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89 Planning is the foundation for successful implementation of the recommendations and requirements in this guidebook. The guidance on airport planning and design provided in this chapter presents (and in some cases elaborates on) recommendations/requirements listed in the Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist presented in Appendix A of this guidebook. The Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist is a checklist of recommendations/ requirements to be considered in an assessment of an airportâs wayfinding accessibility. All of the recommendations/requirements in the checklist are numbered and labeled to correspond to a particular chapter and section in this guidebook. Six sections in this chapter have a corresponding two-letter section code. This two-letter code is combined with a letter âPâ prefix for âPlanningâ and a numerical suffix to create a unique label for each recommendation/requirement (see Figure 4-1). These recommendations/requirements are presented and discussed in the appropriate section throughout this chapter. (Section 4.7 does not have a code because it does not include recommendations or requirements.) In the Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist, each labeled recommendation or requirement is grouped according to chapter and section and characterized according to form of communica- tion (visual, virtual, and/or verbal), the types of disabilities accommodated (vision, hearing, cogni- tion, and/or mobility), and any known standards or additional guidance available (see Figure 4-2). To help provide a visual reference for the recommendations/requirements in the Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist, the research team developed virtual models of different journey segments at an airport with the recommendation/requirement labels embedded (see Figure 4-3). Virtual models of journey segments are compiled in Appendix C. 4.1 Planning and Design (PD) As noted in the introduction in Chapter 1, the key objective of this guidebook is to help airports successfully communicate information to aging travelers and persons with disabilities to help them find their way using the principles of universal design. Positive results will be realized through under- standing and consistent application of these three components by airports, planners, and designers in every project. Research has proven time and again the number one factor impacting wayfinding in airports is the physical design of the airport itself. Universal Design Principle 3 is simple, intuitive use; this means that the design is easy to understand regardless of the userâs experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. It is easy to assume that airport terminals with a symmetrical design are a simple and logical solution, but in reality they can create orientation difficulties for passengers because too many C h a p t e r 4 Airport Planning and Design Considerations
90 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities spaces and circulation paths look the same. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airportâs domestic terminal, Denver International Airport, and Tampa International Airport are notable examples featuring dual curbsides and a symmetrical terminal in between. All three of these terminals rely on red/blue color coding to differentiate between the two sides (see Figure 4-4). Spaces with unique and memorable features tend to be easier to navigate and should be a pri- mary consideration during the planning and design process for all new renovation and expan- sion projects. P-PD.01 The needs of populations with special needs are addressed during project planning and design, and persons with these disabilities are included in the planning and design process. Figure 4-1. Chapter 4 matrix and example of a recommendation/requirement label. P-PD.01 Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 4-2. Excerpt from Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist, Chapter 4. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Airports are designed intuitively to minimize reliance on signage; spatial organizations and architectural features support good wayfinding. (Reference section 184.108.40.206)
airport planning and Design Considerations 91 The first step is reaching out to local advocacy groups and engaging aging travelers and per- sons with disabilities. Experience has shown that these groups welcome and appreciate the opportunity to be involved in either the planning process for new design projects or the evalua- tion of existing conditions. There will be times when an airport cannot make every accommoda- tion, but experience has also shown that when the reasons are explained along with what can be done, local advocacy groups bring a spirit of cooperation to working with the airport. The result is a win-win for both the airport and customers. Every airport is required to have an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator (required by ADA Section 504/Â§ 27.13) who can help Figure 4-3. Example of recommendation/requirement labels embedded in a virtual airport model and recommendation/ requirement text. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 4-4. Comparison of symmetrical airport terminals: Atlanta, Denver, and Tampa airports.
