Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
146 11.1 Accessibility Design Versus Universal Design The ADA is a civil rights law and not merely a building code. The U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (known as the Access Board) develops and maintains the ADA accessibility guidelines, which serves as the design standards for new con- struction and alterations under the ADA. The current version is updated from 2010 and is the minimum standard for all 50 states. But, stricter standards are enforced based on state and local codes. FAA requires that all airports comply with the ADA accessibility guidelines. Another player in the accessibility standards mix is the American National Standards Insti- tute (ANSI). Since its founding in 1918, it has focused on ensuring the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment. ANSIâs accessibility standards docu- ment, A117.1: Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, was first published in 1961. Subsequent editions have strived to harmonize with the ADA accessibility guidelines; how- ever, some states and municipalities follow the A117.1 standard versus the ADA accessibility guidelines. The most recent version of A117.1, released in 2017, includes modifications to the following airport-related standards: â¢ Enhanced dimensions for clear floor spaces and turning spaces, â¢ Exterior routes, â¢ Curb cuts, â¢ Blended transitions, â¢ Clarity for detectable warnings, â¢ Passenger drop offs and parking requirements coordinated with the draft guidelines for acces- sible public rights-of-way, â¢ Features allowing for better communication for people using sign language, â¢ Provisions addressing the recharging of wheelchairs in hotels, and â¢ Provisions for water bottle filling stations. The first item, enhanced dimensions for clear floor spaces and turning spaces, will have a significant impact on space planning, particularly for restrooms. The new dimensions recognize the vast change in wheelchair size and design since the ADA was first introduced. This is also the first time that ANSI has included standards for variable message signs and electric charging stations, both of great importance to airports. These 2017 changes to ANSI A117.1 do not apply to existing buildings. Only new or remod- eled facilities that receive a building permit after the date upon which the local jurisdiction has adopted the 2017 standard will be required to comply. C H A P T E R 1 1 Architecture and Design
Architecture and Design 147 According to the Whole Building Design Guide, accessibility laws such as the Architectural Barriers Act (1968), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Act amend- ments (1988), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) established minimum require- ments that protect people with disabilities from discrimination in the built environment. Universal design, on the other hand, is based on the premise that the environment can be much more accessible than the minimum requirements if designers focus their attention on improving functionality for a broad range of people. 11.1.1 Barrier-Free Design The terms âaccessibilityâ and âbarrier-free designâ are commonlyâbut inappropriatelyâ used interchangeably. Accessible design is a design process in which the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered. Accessibility sometimes refers to the characteristic that products, services, and facilities can be independently used by people with a variety of disabilities. Accessibility as a design concern has a long history, but public awareness about accessibility increased with the passage of legislation such as the ADA, which mandates that public facilities and services be fully accessible to people with disabilities. The term âbarrier-free designâ was first used in the 1950s to describe the effort of removing physical barriers from the built environment for people with disabilities and addresses the issues of access. The legally enforceable standards in the ADA address the issues of barrier-free design as it focuses on accommodating people with disabilities in the physical environment. In non- Englishâspeaking countries, âbarrier freeâ is typically used instead of âaccessible.â Barrier-free design differs from the broader term of âuniversal designâ because the latter, which is voluntary, focuses solely on designing for diversity and equity. Universal design makes provisions for people at any level of ability, accommodating those of different heights and physical and mental abilities in an aesthetically pleasing way. Some common universal design features include lever door handles instead of knobs, ovens situated at various heights, no-step entryways, and automatic faucets. 11.1.2 Universal Design Principles and Applications The following principles of universal design were developed in 1997 by a group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers at North Carolina State University. One of the primary purposes of these principles is to guide the design of environments. Principle 1. Equitable Use The design is useful to people with diverse abilities. Guidelines 1a. Provide the same means of use for all users, identical whenever possible and equivalent when not. 1b. Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any users. 1c. Provisions for privacy, security, and safety should be equally available to all users. 1d. Make the design appealing to all users. Application examples â¢ Travel between levels (e.g., elevator, escalator, stairs) (Figure 11-1); â¢ Accessible restroom stalls; â¢ Family restrooms with adult changing stations; â¢ Multilevel sinks, drinking fountains, and counters (Figure 11-2); â¢ Ramps and curb cuts along the most direct path of travel;
148 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities â¢ Seats with and without armrests; and â¢ Installing standard electrical receptacles higher above the floor than usual so they are in easy reach of everyone. Principle 2. Flexibility in Use The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. Guidelines 1. Provide choices in methods of use. 2. Accommodate right- or left-handed access and use. 3. Facilitate the userâs accuracy and precision. 4. Provide adaptability to the userâs pace. Figure 11-1. Escalator, stairs, and elevator in close proximity to each other at Chicago OâHare International Airport. Figure 11-2. Bilevel information counter at Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport in Morocco.
Architecture and Design 149 Application examples â¢ Scanning boarding pass on gate podium; â¢ Fold-down footstool for restroom sink (Figure 11-3); â¢ Multilevel sinks, drinking fountains, and counters (Figure 11-4); â¢ Reach for paper towels; â¢ Elevator at all escalator locations; â¢ Large pass-through elevators; and â¢ Making entrances with zero level. Principle 3. Simple and Intuitive Use Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the userâs experience, knowledge, language skills, or concentration level. Figure 11-3. Flip-down footstool for people of short stature and for children at Grand Rapids Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Figure 11-4. Bilevel drinking fountain next to refill station at Denver International Airport.
