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7 2.1 Introduction Chapter 1 was about why this guidebook is needed. Before addressing the WHAT and HOW in subsequent chapters, it is vital to understand who the target audience is in addition to the needs of aging travelers and persons with disabilities. These needs result from a wide range of physical, sensory and cognitive challenges, the severity of which, along with many other factors, will impact the ability of aging travelers and persons with disabilities to navigate independently in the airport environment. This chapter will first discuss universal design and its principles, illustrating their application in airports. It then examines wayfinding needs for individuals with specific types of disabilities and steps that airports can take to meet those needs. A separate section in Chapter 2 discusses aging travelers, who are more likely to have multiple functional limitations. This chapter also covers technology used by these user groups, appropriate language, and resources that airports can call on as they begin the process of putting this information to practical use. While user needs are discussed within broad disability categoriesâblind and low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, ambulatory and non-ambulatory, and intellectual disabilities including autism and dementiaâit is important to understand that each person with a disability is an individual with unique needs. For example, the needs of a traveler with late onset vision loss will be different from someone born partially sighted, even though their visual acuity is more or less identical. Coping skills, psychological makeup, past travel experiences, and much more have a role to play. It is because of these individual differences that the primary focus must be on creat- ing universal accessibility, enabling wayfinding by all travelers regardless of ability, rather than meeting the assumed needs of a general disability type. As noted in Chapter 1, this guidebook cannot effectively address every conceivable wayfinding scenario for every traveler with a disability. Some individuals will never be able to travel indepen- dently and will always require assistance provided by an airline, airport, or travel companion to reach their gate. However, by paying attention to the needs of persons with disabilities and applying the principles of universal design in all new construction, expansion, and renovation projectsâright from the start of the planning and design processâan airport will enhance the overall wayfinding experience for its customers while reducing the need for specialized services and facilities. 2.2 Universal Design and Its Principles Universal design, also known as inclusive design, design-for-all, life span design, and human- centered design, is âthe design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the great- est extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized designâ (Connell et al. 1997). This concept, which originated in the 1970s as part of the U.S. disability rights movement, has gained C h a p t e r 2 Understanding the Needs of Aging Travelers and Passengers with Disabilities
8 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities momentum as societies across the globe struggle to accommodate their rapidly aging populations. Initially viewed as an unobtainable and expensive ideal, universal design is now recognized as a key element in sustainability since it guarantees a wider product market, limits the need for renovation or redesign, and minimizes the need for special services or accommodations (Levine 2003). Universal design is especially applicable to airports where the customer base is not only diverse in terms of age, size, and abilities, but is likely to be experiencing an airport for the first time, burdened with luggage or strollers, and perhaps unfamiliar with the local language. Both the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA 2007) and the FAA advocate universal design in their airport advisories (FAA 2012 and 2016). According to Advisory Circular 150/5220-21C: Aircraft Boarding Equipment (FAA 2012): As applied to the field of aviation, universal design is fundamental to the safe and efficient transpor- tation of the flying public. In keeping with the concept of universal design, the overall philosophy of this document is to specify both the performance and design requirements that enable seamless and integrated transportation options for all passengers. While legal accessibility standards are minimum requirements meant to eliminate physical barriers for people with disabilities, universal design âseeks to provide improved usability and safety for all in the community.â It thus avoids the âarbitrary dichotomyâ of people with dis- abilities versus the âable-bodied,â which can be divisive and stigmatizing. Universal design also covers the needs of disability groups not covered by the ADA Standards, for example, people of short stature and individuals with cognitive disabilities (Levine 2003). Universal design, as Figure 2-1 illustrates, cannot meet every user need. There will always be individuals whose disability is so severe that additional facilities and services will be required. This is especially the case in the airport setting, infamous for being complex, confusing, noisy, and crowded, and where tolerance for error is low given the time constraints of catching a flight. However, the needs of these individuals will be âeasier to address if universal design is the start- ing pointâ (Pruett and Pruett n.d.). Both older individuals and people with disabilities value their independence and work hard to maintain or regain it, even when dealing with severe functional limitations. With the rapid Source: Pruett and Pruett, n.d. p. 5. Figure 2-1. Applicability of universal design versus design for disability.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 9 development and proliferation of digital technologies, more and more people can now achieve a level of independence inconceivable in the past. By applying the principles of universal design as well as the strategies described below that are specific to particular disability types, airports can help their customers function independently and find their way successfully despite the constraints of these uniquely complex environments. The seven principles of universal design, originated and copyrighted by The Center for Uni- versal Design, North Carolina State University (Connell et al. 1997), are in common use world- wide, and are readily applicable to all types of design, from buildings and signage to websites and the latest digital technologies. The seven principles are listed and discussed below. Principle 1: Equitable Use. The design does not disadvantage or stigmatize any group of users. Automatic doors (as shown in Figure 2-2) are a classic example of a design that works well for everyone while also embodying Principle 6: Low Physical Effort. Locating the elevator, escalator, and stairs in close proximity and easy view of one another (see Figure 2-3) meets not only Principle 1: Equitable Use but also Principle 2: Flexibility in Use; Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-2. Automatic doors. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-3. Elevator, escalator, and stairs in close proximity at Chicago OâHare International Airport.