92 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities facilitate this process. Airports with a disability advisory committee (see Section 2.10) can easily reach out to members whenever changes to a facility or technology are being considered. P-PD.02 When developing new facilities (or technologies) or upgrading them, universal design principles are applied to ensure their use by all travelers to the greatest extent possible without needing specialized design. (See Chapter 2 for more information on universal design principles.) P-PD.03 Airports are designed intuitively to minimize reliance on signage; spatial organizations and architectural features support good wayfinding. (See Section 220.127.116.11.) P-PD.04 Optimum lighting levels are provided throughout the airport at all times of day to support lip reading, reading signs, etc. (See Section 18.104.22.168.) P-PD.05 A comprehensive wayfinding system is implemented to minimize the need for asking for directions (based on the three Vs of Communication). Key elements covered in this guidebook are planning, as described in this chapter, and placement, as described in Section 22.214.171.124 of Chapter 3. See ACRP Report 52 for additional information (Harding et al. 2011). P-PD.06 Background noise levels are reduced by providing soundproofing in some areas, such as information desks, and through the selection of building materials. P-PD.07 There are planned adjacencies at key decision nodes for information sources: Virtual, e.g., FIDS; Verbal, e.g., staff posi- tions and information desks; Visual, e.g., airport directories, etc. (Also reference D-LA.02) As noted in previous chapters, people in general per- ceive and process information differently, which is similar in practice to the communication needs of aging travelers and persons with disabilities. Therefore, having the same information available in different forms of communication helps all customers. In large, complex environments, adjacency of the various forms of communication is very important, especially at key decision points in the customer journey (see Figure 4-5). For example, a person who is blind or has low vision cannot access information from the airport directory, so having an information desk nearby is key to their staying on track. Similar redundancy of information is needed for customers with other types of disabilities. P-PD.08 Landmarks are incorporated during the planning and design process using distinct, recognizable shapes. Landmarks are located at key decision points so they are detectable from as many positions as possible without interrupt- ing the path of travel. Landmarks are developed as part of a system to make different parts of the site as noticeable and memorable as possible. Where possible, primary landmarks incorporate tactile, sound, and visual indicators. (See Section 126.96.36.199.)
airport planning and Design Considerations 93 P-PD.09 Signage is legible (see Section 188.8.131.52), uncluttered, and easy to follow with no gaps or disconnects, and signage inventories are developed to remove redundant signs and reduce visual clutter. (See Section 184.108.40.206.) P-PD.10 Color is used to reinforce wayfinding but not as a primary wayfinding strategy. (See Section 220.127.116.11.) P-PD.11 Sign messaging uses plain language, not airline/airport jargon. (See Section 18.104.22.168.) As an example of the importance of plain language, consider the use of the word âgateâ versus the word âconcourse.â Concourse is an architectural term that is not always well understood. It can be particularly confusing for connecting passengers who arrive in an unfamiliar airport at an âA Gateâ and need to find a âB Gate.â All they are looking for is their connecting gate, and the word concourse has no real value in communicating information in the simplest terms. Use terms like A Gates, B Gates, etc. P-PD.12 Large, unadorned, illuminated fonts are used for directional signs. (See Sections 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, and 188.8.131.52.) P-PD.13 Symbols are used consistently with messaging on signs. Familiar or easy- to-learn pictograms are used to reinforce text and bypass language-based information. (See Section 184.108.40.206.) P-PD.14 Pictures are used on signs to help persons with intellectual disabilities navigate. As shown in Figure 4-6, a pilot program at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport used pictures on signage explaining the divestment process. Efforts like this can help persons with intellectual disabilities navigate their way through a security screening checkpoint, as well as reduce anxiety during one of the most stressful parts of traveling. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 4-5. Adjacency of different types of communication at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
94 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities P-PD.15 Arrows are consistently applied. Plain language is used: âstraight aheadâ instead of an arrow pointing up or down when there is risk of being confused with âupstairsâ or âdownstairs.â Conversely, the words âupstairsâ or âdown- stairsâ are used when communicating guidance through non-intuitive vertical transition wayfinding scenarios. Use of diagonal arrows is avoided when pos- sible. (See Section 220.127.116.11.) Bundling of a diagonal arrow with a symbol representing the method of vertical transition, as shown in Figure 4-7, can add visual clarity in potentially confusing areas. Figure 4-6. Security screening information presented using picturesâDallas Fort Worth International Airport. Source: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport website â www.dfwairport.com Figure 4-7. Angled arrows bundled with escalator symbol. Source: AECOM
