September 2014 Archives

Notice of Public Hearing and Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Regulations

What are we proposing? The IATR Accessibility Committee is proposing Model Regulations for Accessible Taxicabs and For-Hire Vehicles. A copy of the Model Regulations can be found below.

The proposed Definitions and Model Regulations set forth below attempt to address the fact that while many jurisdictions address accessibility to some degree within their local Taxicab and For-Hire Vehicle regulations, there exists no all-encompassing accessibility regulatory framework that addresses each and every issue that is critical to ensure that people with disabilities are afforded equal enjoyment to fully take advantage of public transportation in this arena.

When and where is the Hearing? The Committee will hold an interactive international forum and public hearing on the proposed model regulations. The public hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 23, 2014. The hearing will be held at the IATR 27th Annual Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel located at 601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70113.

How do I comment on the proposed rules? Anyone may comment on the proposed model regulations by:
  • Mail: You may mail written comments to: International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) C/O Sarah Huque P.O. Box 20709 New York, New York 10023
  • Email: You may submit your comments in writing via email to:
  • By Speaking at the Hearing: Anyone who wants to comment on the proposed model regulations at the public hearing must sign-up to speak. You may sign-up or pre-register to speak before the hearing at the IATR Conference by emailing on or before September 19, 2014. You may also sign-up in the hearing room before the hearing begins on September 23, 2014. You may speak up to three (3) minutes.

Is there a deadline to submit written comments? Yes, you must submit written comments by September 19, 2014 in order to be considered at the September 23, 2014 hearing. After the hearing you may submit additional written comments on or before December 22, 2014.

What if I require an accommodation for my disability in order to attend the conference? If you require an accommodation for your disability, please contact Jason R. Mischel at the above email address, or Sarah Huque at on or before September 16, 2014. You can also send requests via the above referenced IATR U.S. Mail address. All requests for accommodation must be received on or before September 16, 2014.


IATR Model Regulations for Accessible Ground Transportation
By Professor Matthew W. Daus, Esq.

President, International Association of Transportation Regulators
Distinguished Lecturer, University Transportation Research Center (City University of New York/City College)


I am pleased to report that the International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) will be undertaking a very important and extensive project in the New Year that will involve wheelchair accessible service in the ground transportation arena.  This is a landscape-changing project that will be somewhat similar to, but even more expansive than, our work in the smartphone application regulatory arena.

The IATR board of directors has voted unanimously to commission a project to develop model regulations for accessible transportation.   It is anticipated that this project will achieve the same groundbreaking success as the recent two year initiative involving the IATR's creation of model regulations to address smartphone technology advancements and disruption.  The smartphone regulations have proven to be a true and valued membership service for the IATR's members, many of whom either participated in the IATR's App Committee to develop the rules, or who have already implemented them in whole or part.  As a result of this success, we are now currently undertaking a similar exercise for model specifications for partitions and in-vehicle safety cameras.

The initial stages of this project will involve the formation of a committee and working group to solicit ideas, draft regulations and research policy approaches taken in key jurisdictions in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and beyond.  While participation on the IATR Accessibility Committee will be limited to regulators, there will be significant opportunities and formats for stakeholders, such as automobile manufacturers and retrofitters, accessibility advocates, tourism officials and others, to participate.  We plan to hold an international public hearing in September at the IATR's Annual Conference in 
New Orleans
,scheduled for September 21-24, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency, for interested stakeholders and regulators from around the globe to provide comment and feedback on the proposed regulations.  Updated surveys and data collection will be coordinated and will form the factual basis for many of the findings.

There have been many recent developments in the United States and beyond that have cast a spotlight on the accessibility issues that have been growing in importance for decades.  Many of the issues have centered on challenging the United States Department of Transportation's rules and regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the parameters of the so-called "taxicab exemption".  For example, in New York some of these issues have been, or are currently being, played out in the courts and on the legislative stage, including:  the 20% requirement of livery street hail permits to be accessible; the requirement of the submission of a long term disability plan to the state in order for the city to complete accessible medallion and livery street hail permit sales; the effectiveness of tax incentives for taxi owners who purchase an accessible, or retrofit an inaccessible, taxi; whether an Accessible Dispatch program provides equivalent service to wheelchair users who do not have access to a fully accessible taxi fleet; and if the so-called "Taxi of Tomorrow" must be accessible or not due to the fact that its design resembles a minivan.

There have been accessibility developments elsewhere, both domestically and internationally.  In Washington, DC, after introducing its first wheelchair accessible taxi service in 2011 under its "rollDC" pilot program, it was announced earlier this year that the program would continue with an increase in funding to provide more accessible taxis and service; in Ontario, Canada, the passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires municipalities to determine the proportion of accessible taxis needed in their communities; in Australia, the State Government of Victoria has commissioned its Taxi Services Commission to undertake major reforms for its taxi and for-hire car industry, including plans to introduce more accessible vehicles, driver training and a dispatch system; and in London, UK, where all of its taxis are accessible, Transport for London created an "Accessibility App" competition for smartphone apps that will soon be decided and will provide a critical resource with a host of accessibility needs for disabled passengers.

