Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Accessibility Equipment Update

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Accessibility Equipment Update

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Accessibility Equipment Update

 

Because of COVID-19, many events had to be postponed in 2020, including the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. But everything is set for the Japanese capital to play host from July 23 to August 8, 2021. As for the 4,400 Paralympic athletes, their turn to shine will come from August 24 to September 5. Tokyo had already experienced the excitement related to such an event in 1964 and considerable work had been undertaken. For the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo prepared to welcome 500,000 tourists who were supposed to flock from all over the world to attend this unique event and among them several thousands of people with special needs. Unfortunately, the city is currently under restrictions due to a state of emergency. Meaning that because of an increase of COVID-19 cases, there can’t be any spectators at all to cheer for the athletes! We can only enjoy the Games from the comfort of our own homes.

The overall budget of the event was at first estimated at a minimum of $3.4 billion but because of the one-year delay it’s now up to $15.4 billion. An increase of 22%. The huge investment can also be explained by making the Olympic area and city infrastructures accessible to everyone since it was initially supposed to welcome spectators. Even if Tokyo has set up accessibility equipment specifically for the Summer Olympic Games, all citizens and tourists with disabilities will still benefit from some of it after the event is finished. Thus this represents a long-term investment to remove accessibility barriers!

What about the accessibility equipment for the Olympic Games? What is the national legislation in force related to accessibility? And what examples of application these laws have to date? We will see that the accessibility equipment the city put in place is a great showcase for inclusion but that efforts still need to be made. Nevertheless, Tokyo truly sets an example for the next cities who will host the Olympic Games and welcome visitors and athletes with disabilities.

Local accessibility regulations

The number of elderly people is constantly growing in Japan. The older the population, the more the need for accessibility increases. In response to this growing problem, the Ministry of Territory, Infrastructure and Tourism brought into force in 2008 the “barrier free” law in order to allow everyone to move independently in public spaces such as train stations, transit centers, airports, ports but also shopping malls and public buildings.

Read our article How to Guarantee a Seamless Mobility Chain to Users with Disabilities?

The accessibility of public spaces has resulted in numerous initiatives such as the installation of ramps, elevators, tactile floor markings, spaces reserved for wheelchair users and information in braille.

The election of Tokyo in 2013 as the host city for the Olympic Games accelerated the process of implementing this law and enabled as many people as possible to benefit from this sporting event. All accessible places are to be identifiable by a blue sticker during the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

 

Olympic Games’ accessibility guidelines

In collaboration with relevant state organizations, the Tokyo government, municipal authorities and associations representing people with disabilities, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee formulated accessibility guidelines for the Olympic Games, which were approved by the international paralympic committee.

Among the competition venues, 24 already exist, 10 will remain temporary and 8 have been built specially for the Games. The other places targeted by the accessibility guidelines include existing accommodation places and public transport as well as those created for the occasion.

Access and circulation equipment

These guidelines apply to all access and circulation equipment such as:

⊗ Access routes and movement areas which must be free of obstacles and a minimum of 5.9 feet wide.

⊗ The ramps if access to the same height from the ground is not possible (different inclinations depending on the sites are proposed in the guidelines).

⊗ Stairs whose steps must be of uniform height and depth, avoiding spiral staircases.

⊗ Ground surfaces which must not present any risk of tripping and offer reliable directional indicators which adapt to all users. In addition, exterior pathways must be equipped with tactile paths.

⊗ Reception desks, entrances and exits must be accessible to people with reduced mobility.

⊗ Doors must be designed so that they can be pushed by people in wheelchairs, pushing strollers, or carrying heavy objects.

⊗ Elevators and escalators which must be installed near passageways.

Equipment dedicated to spectators

Regarding equipment originally dedicated to spectators, the guidelines also make recommendations for:

⊗ Seated places: at least 0.50% of the total number of places must be accessible to people with reduced mobility. The same ratio is applicable to places dedicated to their companions.

⊗ The toilets and changing rooms must be designed to accommodate people with reduced mobility as well. A unisex toilet intended to accommodate a person in a wheelchair is compulsory for each toilet block.