airport planning and Design Considerations 95 P-PD.16 Vertical circulation devices such as stairs, esca- lators, and elevators are in close proximity and in easy view from entries and major nodes. P-PD.17 In multistory buildings, elements such as rest- rooms, elevators, and exits are organized in the same location on each floor. To help make the vertical circulation more intuitive at locations with more than one elevator, program the elevator to âhomeâ at the most important level and have the doors open. Enhance lighting around the elevator to help persons with disabilities find hard-to-see locations. P-PD.18 âYou Are Hereâ maps are designed with correct, forward-facing orientation to match the direction the viewer faces when using the map. Very few airports will be able to get by with only one map orientation; therefore part of the planning and design of âYou Are Hereâ maps is to account for the number of ways the location of each map will face (See Section 18.104.22.168). P-PD.19 Maps and graphic information are used to communicate and emphasize the form of circulation at primary nodes rather than secondary nodes. 4.2 Staff Training (ST) Research from a report from the UK Department for Transport (Department for Transport [UK] 2008) showed how staff attitudes toward aging travelers and persons with disabilities were often cited as the single most important aspect determining satisfaction with a service. The report goes on to emphasize the importance of good training to ensure that these customers are likely to receive a high level of customer service, to travel more easily, and to take away a favor- able impression of the airport. P-ST.01 Staff are trained to speak clearly and face customers directly. (See Section 3.3.1.) To communicate with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing in a one-to-one situation, here are some things hearing staff can do to make lip reading easier for people with hearing loss: 1. Get the other personâs attention before attempting to talk or communicate. Making eye contact is a good way to do this. If needed, you can use a small wave or light touch to get the personâs attention. While you should be considerate and not poke people, generally it is not considered rude in deaf communities to lightly touch people you do not know to get their attention. The shoulder is a good place to touch someone you donât know well; use a couple of short taps. 2. Speak slowly and clearly, but do not yell, exaggerate, or over pronounce. Exaggeration and over- emphasis of words distort lip movements, making speechreading more difficult. Try to enunci- ate each word without force or tension. Short sentences are easier to understand than long ones. 3. Do not place anything in your mouth when speaking. Mustaches that obscure the lips, pencil chewing, and putting your hands in front of your face all make it difficult. 4. Maintain eye contact with the person who is deaf. Eye contact conveys the feeling of direct communication. Even if an interpreter is present, continue to speak directly to the customer. He/she will turn to the interpreter as needed.
96 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities 5. Do use a lot of facial expressions. Visual cues like a facial expression or a gesture can go far in helping a person with hearing loss to make sense out of what they are trying to lip read. 6. Provide good lighting or stand or sit where there is good lighting. Avoid standing in front of a light source such as a window or bright light. The glare and shadows created on the face make it almost impossible for a person who is deaf to lip read. 7. Use gestures and visual cues. Point to or hold up any items that you are talking about and wait until the person is looking at you again before you resume speaking. You can also mimic actions like drinking or jumping or eating to illustrate your words. Hold up fingers to indicate numbers, scribble in the air to show youâre writing a letter, and similar gestures. P-ST.02 Public announcements to support successful trip execution are made in both visual and audible formats. Staff trainingâaudible formats include plain lan- guage, spoken clearly and slowly, so as to be more easily understood. (See also D-GA.49.) 4.3 Database Environment/Management (DB) P-DB.01 Data environment, data management tools, and information management poli- cies to manage all accessibility-related information for the airport are in place. Here is an example of why this is important: in case of an elevator outage, alerts will be sent to airlines, airline service companies, ramp agents, and information desks with details on alternate routes. Alerts could also be sent to the airport website and airport application. Performing an ADA audit of the physical features of the facility and storing those assets with accessible features in a geographic information system (GIS) database is one way to catalogue, maintain, and manage these assets. GIS databases can also be leveraged by other virtual systems for wayfinding, such as interactive displays, websites, and mobile applications. Various technol- ogies that provide wayfinding information to passengers should be set up, and the user should be able to query them to select accessible routes. When querying the GIS database, the technology (web, mobile, or interactive wayfinding kiosk) can look for key criteria such as ACCESSIBLE and return a route to a user using only wayfinding points associated with the database entry ACCESSIBLE. More information on the database interaction can be found in Chapter 8. An example of collecting accessible feature data in a GIS database can be found in Figure 4-8. In the example, each feature is identified by a different symbol (e.g., elevator, ramp, public phone, drinking fountain, etc.) as well as a description of specific characteristics. The GIS database can also link photos of the assets as well as historical construction data, drawings, maintenance data, and age. 4.4 Website (WS) Aging travelers and persons with disabilities will often seek out information as part of their pre-trip planning process. An airportâs website is an excellent means of communicating with these customers. P-WS.01 The airport website meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. WCAG2.0 cover a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more acces- sible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities,
airport planning and Design Considerations 97 cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make Web content more usable to users in general. The âWeb Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overviewâ (http://www.w3.org/ WAI/intro/wcag.php) addresses the following topics: â¢ Perceivable information and user interface â Text alternatives for non-text content â Captions and other alternatives for multimedia â Presentation of content in different ways â Making content easier to see and hear â¢ Operable user interface and navigation â Functionality is available from a keyboard â Users have enough time to read and use the content â Content does not cause seizures â Users can easily navigate, find content, and determine where they are â¢ Understandable information and user interface â Text is readable and understandable â Content appears and operates in predictable ways â Users are helped to avoid and correct mistakes â¢ Robust content and reliable interpretation â Content is compatible with current and future user tools Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 4-8. Example of ADA facility data collected in GIS database.
