Guides for historic buildings and places

Front cover of the guide.Buildings from previous centuries didn’t consider access and inclusion, so the two don’t go together well. Historic England has taken on the challenge with their updated guide, Easy Access to Historic Buildings. The guide also includes information for businesses and attractions within an historic site, such as shops and cafes. These places aren’t necessarily historic, but add to the overall visitor experience. The guide is comprehensive and replaces their 2004 edition. It can be downloaded in sections.

Front cover of the guide with four pictures of people in different historic locationsHistoric landscapes, gardens and open spaces are there for everyone to enjoy. Historic England has produced a guide for anyone working to open up historic sites to a wider audience. This edition promotes an inclusive approach to ensure that every visitor to an historic park, garden or landscape has a meaningful experience – not just physical access. Property owners and managers designers, and planners should find the guide helpful in tackling all aspects of the visitor experience. The key elements of the Easy Access to Historic Landscapes guide are:

      1. Why access matters
      2. Planning better access
      3. Making access a reality
      4. Published sources of information
      5. Where to get advice  

Accessible rail travel

A train line disappears in the distance and in the foreground is a red rail indicator light.How does Australia rate globally when it comes to rail travel and related public infrastructure? Well, that depends. A new report compares Australia with UK, Spain, Sweden, and United States. Other types of global rankings are included in the report by Claire Shooter of the Rail Safety and Standards Board in UK. Of course, there are considerable variations within countries too. There’s a lot of good information in this report and it’s worth a browse.

The executive summary explains there were two main messages throughout the literature on improving accessibility:
1. Designing transport to be accessible to all has benefits far beyond making the transport network accessible to people with disabilities; It improves the experience of tourists, shoppers, families, people with temporary disabilities and pregnant women. Taking visible steps towards improving accessibility itself encourages more people to use the service.
2. It is critical to engage people with disability in the choice, design, and implementation of accessibility improvements to ensure they are appropriate and effective. Not only does this increase the confidence of people with disability that the transport network cares about catering to them, it can avoid costly investments in inadequate solutions.

The report, Rail travel and disability: An international perspective on accessibility. is on the RSSB website. Note: accessing via the website requires a free login process. It is a bit cumbersome but it provides access to other documents as well. Or you can download directly from this website

The objectives of the research:

As a result of actual or perceived difficulty using public transport, many people with disabilities (PwD) rely on private vehicles, taxis, or designated paratransit services to travel. In Australia, the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI) based in Canberra and CQUniversity are conducting research to better understand what could be done to improve use of public transport by PwD. Under a memorandum of understanding, ACRI and the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) of Great Britain regularly share knowledge to add value to the research and innovation activities of both countries. This report is the first joint initiative between ACRI and RSSB, which aims to conduct a global horizon scan of accessibility innovations and practices in sectors including transport, retail and hospitality that may aid the rail travel experience for people with a disability.

Airport travel guide for people with dementia

Front cover of the Brisbane airport travel guide for people with dementia showing an aircraft overlaid with artistic coloured squaresAirports are confusing places at the best of times, particularly for the first visit. The size, noise, and number of people don’t help. If the signs aren’t in a language you understand it can be bewildering. Knowing what to expect before you go is a great help. Brisbane Airport  airport travel guide for people with dementia is also good for first time visitors.

 Information from DementiaKT was used for the guide, so there are links to other resources as well. The guide is titled, Ensuring a Smooth Journey: A Guide through the Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal for People Living with Dementia and their Travel Companions.

The guide is easy to follow. It covers preparing for the journey, getting to the airport, checking in and flying out. Coming home again addresses, passport, baggage claim, and domestic transfers among other things. There is a list of dementia friendly symbols at the end of the guide. While this guide is specific to Brisbane International Airport, much of the information could be adapted for other airports in Australia. As with most things designed with a particular disability in mind, it is probably useful for any first time overseas traveller.