10 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities Principle 3: Simple, Intuitive Use; and Principle 6: Low Physical Effort. Signage includes direc- tional reinforcement as well as confirmation that passengers are heading toward their desired destinations. Principle 2: Flexibility in Use. The design accommodates a wide range of individual prefer- ences and abilities. A buildingâs design should allow people to use its features in more than one prescribed way, e.g., standing and seated, as at the information desk shown in Figure 2-4. Verbal communication is a very important part of the wayfinding experience for aging travelers and persons with disabilities. New common-use self-service (CUSS) kiosks, designed in-house at San Francisco Interna- tional Airport (see Figure 2-5), allow standing and seated users to input information in a variety of ways: by scanning a passport or other ID, typing on the touch screen, or using the EZ Access keypad. An audio jack allows those who are blind to get instructions verbally. Since all six sta- tions at each table are accessible (exceeding the 25 percent mandated under ACAA regulations), these CUSS kiosks also illustrate Principle 1: Equity in Use. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-4. Bi-level information desk at Tampa International Airport. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-5. Accessible CUSS kiosks at San Francisco International Airport.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 11 Principle 3: Simple, Intuitive Use. Use of the design is easy to understand regardless of the userâs experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. Clear lines of sight in Heathrowâs international terminal and prominent, illuminated signs that identify each section of check-in counters (see Figure 2-6) allow passengers, regardless of knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level, to easily determine which direction they need to walk. Principle 4. Perceptible Information. The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user regardless of ambient conditions or the userâs sensory abilities. Redundancy of information, i.e., providing all essential information in a variety of modes such as written, symbolic, tactile, and verbal, is fundamental to creating a wayfinding system that works for all users. The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind has two interactive, tactile maps (shown in Figure 2-7) designed by Touch Graphics, Inc., and IDEA Center, University of Buffalo. Users can either touch the map directly to trigger playback of information or navigate a menu of options by pressing right and left arrows. The elevator directory at Heathrow Airport (shown in Figure 2-8) lists the facilities located on each floor in Braille; tactile text and arrows; pictograms; and large, high-contrast fonts. While ADA Standards do not require directories or directional signage to include tactile information, an airport may determine that its inclusion is necessary for effective wayfinding by customers with vision loss. The elevators are also automatic and provide verbal announcements at each floor. Integration of visual paging into flight information display systems (FIDSs), now becoming common in airports worldwide, is a good example of Principle 4: Perceptible Information. While these FIDSs do not feature audible output for those with vision loss, data feeds to smartphones via airport and airline applications now help to fill that information gap. The placement of the FIDS, airport map, and directory at eye level (as shown in Figure 2-9) also illustrates Principle 1: Equitable Use, Principle 2: Flexibility in Use, and Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use. Principle 5: Tolerance for Error. The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. In Hong Kong International Airport and San Francisco International Airport, changes in surface texture and railings are typically used to alert passengers to the entrances and exits of Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-6. Check-in hall in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.
12 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities Source: https://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2014/11/029.html Figure 2-7. Tactile map at Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-8. Tactile elevator directory at Heathrow Airport. moving walkways (see Figure 2-10). San Francisco International Airport also uses railings to prevent entry by luggage carts as opposed to just a warning sign. Railings at both airports are cane-detectable to minimize any danger to customers using white canes or guide dogs. Hong Kong International Airport also uses arrows to indicate the direction of travel, another safety precaution. Airports that eliminate curbs along passenger loading and unloading zones can protect travel- ers with vision loss from inadvertently entering the roadway by installing tactile warning strips
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 13 with truncated domes along the edge (as shown in Figure 2-11). These are more commonly used at curb ramps. Principle 6: Low Physical Effort. The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue. While automatic doors, restrooms with no doors, and flat baggage carousels are all exam- ples of designs that minimize physical effort in airports, the most common complaint among older travelers and those with disabilities is the distance to and from boarding gates (Wolfe July 2003, Open Doors Organization 2015). By linking its four airside concourses, each of which has a separate security checkpoint, via separate shuttles from the centrally located main terminal, Tampa International Airport limits walking distances, as shown in Figure 2-12, and also simplifies wayfinding. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-9. FIDS at eye level with screen for visual paging at Philadelphia International Airport and San Antonio International Airport. Sources: SFO-ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team; HKG https://www.archsd.gov.hk/archsd/html/ua/06_97.html Figure 2-10. Moving walkways at San Francisco International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport.
14 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use. Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of userâs body size, posture, or mobility. Flow-through elevators, like the one at Newark Liberty International Airport (shown in Figure 2-13), provide a straight path of travel for individuals using mobility devices and enable them to easily access elevator controls without turning or twisting. Persons with luggage carts and large suitcases also find these elevators easier and faster to use. By Source: www.detectable-warning.com Figure 2-11. Tactile warning strip along level entry to roadway. Source: http://www.tampaairport.com/maps Figure 2-12. Terminal map for Tampa International Airport.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 15 providing clear lines of sight, the elevatorâs glass walls are another example of Principle 3: Simple, Intuitive Use. The wide turnstile shown in Figure 2-14 allows easy approach and use by people with wheelchairs, strollers, luggage, and bicycles, as indicated by pictograms displayed prominently on the entry gate. A tactile guiding strip, not shown in Figure 2-14, leads customers with vision loss to this wider turn- stile, most likely because it can also more easily accommodate someone using a guide dog. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-13. Flow-through elevator, AirTrain at Newark Liberty International Airport. Source: http://metro4all.org/blog-en/amsterdam-accessibility-navigation/ Figure 2-14. Universally accessible turnstile at Amsterdam Metro.
16 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities 2.3 Vision Loss There are an estimated 20.6 million American adults (18 years or older) who experience vision loss, defined as difficulty seeing, even with glasses or contact lenses, or who are totally blind (CDC 2014). Approximately 10 percent of adults aged 85 and older are legally blind, and more than 20 percent experience low vision (Brabyn et al. 2000). Other people who may have difficulty using visual wayfinding strategies include those who may have forgotten their glasses, may not know that they need corrective lenses, or may be experiencing an ocular migraine. While vision loss can take many forms and degrees, people with vision loss are typically grouped into two main categories: blind and low vision. Those considered to have low vision still rely mainly on their residual vision in order to perceive information and find their way through the environment. In terms of assistive devices, they may use scanners or magnifiers to access print information as well as larger fonts on computers and mobile devices. Persons who are blind depend more exclusively on their tactile, aural, and olfactory senses, and thus on technologies such as screen readers on computers, VoiceOver (iOS) or TalkBack (Android) on mobile devices, and, most recently, haptic devices. Individuals who lose their vision later in life typically do not learn Braille, relying instead on audible information and tactile lettering. It is estimated that only 10 to 15 percent of Americans who are blind can read Braille. Individuals who are deaf-blind usually retain some usable hearing or sight, enabling them to navigate and communicate with the same technologies as other individuals with vision or hear- ing loss. Those with severe or complete loss of both hearing and vision face a much greater chal- lenge. Basic techniques for communication with customers who are deaf-blind include tactile finger spelling, printing in block letters on the palm, and the use of Braille cards that feature a print and Braille alphabet. Some individuals may travel with their own device, such as a Screen Braille Communicator. This new technology enables face-to-face communication through the exchange of text and Braille messages between two portable devices, a Braille keyboard with Braille display, and a smartphone with QWERTY keyboard (see Figure 2-15). It can also enable remote digital communication via email, instant messaging, and calls using a text telephone for the hearing impaired. Haptic technologies that convey information through touch are in development, but solutions to enable independent navigation through a complex, unfamiliar airport are not yet available. Source: http://www.perkinselearning.org/videos/webcast/communication- technology-persons-who-are-deafblind Figure 2-15. Deaf-blind communicator.