150 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities Guidelines 3a. Eliminate unnecessary complexity. 3b Be consistent with user expectations and intuition. 3c. Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills. 3d. Arrange information according to importance. 3e. Provide effective prompting and feedback during and after task completion. Application examples â¢ Check-in devices; â¢ Food-ordering pads or devices (Figure 11-5); â¢ Restroom fixtures (Figure 11-5); â¢ Directory signs; â¢ Clear lines of sight; and â¢ Walls, fences, and landscape features used for guidance to key destinations. Principle 4. Perceptible Information The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the userâs sensory abilities. Guidelines 4a. Use different modes (e.g., pictorial, verbal, and tactile) to reinforce presentation of essential information (Figure 11-6). 4b. Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings. 4c. Maximize the legibility of essential information. 4d. Differentiate elements in ways that can be described (i.e., make it easy to give instructions or directions). Figure 11-5. HMS Prompt Service device at SeattleâTacoma International Airport (left) and Airblade tap at Vancouver International Airport (right).
Architecture and Design 151 4e. Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations. Application examples â¢ Wayfinding strategies using architectural features, destination zones, long sight lines, land- marks, tile patterns and textured flooring, color and lighting, maps, signage, and so on (Figure 11-7); â¢ Operational or directional communication (e.g., visual, audio, lighted, and tactile) in noisy or dimly lit areas, such as drop-off lanes, corridors, and security checkpoints, and â¢ Lighting provided along outdoor pathways. Figure 11-6. Elevator directory with print and tactile characters, Braille, and pictograms at London Heathrow Airport. Figure 11-7. Clear lines of sight in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport.
152 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities Principle 5. Tolerance for Error The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. Guidelines 5a. Arrange elements to minimize hazards and errors: most-used elements, most accessible elements, and hazardous elements eliminated, isolated, or shielded. 5b. Provide warnings of hazards and errors (Figure 11-8). 5c. Provide fail-safe features. 5d. Discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance. Application examples â¢ Navigating stairs and escalators, â¢ Controlling access to secure areas, â¢ Protecting from hazardous areas and moving vehicles, and â¢ Raised crosswalks that also serve as speed bumps (Figure 11-9). Principle 6. Low Physical Effort The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum chance of fatigue. Guidelines 6a. Allow users to maintain a neutral body position. 6b. Use reasonable operating forces. 6c. Minimize repetitive actions. 6d. Minimize sustained physical effort. Application examples â¢ Automatic doors (Figure 11-10), â¢ Automatic-operation restroom fixtures, Figure 11-8. Multiple âDo Not Enterâ warning signs at moving walkway at Vancouver International Airport.
Architecture and Design 153 â¢ Pushing luggage cart or wheelchair, â¢ Resting places throughout the site, and â¢ Low bag wells and flat baggage carousels (Figure 11-10). 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. Guidelines 7a. Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user. 7b. Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user (Figure 11-11). 7c. Accommodate variations in hand and grip size. 7d. Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistants. Figure 11-9. Raised crosswalk on speedbump at AustinâBergstrom International Airport. Figure 11-10. Door opener at Vancouver International Airport (left) and flat baggage carousels at London Gatwick Airport (right).
154 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities Application examples â¢ Navigation to, from, and throughout the airport; â¢ Visibility of primary nodes, such as baggage drop off, Security checkpoints, gates, and rest- rooms; and within the nodes, such as hold room podiums, monitors, and boarding access; and â¢ Operation of doors, elevators, and emergency devices. In 2012, the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at the University at Buffalo in New York expanded the definition of universal design principles to include social participation and health and wellness. Rooted in evidence-based design, the following eight goals of universal design were also developed: 1. Body fit: Accommodating a wide range of body sizes and abilities. 2. Comfort: Keeping demands within desirable limits of body function. 3 Awareness: Insuring that critical information for use is easily perceived. 4. Understanding: Making methods of operation and use intuitive, clear, and unambiguous. 5. Wellness: Contributing to health promotion, avoidance of disease, and prevention of injury. 6. Social integration: Treating all people with dignity and respect. 7. Personalization: Incorporating opportunities for choice and the expression of individual preferences. 8. Cultural appropriateness: Respecting and reinforcing cultural values and the social, economic, and environmental context of any design project. The first four goals are oriented to human performanceâanthropometry, biomechanics, perception, and cognitionâwhile the last three address social participation outcomes. Wellness bridges human performance and social participation. The definition and goals are expanded in the textbook Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments (Steinfeld and Maisel 2012). In Europe, an initiative parallel to universal design has been developed by the European Commission to foster a more user-friendly society. Design for All is about ensuring that environments, products, services, and interfaces work for people of all ages and abilities in different situations and under various circumstances without the need for adaptation. The Figure 11-11. Accessible common-use self-service kiosk at the International Terminal at San Francisco International Airport.
