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  • New venue accessibility survey results indicate opportunities for change as ADA celebrates 30 years

    Published on August 25, 2020

    NASHVILLE: A recent survey of how North American venue operators are currently serving customers in wheelchairs indicates opportunities for improved access, according to newly released results. The June 2020 venue accessibility survey was completed as part of a joint study on behalf of IAVM (International Association of Venue Managers) and Lexia.Solutions™, creators of UpLift, a first-of-its-kind, patent-pending device that revolutionizes live events for people who use wheelchairs. The survey results are available at iavm.org/research.

    Key findings among venue operators surveyed:

    • 100 percent believe being fully accessible / ADA-compliant is important; Nearly one-third revealed their venue is not fully ADA-compliant or they are unsure of its status.
    • More than 80 percent indicate that 10 percent or less of the total seats at their venues are currently accessible to guests using wheelchairs.
    • More than 85 percent indicate guests using wheelchairs are limited to certain seating locations, and more than half indicate certain seating sections in their venues are not wheelchair accessible.
    • More than one third of respondents whose venues include luxury suites indicate that they are not wheelchair accessible.
    • Only one third indicate they have three or more companion seats per wheelchair space, the number strongly encouraged by the ADA, and 98 percent indicate they have at least one companion seat per wheelchair space.
    • 76 percent have invested in structural modifications in the last five years to become or remain ADA-compliant. Nearly 20 percent have invested more than $100,000, and nearly 5 percent have invested more than $1 million.

    “As the world prepares to re-open amid COVID-19, we believe that planning to ensure safe disability access now is essential to safeguard and promote the rights of one of our nation’s largest minority groups,” said Jeff Runnels, founder and creator of UpLift by Lexia.Solutions™. “People who use wheelchairs are often limited by entryways, seat location, visible line of sight and the number of people who can accompany them. These survey results have provided insight into the need for more seating solutions for guests with physical disabilities. Venues and facilities of all types can benefit from integrating UpLift into their reopening plans. In a post-COVID world the UpLift provides touchless access for user operation, can help grow businesses’ bottom line, and can attract this largely underserved market.

    “This year, as our country marks 30 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we look forward to helping further the continued progress through the introduction of UpLift and connecting with the many customers to whom it provides value – venues, schools, casinos, historically protected buildings and more – to help incorporate UpLift into 2021 budgets and planning.”

    Runnels, who invented UpLift in 2016 before founding Lexia.Solutions™ in 2017, was inspired to create the product after realizing he didn’t know anyone who used a wheelchair and began to imagine how difficult everyday activities might be for those who do. Two products, UpLift Seating and UpLift Entryway, provide smart economical and highly desirable options for both businesses and families by enhancing experiences and improving access for wheelchair users. The UpLift products help overcome existing ADA compliance barriers and improve accessibility without enduring costly and lengthy construction projects. Reservations are available now, and online sales will begin in the latter part of 2020. Eligible businesses get ADA tax and LEED credits each year.