February 2006 Archives

Dexigner on Universal Design



Qantas Again...


For a company with such a cute mascot Qantas is not endearing itself to the largest growing travel population in the world.

WA Disability Services Minister Margaret Quirk has called on the airline industry to stop operating in the dark ages after a series of incidents of discrimination.

She was responding to reports that Qantas was forced to apologise to a 72-year-old customer who was refused a wheelchair from her car to the airport terminal.

Australia's Wild West Handcycling Tour


Handcycling Logo

The stage is set -- five stages to be precise -- for the Australian Wild West Handcycling Tour.

Stage one runs through Perth's beautiful King's Park overlooking Swan River and its flotilla of sports sailors. Other stages include Chittering Valley, Brigadoon Hill, Barbagallo International Raceway, and a run along the freeway from Perth to Joondalup.


Green Universal Design


bathroom sink

What's unselfconsciously barrier-free for wheelchair access, has UD-flavored lever faucet handles, and turns the water closet into a gardening experience?

Read about it a Treehugger or the designer Jean-Michel Gauvreau's site Gau Designs

The world's population bulge matures into the leisure years of travel. Meanwhile they increasingly experience the bodily diminishment that can accompany aging - Boomers are buying travel. Rather than understanding the business opportunity shortsighted airlines repeat the mistakes of Ryan Air, Qantas and others. The latest in the saga of shame is South African Express Airways.

Read Maureen Marud's "Disabled Woman Ordered off the Plane"

Well you can get off the plane in Aruba but what can you do once you get there if you use a wheelchair?

That question is not answered in the entusiastic press release on the $200 million tourism investment project for 2006. The release does note:

Significant investment and expansion, to the tune of over $34 million, is underway at Queen Beatrix International Airport ( www.airportaruba.com ). The airport’s growth plan includes the installation of elevators to make the facility more accessible for disabled travelers.

Barrierfreiheit Meme


So, for those following the game of "Travel Writer Tag" that passed through the Rolling rains report recently thanks to Christine Link and Katja Stokely here is the next degree of separation:

Candy Harrington:

African Adventure by Wheelchair


Ken Hames, Brian Bartlett, and several Himba people from Namibia were among the select group of celebrants at the mouth of the Uniab River on Namibia's Skeleton Coast following a gruelling trek across Namibia by wheelchair.

Read the account at AllAfrica.com and wait for the video to be released by Diverse TV.

LCM Architects & Access Living


Universal Design is becoming ever more the norm but certain projects and proponents distinguish themselves as they mature the language of UD. A very important linkage signalling that maturity, made prominently at Adaptive Environment's Designing for the 21st Century III, is between sustainability and Universal Design.

Access Living and LCM Architects are to be commended for innovation in combining LEED & UD to create a new center for Access Living.

Berkeley has written a profile on one of their students who knows what it takes to travel with a disability. See

Travel Daily News reports:

UKinbound Chairman’s Special Achievement Award

Winner: The Original Tour The award was presented to Joanna Bachelor, International Sales Manager.

The Original Tour has been providing open top bus tours to London’s visitors for 55 years and in 2005 enhanced its reputation as a market leader by investing over £1.6 million in a new fleet of specially designed open top vehicles. This new fleet of tour buses not only helps the environment by exceeding all planned and current emissions standards but also offers unparalleled accessibility with, for the first time, dedicated spaces for wheelchair users.

Universal and Sustainable Design together again.

Travel Daily News reports:

UKinbound Chairman’s Special Achievement Award

Winner: The Original Tour The award was presented to Joanna Bachelor, International Sales Manager.

The Original Tour has been providing open top bus tours to London’s visitors for 55 years and in 2005 enhanced its reputation as a market leader by investing over £1.6 million in a new fleet of specially designed open top vehicles. This new fleet of tour buses not only helps the environment by exceeding all planned and current emissions standards but also offers unparalleled accessibility with, for the first time, dedicated spaces for wheelchair users.

Universal and Sustainable Design together again.

Hizzoner floats gondola rides to Govs Isle


Imagine this: Traveling among Governors Island, lower Manhattan and Brooklyn in an apple-shaped gondola that offered spectacular 360-degree views of the city and New York Harbor.

The sky tramway - akin to those used at ski resorts - could be part of a dynamic new plan to redevelop Governors Island, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.