Architecture and Design 155 following examples of Design for All were presented in the book Designs for All, published in 2008: â¢ Audiobook, â¢ Automatic door, â¢ Google, â¢ Low-floor bus, â¢ Tactile paving, â¢ Velcro, and â¢ Wireless remote-controlled power sockets. 11.1.3 Examples of Universal Design in the U.S. and Beyond While there are limited examples of universal and accessible solutions in airports, there are relevant or inspiring examples in other building types. However, there are countless oppor- tunities to implement such solutions with new and expanded terminals, concourses, parking facilities, and so on. In addition to examples in the case studies of this report, the following are a sampling of the attempt to provide an equitable experience for all travelers. A February 14, 2018, article in The Guardian titled, What Would a Truly Disabled-Accessible City Look Like? featured several cities with innovative accessibility features (Salman 2018): â¢ In Melbourne, Australia, a beacon navigation system sends audio cues to users via their smartphones, providing directions, flagging escalator outages, and otherwise transforming what were previously no-go areas for those with vision loss. â¢ âThe University of Washingtonâs Taskar Center for Accessible Technology [in Seattle cre- ated] a map-based app allowing pedestrians with limited mobility to plan accessible routes. AccessMap enables users to enter a destination and receive suggested routes, depending on customized settings, such as limiting [paths with significant inclines or declines]. It also sup- plements data from Seattleâs Department of Transportation and the U.S. Geological Survey with information from mapathon events. Now the Taskar Centerâs related OpenSidewalks project is taking it further by crowdsourcing extra information, such as pavement width and the location of handrails.â â¢ âCapitaGreen, in the central business district [of Singapore], is a 40-story office block that has won a host of universal design awards. Completed in 2014, the structure features column-free spaces and a low concierge counter to help people [with disabilities] move around the build- ing more easily. [Elevator] doors stay open longer, handrails flank both sides of staircases, and chairs have grab handles. A hearing induction loop enables clearer communication for those using hearing aids, while Braille directions, tactile guidance, and easy-to-read pictographs help [those with vision loss]. Routes into the office from underground pedestrian walkways and two mass rapid transit stations are barrier-free.â In 2016, the Institute for Human Centered Design conducted case studies on the airports in Ottawa, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Ottawa MacdonaldâCartier Inter- national Airportâs terminal was completed in 2003. Vancouver International was completed in 1996 and was expanded in 2000, 2003, and 2009. Both terminals exceeded code minimums for supporting passenger wayfinding and incorporated a universal design approach to light- ing, millwork, flooring, and other finishes. The intent was to help passengers orient themselves intuitively with minimal reliance on signage. The layout of both terminals minimizes walking distances. Accessibility and universal design features include â¢ Mobility â Complete physical access throughout the facility via ramp or elevator, â Numerous moving walkways,
156 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities â Low-resistance door closers and lever handles, â Screen walls in lieu of doors to washrooms, â Emergency buttons in accessible washrooms, â Low writing shelves and toe clearances at all check-in counters, â Dedicated passenger percent and pick-up zones, and â Accessible recomposure bench in Customs search areas. â¢ Visual assistance â Dynamic, high-definition, and high-contrast signage that automatically rotates between several languages; â Braille and tactile lettering on all service rooms; â Audible floor callers in elevators; and â Audible readers via phone handset at all flight-information and baggage-information displays. â¢ Auditory assistance â Visual fire alarms and strobes, â Emergency message video override, â Silent pager video monitors, â Closed captioning on all entertainment televisions, and â TTY telephones in key public areas. In August 2011, the British newspaper, The Independent, reviewed the barrier-free principles incorporated into the passenger areas at Tokyo Haneda Airportâs new International Terminal. In a statement from the Tokyo International Air Terminal Corporation, the terminal was designed to be as user-friendly as possible, âincorporating the principles of universal design so that every customer can make use of our facilities easily and with peace of mind.â The airport operator established a design committee at the earliest planning stages, including people with mobility and vision disabilities, as well as representatives of airlines and railway companies that serve the airport. Some of the accessibility initiatives at Tokyo Haneda include: â¢ Emergency buttons in elevators for people with hearing loss that, when pushed, dispatch airport employees fluent in sign language to the elevator to assist; â¢ Arrivals and Departures boards with clearer fonts and larger text; â¢ Information counters with message boards to help facilitate communication between travelers with hearing loss and airport staff; â¢ Maps of the facilities provided in Braille; â¢ State-of-the-art mobility carts that transfer people with physical disabilities, older adults, or those traveling with young children; â¢ First airport in the world to incorporate boarding bridges that do not slope up or down; and â¢ All 85 staff at information counters speak English, and many can communicate in Chinese and Korean. 11.2 Impact of Current Trends in Renovationâ Construction and Layout on Accessibility 11.2.1 RenovationâConstruction According to a 2013 article in Airport Improvement, most airports need to undertake a sig- nificant terminal project about every 25 years to keep up with changes in aircraft size, security policies, ticketing and baggage processes, and concessions trends (Kanable 2013). One of the first questions is always whether to refurbish the existing building(s) or to build new. The clear