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 17 Most individuals who are deaf-blind travel with a companion to assist with navigation and communication. However, under the ACAA, persons with both severe hearing and vision loss must be allowed to fly alone if they can establish a means of communication with carrier per- sonnel and can assist in their own evacuation from the aircraft in the event of an emergency (Part 382.29). The age at which a person begins to lose vision, the extent of orientation and mobility (O&M) training a person has received (if any), and the length of time a person has experienced a vision loss all determine the individualâs desire and ability to navigate independently. For independent navigation, the traditional assistive devices remain the norm for most, e.g., the white cane or long cane and the guide dog. These mainly help the person avoid obstacles or hazards rather than serving as a navigator. Airlines are required under the ACAA to provide a human guide on request, and many trav- elers with vision loss will continue to depend on that service despite potentially long waits and uncertainty, communication problems, and poor service. For those who are younger and more tech savvy, deployment of new technologies to enable independent wayfinding in airports cannot come soon enough. To further understand who travelers with vision loss are, it is important to illustrate practical measures that airports can implement to close wayfinding gaps and thereby enable customers with vision loss to function more independently and safely. Over the past 15 years, through surveys and focus groups, research by Open Doors Organization has identified a number of areasâpre-trip and at the airportâwhere access to services, facilities, and information is most problematic for people with vision loss. These range from the lack of accessibility and rele- vant content of websites and applications, to the challenge of finding assistance on arrival with ground transportation. These areas also extend to inappropriate assistance by airport, airline, and service company staff and the inaccessibility of static and digital signage. Sections 2.3.1 and 2.3.2 list several steps to enhance wayfinding for customers with vision loss. Some of this guidance has been incorporated into the Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist in Chapters 4 through 7 (which covers all user groups). The goal of spotlighting the guidance related to travelers with vision loss here is to help airports better understand this particular subgroup of travelers. 2.3.1 Steps to Enhance Wayfinding for Customers Who Are Blind 1. Make virtual information accessible and usable. For individuals who are blind, pre-trip planning is an important step in successfully navigating an airport. Virtual information should be legible by screen readers and provide detailed descriptive information. While the Department of Justice has not yet published web accessibility standards, a consent decree against H&R Block specified that it use WCAG 2.0, an indication that this will likely be the future standard. WCAG 2.0 AA is already the standard for airline websites under new U.S.DOT ACAA requirements (U.S. DOT 2013). 2. Where maps are provided on the airport website or mobile app, include narrative, text- based descriptions so that travelers who are blind can create a cognitive map of the airport. These should include a description of the overall airport layout as well as detailed descrip- tions of terminals and concourses and how passengers can move between them (interior or exterior walkways, automated people mover, shuttle buses, etc.). Include cardinal directions, left/right or clock-face directions, and approximate distances or walking times. Section 3.3.3 of this report includes text maps created by the ACRP Project 07-13 research team for Austin- Bergstrom International Airport. Another example comes from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airportâs (CVGâs) website, which now features 10 captioned wayfinding
18 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities videos and posts the captions separately as âStep-by-Step Directionsâ. (See screenshot from one of CVGâs videos in Figure 2-16.) To facilitate travel planning, list the location of all facilities and services. For example, visi- tors to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport website can click on âShops, Dine and Servicesâ to learn the terminal and gate location of each such facility including Service Animal Relief Areas (SARAs) (see Figure 2-17). For more information, see checklist item P-WS.04 in Chapter 4. 3. Make visual information scannable. Visual information should be clear and use contrast and fonts that are easily read by electronic scanning devices. 4. Make verbal information actionable. Staff assisting at information desks, call centers, and Travelers Aid should know how to give detailed directions so that customers who are blind can understand how far and in what direction to go. A specific direction can be indicated by cardinal points, left/right, or clock-face directions, e.g., the drinking fountain is at 1 oâclock. Including the approximate number of steps is helpful along with useful clues such as changes in floor surface or multisensory landmarks. Staff must also be fluent in English and other languages in common use locally or have access to translator services or applications. 5. Wherever possible, create SARAs airside as well as landside at each terminal. Large terminals may require more than one area in order to simplify navigation and reduce walking time and effort, especially important for those making connecting flights. Section 504 requirements for SARAs to be built airside went into effect in August 2016. Reference checklist item D-GA.35 in Chapter 5. 14 CFR Part 382 (ACAA) requires that the SARA be on an accessible route. 6. Make immediate access to information or assistance available at all airport arrival points: curbside for designated drop-off locations by private car, taxi, public transit bus, and shuttle bus, as well as at the airportâs light rail or metro station. In Europe, this is mandated through the placement of accessible âhelp pointâ kiosks at all arrival points (European Community (EC) Regulation 1107/2006). Placing a courtesy phone to the right of the terminal entrance nearest the designated drop-off point is a simple, low-cost solution (this solution is in use at SFO). Reference checklist item D-AP.09 in Chapter 5. 7. Conduct audits to discover service gaps and hazards for travelers who are blind or have low vision. Typical problem areas include the following: â¢ FIDSs and baggage information display systems (BIDSs). These typically provide infor- mation in visual format only, not in multiple formats as called for by Universal Design Principle 4: Perceptible Information. â¢ Areas where wayfinding is complex and no information counter is available. For exam- ple, complex intra-airport transportation systems set outside terminal buildings, like AirTrains at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Source: http://www.cvgairport.com/terminal/videos Figure 2-16. Screenshot of wayfinding videos, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 19 Airport. Other places where additional staff may be needed are shuttle van areas where pick-up for a specific hotel is at a particular door or where shuttles serving multiple routes stop at one location. â¢ Terminal maps, which typically are not tactile. Some tactile maps do exist in Europe and Asia, e.g., Charles De Gaulle International Airport, Leonardo Da Vinci (Fiumicino) Inter- national Airport, Munich Airport, and Hong Kong International Airport. Figure 3-43 shows one of the new interactive tactile maps with audio messages at Warsaw Chopin Airport. â¢ Lack of tactile warning strips at raised crosswalks, curb-free drop-off areas, and areas where pedestrian pathways cross vehicular routes in parking garages. (Universal Design Principle 5: Tolerance for Error). See Figure 2-11. â¢ Protruding objects in the path of travel. Examples include water fountains and fire extin- guishers that are not cane-detectable as well as overhead hazards such as unenclosed stair- wells. Single-tape, crowd-control barriers at check-in and security are also not detectable by cane or guide dog. To minimize hazards, accessible dual-tape barriers should be posi- tioned along adjacent paths of travel. (Universal Design Principle 5: Tolerance for Error). See Figure 2-18. Source: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Figure 2-17. Service locations including SARAs, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