For more details on the recommended technical specifications, please refer to the 2020 Olympics accessibility guidelines.

An example of application of the accessibility guidelines: the Tokyo Games Athletes’ Village

The Village concept is based on the principle of universal design. A place designed specifically for the occasion and 100% accessible to allow athletes to relax and concentrate.

The Village fully complies with the committee’s accessibility guidelines. Every detail has been thought out to accommodate Paralympic athletes in order to ensure their comfort for the competition.

For example, the Tokyo government has carried out a study to ensure that the configuration of the elevators meets the specific requirements of the Tokyo 2020 Games as well as long-term needs. Also, double rooms have been converted into single rooms so that athletes with disabilities can benefit from sufficient space.

With a maximum slope of 2.5 degrees, the Olympic Village site is geographically adapted to accommodate all visitors. The access to the seaside was designed with a slight slope. Also, the longest distance between the athletes’ entrance and the residences is 929 yards.

 

Transport: a futuristic shuttle to reduce obstacles

Another example of a practical accessibility application, this time related to transportation, is Toyota’s futuristic Accessible People Mover (APM) shuttle. As the global Olympic partner, the automaker has developed an electric vehicle for short distances. The 200 shuttles can transport athletes, staff and visitors with mobility difficulties to the various sites of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Using an integrated ramp, the vehicles designed specifically for the Games can transport two passengers and one person in a wheelchair at a time for the “last one mile”.

 

To conclude

If Japan remains an example in terms of accessibility in Asia, it still has a long way to go to match its European counterparts.

The President of the International Paralympic Committee Andrew Parsons remains particularly worried about the accessibility of hotel rooms in the city. Recently, hotels with 50 or more rooms were required to have only one accessible room. The law has recently been changed to bring this level to 1% of the total number of rooms per hotel. This reform is a positive legacy for the Paralympics but also afterward.

In general, Japan maintains protective towards its disabled citizens. Despite the new regulations and the overall improvement in the accessibility of public places, “you don’t see people with disabilities moving around, because there is a cultural barrier. They are expected to stay at home, ” said Andrew Parsons.

However, the organization of the Olympic Games remains a great opportunity to change mentalities and regulations. As a legacy of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Beijing Airport now has a parking specially adapted for disabled people. The event also helped build wheelchair ramps in streets, malls and major cultural attractions.

Another highlight during the Beijing Olympics, the city installed accessible pedestrian signals at pedestrian crossings to assist people with visual limitation.

All these examples prove that accessibility equipment originally set up to host the Olympic Games can be profitable in the long-term. Indeed, they help improve the everyday lives of people with disabilities.

Like Beijing and the other host cities, let the positive pressure on Tokyo help the Japanese capital make the transition to a more accessible smart city.

Updated on July 27th, 2021

Take a look at our article on another sporting facility:

The Guidelines for Stadium Accessibility: Offering People with Disabilities a Good Experience 

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The election of Tokyo in 2013 as the host city for the Olympic Games accelerated the process of implementing the “barrier free” law and enabled as many people as possible to benefit from this sporting event.

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual Disabilities

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on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

Brisbane: A City for Everyone

Brisbane: A City for Everyone

Brisbane: a City for Everyone

 

Currently in Australia, it has been estimated that approximately 357,000 people are either blind or experience some form of vision impairment. This number has been projected to increase to 564,000 by 2030. 

Moreover 8% of pedestrians with vision impairment living in Australia have reported being involved in a collision with a vehicle or a bicycle in the last five years. 20% have reported being involved in a near collision in the same period.

Taking into consideration these statistics, how can the City of Brisbane improve street navigation of people living with some form of visual limitation? What concrete solutions have been implemented so far and will be in the future to ensure everyone has equal opportunity to enjoy the city?

 

Proven solutions to favor accessibility of blind pedestrians in Brisbane

 

Brisbane City Council controls more than 6800 kilometres of roads, which include 50,000 intersections and more than 850 sets of traffic lights. No wonder why it can be a nightmare navigating the City when you have visual impairment. 

Statistically, hazards occur more at junctions than anywhere else. It is then the responsibility of local council to take action in order to ensure safety to everyone.