Architecture and Design 157 advantage to building new is that everything will beâat minimumâup to current standards. And, if the budget allows, a new build will incorporate the latest technologies and practices. However, the dilemma is where to put the new construction, given that most airports are land- locked and have little room for expansion within the land currently owned. The more common approach is to renovate an existing terminal, although still quite chal- lenging. In addition to having an active construction site in the middle of an already crowded terminal, the work must occur in a phased approach around existing airport operations. Through this, operational efficiency, security, and passenger satisfaction must be maintained. For travelers with disabilities, this situation is compounded by having to navigate through changing and unfamiliar spaces that are likely not updated daily on their mobile apps or on the airportâs website. Travelers may suddenly encounter an unexpected, longer travel time to the gate or between flights; come upon an inaccessible route; or discover that accommodations, such as elevators or accessible washrooms, are temporarily out of service. Whenever possible, helping travelers with disabilities avoid disruptions should be a key aspect of any renovation planned for the airportâs public spaces. In Development at U.S. Airports, a special report by the Airport Consultants Council (2017), 72 percent of airport projects are related to capacity enhancement, dominated by new terminal construction and terminal renovations. Projects are typically in core passenger-facing areas, such as ticketing, Security checkpoints, gates, and washroom facilities, with common updates on washroom amenities, gate seating, and general wayfinding, all of which have a new energy surrounding accessibility and universal design. This is largely because of the broadening aware- ness of accessibility through media and recent ACRP publications. ACRP Synthesis 51: Impacts of Aging Travelers on Airports notes that older adults are still faced with challenges caused by the design of amenities, including retail and food service concessionsâ which are often tightly arrangedâand washroom facility layout because of small stalls (though some airports are designing larger stalls and building more family restrooms). In addition to compliance with minimum ADA requirements, ACRP Synthesis 51 identified the following recent efforts to address challenges faced by older adults in airports (Mein et al. 2014): Wayfinding â¢ Installation of simpler, clearer, and brighter public service signs; â¢ Staffed information kiosks supplemented by touch screens; â¢ Visual two-way paging systems; and â¢ Airport-specific smartphone wayfinding applications. Fatigue â¢ Seating provided in check-in lobbies, concourse areas, baggage claim areas, and curbside; â¢ Availability of wheelchairs for rent or use; â¢ Motorized carts organized into transit systems specifically for older adults and people with disabilities; â¢ Parking shuttles providing service to the passengerâs car; â¢ Shuttle buses with low decks to align with sidewalk curbs; â¢ Lounges for passengers to wait for ground transportation; â¢ Remote and off-site baggage check, and â¢ Baggage pick-up and delivery services. Technology and equipment â¢ Customer service personnel assisting at self-service devices; â¢ Video displays explaining the security screening process;
158 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities â¢ TSA Cares and TSA Notification Card programs; â¢ More elevators, ramps, and sloped floors as alternatives to escalators; and â¢ Audible caution alerts at escalators and moving walkways. Amenities â¢ Wider toilet stalls; â¢ Volunteer help stations; â¢ Greater provision of family toilets, which are often used by older adults; â¢ Concession contracts requiring the same accessibility standards as public spaces; and â¢ Availability of porters in baggage claim and other necessary areas. Mein et al. (2014) also noted that other interventions that would clearly benefit older adults are not commonly employed, most likely because of the cost of implementing them, particularly in existing buildings. These include the following: â¢ Flat-plate claim devices, from which it is easier to retrieve bags; â¢ Large capacity flow-through elevators as an alternative to escalators; â¢ Check-in bag wells at floor level to eliminate the need to lift bags; and â¢ Universally designed toilets, where all fixtures are accessible to anyone. ACRP Report 157: Improving the Airport Customer Experience echoes the need for the pre- viously listed amenities, reinforcing that many of these initiatives will benefit all travelers. With regard to customer service, other airports are embracing these initiatives to provide such accommodations for travelers with disabilities, likely because they are the most readily implemented. While accessibility code standards ensure basic accommodations for travelers with varied disabilities, it is a low bar in terms of giving every traveler equitable access. Universal design has been primarily embraced for those issues that are relatively easy to solve, such as tactile paving, powered doors, and touch-free restroom fixtures. However, the overall challenge to design for the numerous architectural obstacles that must accommodate a range of human needs still remains. 11.2.2 Layout In addition to improving the passenger experience at the various airport nodes and their components, the path from home to airplane seat has also become the focus of efficiency experts. ACRP Report 10: Innovations for Airport Terminal Facilities lists the following innovations to streamline the journey (Corgan Associates, Inc. 2008): â¢ Process-based Departures hall, â¢ Passenger-processing facilities, â¢ Self-service baggage check, â¢ Bag-check plaza, â¢ Supplemental curbsides, â¢ Passenger assistance parking area, â¢ Low-profile passenger baggage devices, â¢ High-capacity flow-through elevators, â¢ Consolidated meet-and-greet area, and â¢ Arrivals lounges. While these improvements provide efficiencies for the airports, airlines, and general trav- eler, the traveler requiring additional assistance is burdened with a longer path from the remote parking lot to the gate, for example, and the obstacles within that path to overcome.