20 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities 8. Include people who are blind or have low vision on the airportâs disability advisory commit- tee. Not only can they participate in audits, they also can provide input on new construc- tion, renovations, web content and accessibility, and emergency planning. Depending on the project, airports may also want to include professional experts such as O&M specialists. See Section 2.10 for additional information. Reference checklist item P-PD.01 in Chapter 4. 9. Provide disability awareness training to all airport front-line personnel that covers appro- priate language, common courtesies, how to provide âactionableâ directions to passengers with vision loss, and how to assist as human guides. The training should also provide an orientation to the airportâs accessible facilities and services. Invite others working at the air- port to participate, including concessionaires, TSA, shuttle drivers, etc. Reference checklist item P-CC.04 in Chapter 4. 10. Support training/familiarization opportunities for persons with disabilities in airports to increase understanding of procedures and airport layout. These trainings are typically run in conjunction with airlines, e.g., United Airlinesâ âProject Airport,â and may include staff training opportunities as well. Reference checklist item P-CC.04 in Chapter 4. 11. Enable indoor navigation via smartphone through beacons, Wi-Fi localization, light-emitting diode (LED) visible light communication (VLC), or other emerging technology. See Chap- ter 8 for a more detailed discussion. 2.3.2 Additional Steps to Enhance Wayfinding for Customers with Low Vision 1. Make visual information easy to read. Use effective color contrasts, fonts, and lighting, and avoid glare to maximize readability. Place signage at eye level for close approach. 2. Make verbal information actionable. Staff assisting at information desks, call centers, and Travelers Aid should know how to direct customers with low vision, providing specific direc- tions that include easily seen landmarks such as the dinosaur skeleton (shown in Figure 2-19) located at the entrance to the underground walkway linking Terminals B and C at Chicago OâHare International Airport. 3. Avoid glare not just on signage but also on floor surfaces and use simple rather than complex patterns on carpets and floors (CNIB 2016); these are important considerations for safety as well as wayfinding. Abrupt shifts from dark to brightly lit areas should also be minimized. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-18. Cane-detectable crowd-control barrier at San Francisco International Airport.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 21 4. Virtual information should be accessible and be adequate information for pre-trip planning. It should remain readable when font size is increased and contrasts changed. Information presented should scale as the magnification is increased. 2.4 Hearing Loss According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLA), approximately 20 percent of Americans (48 million) report some degree of hearing loss. Among the population aged 65 and older, one in three are affected. Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey put the incidence of hearing loss at 15 percent of adults 18 and older (37.5 million). Incidence of disabling hearing loss is much lower overall but rises steeply with age. Among adults 45 to 54, 2 percent are affected. Among adults 55 to 64, 8.5 percent are affected; nearly 25 percent of adults 65 to 74 are affected; and 50 percent of adults 75 and older are affected (NIDCD 2016). People who experience a significant hearing loss are typically grouped into two main categories: (1) deaf and (2) hard of hearing. Those who are deaf mostly rely on their vision to access informa- tion, although they may use either hearing aids or a cochlear implant and communicate orally rather than via sign language or cued speech. Individuals who are hard of hearing primarily use hearing and speech to communicate. The main assistive device for people who are hard of hearing is hearing aids. Although many older adults in the United States have uncorrected hearing loss, even those individuals who use hearing aids may find them of little use in the noisy airport environment since hearing aids are basically individual loud speakers that magnify ambient sound. Thus, persons who are hard of hearing may need to rely more on visual information at the airport than in their daily lives. Airports that install hearing loops, which transmit directly from microphones and public address systems to hearing aids with tele-coils or t-coils, can radically improve comprehension for this growing subset of hearing aid users. Since sale of hearing aids with t-coils is on the rise in the United States (up from 37 percent in 2001 to 60 percent in 2008), airports may be more inter- ested in trying this technology, which is already quite common in parts of Europe where t-coils are standard (Greenemeier 2009). Under the ACAA, people with hearing loss must self-identify to their air carrier in order to get prompt access to any verbal announcements (U.S. DOT 2008). Because the assistance requested Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-19. Dinosaur âbrachiosaurusâ landmark at Chicago OâHare International Airport.
22 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities is reportedly hit or miss, especially in the busy gate area, many people who are deaf do not notify the carrier or ask for any accommodation. Even though there is no requirement for the air- lines to present boarding information visually, the trend is toward real-time display of boarding announcements on gate information display systems (GIDSs). The ACAA and parallel requirements in the ADA do mandate that captioning on televisions and other audiovisual displays in passenger areas be turned on and that older televisions without captioning be updated as they are replaced or as that area of the terminal undergoes substantial renovation (U.S. DOT 2008). Like the general population and those who are hard of hearing, individuals who are deaf navi- gate primarily through the use of visual cues and signage. The better the airportâs wayfinding and signage system, the easier it will be for these individuals to travel independently to and from their gates. Problems typically arise when information needs to be exchanged through direct communication with airline or airport personnel, who typically do not know sign language. One technological solution now in place at information booths at Minneapolis-St. Paul Inter- national Airport is remote video relay interpreting (VRI) via tablet. Many airlines now allow passengers to specify that flight changes and alerts be sent by text message, thus eliminating the need to communicate with gate or information agents. Visual paging is also increasingly the norm at U.S. airports. Sections 2.4.1 and 2.4.2 list several steps to enhance wayfinding for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Some of this guidance has been incorporated into the Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist in Chapters 4 through 7 (which covers all user groups). The goal of spotlight- ing the guidance related to travelers who are deaf or hard hearing here is to help airports better understand this particular subgroup of travelers. 2.4.1 Steps to Enhance Wayfinding for Customers Who Are Deaf 1. Provide verbal information visually wherever possible (Universal Design Principle 4: Percep- tible Information). 2. Follow Universal Design wayfinding guidelines for design of the built environment and signage systems in order to improve ease of navigation and minimize the need to ask for directions from airport or airline personnel. 3. Enable communication between hearing staff and customers who are deaf by providing tab- lets, specialized communication devices such as UbiDuo and remote VRI. Tablets and text- based devices like UbiDuo also improve communication for travelers with speech disabilities. Reference checklist item D-GA.36 in Chapter 5. 4. Provide detailed visual maps online to allow passengers to plan their route in advance and iden- tify the location of restaurants, shops, and services, including the location of assistive devices and SARAs for travelers with hearing alert dogs. See checklist item P-WS.03 in Chapter 4. 5. Require captioning of online wayfinding videos or virtual tours. See Figure 2-16, a photo of a captioned wayfinding video at CVG. Reference checklist item P-WS.16 in Chapter 4. 6. Post visual pages to a dedicated page on the airportâs website (see Figure 2-20), so they can be accessed on a smartphone or tablet. Enable passengers to also send a page via email, text, or TTY since standard courtesy phones are inaccessible to deaf individuals. This also improves accessibility for persons with speech disabilities. 7. Include people who are deaf and hard of hearing on the airportâs disability advisory com- mittee. In addition to participating in audits and project planning, they can provide input on adaptive technologies, emergency communication, and staff training. Depending on the project, airports may also want to include professional experts. See Section 2.10 for additional information. Reference checklist item P-PD.01 in Chapter 4.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 23 8. Provide disability awareness training to all front-line personnel that covers appropriate lan- guage, common courtesies, and how to communicate with travelers who are deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind. The training should also provide an orientation to the airportâs accessible facilities and services. Invite others working at the airport to participate including concessionaires, TSA, shuttle drivers, etc. Reference checklist item P-CC.04 in Chapter 4. 9. Enable indoor navigation via smartphone through beacons, Wi-Fi localization, LED VLC, or other emerging technology. See Chapter 8 for a more detailed discussion. 2.4.2 Additional Steps to Enhance Wayfinding for Customers Who Are Hard of Hearing 1. Reduce noise through the use of sound-absorbing wall and floor materials, being careful not to unduly increase effort for individuals using wheelchairs, pushing wheelchairs, or rolling luggage. Reference checklist item P-PD.06 in Chapter 4. 2. Improve the quality of public address systems and/or terminal acoustics to make announce- ments more comprehensible (reference checklist item D-GA.48 in Chapter 5). Install hear- ing loopsâalso known as induction loopsâin holding rooms and other areas where public address announcements are most critical, as well as at information desks. Post signage to alert passengers of the availability of hearing loops, as shown in Figure 2-21. In Europe, help points also are looped. 2.5 Reduced Mobility Individuals with reduced mobility can be functionally grouped into two main categories: (1) non-ambulatory and (2) ambulatory. The former cannot walk at all and use manual or electric wheelchairs full time. The type of wheelchair often depends on whether the individual is a paraplegic (paralysis affects only the lower limbs) or quadriplegic (paralysis affects trunk and upper limbs as well). Figure 2-20. Visual paging on Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport website.