“Council has been undertaking positive education with the public about the importance of independent mobility of pedestrians with vision impairment so that residents and businesses can help be part of a solution that strikes a fair balance between the needs of pedestrians.”

Adrian Schrinner, Lord Mayor of Brisbane since 2019

 

Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan 2012-2017 

 

Between 2012 and 2017, the Council has invested $200 million in implementing the Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan dedicating part of its effort on Pedestrian mobility and transport. Of the overall amount, approximately $6.8 million were fully dedicated each year to make the city more accessible for all its citizens.

After this five-year plan in 2017, 80% of residents agreed that Brisbane was a more inclusive and accessible city (up from 61% in previous years).

This accessibility plan includes but is not limited to initiatives to help blind and low vision pedestrians cross the street independently such as:

⊗ Audio-tactile signals or audible tactile traffic signals (ATTS) at signalised junctions to communicate information about the green and red intervals in non-visual format.

Local representatives have publicly stated that “Special facilities including audible and tactile features now exist at most traffic light pedestrian crossings” although no official statistics are available at the time being.

However Lord Mayor of Brisbane Adrian Schrinner has declared that “In Brisbane we consider ourselves to be highly accessible, which is why we previously voluntarily installed audio tactile facilities at all signalised intersections within the Brisbane CBD and over 500 intersections across Brisbane.”

Brisbane’s audible traffic signals (ATTS) have the particularity to automatically respond to background noise and thus operate on lower volumes in the late evening and early morning.

More info on local audible tactile traffic signals (ATTS) guidelines.

 

⊗ Extended walking times at designated signalised pedestrian crossings to allow people with slow walk to cross the street safely and in their own pace. Extended walk times are currently provided in locations where there is high use from specific user groups that require additional time to cross.

⊗ Widespread braille trail network to help people with visual limitation move independently. A braille trail is a pathway of paving with dots and dash patterns intended for visually-impaired people walking with a cane. Brisbane’s original braille trail was established in the Queen Street Mall back in 1989. An investment of $90,000 has been made in the recent years to lengthen it.

“At about 1.6 kilometres in length, the Brisbane CBD braille trail network through Queen Street mall, Albert Street, Reddacliff Place and King George Square is the longest continuous braille trail in Australia.”

⊗ Tactile ground surface indicators (TGSIs). The City will continue to install tactile ground surface indicators according to Australian Standards at locations of high use and on request. Brisbane city council will also upgrade bus stops with TGSI’s features in response with users’ requests.

⊗ Consistent, firm and even pathways to prevent from tripping hazards

⊗ Tactile street signs on traffic lights to help residents and visitors navigate the streets. 390 brightly-coloured rectangular signs are now in place across the city at locations selected by residents and associations. Street name and building numbers are printed in braille in yellow raised letters on the same pole and height as the pedestrian push-button.

⊗ Safe unsignalised pedestrian crossings including the design and installation, where appropriate, of footpath build-outs and pedestrian refuge islands.

 

As a reward the council’s investment in the five-year Access and Inclusion Plan, Brisbane won the National Disability, Access and Inclusion Award 2017 Awards. 

Council’s investment in access and inclusion has been recognised across the country. But Brisbane does not stop there and aims at being the world accessibility leader in ten years.

“By 2029 Brisbane will be a city for everybody – known worldwide for embracing all ages, abilities and cultures.”

Graham Quirk, Lord Mayor of Brisbane (2011-2019)

 

How to make Brisbane world accessibility leader?

 

In 2019, the end of Lord mayor Graham Quirk’s term to Adrian Schrinner has triggered the second installment of the inclusive plan: A City for Everyone: Draft Inclusive Brisbane Plan 2019-2029.

This draft includes several accessibility and inclusion projects for the ten years to come to go one step further in making Brisbane truly accessible to blind and partially-sighted people.

Among the new initiatives on the agenda, the creation of digital platforms and apps, which takes a naturally significant part in the program with regard to the physical installations that have been introduced so far. The objective is to leverage those physical accessibility equipment to offer additional digital services.

In 2017, the app Access 4000 was developed to provide real time information on different accessibility features available in businesses and venues around Brisbane such as automated doors, disabled parking and toilets, hearing loop, interpreter, lifts, support for low vision or blindness and wheelchair access.

