Regarding Metro Transit’s Unmet Commitment to Digital Accessibility

A2020-02: Regarding Metro Transit’s Unmet Commitment to Digital Accessibility

Adopted In : 2020

Topics : Transportation

WHEREAS, Metro Transit, an operating division of the Metropolitan Council, serves as the public transportation provider in the Twin Cities metropolitan area; and

WHEREAS, individuals who are blind, have low-vision, and are Deafblind are able to successfully use assistive technology, including screen readers and magnification on desktop and mobile devices, to navigate websites and apps when they are built to conform with well-established accessibility guidelines set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility guidelines (WCAG) 2.1; and

WHEREAS, the Metro Transit website states that the transit provider "takes digital accessibility seriously" and "is updating its website…to be compliant with WCAG 2.1 AA standards;" and

WHEREAS, Metro Transit makes its route and schedule information available on its website in a complex array of tables that lack any association between the headers and content, such that a screen reader user cannot easily understand the times when a bus or train will arrive at various stops; and

WHEREAS, customers can sign up to receive text-message alerts about service disruptions and changes that previously provided direct links to more information but recently changed to direct customers to a single web page; and

WHEREAS, this Rider Alerts page contains more than 50 headings, making it a chore to navigate to a specific route, and—once found—expanding an alert routes a screen reader user's focus back to the top of the page, necessitating that the person navigate through the list of headings anew; and

WHEREAS, as part of its self-evaluation of its compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and redesign of the site, the transit provider procured and received an accessibility evaluation of its website in 2019, and any audit of this type should have identified these violations of the WCAG 2.1 standard; and

WHEREAS, nearly a year has passed since Metro Transit commissioned this audit and the site still does not meet Metro Transit's stated commitment to complying with an internationally-accepted accessibility standard; and

WHEREAS, when members of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota have contacted Metro Transit about these problems, those complaints have gone unanswered and the website has not been changed; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota is the oldest and largest organization of the blind in the state and has considerable subject matter expertise in what makes a website most usable by people who are blind, have low-vision, and are Deafblind, and—when consulted in advance—can assist organizations in ensuring that planned changes do not adversely affect people with disabilities; Now, therefore:

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this eighth day of November, 2020, that this organization demand that Metro Transit produce a specific action plan with deadlines for when the site will be brought into full conformance with the WCAG 2.1 Level AA standard; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon Metro Transit to consult the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota about future changes to its digital properties, including the website and mobile apps, to ensure that blind people can independently access transit information.

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