24 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities Persons who use a wheelchair full time will for the most part navigate the airport in their own mobility devices and check and reclaim them at the door of the plane. They may or may not request assistance from the airline to assist with hand luggage and going through security. Many will navigate independently and thus need to be able to locate accessible routes where they differ from the general path of travelâsuch as elevators for level changesâ as well as accessible facilities such as parking, restrooms, companion restrooms, charging stations, etc. Persons who are ambulatory can still walk to some degree but may not be able to manage longer distances or climb stairs. Some may use no assistive device at all, while others may rely on a cane, walker, rollator (modern walker with four wheels), crutches, manual wheelchair, or electric scooter. Those traveling with a manual wheelchair may prefer to have it tagged at check-in unless they are accompanied by a family member or companion to provide assis- tance. Many of these individuals will request a wheelchair assist or electric cart to the gate, especially at larger airports, so independent navigation may not be an issue except before check-in and while in the gate area. Ambulatory travelers will also need to be able to locate accessible parking or ground transportation, elevators, and accessible multiuse or companion restrooms. Sections 2.5.1 and 2.5.2 list several steps to enhance wayfinding for customers with reduced mobility. Some of this guidance has been incorporated into the Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist in Chapters 4 through 7 (which covers all user groups). The goal of spotlighting the guidance related to travelers with reduced mobility here is to help airports better understand this particular subgroup of travelers. 2.5.1 Steps to Enhance Wayfinding for Customers Using Wheelchairs or Scooters 1. Wherever possible, make all paths of travel and entrances accessible (Universal Design Principle 1: Equitable Use). Where the accessible route diverges from the general path of travel, locate the accessible route as close as possible to the general one and preferably within sight. This is now required under the 2010 ADA Standards along with the specifica- Sources: http://www.hearingloop.org/GRAphotos.html and http://www.hearingloopsunlimited.com/news.html Figure 2-21. Hearing loop signage at Gerald R. Ford International Airport and Greater Rochester International Airport.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 25 tion that if a circulation route is interior, the accessible route must also be interior (U.S. Department of Justice ADA 2010 Standards, Â§206.3). Reference checklist item D-RC.03 in Chapter 5. 2. Group elevators with stairs and escalators in easy view. If this cannot be done, include direc- tional signage (Universal Design Principles 1, 3, 4, and 6). See Figure 2.3. Reference checklist item C-GA.20 in Chapter 7. 3. Make visual information readable from a seated position and ensure that nothing blocks the sign when viewed from a lower angle. Place electronic signage and airport maps at a lower level for easy reading from a wheelchair. Follow ADA Standards for font size for higher/ overhead signage. 4. Designate accessible pick-up and drop-off areas and clearly identify them by signage (visible to both pedestrians and drivers) and on airport maps. This is a requirement for pick-up by paratransit agencies, which need an exact location when the reservation is made. Two U.S. airports that have such areas are Miami International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. 2010 ADA Standards now require accessible loading zones every continuous 100 linear feet, not just one per terminal (U.S. Department of Justice ADA Standards, Â§202.9.1). Refer- ence checklist item D-AP.15 in Chapter 5. 5. Provide detailed information on accessibility of private and public ground transportation as well as airport transportation systems and shuttles on the airport website and applica- tion, if applicable. Per the FAA, all airport shuttles on a fixed route, e.g., to parking, must be accessible. Where an intra-airport train system links numerous terminals and distances to the various stations are long, it may be preferable to create a parallel, accessible shuttle service for passengers with mobility issues or for those who use wheelchairs, e.g., the shut- tle system at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Reference checklist item C-TT.01 in Chapter 7. 6. Clearly identify all accessible parking areas, accessible restrooms, and family/companion rest- rooms on airport maps, online, and in the terminal. If all multiuse restrooms are accessible, then include that information. While ADA Standards do not require a wheelchair symbol for an accessible restroom when all are accessible, this may not be obvious to foreign travelers who will assume that multiuse menâs and womenâs restrooms have no wheelchair stall. Refer- ence checklist item D-TK.17 in Chapter 5. 7. Post accessible signage identification on wheelchair and ambulatory stalls in restrooms. Although not required by ADA Standards, this is good practice for several reasons: (1) such stalls are not always easily identifiable, (2) travelers who need them may not be aware of the existence/functionality of ambulatory stalls, and (3) such signage may assist individuals with reduced mobility to gain preferential access when there is a waiting line. 2.5.2 Additional Steps to Enhance Wayfinding for Customers with Limited Mobility 1. Provide distances or walking times to other terminals and/or gates on airport signage as well as on websites and mobile applications so that persons with limited mobility can determine whether or not they can walk themselves and, if so, allow enough time to do so. This feature benefits all travelers but is especially important for this group. 2. Enable/encourage individuals who would like to walk to/from the gate themselves to do so by placement of seating at regular intervals along long corridors and concourses so they can rest en route. Install seating or additional seating at check-in and baggage claim and areas where people wait to be picked up; these areas typically have few, if any, seats. Designate, or require that airlines designate, priority seating at gate areas next to the podium so that those who need to pre-board are seated in close proximity to the boarding line/door.