Architecture and Design 159 ACRP Synthesis 51: Impacts of Aging Travelers on Airports provides the perspective from the aging travelerâa significant portion of the affected groupâand describes the stresses of air travel, beginning with the journey from home or office to the airport and terminal entrance. ACRP Synthesis 51 highlights the following: To the Airport Buses and trains have improved greatly in accommodating riders with accessibility needs. But, if there is not a drop-off location at the terminal curb, then the travelers tend to be dropped off remotely. This requires a secondary means of transportation from station to terminal. Retrofitting shuttle buses with lifts has been slow, and moving walkway systems are hazardous for individuals with reduced mobility. Further, this adds to the already lengthy path (time) and effort (fatigue) of the journey within the terminal with baggage in tow. Parking Remote parking lots are less expensive and tend to be the preferred choice of travelers on a limited income or on a longer trip. However, using remote parking lengthens their jour- ney. Parking deck levels and their often-convoluted circulation can be disorienting. The ADA requirement for ramps at level changes and automatic door operators lessen the barriers in these locations. Surface lots are expansive, with exposure to the weather while waiting in long lines for shuttles. CONRACs Often located away from the terminal, CONRACs create additional challenges for older travelers and people with disabilities, regardless of whether they need wheelchair assistance. Even where air trains have been constructed, the walk to reach them may be long, as at Miami International Airport. Unless there is remote baggage check-in (as at Tampa Internationalâs CONRAC), travelers must also manage their check-in luggage as well as carry-ons during their transit to and from the terminal. The U.S. DOT does not require airlines to provide wheelchair assistance to rental cars. Therefore, travelers may be taken to a shuttle at the terminal but with no one to assist when they arrive. For this reason, San Francisco International now has a separate contract with a service provider to bridge the gap to and from their CONRAC, which connects to an automated people mover. Managing Baggage Innovations continually crop up that can help in getting suitcases to the check-in desk. These ideas include pickup at home or another location and delivery at the other end and remote check-in at parking garages or transportation hubs, which are more common in larger cities. These services require special TSA screening and bag-owner identification procedures, but the advantage to the traveler is often worth the additional security requirements. These benefits are an improvement on the common practice of dropping passengers at the curb, where their bags can be handed off at the curbside check-in. This choice is expedient for some, but a traveler waiting for a wheelchair while the driver parks the car typically does not have a place to sit and must also endure exhaust fumes, weather, and traffic noise. 11.3 Other Considerations 11.3.1 Low Vision Low vision, as described in Section 2.4.3, can be genetic or a result of aging, injury, or dis- ease, and affects a large number of those over 75. As such, the number affected will increase as
160 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities the percentage of older adults continues to rise. Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment notes that: Visual cues in the architecture and interior design of a space aid us in our interactions with our surroundings. Lack of clarity in visual cues or any defect in our interpretation or comprehension of the environment can reduce our ability to understand or to safely navigate the environment (National Institute of Building Sciences 2015). Natural and powered lighting produce glare and low contrast, which can be hazardous even for people with excellent vision. Lighting design is an important consideration in the design of an airportâs layout, as well as the occupied spaces. According to the Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment, focus should be on the following: â¢ Quality of the visual environment, such as balanced luminance and low glare; â¢ Quantity of light in areas where visual tasks are required; â¢ The vision or view expected to be perceived by the occupants; and â¢ The impact that light has on health and safety. The guide also identifies the following common issues in modern buildings: â¢ Glare from windows and luminaires; â¢ Confusing reflections on polished walls, floor surfaces, and stairs; â¢ Optically misleading geometries in floor patterns and stair finishes; â¢ Inadequate lighting on vertical walking surfaces and stairs; â¢ Inadequate locations and quantity of task lighting and lack of lighting adjustability; and â¢ Improper use of light source spectral distribution. The guide is a highly recommended design resource, with guidance on planning and design of the following facilities and amenities: Exterior â¢ Approaches to the site and building(s); â¢ Building orientation, location, and form; â¢ Site circulation; â¢ Courtyards and plazas; â¢ Street and site furniture (e.g., signs, benches, and containers); â¢ Landscaping; â¢ Water features; and â¢ Wayfinding. Interior â¢ Lobbies, â¢ Atriums, â¢ Lounges and waiting areas, â¢ Restrooms, â¢ Offices and other workspaces, â¢ Dining areas, â¢ Assembly and conference areas, â¢ Circulation spaces, â¢ Corridors, â¢ Ramps, â¢ Doorways, â¢ Elevator lobbies, â¢ Stairways, â¢ Elevators, and â¢ Windows and other openings.
Architecture and Design 161 Nearly every space requires consideration for the safety of those with low vision. All or some of the following aspects need to be included in the design of the spaces, and someâsuch as lightingâwill have differing and specific requirements: â¢ Layout, â¢ Surface finishes, â¢ Furniture, â¢ Lighting, â¢ Fenestration, and â¢ Wayfinding aids. Perhaps the most common hazard to those with low vision is surface finishes. Compared to a facilities layout and fenestration, finishes are also the easiest to mediate as materials with the proper texture and/or contrast can replace those that are insufficient. The two basic material aspects that affect low vision are surface textures and contrast. An example of texture is the grid pattern of raised, flat-topped, truncated domes used at curb cuts. These textured panels also have a color that contrasts with the surrounding pavement. Texture and contrast alert the person of a potential hazard. Texture is useful for some people with vision loss (such as those who use a white cane), but contrast is critical on both horizontal and vertical surfaces for the greater majority of people, including those with good vision. Use of contrasting colors can enable individuals with low vision to better navigate the airport and to find and use amenities. For example, doors may be easier to identify when they contrast in color with the surrounding walls. Floors and walls should also be of contrasting colors so that the person with low vision can tell where the two meet, an alternative solution to providing a baseboard that contrasts with both. The room identification signs and courtesy phones are also easier to find because they contrast with the lighter wall color (Figure 11-12). Use of differing colors and surface treatments or textures for specific functional areas makes navigating an airport easier. In Figure 11-13, the difference in color between the floor and carpet may enable someone with low vision to follow this visual edge, while someone who is blind and using a cane may instead navigate using the textural edge, a technique known as shorelining. Figure 11-12. Use of contrasting colors on walls, floors, baseboards, room identification signs, and courtesy phone surround at Pittsburgh International Airport.
