Great care and consideration is taken to ensure that your home, automobile and other areas under your control are accessible for physical disabilities, especially if they require and use mobility equipment. Is the same consideration taken in your urban dwelling area? The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation recently looked at 100 of America’s largest cities and ranked them based on wheelchair access and quality of life for people using wheelchairs.

Top 10 Cities for People in Wheelchairs:
1. Seattle, Washington
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico
3. Reno, Nevada
4. Denver, Colorado
5. Portland, Oregon
6. Chicago, Illinois
7. Birmingham, Alabama
8. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
9. Orlando, Florida
10. Lubbock, Texas

As a person with disabilities or a caregiver of a loved one with disabilities, there are important factors to consider when searching for the perfect city to call home.

Medical Resources
Look for cities with extensive health care facilities and a vast amount of medical resources at you disposal. Portland’s Legacy Health System, Oregon Health & Science University Hospital and other health care facilities give plenty of options for care, which is an important factor for anyone who makes regular visits to a health care provider. Another very important factor taken into account when forming the above list was each city’s spending and eligibility requirements for Medicaid. Do your research on favored locations before choosing the right city for you.

Weather and Climate Conditions
When selecting the cities that made the top 10 cut, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation was sure to take climate into account. Cities with extreme temperatures, heavy snowfall, and icy conditions could pose mobility obstacles for people in wheelchairs or those living with paralysis. While the snow-capped mountains may make for a beautiful view, winter in these climates may present a strain on access to roads, sidewalk and wheelchair accessible ramps. A few of the cities included are susceptible to snow and extreme temperatures, but maintained their position on the list due to extensive ADA compliant measures or other accessibility benefits that would ease navigation of the city.

Available Transportation
How easy will it be for you to reach your destinations? Many of the cities selected for the list above became strong candidates due to their public transportation systems. Chicago, for instance, made more than 90 of its 145 Chicago Transit Authority rail stations ADA compliant and offers discounted fares to wheelchair users. Orlando, Florida’s wheelchair accessible Lynx bus system and the Citibus system of Lubbock, Texas, which recently deployed hybrid buses specifically equipped to accommodate full-sized wheelchairs, gave their sprawling cities a boost into the top 10 best cities for the physically disabled.

While the choice of where to live will depend largely on each individual’s lifestyle and preferences, these considerations are provided as a jumping off point for your thoughts and discussions.

This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Do you need information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is a mobility equipment and accessibility expert!

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