98 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities P-WS.02 The website is tested for functionality by users with a variety of disabilities. Testing should be applied to both airport and airline websites. Testing involves outreach to disability organizations on a local, regional, or national level. P-WS.03 Where airports provide online visual maps for pre-trip planning, they are accompanied by text maps for travelers with print disabilities including vision loss. (See Section 3.3.3.) P-WS.04 Directories give specific locations for points of interest: restaurants, stores, and services. As an example, on Dallas/Fort Worth International Airportâs website, under âAccessibility,â the following information is provided regarding the location of SARAs: Terminal D â¢ Inside SecurityâDesignated area located inside security at Gate D18 (please note that for this location, you will not need to exit the terminal or re-enter through security). â¢ Outside SecurityâDesignated area located on the lower level, outside security at gates D15 and D29. P-WS.05 The airline terminal directory gives exact locations for check-in and ticketing counters and whether curbside check-in is available (and its specific location), as well as for baggage claim carousels. P-WS.06 The home page includes a link for disability-related information and resources. Preferred location of the link is above the scroll so it is quick and easy to find (See Figure 4-9). However, research on the websites for top U.S. airports shows this link well below the scroll on most airport websites. P-WS.07 There is a complete list of accessible airport services and facilities. Source: LAWA.org Figure 4-9. Home page with easy-to-find link for disability-related information.
airport planning and Design Considerations 99 P-WS.08 Telephone numbers (including TTY or relay service) where travelers with dis- abilities can receive assistance or get additional information are posted along with hours of service. P-WS.09 Information on ground transportation options (public and private) includes details on accessibility and links to accessible providers. P-WS.10 Where arrival points for ground transportation are remote from terminal entrances, distances or average walking times are listed and availability of moving walkways is indicated. The website also notes whether assistance and means to call for assistance (courtesy phone or kiosk) are available at these arrival points. (See Figure 4-10.) P-WS.11 Information on airport transportation options (between terminals, on-site parking, etc.) includes details on accessibility. P-WS.12 Information is provided on whether connections between terminals (domestic or international) are located inside or outside of security and estimated travel times. P-WS.13 Where terminals or concourses within a terminal are connected by walkways only, distances or average walking times are listed and whether moving walk- ways are available. Source: Changi Airport Singapore Figure 4-10. Online map that shows walk times as well as ride options.
100 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities P-WS.14 Distances/average walking times are provided from check-in to the furthest gate on each terminal concourse. P-WS.15 Evacuation plans are included on the website: emergency exits and routes, evacuation elevators, areas of safe rescue, airport procedures in case of evac- uation, staff training, etc. Figure 4-11 shows ADA-compliant signage for an Area of Rescue Assistance in a parking garage at the Tampa International Airport adjacent to the emergency call button. P-WS.16 Online virtual tour for pre-trip planning is captioned as shown in the example in Figure 4-12 that uses both captioning for those who cannot hear as well as audio for persons who are blind or have low vision. Figure 4-11. Area of rescue assistance signage and emergency call button at Tampa International Airport. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 4-12. Online virtual tour with both captioning and audio at Boston Logan International Airport. Source: Wayfinder on Massport's Boston Logan website
airport planning and Design Considerations 101 4.5 Mobile Application (MA) P-MA.01 The airport mobile application follows âMobile Web Best Practices.â (See Chapter 8 for mobile application best practices and lists of âDoâs and Donâts.â) P-MA.02 The application is tested for functionality by users with a variety of disabilities. Testing should include an evaluation phase and an execution phase. The evaluation plan includes a review of the customerâs needs and experiences during airport journey phases (plan- ning, arriving, entering, finding, confirmation, and waiting), with a variety of human subjects who are older adults and/or those who have various disabilities (vision, hearing, mobility, and cognitive). â¢ The evaluation phase should include paper and mobile prototypes that explore how mobile wayfinding applications can take into account individualsâ mobility level and information preferences (profile) â¢ Employ intelligence in directions and route guidance by taking into account the userâs mobil- ity level and information preferences in route development, and â¢ Display directions and route guidance in different ways to support individualsâ information preferences (resulting from varying abilities). The execution phase should develop prototype test paths for a set of departure journeys rel- evant to persons with varying abilities. In developing the test paths include level changes and vary- ing scenarios that would be involved in all phases of air travel (departure, arrival, and connecting) and covering five main types of disability: â¢ Deaf/hard of hearing â¢ Reduced mobility/wheelchair â¢ Reduced mobility/ambulatory â¢ Intellectual disability During the execution phase, participants should use the mobile application prototypes during a test journey in the airport. P-MA.03 The application can detect device/passenger location, provide filtered informa- tion by proximity or category, create accessible route guidance and help the passenger navigate the airport. Location detection can be achieved through GPS, Wi-Fi, beacons, or other techniques. P-MA.04 The application provides a mechanism to filter information relevant to the pas- sengerâs disability and specific needs. P-MA.05 The application provides a âHelp Meâ function that enables the user to imme- diately communicate with airport accessibility staff or the call center (and staff can be notified of their communication preferences). P-MA.06 Airport and airline applications are fully accessible for smartphone users who use VoiceOver (iOS) or TalkBack (Android).