Furthemore, community organisations and Brisbane Marketing – the city’s economic development board – has partnered to create a mobile phone application with a map and a potentially augmented reality platform to assist people with disability to navigate Brisbane streets, publics spaces, buildings and plan their journey. Acting as an outdoor and indoor digital wayfinding system, this new undergoing project gives great prospects for the autonomy of visually impaired people.

Additionally, to enable Brisbane citizens to be informed of updates on temporary obstacles or closures affecting pedestrians, an online portal will be created. This platform will also give residents better information on community transport and shared vehicle options. By offering this digital solution to its citizens, visually impaired people of Brisbane will finally be aware of disruption of accessible routes.

More information on how to maintain pedestrian accessibility when carrying out street works.

Regarding physical accessibility, the council is planning on investing its efforts on pedestrian crossings enhancements, walking and wheeling tour for people with different sensory needs and the creation of tactile library spaces for visitors with specific needs such as autism or blindness.

 

We are looking forward to the official publication of the 2019-2029 Brisbane Inclusive Plan that will set the tone of the ten years to come regarding the city’s accessibility policy. 

Will Brisbane be the worldwide accessibility leader by 2029 outperforming major european, american and asian cities? 

See you in ten years!

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Between 2012 and 2017, the Council has invested $200 million in implementing the Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan dedicating part of its effort on Pedestrian mobility and transport. Of the overall amount, approximately $6.8 million were fully dedicated each year to make the city more accessible for all its citizens.

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual Disabilities

5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual Disabilities

5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual DisabilitiesPeople with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome have an intellectual development that’s inferior to the population average and learning difficulties. This means they have...

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The French leading company

on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

Have You Ever Heard About Visible Light Positioning? Tomas Escuin’s from i2CAT Offers His Insights

Have You Ever Heard About Visible Light Positioning? Tomas Escuin’s from i2CAT Offers His Insights

Have You Ever Heard About Visible Light Positioning? Tomas Escuin’s from i2CAT Offers His Insights

 

During our visit at the 9th edition of Smart City Expo in Barcelona we had the chance to discover a wide range of innovations which include a heavy emphasis on inclusion and accessibility. Among them, an encounter with Tomas Escuin and the innovation carried by his research center based in Catalonia i2CAT: Visible Light Positioning.

What is Visible Light Positioning? And how can it benefit the lives of disabled people?

Inclusive City Maker gives voice to Tomas Escuin in charge of the project development at local and international level.

Can you please introduce yourself and i2CAT?

I am Tomas Escuin, an industrial engineer with financial education and experience in technology transfer. 

The i2CAT Foundation is a non-profit research and innovation center that promotes mission-driven R&D activities on advanced Internet architectures, applications and services. More than 15 years of international research define our expertise in the fields of 5G, IoT, VR and Immersive Technologies, Cybersecurity, Blockchain, Open Big Data and AI. The center partners with companies, public administration, universities and end-users to leverage this knowledge in order to meet real society and business challenges.

 

“Fostering collaboration for an Internet based on intelligent systems and smart technologies.”

 

i2CAT promotes the technology transfer of the innovations and intellectual property outcome of research projects through:

⊗ Fostering strategic alliances to create innovative market-oriented technologies and solutions addressed to the different verticals.

⊗ Coordinating the design and deployment of trials for technological and functional validation purposes with local partners, public administration and users.

⊗ Setting up IPR exploitation agreements, creating mixed R&D teams with companies and boosting and supporting the creation of start-ups.

 

More information about i2CAT, key figures and the Annual Report here.

 

How does Visible Light Positioning work?

Visible light positioning works as the image below shows:

 visible light positioning

 

Ceiling lights emit different codes (blinking patterns) that can be read by the camera of a conventional smartphone, which is, in effect, taking pictures constantly. Thanks to the camera configuration that our app provides, the smartphone “sees” the light fixtures as barcodes that are translated as positions. Knowing the position of the different lights detected, the phone can calculate a specific position.

To make the lights blink, we have created a modulator that can be configured to switch on and off the lights by following the loaded code.

