New FAA Wayfinding Report, DOT Access Committee, New ADA Vehicle Guidelines, What's Ahead in 2017...and more. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Dec. 2016 News

The end of 2016 really signals a new beginning for Open Doors Organization since no two years for us are ever the same. One of the most exciting things about working here is that you never know what's coming next. How many people in which countries will we help the most in 2017? How will transportation grow and become easier for people with disabilities and their families? Laurel will be presenting in Amsterdam in March as we continue to research airport innovations. We will also start work with Pittsburgh International Airport and visit over 12 other airports in the next 12 months! Meanwhile, here in Chicago we'll be dispatching more accessible taxis than ever. So no worries, we plan on opening doors and clearing paths all over AGAIN in 2017. Thanks for all your support and hope to hear from each of you in the New Year!

Eric Lipp, Executive Director
Open Doors Organization

Support ODO--Donate Now!
The year is drawing to a close but there's still time to donate to Open Doors Organization if you like the work we do. While part of our non-profit's funding comes from paid contracts and services, we still rely on private donations to support most of our charitable activities. We never say "no" to a good cause even though it means stretching our resources and working hours. That's how our achievements consistently exceed everyone's expectations, despite being such a small organization. At ODO you can be sure that your tax-deductible contribution will go directly into services, programs and employment to benefit people with disabilities. Donate online or call us at 773.388.8839.

What's Ahead in 2017
The New Year at ODO promises to be a very dynamic one--no surprise there with Eric Lipp at the helm! One major focus in 2017 will be our Airports Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) grant on Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities. We have a long way to go before delivering the guidebook next December. In the meantime our other ACRP project, Enhancing Wayfinding in Airports for Aging Travelers and Persons with Disabilities, is finally nearing completion. Laurel Van Horn, ODO Director of Programs, will present its findings at the Passenger Terminal Expo next March.
  Two new hotel accessibility projects are now in the works, one with Dr. Shu Cole at Indiana University, the other with Bonnie Lewkowicz of Access Northern California. We will also continue to create new online courses for the ODO Academy and provide classroom training for the aviation, motorcoach, taxi and ride share industries. Stay tuned for an announcement next month on our upcoming workshops for Airports Council International.

Advisory Committee Final Resolution

The Dept. of Transportation Advisory Committee on Accessible Air Transportation, which met seven times from May to October 2016, was able to reach agreement on two of the three issues it was formed to negotiate: inflight entertainment/communications and accessible lavatories on single-aisle aircraft. There was no resolution on amending the definition of a service animal. Full text of the final resolution with details on when the agreed measures would come into force is posted on the DOT website. While ODO was not on the ACCESS committee, our representative Katy Rosseland attended meetings to keep us in the loop. The DOT plans to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking based on these agreements in July 2017. They also will draft their own rules on service animals.
New ADA Guidelines for Vehicles
The U.S. Access Board has issued revised ADA Accessibility Guidelines for non-rail vehicles--buses, over-the-road buses (OTRBs) and vans--acquired or remanufactured by entities covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The final rule goes into effect on January 13, 2017, but compliance will be delayed until the DOT revises its accessibility standards. OTRBs operating in fixed route service will now be required to have signs for accessible seating and doorways; public address systems; stop request systems; and provision of exterior destination or route signs on the front and boarding sides of vehicles, when exterior signage is provided. Minimum design standards for vehicle lifts have not changed.

Wayfinding in Airports

This December the FAA issued a new technical report entitled Indoor Airport Wayfinding for Blind and Visually Impaired Travelers. It explores user needs and the factors affecting wayfinding in airports, identifies best practices and makes recommendations on near term solutions and where further research is needed. An excellent report by well-known researchers in the field.

EU Access Initiatives

The European Commision is moving forward with the task of harmonizing accessibility requirements and standards. Directive EU 2016/2102 on Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications of Public Sector Bodies came into effect Dec. 22nd. Member States now have 18 months to transpose the directive into national legislation.  Also in the works is a much broader proposal, the European Accessibility Act, which will cover products and services such as computers, smartphones, ATM's, ticketing machines and check-in kiosks, and services related to transportation. What's not yet covered: the built environment.

Give to ODO

We are a registered charity on Amazon Smile.  So the next time you shop, please choose Open Doors Organization and help support our many valuable programs.

CRO Training

ODO offers Initial 
Complaints Resolution Official Training
 at airports nationwide as well as overseas. Email Katy Rosseland or call 773.388.8839 to schedule a class.
For CRO Refresh, visit ODO Academy or email Eddie Ragauskas.
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ODO is a 501(c)(3) charity and all donations are tax-deductible.

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