102 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities 4.6 Call Center (CC) The role of the airport call center is to provide assistance to customers with information they need using forms of communication they can understand. P-CC.01 Staff has computer access to the accessibility database as well as real-time data on irregular operations (IROPS/emergencies). Referencing Section 4.3 regarding the database environment, it is undesirable for airport call center employees to have direct access to the GIS database; however, database translation ser- vices are a good method by which to provide call center employees an easy-to-use graphical user interface of the accessibility database. P-CC.02 The call center has TTY or other means to communicate with people with hearing loss or speech disability such as a relay service, texting, or chat room. Call center should also have the ability to generate voice and visual announcements that are synchronized in the terminal facility. The voice announcements are also made via looped sys- tems. (See Chapter 8, Section 8.8.) P-CC.03 The staff is trained in use of the TTY, relay service, etc. P-CC.04 The staff has disability awareness training. Basic disability training should provide an introduction to U.S. disability rights legislation, archi- tectural accessibility standards, adaptive information technology, and guidance on how to appro- priately accommodate a wide range of customers with disabilities. Training should also include demographic information and findings on U.S. travelers with disabilities as well as instruction in appropriate language and customer service skills. A tour of the airport that focuses on accessible design and technology and how travelers with disabilities function and navigate within a complex environment should be included as part of the training. In summary, disability training should provide the following: â¢ The definition of disability. â¢ Understanding of the importance of the disability travel market and its growing impact on airports. â¢ Knowledge of how to communicate with and assist customers with disabilities in an appropri- ate manner, including appropriate language and common courtesies. â¢ An introduction to regulatory requirements, awareness of the federal agencies and regulations governing airport programs, and structural accessibility for people with disabilities as well as administrative requirements. â¢ Understanding of the âbuilding blocksâ of accessibility that underlie the ADA Standards that cover all physical aspects of the airport including parking, doors, elevators, counters, rest- rooms, and signage. â¢ Familiarization with the adaptive technology used to provide equal access to information for people with sensory disabilities. P-CC.05 The staff is trained on how to correctly give directions to people with vision loss.
airport planning and Design Considerations 103 Using gestures, or verbal directions such as âItâs around the next corner,â is not helpful. Practice and having pre-scripted messages that have been reviewed and tested will help provide a positive customer experience. Here are four basic steps to remember when giving directions to a customer who is visually impaired: 1. Identify yourselfââHello, my name is Johnââand confirm how you can help. 2. Always refer to a specific directionâright or leftâas it applies to the person youâre advising. What is on your right is on the left of the person facing you. 3. Indicate the approximate distance as well as the direction to a requested location. For exam- ple: âThe elevator is directly in front of you about 20 feet away. When you reach the second floor, proceed straight ahead for 20 feet to the security checkpoint.â 4. If possible, provide information about other sensory cues along the way such as the sound of a water feature, rumble of a tram (see Figure 4-13), or smell of a coffee shop. P-CC.06 Standardized directions for commonly requested routes are available in the accessibility database. Develop pre-scripted text that has been reviewed and tested first by disability needs and then for accuracy and comprehension to provide information that is consistent with all other forms of airport communication. P-CC.07 The staff can assist/provide instructions to individuals using the website and mobile application. For personnel that staff a fixed information booth or desk, provide a direct connection to the airportâs website where they can access information that customers need. Roving staff who have access to the same information through tablets or mobile phones can also assist customers. P-CC.08 The staff is fluent in English and other local languages and has access to inter- preters for many languages through services like the AT&T Language Line. Figure 4-13. Water feature and tram at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Source: Atif Chaudhr