26 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities 2.6 Cognitive Disabilities The category of cognitive or intellectual disabilities is very broad and encompasses a wide range of conditions that can also vary widely in their impact on the functionality of the individual. A limited number of cognitive disabilities are considered in this report, specifically: â¢ Developmental disabilities â¢ Learning disabilities â¢ Dementia, including Alzheimerâs â¢ Short-term memory loss Cognitive disabilities in the United States currently rank second in prevalence to mobility- related disabilities according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2015). From 2006 to 2008, the CDC reported that one out of six children in the United States had a developmental disability and that over a 12-year period the prevalence of developmental dis- abilities increased 17.1 percent, while the rate of autism increased by a shocking 289.5 percent. Autism now affects 1 in 88 children in the United States and 1 in 54 boys (Boyle et al. 2011). At the other end of the age spectrum, Alzheimerâs is now impacting one in nine Americans over the age of 65 (5.2 million people), while many more experience some degree of short-term memory loss (Alzheimerâs Association 2016). Given the complexity of the airport environment and the fact that it is a place that one encoun- ters only infrequently, not on a regular or daily basis, it is unlikely that persons with severe cognitive disabilities will navigate an airport alone or receive training to do so as they might in their own communities. However, there are many individuals with mild to moderate learning disabilities or in the early stages of dementia whose needs and preferences should be addressed through airport design, signage systems, and informational services. Beneficial design standards include clear sight lines with well-defined paths, striking landmarks, and appropriately located information or reception desks. Not only will clear paths and noticeable landmarks assist in easier navigation and memory of where certain things are located, they will also assist airport employees in giving directions. It is important to note that the ACAA does mandate that persons with mental disabilities be allowed to fly alone if they can understand and follow instructions in case of emergency (U.S. DOT 2008). Airlines must, on request, provide an escort in the terminal for passengers with intellectual disabilities. However, there is no requirement that the escort stay with the passenger until the plane boards, a service gap that has led to incidents where travelers with dementia have become lost and even died. To bridge this gap for its customers, Air Canada offers a complimentary âUnaccompanied Adultâ program. In the United States, this could be provided by airlines as a paid service, as it was previously at Northwest Airlines (U.S. DOT 2015). While U.S. carriers currently offer this service for âunaccompanied minorsâ only, not adults, a best practice among their service companies is to bring passengers with known cognitive disabilities to a staffed holding area where they can be supervised until it is time to escort them to the gate to pre-board. This ensures passenger safety while minimizing staffing requirements and costs. At U.S. airports, airlines may also issue a gate pass allowing a companion or family member to accompany a passenger with a disability in the secure zone, an option not typically available in Europe or elsewhere. Recognizing that cognitive disabilities affect a growing number of air travelers, the U.S. DOT in 2015 issued new guidance on Part 382 entitled âGuide: Air Travelers with Developmental Disabilitiesâ with tips for both passengers and service providers that underscore the importance of awareness training for all front-line staff (U.S. DOT 2015).
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 27 Research to understand the needs of travelers with cognitive disabilities and recommend appropriate accommodations is in the very early stages partly because it has always been assumed that such individuals could not live or function independently. However, a limited number of studies have focused on how technologies such as virtual reality and location-based delivery systems can help people with intellectual disabilities navigate successfully (Bosch and Gharaveis 2017). Application of universal design principles is of particular benefit to travelers with cognitive disabilities, whose needs for the most part fall outside the scope of ADA Standards. Some guidance related to travelers with cognitive disabilities has been incorporated into the Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist in Chapters 4 through 7 (which covers all user groups). The goal of spotlighting the guidance related to travelers with cognitive disabilities here is to help airports better understand this particular subgroup of travelers. Listed below are several steps to enhance wayfinding for customers with cognitive disabilities: â¢ Create signage that is clear, concise, and consistent and, where appropriate, includes picto- grams because reading comprehension may be limited. â¢ Include pictograms, symbols, and storyboard-type pictures to make signs accessible to people with learning disabilities. Symbols can be read independently of text or as a means of assisting comprehension. This is beneficial for foreign travelers who also face literacy issues in airports. Reference checklist items P-PD.14, D-AP.11, D-GA.03, and A-GT.31 in Chapters 4, 5, and 6. â¢ When using colors to designate separate areas or terminals, apply them consistently through- out the signage system, from directories to directional signs and signage within the relevant location. Reference checklist item P-PD.10 in Chapter 4. â¢ When designing a wayfinding application, simplify text and limit navigation to one step per screen as shown in Figure 2-22. â¢ Providing the right information (usually in the form of a picture) at the right time (the deci- sion point where one needs to make a directional choice) is the key to success for individuals with limited short-term memory. This will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 8. â¢ Include a person with an intellectual disability or someone who represents an organization serv- ing those individuals, e.g., The Arc, on the airportâs disability advisory committee. Depending Figure 2-22. Examples of wayfinding application with one step per screen. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team
28 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities on the project, airports may also want to include professional experts. See Section 2.10 for additional information. â¢ Support training/familiarization opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. Programs such as Wings for Autism (launched originally at Boston Logan International Airport) are run in conjunction with airlines and may include staff training opportunities. At least 15 U.S. airports currently host such programs for individuals with autism and their families. The Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport âNavigating MSPâ program allows individual travelers with cogni- tive disabilities of all types to schedule a private familiarization tour of the airport (see Figure 2-23). â¢ Include resources such as âsocial storiesâ or videos on the airport website to familiarize indi- viduals with autism or other cognitive disabilities with the steps or touch points they must go through at the airport in order to take a flight. Examples include Gatwick Airportâs âAutism Friendly Visual Guide,â Vancouver International Airportâs autism videos and resource kit (created in partnership with Canucks Autism Network), and Portland International Airportâs âLetâs Fly: A Photo Guidebook Tour.â 2.7 Aging Adults While disability affects all age groups, its prevalence rises steeply with age, as shown in Fig- ure 2-24. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2012), 18.7 percent of Americans (56.7 million people) report having some degree of disability. By age 45 to 54, almost one-fifth (19.75 percent) have a disability. By age 65 to 69, this proportion jumps to more than one-third (35 percent), and by 80 and older, more than two-thirds (70.5 percent) of Americans report some degree of disability. Among Americans 65 and older, more than half (51.8 percent) have a disability; 36.9 percent have a severe disability. Figure 2-25 shows how fast the older population is growing in the United States. It is easy to see why airports need to adapt quickly if they are not to be overwhelmed by this âgray tsunami.â The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the number of Americans 65 and older will jump 78 per- cent from 2010 to 2030 (from 40.2 to 71.5 million) and 100 percent from 2010 to 2050. It is not just in the United States that the population is rapidly aging. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the percentage of people over age 60 in 2000 (11 percent) will double by 2050 (22 percent), equivalent to 2 billion people (WHO 2014). The country with the highest median age is currently Japan, where 25 percent of the population in 2014 was already age 65 and over, compared to 14 percent in the United States, 15.7 percent in Canada, and 18.5 percent on average in Europe. Not surprisingly, Japan has become a leader in universal design as it strives to keep its elders as functionally independent as possible. Sources: http://www.thearc.org/wingsforautism and https://www.mspairport.com/passenger-services/Navigating-MSP.aspx Figure 2-23. Examples of autism programs at U.S. airports (Boston Logan International Airport and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport).
