The average weekday subway ridership in New York is 5,655,755. (Taken from MTA stats here.)
As a class, review the first five slides of the NYC People with Disability Statistics. If using a projector, keep Slide 5 up for reference. Ask:
1.) What percentage of New York City residents have a disability? (Answer: 948,208/8,492,233 = 0.112, or 11.2%)
2.) What percentage of those are identified as having an ambulatory disability? (Answer: Slide 5 says that this is 19%. To be exact: 178,998/948,208 = 0.189, or 18.9%.)
3.) What is the total number of people who have an ambulatory disability? Why is this a trick question? Note that the numbers for ambulatory disability are masked by fact that a large portion of respondents have two or more disabilities, which is not clearly broken down in this data set – and so the actual number of people with ambulatory disability is actually much higher than the data might first suggest.
Return to the weekday subway ridership figure. Assuming (falsely) that New York’s subway ridership reflects the exact demographics of the city as a whole, and using the percentage of New Yorkers who have an ambulatory disability only, what number of subway riders would you expect to have an ambulatory disability? (Answer: we would expect, first, that 11.2% of riders would have a disability. Of those, we would expect 18.9% had an ambulatory disability. So if we multiply the subway ridership figure – 5,655,755 – by 0.112, and then multiply that number by a further 0.189, we should see 119,721 people with ambulatory disabilities on our subways. Remind students that this number is a very low figure based on the overall data: 509,803 New Yorkers have two or more disabilities, and ambulatory disability has a high co-incidence with other disabilities.)
Reflection: In your journals, write your thoughts on whether or not you think this demographic of our city is typically amongst the daily ridership of our transit system. Justify your answer with evidence from your neighborhood walk data and work you did today.