 

How does Visible Light Positioning can benefit disabled people in their day-to-day lives?

Our technology allows a high-accuracy and low-cost positioning system for indoor environments, so it can be used in a very wide range of cases. 

For disabled people, our approach would be to use the position of the individual in order to offer the user information about his/her immediate environment.

One case was the supermarket that you experienced at SCEWC. What we did was recreate a supermarket setting with products on shelves and ceiling lights. When pointing at products with the smartphone camera facing upwards, an audible message could be heard stating the nature of the product. 

In this context, Visible Light Positioning allows blind people to know which products are in front of them, but also allows people with motor disabilities who can not reach the products to read their labels.

But, this technology can have many more uses. For instance, we could deploy our system in subway/train stations, airports, state buildings or public venues as a way to guide people with visual impairments or to facilitate other information when pointing their phones at something (doors, signs, etc.).

 

Do all smartphones have light-sensing capabilities?

 

Yes and no… The only thing we do is take pictures constantly, but our App needs to “talk” with the camera of the phone to explain how to take those pictures in terms of exposure, shutter speed, contrast, etc… The issue is that not all phones have the required level of possibilities to deploy this camera configuration, but most do. We haven’t developed the app for iOS yet.

 

Is i2CAT working on other projects that could directly influence the lives of disabled people in the future?

 

Although we are not specifically targeting disabled people, we do our best to apply our research to society in general so that technology can benefit every citizen.

Vincles BCN is an example. It’s not intended for disabled people but for elders. Vincles BCN is a social innovation project that aims to strengthen the social ties of older people living in Barcelona who feel alone and to improve their well-being through new technologies. Its main objective is to break with the social isolation of the elderly through the establishment of a network of public support and of its personal environment, which includes family, friends, social workers and volunteers through the use of a tablet.

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In this context, Visible Light Positioning allows blind people to know which products are in front of them, but also allows people with motor disabilities who can not reach the products to read their labels.

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual Disabilities

5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual Disabilities

5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual DisabilitiesPeople with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome have an intellectual development that’s inferior to the population average and learning difficulties. This means they have...

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The French leading company

on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

Smart City Expo: A Flagship Event Moving ‘Towards Inclusivity’

Smart City Expo: A Flagship Event Moving ‘Towards Inclusivity’

Smart City Expo: A Flagship Event Moving ‘Towards Inclusivity’

 

The city of Barcelona is about to host the 9th edition of the Smart City’s flagship international event: the Smart City Expo World Congress. This international trade show is the #1 meeting point for Smart City players, which has gathered more than one million visitors from around the world since its creation in 2011.

It is an opportunity for experts, politicians, companies, research centers and global organizations to share their vision and lead together the urban transformation of tomorrow.

Facts and figures about Smart City Expo

Smart City Expo infographic

An inclusive edition: ‘Towards Inclusivity’

A smart city is not just a sustainable and innovative city. Inclusion, and particularly inclusion of people with disabilities, remains an important innovation driver for the Smart City.

This year, the Smart City Expo World Congress puts inclusion at the heart of its approach with an initiative called ‘Towards Inclusivity’, proposing measures to limit the divide related to disability, language, religion or gender.

Here are the initiatives dedicated to disabled people that you can find during the event this year:

⊗ electric scooters available for people with reduced mobility,

⊗ reserved spaces for wheelchairs and electric scooters,

⊗ guided tour available for visually impaired people,

⊗ full accessibility of the venue.

Many debates and conferences on the theme of inclusion will also be proposed during the event to raise awareness and enable all participants to act on their own scale to respond to inclusion society’s challenges, such as digital inclusion, gentrification, urban justice or the sharing economy.

Why participate in Smart City Expo World Congress?

You are involved in the Smart City industry? You want to develop your network? Find partners or customers?

Smart City Expo is the place to connect with your entire ecosystem. Between start-ups, cities, institutions, politicians, more than 25,000 participants from around the world are expected for this event. Don’t miss it!

Moreover, according to the statistics provided by the organizers, two out of three people present at the event are decision-makers, which makes Smart City Expo the ideal place for the collection of qualified prospects and the creation of new collaborations. Overall 92% of participants were satisfied with the quality of contacts established in previous editions.