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 29 Note: The need for assistance with activities of daily living was not asked of children under 6 years. Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2012. Figure 2-24. Disability prevalence and the need for assistance by age: 2010. The most common disability among adults in the United States is reduced mobility, followed by hearing, cognition and vision disabilities, according to a 2014 report from American Com- munity Surveys (U.S. Census Bureau 2014a). While an individual may be born with more than one disability or acquire a secondary condition at any age, it is typically older adults who develop multiple disabilities, a natural result of aging, including â¢ Reduced mobilityâdifficulty walking distances and climbing stairs and problems with balance. â¢ Hearing lossâmore serious among men than women. â¢ Cognitive disabilitiesâshort-term memory loss, dementia and loss of ability to wayfind â¢ Vision lossâcataracts and macular degeneration are most prevalent. â¢ Chronic health problemsâdiabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmo- nary disease (COPD) contributing to functional limitations. As Figure 2-26 shows, this process occurs over time with the number of disabilities per indi- vidual rising with each 10-year increase in age. One of the difficulties in accommodating the needs of aging adults is that they may themselves be unaware of the extent of their functional limitations if the onset has been gradual. This is
30 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities often the case with declines in hearing, vision, or cognitive ability. As a result, they will not have sought help to alleviate the effects of the disability such as training in O&M or acquisition of hearing aids or perhaps even a walking cane. After a lifetime of independence, it is also hard to admit that they need help or to accept help. For that reason, service personnel should not use the word âdisabilityâ when assisting older travelers as they may be offended by the suggestion that such a term applies to them. Airports are, in any case, the most challenging environment that many older travelers will ever face. They may hear well enough to communicate in their own homes and neighborhoods, see well enough and have the mental capacity to navigate in familiar surroundings, and have the physical stamina to manage the tasks of daily living. Confronted, however, with a noisy, crowded, large, complex, and confusing airport that they may never have visited before, older travelers may not be able to cope. Most individuals who request wheelchair assistance in the airport never use a wheelchair elsewhere and, if their physical ability allows, would much prefer to use an electric cart or other people mover to transit the terminal. Many older travelers are âad hocs,â i.e., request wheelchair assistance only once they arrive at the airport, when they suddenly realize that help is needed. As less frequent travelers, older people may not know what services are available or when to request them. The more airport and airline information available online, the better for older travelers and their adult chil- dren, who may be doing travel planning for their parents and also know little about accessible Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2014b. Figure 2-25. Population aged 65 and over: 1900â2050.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 31 facilities and service. According to the major U.S. wheelchair service companies, âad hocsâ currently run as high as 40 percent of total requests, making it very hard to plan staffing efficiently. This in turn leads to the high level of service failures and complaints mentioned in Chapter 1. The earlier sections of this chapter on universal design and the wayfinding needs of customers with vision, hearing, mobility, and cognitive disabilities apply equally to older travelers. There is also a growing literature specifically on aging travelers, most recently ACRP Synthesis 51: Impacts of Aging Travelers on Airports (Mein, Kirchhoff, and Fangen 2014). This publication looks in detail at wayfinding for older adults and identifies three additional issues impacting their experi- ence at the airport: fatigue, amenities, and technology and equipment. On the issue of technology and equipment, in particular: The study confirmed that there are different generations of âelderlyâ travelers, and that the young- est group is much more comfortable with technology than its predecessors. This should ease prob- lems with self-service devices. The increasing use of smartphone apps for navigational purposes can be expected to assist future generations of tech-savvy older travelers (Mein, Kirchhoff, and Fangen, 2014, p. 21). While baby boomers will undoubtedly be more âcomfortable with technologyâ than older adults now in their 70s and 80s, much greater attention needs to be paid to how that technol- ogy is designed in order to accommodate the changes typically experienced in vision, hearing, memory, and motor control (Campbell 2015). (See Figure 2-27.) 2.8 Technology Usage The 2012â2013 Survey of User Needs (SUN) by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Cen- ter (RERC) for Wireless Technologies finds that âas a group, people with disabilities own and use wireless technology at rates similar to the general populationâ (Morris et al. 2013). The table Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 5-year estimates, 2008â2012. Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2012. 65 and over 65 to 74 75 to 84 85 and over Figure 2-26. Population 65 and older by number of disabilities and age: 2008â2012.