One of the primary issues that regulators have been dealing with, aside from the quantity of vehicles that are and should be wheelchair accessible, is the very meaning of the term "accessible" itself as it pertains to vehicle design, dimensions and specifications.  Further, other concerns facing passengers, industry owners, drivers and regulators alike include safety and standards associated with retrofitting vehicles to include wheelchair ramps, as well as the higher operational and insurance costs associated therewith.  As a result, a number of compelling questions have arisen from these and other issues surrounding this topic.  For example, how far should regulations go in terms of dictating requirements from a licensing point of view, as opposed to simply relying on, or seeking to change, federal anti-discrimination laws (e.g. the Americans with Disabilities Act) or laws relating to the safety and manufacturing standards imposed on manufacturers directly (e.g., the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration's regulations)?  Should other agencies with equipment, vehicle and engineering expertise be relied upon, or should ground transportation licensing agencies take matters into their own hands?  And should cities like New York and Chicago be in the business of using government-run or contracted central dispatch systems to deploy a limited or proportional number of accessible taxis and for-hire vehicles, or should we alternatively be taking a path towards 100% accessibility of all vehicles?  These are just some of the many challenges we will seek to find solutions to.

This project will analyze regulatory best practices worldwide, and will include not just the type of preferred or legally compliant vehicles, but also the broader role of other related transportation modes and how mass transit and private paratransit companies can integrate and work more closely with taxicab, sedan and limousine services.  The emergence of brokerage models by human resource agencies in the paratransit world, as well as mass transit agencies deploying and utilizing sedans and taxicabs as a cheaper, more efficient and environmentally conscious substitute for multi-passenger vans dispatched along irregular routes, is one such future approach that will be considered and discussed.

There is no doubt that there will be widely disparate viewpoints that will be expressed.  There were many who said that the development and drafting of model definitions for the terms "limousine" and "taxicab" were too difficult and controversial of a topic to touch; yet, last year, the IATR issued well regarded and almost universally applauded model regulations for smartphone applications that did just that, and are currently being relied upon extensively by our members so they do not need to recreate the regulatory wheel.  Our goal this year is to do the same for accessibility, an issue that seems to never go away and keeps being raised year after year, with no viable long-term solution or plan in sight that would satisfy all stakeholders.  We need to take control of the issue, put our hands on the regulatory wheel and place ourselves in the driver's seat as regulators, and not simply be back seat passengers watching the scenery unfold while issues are being framed or developed by others.  It is part of the core mission of our members' agencies to serve passengers and ensure equal, safe and efficient access to transportation for all, a mission that is shared at IATR.  We look forward to an inclusive, informative, deliberative and thorough process of identifying and supporting best practices and the development of model regulations for accessible transportation.  If you are interested in participating in this process, please contact me directly at or

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Mapping occupation, skills needs and training content


1. Accessible tourism training should take into account the context of training, the

trainee's prior qualifications, knowledge and experience, the level of the training to be

delivered and visitors' specific access requirements.

2. If a visitor experience is to be truly accessible then all elements of the supply chain or

customer journey must be accessible. As a result, a person's place in the tourism

value chain is less important for determining skills and training needs than the role that

this person fulfils in the business.

3. Thus, skills needs and training provision must differentiate between different skills

levels (basic, in-depth) and different occupational roles (Managers with / without

customer contact, frontline staff, others (including technical specialists).

4. Training content and learning outcomes should include Knowledge of disabilities /

types of disability and access requirements, Barriers to accessibility & Design for All,

Strategic development of accessibility in business, Principles of effective customer

service, Proper etiquette for dealing with PwD, Recognising and responding

appropriately to people using personal supports and Service animals and assistive


5. There are wide differences in accessible tourism content in mainstream tourism and

hospitality training curricula across the EU.

6. On the whole, the level of awareness and qualifications of tourism services providers

is inadequate to address the needs of people with disabilities. There is an urgent need

to promote an understanding of accessibility before it is possible to persuade

businesses to take up training.

7. Existing training is overwhelmingly directed towards continuing vocational educational

training (VET). Current training provisions are often provided on a non-permanent

basis or reach too few individuals to have an effective impact on the accessible

tourism services.

8. Overall, NGOs are the most active organisations delivering accessibility training for

businesses across Europe. NGOs have developed the training in partnership with

tourism organisations, tourism boards or businesses in order to feed in the sector


9. The standard methods of delivering formal training are online and traditional

classroom-based training. Some training providers1 have developed "blended-learning

programme" or "b-learning". Direct involvement with people with disabilities during

training has the greatest level of impact and duration. However, it is also indirectly

mentioned as a barrier for businesses to take up the training.