Join the adventure!

Practical information

From 19 to 21 November 2019 at the Fira Barcelona in Barcelona.

 

What is the Smart City? To go further, read our article on the topic: How Can a Smart City Make Life Easier for People with Disabilities?

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This year, the Smart City Expo World Congress puts inclusion at the heart of its approach with an initiative called ‘Towards Inclusivity’, proposing measures to limit the divide related to disability, language, religion or gender.

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

stay updated

Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

other articles for you

share our article!

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5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual Disabilities

5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual Disabilities

5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual DisabilitiesPeople with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome have an intellectual development that’s inferior to the population average and learning difficulties. This means they have...

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powered by okeenea

The French leading company

on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

MaaS: A Solution for Tomorrow’s Mobility

MaaS: A Solution for Tomorrow’s Mobility

MaaS: a Solution for Tomorrow’s Mobility

 

Mobility is not just about getting from point A to point B. It is actually way more than that. It’s about taking into account a whole series of factors such as the duration of the journey, the price, the quality of the service, the environmental impact and safety.

In a changing world where new mobility actors are constantly upsetting our cities’ balance, emerging digital alternatives such as Mobility as a Service i.e MaaS offer an innovative mobility experience for smart cities of the future.

Let’s focus on a key concept of the Smart City that promises to transform our journeys of tomorrow!

What is MaaS?

MaaS stands for Mobility as a Service and is a platform that seamlessly combines all existing transportation options, from travel planning to payment. MaaS smartly manages the transportation needs of users through the provision of real-time information combined with custom-made services.

MaaS was born in Finland where it already plays a key role in national transport policy. The concept is widely recognized around the world as a breakthrough innovation, one that will change the way everyone travels through digitization and the combination of the best mobility solutions.

MaaS is more than just a transport information platform. It’s a smart way to reach a destination. But also a powerful tool based on an user-centred approach’s way of getting around. Its goal: providing users with the mobility solution that best suits their needs.

MaaS: What impacts on cities and end users?

For public decision makers, MaaS represents a major challenge in controlling the mobility chain, data analysis and creating strong partnerships between various stakeholders.

Indeed, public authorities and private actors of MaaS must perfectly control the entire mobility chain to facilitate access to different modes of transport in a fluid and equal manner. To do so, it is necessary to encourage the design of multimodal urban centers.

How Can Multimodal Transit Centers Be Accessible for People with Disabilities?

Data analysis provides valuable information to transport operators and cities to adjust their network and services. The indirect objective is thus to better meet the needs of travelers and environmental purposes.

In order to set up such a tailor-made service, public authorities have the responsibility to create trustworthy partnerships between the different transport operators by offering contractual frameworks encouraging cooperation.

A lot of cities have implemented or have been implementing a MaaS platform to give room to active mobility: Helsinki (Finland), Antwerp (Belgium), Nijmegen (Netherlands), Madrid (Spain), Budapest (Hungary)…

For users, MaaS is a answer to the myriad of mobility options in urban areas. From personal vehicles, shared mobility, vehicles with drivers to public transport, it can be difficult to make the right choice. Not to mention that the best trip is perhaps intermodal and combines several modes of transport for a single journey.

How to Help People with Disabilities Get a Better Experience on the Subway?

The main advantages of this solution for users are:

⊗ Reliability: MaaS provides correct information in real time and a high level of service,

⊗ Simplicity: a single application allowing easy access to information,

⊗ Flexibility: MaaS adapts to the preferences of each user taking into account their personal situation (ex: a sensory disability),

⊗ Impartiality: the service displays all the possible options to best serve the needs of end users.

What will MaaS of the future look like?

The digitization of mobility is underway, followed by a constant increase in the number of services. New mobility offers will continue to develop (autonomous, electric, shared vehicles etc.) and customers’ expectations to evolve. Mobility services will merge more and more to form true intermodal continuity in the mobility chain. Therefore, the traveler’s choice will rely more on the price and the performance than on the mode itself.