162 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities Installing flooringâsuch as carpetâthat differs in texture and color in gate areas from that used in concourse walkwaysâsuch as a hard surface like terrazzoâand extending that hard floor- ing to the podium and boarding door also helps individuals with vision loss to navigate more independently. In Accessibility Requirements for People with Low Vision, the W3C writes, âcontrast sensitivity is the ability to distinguish bright and dim areas of images, for example, to discern text on a background. A common accessibility barrier for people with low contrast sensitivity is gray text on a light backgroundâ (World Wide Web Consortium 2016). This example is akin to the con- ditions described in the previous paragraph. âContrast is based on brightness (luminance and luminosity). Colors that look very different (i.e., red, blue, and green) can have similar bright- ness and not provide sufficient contrastâ (World Wide Web Consortium 2016). W3C offers the following equation to determine the contrast ratio between two materials: (L1 + 0.05) / (L2 + 0.05) where L1 is the relative luminance of the lighter of the colors, and L2 is the relative luminance of the darker of the colors. A complication in evaluating textures and contrast is the variability of light levels. A stone tile may have a satisfactory contrast ratio in a showroom or a designerâs office, but in the intended space, daylight or different types of lighting (i.e., fluorescent, incandescent, and so on) can sig- nificantly change the contrast ratio and create a challenging condition. It is not practical to accommodate all lighting conditions, such as a sunny day at noon versus a stormy evening, but the selection of materials and products should consider the potential extremes. Dynamic Glass by View is a recent product that mediates the glare hazard for people with low vision. This smart glass has an electrochromic coating. Low-voltage wiring is added so that the tint of the glass can be controlled through an app or centralized software system in response to weather or interior temperature. The technology allows natural light to enter buildings while deflecting glare and infrared radiation when tinted. In addition to reducing glare, the glass generally enhances mental and physical well-being by significantly reducing headaches, eyestrain, and drowsiness. The glass system also improves a buildingâs energy effi- ciency by up to 20 percent. Another benefit for airport revenue is that restaurants and bars Figure 11-13. Floor surfaces with contrasting color and texture at San Francisco International Airport.
Architecture and Design 163 located near windowsâincreasingly the case as these facilities are integrated into gate areasâ see higher returns because patrons are more comfortable in these areas no matter the time of day (Kart 2018). In restrooms, people with low vision often have trouble locating fixtures and grab bars when they match too closely in color to the wall surfaces. Paris airports Orly and Charles de Gaulle make good use of bright colors in their public restrooms (Figure 11-14). 11.3.2 DeafSpace People who are deaf or hard of hearing are affected by poor lighting conditions, such as glare, shadow patterns, and backlighting. These conditions can hinder visual communication through eye fatigue, which can cause loss of concentration. Well-designed lighting and properly controlled daylight can provide soft, diffused light that supports âdeaf eyes.â The color of the lighting can also contrast skin tone to enhance sign language. Communication is also affected by the layout of spaces. Gallaudet Universityâs website describes how those with hearing loss rearrange furnishings into a conversation circle to allow clear sightlines so that everyone can participate in the visual conversation (Gallaudet University). This arrangement might include adjusting window shades and lighting to optimize conditions for visual communication with minimal eyestrain. The article notes that homeowners with hearing loss often cut new openings in walls, place mirrors and lights in strategic locations to extend their sensory awareness, and maintain visual connection between family members, an approach referred to as DeafSpace. Hansel Bauman of HBHM Architects and the ASL Deaf Studies Department at Gallaudet Uni- versity started the DeafSpace Project in 2005. DeafSpace guidelines were developed over 5 years. A catalog of more than 150 DeafSpace architectural design elements addresses the intersection of deaf experience and the environment, with a focus on five key concepts: Space and Proximity, Sensory Reach, Mobility and Proximity, Light and Color, and Acoustics. Sensitivity to the design and configuration of airport spaceâsuch as hold roomsâcan create seating layouts that address these accommodations and, as a result, provide spaces that are more comfortable for everyone. Additional information, including videos, is available online. Figure 11-14. Contrasting colors make fixtures and grab bars more visible at Paris Orly Airport.
164 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities 11.3.3 Designing for Autism New design standards based on the principles of universal design have been developed to improve the experiences of individuals with autism. In the U.S., Ohio State Universityâs College of Engineering City and Regional Planning Program developed Autism Planning and Design Guidelines 1.0, available online by searching âAutism Knowlton.â These guidelines are based on the Six Feelings Framework (Figure 11-15). Airports are addressing these needs by providing quiet spaces and sensory rooms. Good way- finding and signage to facilitate independence also are important to this group of travelers. 11.3.4 Designing for Dementia The development of dementia-friendly environments is another field within universal design. The Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia is the epicenter of research on dementia design. The centreâs presentation, Up and Away: Improv- ing the Accessibility of Airports for Travellers with Dementia, provides an excellent overview of their current findings (Franz et al. 2017). Key recommendations include the following: â¢ Provide seating; â¢ Provide quiet spaces for people to be able to observe their environment; â¢ Make quiet rooms available; â¢ Place seating with a view to toilets for companions to wait; â¢ Ensure that staff or volunteers are available to provide assistance to people in areas that could be confusing, such as Security; â¢ Advertise airport ambassadors clearly on the website; â¢ Avoid excessive auditory warnings; and â¢ Reduce the frequency of warning messages on the moving walkways. The center also produced Ensuring a Smooth Journey: A Guide Through the Brisbane Airportâs International Terminal for People Living with Dementia and Their Travel Companions, a dementia- friendly guide that is available online and staff training modules for frontline staff. Figure 11-15. The Six Feelings Framework for autism planning and design (Source: The American Planning Association 2019) (Reprinted with permission of Planning magazine).
