smooth – there is always a slight height difference. In one section, there are curb cuts in the stone. There, the stone is approximately 4-5 cm higher, so a curb cut is necessary for carriages. bikes, and wheelchairs – or anything on wheels.
The snowplow has cut a path that is the width of the curb cut section – but it missed the curb cut. It only reveals part of the curb cut. Maybe a baby carriage can be shoved through here. A bike can be dragged through here. Can a regular wheelchair cope if wheeled by the wheelchair’s occupant? Can an electric wheelchair cope? I have strong, strong doubts.
The freedom a wheelchair usually has is severely curtailed – or removed – in conditions like this.
That’s when I had an idea.
Plant an RFID device under the right and left edge of the curb cut. Mount some kind of reader device in the snow plow. The snow plow can do its plowing based on signals from the RFID devices. The curb cut section could be plowed properly. I have no idea how this could really work – I am not an engineer. I have no idea if RFID is the proper technology. I throw this idea out there for the world to see. I hope someone can build on this idea.
Then we can focus on the next troublespot – where cleared path meets cleared path. (Tends to be a pile of unnavigable mush there.)