Empathy exercises for the traffic office of the city of Stockholm

The traffic office of the City of Stockholm is one of Funka's clients who have worked the longest with regular in-person empathy exercises. The exercises let professionals in different occupational roles try to move around in the city in a wheelchair or without seeing. The result is increased understanding of inclusion that in turn contributes to and influences the city's accessibility.

The training and exercises that Funka conducts together with the traffic office consist of both theory and practice. They are tailor-made to suit each profession, such as traffic planners and landscape architects, design and construction managers, contractors who build, contractors such as snow ploughers and many others get exactly the information they need.

The empathy exercises are very much appreciated and quickly become full. The combination of theory, practice and dialogue creates an experience and insight that many bring back to their working lives. The training also creates an understanding and respect for diverse perspectives that positively affects the city's accessibility, says Catarina Nilsson, Project Manager at the traffic office of Stockholm.

To create an accessible urban environment, experts from many different areas need to understand the challenges that exist and work together to develop constructive ideas. Often, it can initially be perceived as difficult or impossible to achieve true inclusion, as there are so many things to consider. "We can't move this post because the snow removal doesn't work, here we can't lower the surface because there is cable in the ground, if the sign needs to be bigger it interferes with the view of the road users ..." But the neat thing is that there is almost always a solution that works for everyone.

Ensuring that knowledge about how people with disabilities experience the environment is necessary to succeed, says Peter Pettersson, sales representative at Funka.

The empathy exercises that Funka delivers to the traffic office are part of an ambitious effort to increase and maintain accessibility throughout the city. Manuals, recurring evaluation and stepwise rebuilding are other important aspects. By incorporating the accessibility work into the ongoing operations, rather than seeing it as a separate project, the traffic office manages to keep the focus on continuous improvement, which both residents and tourists enjoy.