STORY CITY, Iowa (WHO) — The Iowa Department of Transportation was nominated for a national award for its initiative to make traveling easier for people with disabilities.
The DOT is in the second year of a four-year plan to put adult changing tables in all restroom facilities at rest areas throughout Iowa.
Their efforts have been recognized by America’s Transportation Awards, and they are in the running for a $10,000 prize.
If the Iowa DOT wins, the money will be donated to the Arc of Iowa’s Changing Spaces Campaign. The money will help raise awareness and help further their goal of getting adult changing tables in restrooms throughout Iowa and not just at rest stops.
Kristin Haar is a Public Transit Director for the DOT. Her daughter has FOXG1 Syndrome, which is a rare neurological condition. Haar said that having these changing facilities has greatly improved her family’s travel experience.
“We need changing facilities in order to take care of her needs. So, this has been so important for us to be able to get out of our home area, to be able to travel across the state and to know that we’ll have a facility nearby where we can change her,” Haar said.
Haar said the alternative to this is having to use inconvenient spaces, like restroom floors, the back of the car, car floors, etc.
Michael Kennerley is the Director of the Design Bureau for the DOT. He said that being nominated for this national award is helping raise awareness for the necessity, which he believes is a true benefit because it can spread the design to other states and cities.
Kennerley said, “We’re up against some pretty good competition in terms of transportation projects. But we feel this is one that probably has a bigger impact than a lot of the other ones.”
Anyone can vote online for the Iowa DOT’s adult changing facilities, and people can vote multiple times throughout the day.