Access Portsmouth is now Access Navigators! Our new name reflects the broader reach of our mission to advocate for people with disabilities in all corners of the world and to help everyone with mobility challenges stay engaged in their community by knowing what to expect when they visit local restaurants and cultural attractions.
Our online accessibility maps and listings help people with mobility challenges stay engaged in the community. Too often, mobility challenges lead to isolation and disconnection. Going out can be stressful; one unexpected impediment can derail the entire outing, affecting both the person with mobility challenges and their family and friends. Knowing what to expect, and the ability to plan in advance, changes the likelihood of successful outings.
The Access Navigators team and partners take to the streets and inspect local restaurants and cultural attractions for physical barriers that impact accessibility. We provide an online form for data collection. To ensure reliable reporting, we use a team of local residents who are wheelchair users as “fact checkers.” They check our listings for accuracy and give us feedback.
Our unique Walk ’n’ Roll map provides a user-tested, barrier-free loop through downtown Portsmouth and helps guide users of wheelchairs and strollers, as well as the general public, travel around the historic downtown and waterfront.
We began this initiative in our hometown: Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We have encouraged businesses to see this as an economic driver by including links to their business website and helping with details that improve their listing. We have since expanded our reach to include communities all around the Seacoast area and we are looking for partners all around the globe to help us bring these benefits to all communities.
You can browse all of our accessibility maps and business listings by selecting your location from the top menu. Contact us to help bring Access to your community!
What we do.
Our goal is far reaching: to raise awareness where it’s lacking, inspire a spirit of inclusiveness and influence other communities to do the same throughout New England and beyond.
The Access Navigators team is led by Todd Hanson, a prominent local architect who lives with a neuromuscular disease that requires him to use a wheelchair for mobility and an iPad for speech. Anne Weidman does assessments and writes reviews; William Tucker provides technology support. The team members are colleagues at JSA Inc, a Portsmouth, NH-based architecture firm and advocate of accessible environments. The firm provided the initial support and encouragement for this initiative by providing technical resources and schedule flexibility that allowed the Access team to perform inspections and travel to speaking engagements.
Three people, in three months, with the blessing of their firm and a budget of nothing, created something pretty big for residents and visitors in Portsmouth, NH.
Todd Hanson, AIA
Todd is an architect who prides himself on doing what it takes to gain real empathy with all who would experience his designs. He has focused his career on tailoring environments to meet the emotional and physical needs of disparate users. “It wasn’t until I became disabled that I could truly appreciate all that I didn’t comprehend in regards to barriers, accessibility and inclusive environments,” he says. As a principal with JSA Inc, Todd leads the healthcare design studio. A long-time Portsmouth resident, he enjoys the vibrant restaurants, bars and nightlife of historic downtown Portsmouth. But from a wheelchair, the familiar became unfamiliar, seemingly inaccessible and off limits. In 2016, Todd had an epiphany: solve the accessibility mysteries and share the solutions. Within months, Access Navigators was launched.
Anne has become a pro at recognizing the impediments to mobility that show up everywhere. As the Access Navigators “Inspector General,” she works directly with business owners and tourism leaders to help communities understand the power of accessibility as a strong economic driver. In her spare time, Anne leads the marketing effort at JSA Inc.
‘Tuck’ is indispensable as the guy who transforms our vision to reality by designing, implementing and managing our technology-based solutions, including our web presence, online data collection forms, accessibility maps and business listings. He manages the information technology at JSA Inc and, when he can pull himself away from Twitter, dabbles in political reporting.