10. A majority of courses are directed to frontline staff. However, there is a recognition that 

it is important to reach managers for the training to have a more long-lasting impact. 

11. Most training introduces introductory-level skills as business conditions often require a 

fast delivery of training which is focused on giving results in the daily work of every 

staff member.

12. Motor and sensory impairments rank among the accessibility requirements most often 

addressed in the training.

Existing demand for accessible tourism training

13. SMEs in the tourism sector make less use of formal training than large enterprises -

whether for managers or staff - due to limited financial resources, limited time and 

difficulties in accessing training courses locally. Informal training and "on the-job" 

experiences are important tools to enhance staff skills among SMEs.

14. Thus, training should not be limited to structured and top-down approaches to learning

and may take the form of "awareness raising" which is less formal and has broader 

appeal to SMEs.

15. While a number of certificates in accessibility training exist across Europe, these do 

not give academic credits and most qualifications are not recognised in the wider 

tourism sector. 

16. In several Member States there is growing awareness of the importance of the 

accessibility market. Awareness may be influenced by government anti-discrimination 

policies or accessibility may be adopted is part of the strategic development of a 

country's or region's tourism products. The maturity of a tourism destination does not 

seem to have any bearing on the availability of courses or the uptake of accessibility. 

Gaps in training provision and the role of EU projects

17. Key gaps in the existing training landscape include a gap in the actual 

availability/provision of training, a gap in the development of the business case for 

training and a gap in evaluating the impact of training on customers, staff and 


18. The role of EU-projects to remedy the gap in the availability of accessible tourism 

training has so far been rather limited. EU funded projects have focused on 

establishing a basic understanding about the target of training initiatives, the main 

actors who need to be trained (management, staff and different occupational roles) 

and appropriate training tools, methods and curricula. The main achievement of most 

of these projects lies in the awareness raised among the participants and the relevant 


19. At the same time, EU projects so far have suffered from low transferability and weak 

dissemination. Accordingly their efforts have not been exploited in a coordinated way. 

The widespread lack of continuity or uptake of training suggests some projects were 

not sufficiently embedded in the tourism sector at an institutional level. Many of these 

EU funded projects were pilot projects with very few participants.

Drivers of supply/demand for training

20. Key factors that influence the supply of training provisions are tourism policy and

legislation. In those Member States where accessibility has a strategic role in the

development of tourism products there seem to be a higher number of available

training courses. Legislation seem to encourage the proliferation of training courses

(as well as uptake), at least where this legislation is being properly enforced.

21. The greatest barrier to training is the lack of awareness of accessibility and the lack of

a convincing business case for accessibility training. Tourism businesses have little

incentive to engage in training for accessibility when this is a poorly understood

market. The challenge seems to consist in making a convincing business case for

training, structuring the market (demand and supply) for training and spreading

awareness of successful business practices by peers.

22. A top-down process of awareness for accessibility seems to favour provision of

training courses. Business and trade associations must be fully integrated in efforts to

develop an accessible tourism business case.

23. Key actors within organisations such as tourism boards, but also individual businesses

or service providers can act as "champions", actively promoting training as an integral

part of accessibility strategies.


24. There is a strong case for a recognised European certificate in the area of Accessible

Tourism. The field is still sufficiently "young" for such a transferable qualification to be

developed, yet without one, different national variations may appear, which could

entail difficulties in the coming years regarding mutual recognition in different EU

Member States.

25. Development of such a standard would help address both supply side barriers (by

providing a structure to the market for accessible training provision) and some of the

demand side challenges (by defining accessible tourism skills as a transferrable and

recognised skill).

26. The standard would not require the design of specialised accessible tourism training

modules. Rather, the required skills (as defined in section 3 of his report) could be

integrated into existing tourism qualification. This would certainly be the case for the

basic skills per occupational group defined in section 3 with more in-depth training

being provided in separate modules focused exclusively on accessible tourism

27. A full list of recommendations is presented in section 7 of the full report which is at:

Below is the European report "Mapping of Skills and Training needs to improve accessible tourism services". 

The report includes all findings of the research and data collection, the full analysis of results and a set of conclusions and recommendations. To facilitate dissemination, all country level data and the 20 case study reports my be downloaded here: 

 Authored for the European Commission by Pierre Hausemer, Ivor Ambrose, Kei Ito and Monika Auzinger. 

The study is downloadable as PDF here:

A major part of the Research Study commissioned in 2013 by the European Commission and awarded to VVAENAT and3s Research, involved the preparation of 20 Case Studies, examining accessible tourism training programmes and projects in Europe and abroad.