MaaS of tomorrow will help all users make the right choice based on their personal preferences, the weather, and their physical and mental abilities. In the world of tomorrow, MaaS will be a true indoor/outdoor smart mobility assistant that will erase disability barriers by offering a 100% tailor-made mobility.

In short

It is becoming increasingly clear that we are at the beginning of a new era of mobility based on the digitalization of our modes of travel. 

Mobility as a Service is the key to change traveling behaviors towards more sustainable, more inclusive and more affordable mobility, given everyone’s disability.

MaaS seems to have a bright future. But is the Nordic mobility model can easily apply to other countries? Will all carriers agree to share their data with operators? What are the possible associations with existing ticketing services? Many challenges still need to be addressed… But from what we reckon, MaaS seems to represent what a connected and smart city should be.

How Can a Smart City Make Life Easier for People with Disabilities?

To go further: Mobility Apps for Blind People or how Technology Can Replace Special Assistance at the Airport

Updated on September 13th, 2021

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In the world of tomorrow, MaaS will be a true indoor/outdoor smart mobility assistant that will erase disability barriers by offering a 100% tailor-made mobility.

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

stay updated

Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

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5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual Disabilities

5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual Disabilities

5 Must-Have Apps for People with Intellectual DisabilitiesPeople with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome have an intellectual development that’s inferior to the population average and learning difficulties. This means they have...

NEVER miss the latest news about the Smart City.

Sign up now for our newsletter.

Unsubscribe in one click. The information collected is confidential and kept safe.

powered by okeenea

The French leading company

on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

Disability as an Innovation Driver for the Smart City

Disability as an Innovation Driver for the Smart City

Disability as an Innovation Driver for the Smart City

 

Smart City. A concept that’s making more and more noise. Coming straight from the United States, the smart city is starting to make its way into cities from all around the world.

But what is a smart city exactly? It is a city that puts Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at the service of its citizens to provide them with services adapted to their needs in real time. It is found at different levels of society such as education, transportation, environment, health or safety. The overall objective of the smart city is therefore to improve the quality of life of citizens through new technologies.

Quite a nice program! But what are the actual innovations behind this approach? And how can they improve the lives of the most vulnerable citizens? In an aging world where by 2030 the number of people over the age of 60 is expected to reach 1.4 billion, and that already has more than 1 billion people living with disabilities, one wonders how the smart city can respond to their needs.

Let’s explore initiatives from around the world that showcase new accessibility technologies for a smart city that goes beyond disability. Here are some projects that caught our attention.

#1 Transport and Mobility

Intelligent urban mobility aims to make traveling in the city for all citizens easier: on foot, by public transport and by personal vehicle. Intelligent transport provides everyone with real-time, up-to-date data that has a positive impact on the environment and the quality of life of citizens.

We have selected for you some inspiring projects:

⊗ NAVIGUEO+ HIFI: customizable sound beacons installed in many transport networks in France at points of interest such as above a counter or at the entrance of a metro station indicating its location and transmitting practical information. This sound guidance system can be activated remotely using a smartphone, thus offering autonomy to blind and visually impaired people.

⊗ MaaS: a platform that combines all means of transportation available to users. Not only does MaaS (Mobility as a Service) give them the best option according to their capacities and their needs but it also enables them to pay for their trip directly via its platform.

⊗ StreetCo: an application that promotes the mobility of people with reduced mobility thanks to a collaborative pedestrian GPS alerting users in real time of obstacles and informing them about the accessibility of nearby places.

⊗ MappedED!: a platform for inclusive academic mobility in Europe that provides an interactive map about various factors of university with a focus on students with disabilities.

⊗ Uber: the well-known mobility platform helps people with disability with an on-demand transportation service allowing more flexibility and spontaneity when moving for people with disability.

⊗ Autonomous vehicles: if currently the regulation prohibits people who do not have a driving license to drive a self-driving vehicle, this could soon change. Google showed a few years ago the potential of this voice-controlled technology for blind people. To be continued…

⊗ Accessible Pedestrian Signals: they enable blind or visually impaired pedestrians to safely cross the street. Thanks to open data, cities can easily inform their citizens which intersections are equipped with APS. Then, they can adjust their route according to its accessibility. More information in our article How Cities in North America Communicate Efficiently about Accessible Pedestrian Signals: Good Examples to Follow

#2 Inclusion

The concept of inclusion is linked to human rights movements concerning people with disabilities, highlighting the place of “full right” of all people in society, regardless of their characteristics.