32 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities shown in Figure 2-28, which compares SUN findings with a Pew study on the use of wireless devices by the general public, finds virtually no difference when SUN respondents who own or use only a tablet are added to those using a cellphone or smartphone. Other key findings from the 2012â2013 SUN are that income plays a role in how sophisticated a personâs technology is, with wealthier individuals more likely to own smartphones and tablets. There is also a divide based on age. Younger people have more advanced mobile devices; how- ever, only after age 70 does the use of wireless devices show a steep decline. The type of disability also appears to impact the choice of wireless device, presumably because of differences in how well a particular device accommodates a particular disability. Thus, individuals with low vision are twice as likely to own a tablet as those who are blind (Morris et al. 2013). Findings from the latest Open Doors Organization Market Study (Open Doors Organization 2015) also belie the myth that people with disabilities are not tech savvy. The 2015 study found that the Internet is, by far, the most common way individuals with disabilities book their trips. Six out of 10 travelers with disabilities booked online in the past 2 years (62 percent), up from 5 out of 10 in 2005 (51 percent). The Internet was also the primary source of information about accessible travel (58 percent). Six out of 10 travelers with disabilities (58 percent) also use mobile devices to support their needs, most often to access hotel applications (32 percent) or airline and airport websites Source: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/02/designing-digital-technology-for-the-elderly/ (Campbell 2015) Figure 2-27. Font size preferred by 75-year-old user versus standard smartphone font. Figure 2-28. Wireless use and device type.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 33 (27 percent). Many also use airline applications or text alerts, mobile boarding passes, ground transportation applications, video chat applications, and airport applications (Open Doors Organization 2015). Federal regulators are now focusing their attention on the accessibility of websites, but it is equally important for businesses to make their applications functional for all users. 2.9 Appropriate Language Earlier sections of this chapter have modeled the terms and language currently considered appropriate and respectful to individuals with disabilities as well as older adults. Both groups are sensitive to the words used to describe them on websites, applications, or signage, as well as during interactions at the airport. This topic not only forms an important part of disability awareness training for front-line staff, but also is important for airport web developers, the individuals creating web and application content, and the public relations department writing press releases to announce the airportâs latest advances in accessibility. Person-first language is used throughout this guidebook, e.g., âa man who is blindâ rather than âa blind man.â By acknowledging the person first, one is recognizing that this individual is more than just their disability. One should also avoid referring to groups of people by their condition or disability, e.g., âthe blindâ or âthe developmentally disabled.â The word âhandi- cappedâ is particularly offensive to many individuals with disabilities (see Figure 2-29). Instead use âaccessibleâ or âdisability.â Although government regulations use the word âimpaired,â this is considered pejorative by many in the disability community, especially those with hear- ing loss who use the term âhard of hearingâ rather than âhearing impaired.â When referring to older or aging adults, words that may offend include âseniorsâ and âelderlyâ or âthe elderly.â While some airports and airlines use the term âspecial needsâ for the section of their websites that provides information for travelers with disabilities, âaccessibilityâ (used by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Boston Logan International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul Inter- national Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport) is a better choice. In the United States, âspecialâ is associated with developmental and learning dis- abilities because of the widespread use of the euphemistic term âspecial educationâ in our school systems. In addition, people with disabilities would prefer to not be considered âspecial,â but just part of the community like everyone else. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 2-29. âHandicapâ sign from an airport restroom.
34 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities Figure 2-30 is a list of terms to use and to avoid that was developed by Open Doors Organiza- tion with input from the wider disability community. Over time, the terms that are considered appropriate change, so this list is updated regularly. 2.10 Getting Started The user needs explored in this chapter can adequately be addressed only if airports take the initiatives needed to make universal access a priority. In addition to the information in the Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist, there are a number of other ways an airport can begin enhancing their services and facilities: â¢ Conduct regular meetings with stakeholders. Because the responsibility for accommodat- ing customers with disabilities is shared among many different entitiesâthe airport, airlines, airline service companies, ground transport providers, concessionaires, and securityâthe only way to address any gaps in services or facilities is to have regular face-to-face discussions, convened and led by the airportâs accessibility coordinator. The input of the many entities responsible for accommodating customers with disabilities is also critical when planning new facilities, major renovations and investments in IT. DO SAY DON'T SAY ï¼ Person with/who has a disability ï¼ Non-disabled, able-bodied ï¼ Uses a wheelchair ï¼ Birth injury, congenital disability ï¼ Person with a physical disability ï¼ Has a speech disability ï¼ Person who is blind, has low vision ï¼ Person who is deaf, hard of hearing ï¼ Person with an intellectual, cognitive, or developmental disability ï¼ Person with epilepsy, seizure disability ï¼ Person of short stature, little person, dwarf ï» The disabled, handicapped, physically challenged ï» Normal, healthy ï» Wheelchair bound, confined to a wheelchair ï» Birth defect, deformity ï» Crippled, lame, invalid ï» Has a speech defect, dumb ï» The blind, blind people, vision impaired ï» The deaf, deaf people, deaf and dumb, hearing impaired ï» Stupid, retard, retarded, slow, subnormal, mentally challenged ï» Epileptic, has fits, spastic ï» Midget Source: Open Doors Organization 2014 Figure 2-30. Appropriate language table from Open Doors Organization.
Understanding the Needs of aging travelers and passengers with Disabilities 35 â¢ Create a disability advisory committee. A growing number of airports invite community members with disabilities to meet with airport stakeholders to address accessibility of facili- ties and services (e.g., Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles Interna- tional Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and San Francisco International Airport). Members can come from local chapters of national organizations such as Paralyzed Veterans of America, The Arc, American Foundation for the Blind, The MS Foundation, or from a local Center for Independent Living. Airports may also want to include professional experts such as O&M specialists. â¢ Conduct surveys and crowdsourcing. Gathering feedback and information directly from aging travelers and customers with disabilities is key to getting it right. Surveys, crowdsourc- ing, focus groups, complaint boxes, social media, and even mystery shopping are all methods currently used by airports to get feedback from these customers. If you are already conduct- ing regular surveys, itâs easy to add a few additional questions related to accessibility. â¢ Attend educational conferences and expos. Most mainstream aviation conferences now include a panel or speaker on issues related to accessibility, e.g., Passenger Terminal Expo and Future Travel Experience (FTE). The FAA Annual National Civil Rights Training Con- ference for Airports provides a good opportunity to network with other airport executives specializing in accessibility and catch up on new and upcoming regulatory requirements. Also of note is the Universal Access in Airports event, held biennially by Open Doors Organization since 2006, which brings together aviation stakeholders to learn about and discuss the latest technologies, best practices, customer service initiatives, and regulatory changes. â¢ Train front-line employees and executives. Education is key to effecting a positive change, both for front-line staff assisting customers with disabilities on a daily basis and executives setting policies to enhance accessibility and customer service at the airport. Airports Council International (ACI), in partnership with Open Doors Organization, is a good external source for training. An introductory disability awareness course is available at its eLearning Center. In 2016, ACI and Open Doors Organization also began offering classroom training for airport access coordinators and other executives. It is also vital to offer disability awareness training at the airport itself for everyone working with the public. For example, San Francisco Inter- national Airport and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey develop and teach the classes themselves, while airports like Philadelphia International Airport put out a contract for bid each year. In either case, it is always important to include individuals with disabilities in order to break down attitudinal barriers. â¢ Hire people with disabilities. A good way to improve expertise in the field of accessibility is to hire individuals who themselves are living with disability. Unemployment rates in the com- munity greatly exceed the national average due to those lingering attitudinal barriers. Many well-qualified individuals are out there waiting for an opportunity to make a difference and help create a difference that creates change. Hiring someone with a wheelchair, or a person who is blind or deaf, sends a positive message both within the airport and to the broader public.