Season's Greetings, IATA Initiatives, New PHL Amenities, Amtrak Access News...and More!

Dec. 2021 News

Bye bye, 2021!  This past year will go down as another crazy year to remember (or forget!), but there is a lot of good to reflect on. ODO has been hard at work to STOP wheelchair damage and change the way planes and chairs are built. We will stay committed to this in a big way in 2022 including a brand new program to help minimize damage, details coming soon! ODO also completed another ACRP project  in 2021 and started work on the Complete Trip project in Buffalo for the Federal Highway Administration. Let's not leave out the thousands of Amtrak frontline workers who have now been properly trained on access and inclusion. So as we head into 2022, please keep ODO in your thoughts, and we will keep you in ours. To donate, please visit our website or call us at 773-388-8839. Thanks to all who had already included us in their year-end giving.
Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy New Year!

Eric Lipp, Executive Director
Open Doors Organization

ITS4US Complete Trip Pilot

ODO and partners ICF International, the University of Buffalo, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, and other stakeholders recently completed Phase 1 planning for the U.S. DOT’s ITS4US Complete Trip Deployment Program. This pilot program, taking place in and around the Medical Campus (shown above), will help employees and visitors with and without disabilities access the extensive campus. The pilot will feature a centralized trip planning mobile application, an enhanced wayfinding system, and two autonomous, accessible shuttles.

IATA Initiatives Update
The IATA Mobility Aids Action Group is well underway with the participation of ODO and other disability organizations, airports, wheelchair manufacturers, airplane manufacturers and airlines from around the world. The group is finishing up the identification of the pain points throughout the passenger journey. In January, meetings will brainstorm on creating standard forms to include in IATA Resolutions and Recommended Practices, developing functional guidelines for securement and containment in the cargo hold, recommending updates to IATA standards, and outlining recommendations for mobility aid and aircraft manufacturers. Once these tasks are complete, it will be up to senior leaders at all these entities to put the resources in place necessary to implement the group's recommendations.
  Open Doors Organization has also been active on an IATA committee tasked with revising the Airport Development Resource Manual. The new edition, to be released in 2022, will feature a greatly expanded chapter, "Universal Design and Terminal Accessibility." 

UberWAV Avis Partnership
As part of a pilot program in the Boston area and Washington DC, ODO in 2021 helped launch the successful UberWAV Rental Program where drivers have the opportunity to rent wheelchair accessible vans from Avis and drive on the Uber platform. We were excited to bring on two new trainers, Yolanda Mitchell and Stephen Harris, to help conduct the trainings in Boston and DC. To date 144 drivers have completed the training! We look forward to picking back up again in January 2022.

New Amtrak Trainsets
On Dec. 9 in a meeting with the its Disability Community Advisory Group, the Amtrak Accessibility Office revealed design changes that will improve Amfleet trainsets for passengers with reduced mobility. The new trains will  feature built-in mobility lifts, and five of the train's wheelchair positions will have direct access to the fully accessible cafe car. A number of cars in standard and business class will have two co-located wheelchair positions. Gangways between cars will also be accessible, and train vestibules and accessible restrooms will all have a 60" turning circle. Other major changes include hand holds on each seat and an induction hearing loop system. In 2022 the Disability Community will be invited to visit and provide further feedback on mockups of the new, improved facilities. For additional information, email David Nelson, Manager, Passenger Accessibility.

Save The Date!
In 2022, the TravelAbility Summit will become the Emerging Markets Summit and expand its focus to include Sustainability and DE&I as well as Accessibility. Founder Jake Steinman explained the change in a recent eblast: "Due to the baby boomer demographic (they control 58% of U.S. discretionary spending), accessibility is poised to be a more robust tourism driver than either of the other two. By bundling the three niches together into one event we will bring accessibility into the conversation for people who have been focusing on sustainability and DE&I." As TravelAbility board members, we at ODO agree that this is a powerful step forward in line with our ongoing promotion of Universal Design. So come join us at the Hilton Orlando on June 5-7. 2022.

Lift-A-Loft at BOS

At Boston Logan, JetBlue loads heavy wheelchairs safely and easily with a Lift-A-Loft, shown above. This scissor lift truck allows ramp crew to roll the chairs on and then hoist them up directly to the cargo door, bypassing the belt loader. It could also be used at hardstands to board and disembark passengers in their wheelchairs or to bring chairs to/from a jet bridge.

New PHL Amenities

Recent improvements at Philadelphia Airport include a new Service Animal Relief Areas (SARA) and Quiet-Meditation Room with an accessible ablution area. Coming soon in 2022, an Adult Changing Table Room with hydraulic table. PHL has also signed onto the Sunflower Lanyard program for travelers with invisible disabilities. For more information, email Saron McKee, Director of Access and Accessible Programs.

Upcoming CRO Classes

ODO Initial Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) Trainings via Zoom limit the number of attendees so that everyone can join in the discussions and class exercises. Next Zoom Classes: Jan. 25-26  and March 08-09, 2022, 8:00 am - 12:30 pm CSTFor details, email Katy O'Reilly or call 773-388-8839. 
  ODO's 2021 Annual Refresh Training is posted online. Recorded annually  with all the latest regulatory changes, the ODO webinar is an affordable, convenient way to maintain your certification. Register now!

CRO Training

ODO offers Initial Complaints Resolution Official training in the U.S. and abroad, now available via Zoom.  To register, email Katy O'Reilly or call 773.388.8839. Our affordable Online CRO Refresh Training is new each year.
Support Our Work in Inclusive Travel and Tourism

Donate to Open Doors Organization

ODO is a 501(c)(3) charity and all donations are tax-deductible.

Making a real difference since 2000
Copyright © 2021 Open Doors Organization, All rights reserved.