104 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities The AT&T Language Line enables cellphone users to connect to interpreters in seconds. Powered by Language Line Services, this simple over-the-phone audio interpretation service in 240 languages allows users to reach professionally trained interpreters 24/7. Technology also offers other no-cost options like the Google Translate mobile application (see Section 3.3.2). Language Line now provides InSight, which offers both on-demand video (see Figure 4-14) and audio interpretation in a single mobile solution. The application replaces the need for phone lines and specialized equipment. Communication is available in 35 languages, including ASL, which represents 98 percent of the U.S. interpreting demand. The InSight application also enhances the interpreting experience by including visual cues and facial expressions in situations involving persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. P-CC.09 Airport brochures or other print information for distribution to the public are available in alternate formats (large print, Braille, digital via email, and digital via the website) as preferred and on request. 4.7 Irregular Operations (IROPS) As defined by ACRP Report 65, IROPS are exceptional events that require actions and/or capabilities beyond those considered usual by aviation service providers (Nash et al. 2012). Generally speaking, an impact of these events is the occurrence of passengers experiencing delays, often in unexpected locations, for an undetermined amount of time; see example shown in Figure 4-15. Per ACRP Report 65, IROPS are caused by the following (Nash et al. 2012): â¢ Extreme weather â¢ Natural disasters â¢ Airport facilities â¢ Mechanical problems â¢ Labor issues Figure 4-14. Example screen of real-time video interpretation. Source: Language Line
airport planning and Design Considerations 105 These events have impacts on an airline in the following ways: â¢ Delays â¢ Cancellations â¢ Diversions â¢ Crew time expiration Impacts on the airport include the following: â¢ Capacity issues â¢ Off-hours operations â¢ Extended stay for customers The impacts listed above result in passenger needs that are different from passenger needs during normal operations. During IROPS conditions, passengers may need lodging, food and water, facilities, and special services. All passengers need special attention during IROPS. How- ever, aging travelers and persons with disabilities require a higher level of service. Experience suggests that the most important service for all passengers in these situations is communication. While it is not a written regulation in the United States, customers with disabilities should be given priority status, particularly with tasks like rebooking during IROPS conditions. When there is any delay, it is essential that communication is maintained with the customer to ensure that they understand the cause of the interruption and do not feel abandoned. Often, the airport and/or the airline does not possess the hindsight needed to forecast future events. However, that cannot prevent those entities from communicating what they know and what efforts they are making to return to normal operations. The myriad of IROPS situations combined with the variety of special needs for aging travelers and persons with disabilities suggests that the most effective course of action during IROPS is to first identify those with special needs and make a concerted effort to communicate directly with them, understand their individual needs, and make every effort to address those needs. While there is no recipe that will work to address the needs of those passengers, CSAs should be trained to listen to the special needs of these passengers and provide solutions as available and appropriate (see Section 4.2). A number of airports were interviewed to determine what steps, if any, are taken to accom- modate aging travelers or persons with disabilities during IROPS. Most airports already have plans in place to accommodate the needs of these passengers and provide more staffing, more Figure 4-15. Example of IROPS conditions at an overcrowded ticket area. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team
106 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities busing, and more communication. The general consensus among airport operators is that these normal accommodations, enhanced with greater frequency and additional staffing, are all that is really required. While IROPS, by definition, do not include emergency situations like terror attacks, many of the same needs must be addressed. For example, if flights are suspended overnight or longer and weather conditions necessitate sheltering in place, then a supply of cots, personal care items such as adult diapers and catheters, and so forth, may be needed. During the airport interview process, it was interesting to learn about one particular airport that faced unusual passenger needs in terms of accessing luggage during an active shooter scenario. In this case, passengers were forced to evacuate the facility without their carry-on luggage, and a number of them soon required access to medicines like insulin, which were contained in their carry-on belongings. Mass notification systems can be a powerful and useful tool for coordinating and integrating airport systems and technology to enhance the visibility, legibility, and execution of instructions during IROPS. Mass notification systems provide coordinated messaging, both audible and visual, to passengers, depending on the notification being provided and the area of the airport being impacted. This is critical in emergency situations where it may be necessary to evacuate one area of a facility and have passengers shelter in place in other locations. Within a given area or zone, mass notification ensures the same instruction is given to passengers both visually and audibly so that no one is left out due to a sensory disability (see Section 22.214.171.124 in Chapter 3 and Section 8.10 in Chapter 8).