Architecture and Design 165 11.4 New Accessible Amenities As discussed in Chapter 6, the fastest-growing amenities at U.S. airports include nursing mothersâ rooms and pods, post-Security pet relief facilities, childrenâs play areas, adult changing and washroom facilities, and airfield observation areas (Airports Council International North America 2017). Sensory rooms are gradually being added for travelers with autism, dementia, and other cognitive disabilities. 11.4.1 Sensory Rooms A few airports have built sensory rooms to improve the flying experience for travelers with autism, dementia, and other cognitive disabilities. The design and equipment incorporated into sensory rooms varies, but the overall goal of these spaces is to provide a separate place for travelersâspecifically, those with autismâto go if the airport environment is too overwhelming. People with autism often have difficulty processing the sights, sounds, and smells in their environment and can easily become overwhelmed with the level of sensory input they receive. When the environment becomes too overwhelming, they benefit greatly from a separate space where they can safely cope with how they are feeling. For some, physical activity such as running and jumping is best; for others, simply being in a calm place helps. Sensory rooms are designed to meet the needs of both those who need a stimulating environ- ment and those who would benefit from a calmer, more relaxing space. Thus, most sensory room equipment has a range of settings that can be adjusted by the user to meet their needs. In collaboration with HartsfieldâJackson International Airport and The Arc, Delta Air Lines opened a multisensory room in April 2016 in conjunction with National Autism Awareness Month. The space features a miniature ball pit, bubble water sculpture, tactile activity panel, and other interactive items. This was the first sensory room at a U.S. airport. Collaboration and determination resulted in construction of the sensory room at Lehigh Valley International, a small airport near Allentown, Pennsylvania. For 4 years, The Arc of Philadelphia and the airport had worked together to support people with intellectual disabili- ties and developmental delays through a Wings for All program, which provides a rehearsal experience for families traveling with a loved one with a disability. This program identified an additional need for support, so Joe Mancini, executive director of The Arc of Philadelphia, and Darren Betters, director of Business Development at Lehigh Valley International Airport, developed a plan to build a sensory room in the airport. The airport donated not only the space but also the construction cost of the room. Chari- table donations covered the rest. Mancini identified national and local Arc partners that would be interested in sponsorships and raised more than $15,000 dollars to outfit the room with productsâsuch as gel tiles, low-frequency lighting, fiber optic cables, low-impact flooring, and specialized seatingâthat address sensory overload (Figure 11-16). A âfun and functionâ consul- tant sponsored additional items and helped with the room design. Specialized signage identifies the room as a support area rather than as a play area. In February 2019, BirminghamâShuttlesworth International Airport inaugurated its sensory-inclusive facility (i.e., designed to be used by people of any age with autism, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and similar conditions who can benefit from a calming environ- ment). Located past Security on Concourse B, it features soft lighting from a bubbling water wall, comfortable bean bag chairs, touchable activity panels, and various multitextural elements, which help to reduce anxiety. To design the space, the airport partnered with KultureCity, a local nonprofit that serves people with autism and sensory-processing needs.
166 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities During the design stage for its sensory room, the Pittsburgh International Airport reached out to the community for input on design concepts that are important to fostering a calming environment. The following feedback was considered in its design: â¢ Located in a transition space, not far from the concourse and gate area; â¢ Options for spaces that serve children and adults; â¢ Variety of comfortable seating; â¢ Soundproof; â¢ Neutral smell and neutral and/or cool colors; â¢ Adjustable lighting; â¢ Calming activities and equipment, such as fidget boards, tactile objects, and bubble machines; â¢ No toxic cleaners; â¢ Visual connection to flight information; â¢ Outlets to charge devices; â¢ Ability to see into room before entering; â¢ Sensory-friendly bathroom without automated hand dryers, paper towel dispensers, flushing toilets, or faucets (as these automated features are too noisy for individuals with sensory- processing issues); and â¢ An adult changing station in the bathroom (Pittsburgh International Airport 2018). The new Presleyâs Space Sensory Room opened in July 2019 and closely follows the param- eters previously described, including a separate soundproof space suitable for adults who also need a calming environment. American Airlines and Magee Plastics provided an additional unique feature: a realistic airplane cabin experience designed to acclimate children or adults before they head to the gate (Figure 11-17). A sensory-friendly bathroom with an adult changing table is located next door. Shannon Airport in County Clare, Ireland, was the first European airport to offer a sensory room. Features in this space include dim lighting, comfortable cushions, calming visuals, an Figure 11-16. Sensory peapod (left) and a squeezy chair in the sensory room at Lehigh Valley International Airport (right) (Photographs courtesy of Joe Mancini, The Arc of Philadelphia).
Architecture and Design 167 aquatic bubble tube, an undulated wavy wall, color-changing LED lights, a wheel projector, and other activities (Quinones-Fontanez 2017). London Gatwick was the first airport in the UK to open a sensory room. The space is located in the North Terminal and is inclusive to travelers with autism, dementia, and cognitive disabilities. The sensory room has two main ambiences: calm and relaxing with dim lights and soft music or stimulating and interactive with brighter lights and upbeat sounds, all of which can be changed by flicking a switch on the wall. Features include padded flooring and walls; bean bags; digital wall displays; and interactive panels with various textures, lights, and sounds (Figure 11-18). Figure 11-17. Airplane acclimation space in Presleyâs Space Sensory Room at Pittsburgh International Airport (Photograph courtesy of Pittsburgh International Airport). Figure 11-18. Sensory room at London Gatwick Airport.
