ADA Parking Signs - New Symbol

There has been some talk about changing the symbol used to indicate accessibility options, and this decades old symbol called the International Symbol for Accessibility (ISA), they say, is in bad need for a makeover. This is because of the fact that some people find the pictogram to be a bit misleading in that it depicts people in wheelchairs to be immobile and inactive individuals. The drive to change the symbol is looking to change how people view those with disabilities, and New York City is one of the cities that started making the change.

This first began as an art project that soon ballooned into what is seen as a radical yet welcome change to the symbol we are all familiar with today. It depicts a person in a wheelchair, as it does with the old pictogram. The difference in the old and the new symbol is that the revamped image shows the stick figure in the chair in action, as opposed to the immobile one of the old symbol.

The symbol that is being promoted for use on handicap parking spots, and for other areas that have accessibility options for those who need these, is one of a stick figure leaning slightly forward, which is what people actually do when they put their wheelchairs in motion. It also has curved edges as opposed to the old symbol which had sharp edges.

While the design is still distinguishable as a revamp of the old pictogram, it has not yet been accepted worldwide as the symbol to use for handicap parking spaces and accessibility options. It may be a step in the right direction since it does aim to change how people perceive those who have disabilities and are in wheelchairs, but is still need to gain popularity to get the rest of the country and the world to use it instead of the old pictogram on signs.

For the questions as to whether ADA parking signs should carry this particular pictogram on them instead of the old one, it is probably a good idea to ask your compliance expert or your signage designer for advice. This is an acceptable pictogram in some areas but may not be considered ADA compliant in some areas in the US. This is probably why it is not a good idea to use this pictogram on your handicap parking spaces until you are certain that such a symbol is indeed considered compliant in your State.

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