Creating a smart city means looking beyond disability to enhance accessibility for all. Because what would be the point of living in a smart city if it’s not accessible to all its citizens?

Luckily, there are some new technologies that enable to have a barrier-free and inclusive society. In the end, the smart city will erase disability to focus on different capabilities and the innovations that put us, all of us, as equals.

Let’s see some of the initiatives that promote the inclusion of people with special needs in society:

⊗ Avencod: “Nature creates differences, Avencod makes talents”. This is the slogan of the French-based company that employs people with Asperger syndrome to fulfill missions in digital areas such as web development.

⊗ The Open Voice Factory: a free software that helps give voice to people with communication difficulties.

⊗ The Disability Innovation Institute in Australia is doing research on smartphone use as a tool for integrating people with intellectual disabilities. The results show that the use of the smartphone increases social inclusion, the feeling of belonging to a group and social recognition.

 

#3 Health

New technologies including mobile technologies create smart health solutions for citizens. Some project leaders have focused their efforts on solutions dedicated to people with disabilities to enable them to gain autonomy in their daily lives.

⊗ The Evolvable Walking Aid: a modular range of parts that can be assembled to form a cane, crutches or a walking frame to avoid buying new equipment for walking when the mobility of the user is evolving.

⊗ WatchHelp: a mobile application connected to a watch that promotes the autonomy of people with mental and/or cognitive disorders. The application sends notifications in the form of simple visuals indicating the daily actions to be performed.

⊗ Wandercraft: exoskeletons allowing people with reduced mobility to walk independently and naturally.

 

#4 Safety

Safety is a major issue in reflections to improve the quality of life in the city. The safety of people with disabilities, which is put to the test daily, has inspired a French-based company:

⊗ aBeacon Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS): Okeenea won a call for innovation of New York City’s Department of Transportation to implement a new generation of connected Accessible Pedestrian Signals that allow visually impaired pedestrians to cross the street safely. This new device is triggered remotely and delivers fully customizable information.

#5 Infrastructure

Building smart infrastructures in the cities of tomorrow helps including different population groups, including the elderly and people with disabilities. Smart Buildings are designed to meet the specific needs of the most vulnerable people from the design stage through data collection and sharing.

⊗ Connected retired homes: retired people are starting to embrace the internet of things with next-generation connected retirement homes. These smart life-care homes include immersive screens, connected boxes, automation, videoconferencing and mobile applications to help residents regain some independence.

#6 Information

⊗ Communicating urban furniture: Kansas City was among the finalists for the 2016 Smart City Challenge offering its residents at city key locations interactive kiosks used to collect and share data. The screens are backlit and at a height accessible to people in wheelchairs. The terminals are also equipped with audio jacks to allow people with visual impairments to connect headphones.

⊗ Humble Lamppost intelligent public lighting: a project competing with the innovation partnership for smart cities and communities. The project leaders have thought of a connected floor lamp that broadcasts sound information tailored to the citizens. The autonomous device also saves energy and increases the safety of pedestrians nearby.

The smart city is a vector of innovations in areas related to disability and accessibility. New technology and IoT offer new opportunities to empower a growing group of people with specific disabilities.

Ever wondered how Vision Zero project impacts road safety? Read our article!

Designers of the Smart City, decision-makers, a smart city is an inclusive and accessible city. Think about the needs of the most fragile users right from the conception by consulting them. That’s how your solutions will be universally accessible!

Are you already looking towards the future? Then, these articles are made for you:

Artificial Intelligence and Accessibility: Examples of a Technology that Serves People with Disabilities

Creating an Accessible and Barrier-Free Society Through Inclusive Design: a Constant Renewal

Updated on September 13th, 2021

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Designers of the Smart City, decision-makers, a smart city is an inclusive and accessible city.

Think about the needs of the most fragile users right from the conception by consulting them. That’s how your solutions will be universally accessible!

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.