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Innovation Solutions for an Accessible Air Transport

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Within the innovation plan developed in the last months 26 innovations have been found to be useful in bridging the accessibility gap. In order to have a preliminary classification of those, all these solutions have been divided in three groups according to the number of years needed for their implementation Solutions that take less than 1 years time A Wayfinding Good Practice Guide for Airport Terminals:The final goal of this solution is the drafting of a guide of good practices in wayfinding techniques applied to airport terminals, in order to provide consistent, concise, accurate, and suitable information to travellers in an airport environment. Design easily readable placards and markings: This solution proposes to improve placards and markings in aircraft cabin, taking into account blind passengers, people with visual problems, passengers having learning difficulties or mental impairments and older people. Adapt lavatories to visually impaired passengers: As previous solution applied to the aircraft cabin, this solution proposes to improve placards and markings in aircraft lavatories. Study of new layout offering enhanced accessibility within current regulation base: This solution explores opportunities to re-design standard cabin layouts in order to offer an enhanced accessibility. Accessible on flight information: This solution is aimed at ensuring that a coherent set of procedures, tools and systems is in place that conveys to people with disability essential on flight information at an effectiveness level comparable to that of other passengers. Solutions that take from 1 to 3 years time Development and standardization of outsourcing and monitoring procedures for people with reduced mobility related services. Procedures addressing the contracting process and the performance monitoring of the people with reduced mobility service providers by the airport management bodies: From the standpoint of the analysis of the (Dis)Incentive structure, this solution analyzes the people with reduced mobility service outsourcing and monitoring procedures in order to identify if current approaches create disincentives that can be alleviated and/or if they can be modified to further support positive incentives. Incentives to improve accessibility beyond legal requirements: This solution is aimed at creating incentives to motivate stakeholders in the accessibility chain to strive to achieve higher levels of accessibility; it also discusses the role people with disability associations could / should have in this process. Improvement of on-board wheelchair: This solution is aimed at improving existing on-board wheelchair. Especially, possible adaptation to different needs shall be studied within this solution. Design convertible seats, that can be convertible into accessible seats: The aim of this solution is to provide a simple solution, based on already flying seats, and without reducing aircraft capacity when not used. Operation of people with reduced mobility Services. Implementation of people with reduced mobility procedures: The assistance procedures need to consider the needs of people with disabilities. It implies the implementation of the protocols to be followed and the necessary training. Integrated management of people with reduced mobility boarding/deplaning: This solution aims at reducing the associated overall costs of management of people with reduced mobility. It focuses on the inefficiencies produced at the people with reduced mobility boarding/landing stage when the system is sub-optimized (that happens when each stakeholder tries to optimize its own part, instead of the overall costs). Definition of staff training and skill levels: This solution consists in the definition of the European levels of qualification in assistance to persons with reduced mobility for the various agents that interact with passengers in the air travel cycle. It also includes the development of the contents and length of the training modules and the teaching of the contents required to implement the new qualification levels. Personalized, multifunction, accessible Kiosks/Service request points: This solution proposal is installing personalizable / accessible information totems (aka Interaction Information Points) that enable passengers to solve issues autonomously in airport environment. These totems include the possibility to request assistance in accessible formats and via teleconference. Personalized, accessible self check-in machines: The solution proposes to personalize self check-in machines. Although these machines are quite usable, there isn´t much work done in accessibility. Accessible boarding pass control machines: This solution proposes to improve accessibility of automatic security control machines. Billboard information multichannel broadcasting: The solution proposes to broadcast the information in panels and billboards through different channels: panels, billboards, information kiosks and through internet. Ensuring the information is formatted to be accessible, users with accessibility problems to read or understand panels can check it in personalizable information kiosks. EU portal covering all issues related to air transport to inform passengers in a comprehensive way: This solution proposes to create an EU portal covering all issues related to air transport to inform passengers in a comprehensive way. Training and awareness on People With Disabilities: This solution aims at identifying opportunities for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of training programs, through alternative delivery methods and approaches, involvement of people with disability associations where appropriate and the provision of different levels of training to different layers of service personnel. People with Reduced Mobility manuals: This solution deals with improvements to the process through which these manuals are designed, updated, communicated and used to promote continuous improvement. Avoiding unnecessary restrictions or uncertainty on the number of unaccompanied people with disabilities allowed on an aircraft: This solution aims at both reducing the associated uncertainty and actually increasing the number of unaccompanied people with disability allowed by removing insufficiently justified restrictions, by tackling negative incentives and by promoting applicable best practices. Solutions that take from 3 to 7 years time Incentive structure specifically aimed at Supply Chain: This solution encompasses incentive approaches aimed at the specific issues that arise in the various stages of the supply chain. It therefore complements other solutions aimed at enticing direct stakeholders in the accessibility chain (airports, airlines) to implement accessibility solutions, focusing instead on stimulating the actual development and provision of the constituent building blocks. European Standard on Universal Design for Airports: The final goal of this solution is the development of a European accessibility standard for the design and renovation of airport terminals, as well as the generation of an inventory of accessibility for each of the airports and their ensuing guidelines plan for accessibility improvement aimed at achieving the European standard. Design alternative seating system: This solution proposes to design alternative seats that may be installed all along an aircraft cabin in order to offer enhanced accessibility to the maximum number of seats. Design accessible seat for existing aircraft: The aim of this solution is to design seats which incorporate all controls in a manner that they reach accessibility criteria. Adapt audio system to hearing impaired passengers solution: This goal of this solution is to propose an improvement of audio system used in the aircraft, especially taking into account passengers having hearing impairments. Implementation of procedures for more accessible security controls: The security control procedures should have to consider the needs of people with disability. It implies the implementation of the protocols to be followed and the necessary training.
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ICARUS project 2nd Workshop

