Press Releases
2019 New Westminster Innovation Week Transportation Forum to focus on accessibility
Posted On:
February 14, 2019

New Westminster, BC - Transportation is consistently ranked at or near the top of the list of Lower Mainland resident concerns. In fact, a 2017 Greater Vancouver Board of Trade survey found it to be the #1 election issue for residents, even ahead of housing affordability and cost of living.

It’s no surprise then that the Innovation Week Transportation Forum, sponsored by TransLink has proven to be a highlight of each year’s activities, drawing participants from around the region for in-depth discussions of issues related to transportation and transit.  

On Thursday, March 7th, the 2019 Innovation Week Transportation Forum will be focused on addressing the question How Accessible Is Accessible? and the broader issues of transportation planning inclusivity. The workshops and speakers will focus on planning transportation for all ages and abilities across all modes, uncovering whether planners are treating “accessible” as a box that needs to be checked or a deeper process of making transportation truly welcoming for all.

Kevin Desmond, CEO, TransLink said: “Access to public transit can have a real impact on our quality of life, but for some, accessing and using the public transit system presents an obstacle. At TransLink, we’re constantly thinking about solutions to make our system even more inclusive and accessible to meet the needs of our customers. We’re very pleased to see the City of New Westminster engage on this critically important component to transportation planning as the theme for the 2019 Innovation Week.”

The morning discovery session will be led by Inclusive Design Specialist Stan Leyenhorst, who brings a first-person perspective to his work, having been a quadriplegic for 40 years. The panelists for this session will include CNIB board member and blind athlete Gary Steeves, City of New Westminster Councillor Patrick Johnstone, accessibility advocate Asifa Lalji, and Executive Director of Citizens for Accessible Neighbourhoods, Heather McCain.

“I am pleased to be moderating a panel with representation from people with varied lived expertise,” said Stan Leyenhorst. “The City of New Westminster has put together a great day of learning which I am looking forward to attending. This is a great early step in creating a regional conversation to make universal accessibility a more comprehensive and integrated part of navigating cities.”

In the afternoon, deaf, human-centered designer, former lawyer, and motivational speaker Elise Roy will offer the keynote address on the thesis that building for disability produces better results for all users. Elise has given talks at Microsoft, the U.S. Institute for Peace, the United Nations, and the World Bank. Her TEDx talk, “When We Design for Disability, We All Benefit,” has over 1.1 million views.

“I am honoured to have been invited to speak to the participants at the Transportation Forum and look forward to bringing them a message on the importance of inclusion and why accessibility matters. The day’s line up looks truly innovative and forward thinking,” said Roy said.

This year, the event will also feature experiential activities, group work to develop strategies, and a display/information area in the atrium where regional municipalities, educational institutions, or organizations can display their challenges, learnings and what they are working on.

The Transportation Forum is being held at the Anvil Centre, just steps from the New Westminster SkyTrain station. Tickets and further information are available at

The 3rd Annual Innovation Week is from March 2-8, 2019 in New Westminster. It is a week of events, activities, learning opportunities, and more for people of all ages and backgrounds. It helps advance the City’s Strategic Initiatives and programs including the Intelligent City program, the IDEA Centre (Innovation, Discovery, Education, and Advancement), Master Transportation PlanDistrict Energy ProgramUrban Solar Garden, and New Media Gallery by helping activate partnerships and collaborations.

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Media Contact:
Jen Arbo, Innovation Week Coordinator
City of New Westminster