City and state officials made a public appeal for visionary proposals to preserve and redevelop the 172-acre island, located a half-mile from Battery Park in the harbor. The proposals are due May 10.

Tagged with the Barrierfreiheit Meme


All images Copyright © San Jose Repertory Theatre. All rights reserved.

I struggle to translate Christiane Link's site, Behindertenparkplatz, every time my Google Alerts send me a note that there is something there that I would appreciate -- if only I had not forgotten all my college German.

Maybe it was listening to the German resonances in the Yiddish dialogue of Mark Harelik's touching play The Immigran at the San Jose Repertory Theater last night but probably it was the fact that Katja Stokely translated the challenge but I gave it another try.

Here is her invitation (in German) and my response in English.

On layover at Heathrow today. B-o-r-i-n-g!

Wheelchair Travel offers accessible vans for tourism in and around London. See http://www.wheelchair-travel.co.uk/

Tenerife map

The information is the same about Tenerife but the look is updated at the Tenerife web site. Tenerife was one of the first tourism destinations in the world to have taken inclusive destinationn development seriously

Ryan Air Again....


Janted reports on Ryan Air at http://www.jaunted.com/story/2006/2/6/135718/8917

Are we seeing a pattern here or do we need I.F. Stone to explain it to us?

Judy Wee Makes a Difference in Singapore


Singapore is well on its way to providing accessible bus service for citizens and tourists. Judy Wee has been an effective advocate for both. Read this article in Today Online about how one person is making international impact on inclusive destination development in Asia.

Universal Design advocates around the world offered their expertise to FEMA and their subcontractors. Here is an article from the Clarion Ledger dated February 5, 2006 that demonstrates the mismanaged opportunity more clearly than the many article in the Rolling Rains Report.

Polly Tribble, matt Nalker, and Christy Dunaway write:

Our first experience with travel trailers on the Gulf Coast was that people with disabilities were requesting them, but not receiving them. After months of asking, in December 2005, we were finally able to tour travel trailers and mobile homes being issued by FEMA to people with disabilities.

Contrary to Mr. Russo's claims, the travel trailer is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. FEMA representatives told us that it was an "ADA-friendly trailer." There is no way someone who uses a wheelchair could live in one of these travel trailers: The bathroom is not accessible, nor is the kitchen.

On Dec. 14, 2005, FEMA informed us there were 18 ADA-friendly trailers, 179 "park model" mobile homes and 340 ADA 70-foot mobile homes being occupied for a total of 537 - not the 950 Mr. Russo claims to have in place.

We contend that these mobile homes are not ADA accessible either, as there is limited space to turn a wheelchair, unreachable thermostats, unstable shower chairs, and many other unacceptable aspects. And, the mobile home parks and "tent cities" are paved with gravel which creates a big problem for users of wheelchairs.

Qantas Again...


Qantas wheelchair ban prompts discrimination call by Tanya Hornberg. ABC News Online reported on February 2.

Darren Hillock's Get Around Guide


You have seen me mention Darren Hillock and his Get Around Guide several times. It just keeps getting better!

Weaving Usability and Cultures


UI Garden generally concerns itself with issues of inclusivity in the design of online information. As such it is a valuable resource. Here however they have forayed into the area of universal design in vehicles in a discussion that lends itself to note in the Rolling Rains Report on Inclusive Travel.

UI Garden has reprinted the 1997 article, A Car for All - or Mobility for All? Part I, by Universal Design expert Roger Coleman and Dale Harrow iin both English and Chinese.

Boeing Inflight HQ Blog


The Boeing Inflight HQ Blog advertises itself as covering "Tools, Tips, and Techniques for Inflight Productivity at 30,000 Feet." So far, this business travel blog has not looked explicitly at inclusion or universal design -- but give them time. The folks associated with this blog are also sponsoring the Blog Business Summit in LA on March 16.

Information Access


The availability ofquality information to travelers with disabilities is key before, during, and after a holiday. For those involved in creating usable, accessible online information compliance with standards assures the broadest range of access. Bunnyfoot Universality specializes in consulting on the creation of such sites.

Boots 'n All Travel Resource


botts n all logo.gif

Candy Harrington has posted a list of accessble travel resources at the Boots 'n All travel network.