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After 2 years of work the project comes to an end. We invite you to participate in the final findings of the project which will open the doors to the recommendations that will be transferred to the EC to improve access to Air transportation to people with disabilities and elderly ... We invite you to participate in the event in which the most important aspects of the project and the solutions and best practices that we have found over 2 year will be discussed. Throughout these two years we found many areas for improvement that can make all travelers improve their flying experience and would like to share with you. We are glad to invite you to participate in the second workshop of ICARUS project and share with you the project results. This is the programmed Agenda: Thursday, 26th June, 2014 11:30-13:00 2nd Workshop 11:30-11:40 Presentation of ICARUS (Project coordinator – PC) 11:40-12:50D4.1 Presentation of the following reports: A)R&D Roadmap (TECH)/ B)D4.2 Innovation Plan (UC3M)/C)D4.3 Best Practices (FASA)[/elemento][/lista] 12:50-13:00 Conclusions and farewell (PC/TC) The event will take place in ONCE Foundation premises located in: C/Sebastián Herrera, 15, 1st floor Meeting room: Sala Patronato 28012 Madrid Time: 11.30 am to 01:00 pm For more information, you may contact: Blázquez Abril, Javier, T. +34 915 068 849
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The European Union published its first report on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). The EU ratified the Convention in 2010 making it the first international human rights treaty ever ratified by a regional organisation like the European Union. The EU has the obligation to prepare and submit a report on the actions it took to give effect to the Convention. Considering this as a historic moment for the rights of persons with disabilities, EDF welcomes the publication of the EU report as an evolving and dynamic process to which it would like to contribute by sharing the clear and structured view of 80 million persons with disabilities.

The EU report offers a complete description and information on the actions taken by the European Commission. However, it misses the opportunity to involve the Council and the European Parliament, as well as the Commission at its highest political levels. The report also fails to include civil society, first and foremost organisations of persons with disabilities, as well as to trigger a substantial debate on the role of the EU in implementing the rights of persons with disabilities.

Among others:

- The report outlines adopted measures, but does not include an assessment of their actual implementation and of the budget available to do so. In this sense, it also lacks self-criticism;
- The report presents a too strict view of the competences of the EU and of the actions in which the EU as a whole or the European Commission have been involved and have had impact on the rights of persons with disabilities;
- The report does not address the diversity of personswith disabilities.

EDF regrets the limited visibility of the report; it is as a missed opportunity by the EU to raise awareness on the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as to hold a public debate with the involvement of the Council and the Parliament.

For the original source, report and a response : 
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Average rating: 3 (1796 reviews) | Review

Where can I learn about free assistive technology?

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 Assistive technology (AT) makes it possible for people with disabilities to benefit from mainstream technology when the standard modes of access are inaccessible to them. Many products are commercially available and some are free. The resources described below help individuals locate freely available AT.

  • Athens Speech and Accessibility Lab Free Assistive Technology Software is an online directory of free, open source, assistive technology (AT) applications. Greece's University of Athens Speech and Accessibility Laboratory tested each software program included on the list. The list can be browsed by disability type or AT software category.
  • Free Assistive Technology Software, maintained by the Web Accessibility Center at the Ohio State University, links to a variety of free AT. The list includes a description of the types of AT that may be of use to individuals with different disabilities.
  • Free and Open Source Software is a list maintained by JISC TechDis, a leading UK group on technologies for inclusion and accessibility. The list includes AT software that assists with reading, writing, and planning as well as recording, alternative input/interface tools, visualization tools, add-ons for Mozilla Firefox, and tools for mobile devices.
  • Free Technology Toolkit for UDL in All Classrooms is a wiki that includes links to a variety of AT including apps, audio books, text to speech tools, graphic organizers, study skills tools, literacy tools, writing tools, research tools, and others.
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Average rating: 3 (1655 reviews) | Review

INSPO 2014

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The only conference in the Czech Republic focused on the possibilities of using the Internet and information technologies to help people with disabilities is the conference INSPO – Internet and information systems for people with special needs. The conference will be held at the Prague Congress Centre on 15th March (Saturday) 2014. Three hundred participants are expected to attend. The meeting will take place in the morning in plenary, the afternoon program will be divided, as in the previous years, into three sections. The first section will be traditionally focused on accessibility (as well on the tools), the second one on the use of information technologies in the education and employment of people with disabilities (and social entrepreneurship) and the third one will be devoted to the ICT for the Deaf users. More information is available in Czech at

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Average rating: 3 (1781 reviews) | Review

Pamphlet on the use of assistive technologies

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Earlier this year, the Danish Agency for Digitisation published the pamphlet "Digital Selvbetjening og Handicap" (Digital Self Service and Disabilities).

The short pamphlet provides useful insights to anyone interested in learning about how persons with various types of disabilities use ICT through assistive technologies, but the main target group is employees in the public sector who in one way or the other assists people in using public digital self service solutions. This is an increasingly important task, as the Danish government has as its stated goal that by 2015, 80 pct of communication between government and citizens should be digital. 

The guide is authored by the Danish Agency for Digitisation with contributions from some of the main disability organisations in Denmark. It is only available in Danish, but may be useful as inspiration and/or possible translation. The link to the PDF version of the guide is

If you want to know more about the pamphlet and the associated work being done, you are welcome to contact Mr. Asbjørn Fangel-Hansen ( in the Danish Agency for Digitsation for further information.

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Average rating: 3 (1615 reviews) | Review