168 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities The padded flooring can be removed to accommodate individuals using wheelchairs or other mobility devices. The sensory room is used by one family or traveler at a time and is reserved through the air- port. For safety, the door has an auto-lock feature that requires someone to press a button next to the door, located high enough to be out of reach of small children. Sensory room users are provided with a booklet that details entry and exit guidelines and a full overview of each piece of equipment, including what it does, how to interact with it, and how to adjust the volume. There is also information on the nearest restroom, what to do in case of an emergency, and estimated walking times from the sensory room to each departure gate area. 11.4.2 Stoma-Friendly Restrooms A new initiative in the UK is geared toward accommodating travelers with ostomy bags, as these travelers rarely have restroom facilities that provide the features and privacy they need. Colostomy UK is raising awareness through a campaign called Stoma Friendly, working with airports and other public facilities to bring about positive, tangible changes for individuals living with a stoma. The group exhibited at the BritishâIrish Airports Expo 2018 in London. Stoma-friendly restroom stalls include the following features that can be added at minor expense: â¢ Hooks to hang clothing and bags while changing ostomy bags, â¢ A shelf to provide space for personal care items, â¢ A mirror to allow users to see their stoma while changing the bag, â¢ A bin to dispose of the stoma bag privately rather than in public view, and â¢ Signage to identify the toilet as stoma friendly. Stoma-friendly facilities could be located where companion restrooms are available so that the traveler also has access to a sink. A free guide to a stoma-friendly toilet is available at www .colostomyuk.org. Specially designed restrooms that feature flushing sinks for travelers with ostomy bags exist at several Asian airports, including Tokyo Narita International and Okinawa Naha. Airports in the U.S. may wish to consult with United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc., when considering changes to restroom facilities. 11.4.3 Service Animal Relief Areas As of May 2016, any U.S. airport with 10,000 or more annual enplanementsâwith some exceptionsâmust install a SARA airside. The FAA subsequently issued design guidelines as an appendix to Advisory Circular 150/5360-14A: Access to Airports by Individuals with Disabilities that include the following: â¢ Number: At least one SARA must be located in each public sterile area of each terminal. â¢ Size and shape: [The SARA] may be of any shape, but the minimum size must accommodate a person using a wheelchair and handling a service animal secured on a 5-feet leash. â¢ Surfaces: A relief area should have at least two different surfaces: one hard and located imme- diately inside the entrance to allow wheelchair access and the other a softer surfaceâsuch as artificial turf for an indoor spaceâtreated to inhibit the spread of disease. â¢ Fencing: [The SARA must have] fencing or another suitable barrier with an accessible gate or entrance that is adequate to contain animals. â¢ Plumbing: The SARA should include a sink with a faucet for washing hands and a separate water supply for use in cleaning the surface. The surface should be constructed with adequate drainage to facilitate regular cleaning.
Architecture and Design 169 â¢ Location: The SARA must be located in the publicly accessible sterile area of each airport terminal (restrictions apply), must be wheelchair accessible, and should be conveniently accessible to concentrations of passengers. â¢ Accessories: Requirements include a three-dimensional (3-D) prop (e.g., rock or fake fire hydrant) for male dogs, disposable animal waste bags, and a waste receptacle (Federal Aviation Administration 2017). These guidelines are fairly broad and give airports the opportunity to design SARAs in a way best suited to their facility and operations. Unfortunately, they were published after the deadline for construction had passed. Many of the indoor SARAs at U.S. airports share the following design flaws: â¢ Turf areas are too small for medium- or large-sized animals to relieve themselves; â¢ Fire hydrants or other relief-encouraging items are placed in the middle of the SARA, making it easy to tangle the leash and acting as a tripping hazard for handlers who are blind; â¢ The entrance to the turf area has a curb that blocks the entrance for a wheelchair user and creates another hazard for handlers who are blind; and â¢ Sanitary equipment such as hoses is placed overhead at a level (below 80 inches) where people with vision loss or who are not paying attention could hit their heads. As U.S. airports work to meet the FAAâs SARA requirements, a number of innovative spaces with good design have been developed. The indoor SARAs at Denver International Airport have identical locations in each terminal; are centrally located to minimize walk times; and are grouped with other amenities, such as restrooms. The SARAs themselves are fully wheelchair accessible, with the faux rock for male dogs positioned in the corner out of the way. Grab bars on the side back wall can be used for support while cleaning up after the animal or to reposition a wheelchair. 11.5 Looking to the Future A December 2018 article in Passenger Terminal Today announced that the UK government is planning to introduce a charter to improve the travel experience for all passengers, with a particular focus on those with reduced mobility. The government has worked with the aviation industry and with disability advisory groups to propose the following measures: â¢ Strengthen accessibility standards for airports, and introduce new standards for airlines; â¢ Ensure better training for airport and airline employees; â¢ Raise awareness among disabled passengers of their rights to assistance and how to obtain it; and â¢ Improve storage standards for wheelchairs, and waive limits for compensation payments (King 2018). It is encouraging that the general awareness of the breadth of accommodations needed to make air travel universally accessible for all is gaining momentum. However, the aviation industry and regulating entities need a coordinated and united approach. Thanks to the new IATA resolution on passengers with disabilities, passed at its general assembly in Seoul, South Korea, in June 2019, this effort may finally take place. IATA initiatives to improve consistency in customer serviceâbeginning with changes to special service request codesâand to reduce damage to assistive devices are already under way. Meanwhile, Airports Council International is developing the Airport Accessibility Self-Assessment and Recognition Scheme, with a goal to recognize airport efforts in acces- sibility, collect and share best practices, and help airports build a self-assessment tool and recognition framework.