The selected Case Studies can be regarded as examples of good practice in vocational education and training, although certain weaknesses are also identified, where appropriate.

On the ENAT website the following case studies may be downloaded:

List of Skills and Training Case Studies

  1. ABTA, United Kingdom

  2. ETCAATS, EU Training Project, Sweden
  3. Perfil - Psicologia e Trabalho, Portugal
  4. SCANDIC Hotels, Sweden
  5. Kéroul
 Welcoming Ways, Canada
  6. ATHENA EU Training Project, Czech Republic
  7. Via Libre, Spain
  8. VisitEngland, United Kingdom
  9. People 1st, Welcome All. United Kingdom 

  10. PEOPLECERT, Greece
  11. COIN, Italy
  12. HERMES Airports, Cyprus
  13. Cluster for Accessible Tourism, Bulgaria
  14. Lousã, Accessible Tourism Destination, Portugal
  15. TACTALL EU Training Project, Spain
  16. Ministry of Tourism, Ontario, Canada

  17. Disney Corporation, France
  18. VisitFlanders' Accessibility Training, Belgium
  19. Barrier-Free Destinations, Germany
  20. EU Funded Training Projects

The Business Benefits of Universal Design


From Martin Heng:

Travelling has always been in my blood. Perhaps I inherited it from my father, who was born in Singapore, travelled the world with the British Merchant Navy and finally settled in the UK, where I was born. I've lived and worked in half a dozen countries and travelled to more than 40. In the 80s and 90s I spent the best part of 10 years on the road, pausing only long enough to make enough money for the next trip.

Imagine my euphoria in 1999 when I landed a job with Lonely Planet, whose books had been my constant companion across three continents over the previous decade! I've been with the company ever since in several different roles, including Trade Publishing Manager and Editorial Manager, overseeing the production of the entire range of printed books.

An Easy-Install Wheelchair Pushrim Cover


 Ultra-Grrrip Wheelchair Pushrim Covers

Accessible Oklahoma

Tour an A.D.A. accessible cabin at Roman Nose State Park with Shel Wagner. You'll see this cabin accomodates guests with any sort of disability. And Crazy Snake Trail at Lake Eufaula State Park is also A.D.A. accessible. The interpretive signs and educational elements at wheelchair level make for a perfect "hike" through dense forest on a winding paved trail.


MIUSA plus.jpg

Mobility International USA (MIUSA), in partnership with three leading U.S. organizations, is proud to announce it has received funding from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. Department of State to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of disability rights legislation and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) at national and local levels in Kenya, Mexico and Vietnam.

The RightsNow! Strong Communities through Enforcing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities project will develop tools, training, resources, and networks of disability leaders to advance the rights of people with disabilities through effective implementation and enforcement of legislation. MIUSA is honored to administer the project with a U.S. consortium of partners: the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), a disability-led, organization at the forefront of U.S. disability civil rights law and policy, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a global leader in democracy promotion and good governance, and the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD), a disability-led organization committed to advocacy and action to promote the global disability rights agenda.

This Consortium will provide technical assistance to civil society and governments focusing on sharing the U.S. experience including development, implementation and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other relevant legislation. Working in partnership with local disabled people's organizations, the project will engage all segments of societies to promote sustainable change.

Mobility International USA is a disability-led organization founded in 1981 dedicated to advancing leadership and disability rights globally.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for destinations-for-all-keroul.jpg

The aim of the Summit is to take stock of the achievements that have been made in the world's leading accessible destinations, regions and cities, to share and discuss best practices and methods and to chart a course for the development of One World of Inclusive Tourism for Everyone.

This event also aims to accomplish the following:

  • To make a decisive push forward on the determination of a set of international norms and standards with regards to accessible tourism and transportation;
  • To highlight the economic benefits for destinations to be fully inclusive and accessible, and to develop and enhance accessible tourist products;
  • To establish a world partnership and a common international strategy to develop universal accessibility1 for infrastructures and tourism services, transport services, and to increase the availability of information on different destinations' accessibility.

1 Universal accessibility, founded on an approach of inclusion for all, permits each person, whatever his or her capacities, to use services offered to the population at large in a manner that is identical or similar, autonomously and simultaneously.

Final Program:

By Michele Simões :

A little over a year I rediscovered what it was like to feel like myself, traveling the streets, meeting people and making the world my own on wheels. It changed my outlook on disability. 

Each new happiness was shared on Wheelchair Travelers' Guide (Guia do Viajante Cadeirante), where through messages and "likes" I could gain strength and move ahead

How could it not be so? Through the site where I've met so many cool people a new invitation came.

October 4 my travel destination will be Montreal in Canada where I will study more and explore a place totally unknown to me.

The butterflies in my stomach and anxiety are part of the baggage I'll carry but the desire for unforgettable stories makes this all even more exciting. 

So, follow me to Canada?

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