What Can You Recommend in Spain?


map of Spain

If you are traveling to Spain Polibea Turismo has compiled a list of resources that they have reviewed that are committed to providing an inclusive tourism experience:

In Spanish

In English

Ununterbrochene Servicekette


I never know that I wanted "ununterbrochene Servicekette" until I read Hartmut Smikac's comment in Polibea Turismo. Harmut is Director of the Nationale Koordinationsstelle Tourismus für Alle in Duesseldorf, Germany.

He exlplains,

We demand the "ununterbrochene Servicekette" (unbroken accessible service chain) in Germany . The heart of the idea of the "unbroken accessible service chain" is to offer accessible circumstances from information about destinations and venues over places of arrival, accommodation, visiting sights, museums, restaurants and so on, till departure. Visitors would expect an as far as possible unbroken chain of accessible hotels, restaurants, sights and attractions till the possibility to go for a stroll through streets and shops of a town.


BBC & Inclusive Travel


A Guide to Travel


A guide on Spain for travelers with disabilities was published last month.

Spanish Travel Guide

This Guide provides information and contact data which help travellers with special needs planning their own tourism activities and/or trip: tourism related addresses, disability related addresses, cultural and nature tourism attractions, transport info, venues, lodging and accommodation all over Spain.

We, the Polibea Turismo team, hope we have done a fair bit of work which is a useful tool and source of information for the disabled community and empowers the progress towards accessible tourism, tourism for all, universal tourism: finally, high quality tourism.

Further information
Published: January 2006
Printed format: 15 X 21 cm.
Soft Cover
Number of pages: 188

National Geographic Resource


From Marcus L Endicott of the Green-Travel Network:

National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations

Part of the Research, Conservation, and Exploration division of
National Geographic Mission Programs, the Center for Sustainable
Destinations (CSD) is dedicated to protecting all the world's
distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened
destination stewardship. The core strategy for achieving this mission
is geotourism, defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the
geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics,
heritage, and the well-being of its residents. Working with many allied
organizations, both global and local, CSD helps develop and disseminate
information for adopting the geotourism approach—by destination
communities, by tourism professionals, and by travelers themselves.

Mastercard Wild West Handcycling Tour


Wheelie Easy Travel of Australia sent this notice of the upcoming "Wild West Handcycling Tour"

Some of the worlds best athletes will be in Perth for the inaugural Mastercard Wild West Handcycling Tour 15 - 19 March 2006. Made up of five stages, the tour will cover a total distance of 135Km
This event will be the biggest of its kind in Australia and will be the first race of the Handcycling Federation's World Cup Series, which will include races in Europe, South Africa and USA. The tour will showcase some of handcycling's best riders in the world, including many of the medallists from the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.

For more information on this event, please visit http://www.wheelchairsportswa.org.au/default.aspx?et=2&ei=19&subSiteID=3&strMode=newsDisplay&nArticleID=72

The Universal Design/Sustainability connection reaches out for a new market in this initiative of two Spanish companies. Their initiative is aimed at the single, newly single, and Living-Apart-Together market.

Further reading (inn Spanish) Tau Cerámica y Punt Mobles proponen U-LAT: La Vivienda para los nuevos `Solteros´

At the University of Minnesota, in the Tourism Center, there are several straightforward articles on Universal Design and Tourism.

Design and Travelers with Disabilities

Aging and Disabilities: The U Responds

Market Issue: Travelers with Disabilities

For more information about this trend and the Center's work, contact Ingrid Schneider at ingridss@umn.edu, 612-624-2250.

Accessible Italy



The next Rolling Rains Travelogue will be to Italy. Here's an online tool that is making planning easier.

The Mature Market offers this interview with Myriam Van Espen co-0founder of SeniorInnovation.

You can read this article with the attention-grabbing title, "Our main concern is to avoid a war between the generations ... " Here is a quote:

And what about Universal Design?

The notion of Universal Design is still too much disregarded by many decision-makers and merits far greater attention in many places. This year, Senior Innovation has dealt with two cases highlighting this shortcoming: the numerical split and seniors, and housing and the aged. There is still a long way to go before this concept takes root …

The Marin County Stroke Resource Directory collects many resources for barrier-free travel in Northern California.

The obvious, out of the mouths of the rich and famous, often gets a better hearing.

Fortunately for all of us the the rich and famous man who uttered these words of epiphany can be an effective global evangelist for Universal Design. Read Fast Company's article on architect Michael Graves, A Design for Living