UD2020 Conference published papers

The Griffith University logo in black and white with the words published by ePress.COVID-19 prevented UD2020 conference from going ahead in May this year, but not before some of the speakers had finished writing their papers. As we had to postpone yet again to May 2021, it seemed too long to wait. So CUDA’s People and Transport webinar last week provided the perfect opportunity launch the papers. 

With the support of Griffith University we can now bring you eleven peer reviewed papers and extended abstracts. As you can see, they cover a wide range of topics. We look forward to hearing from the authors at the conference next year. 

Community-based studios for enhancing students’ awareness of universal design principles

Universal design in housing: Reporting on Australia’s obligations to the UNCRPD

From niche to mainstream: local government and the specialist disability housing sector

Thriving at School: How interoception is helping children and young people in learning everyday 

Universal Design and Communication Access 

Achieving visual contrast in built, transport and information environments for everyone, everywhere, everyday 

Mobility Scooters in the Wild: Users’ Resilience and Innovation 

Understanding the Differences between Universal Design and Inclusive Design implementation: The Case of an Indonesian Public Library  

Accessible Events: A multi-dimensional Approach to Temporary Universal Design

Everyone, everywhere, everyday: A case for expanding universal design to public toilets  

Reframing Universal Design: Creating Short Videos for Inclusion

Faith is wearing a white shirt. She has a mix of grey and dark hair and is smiling at the camera.The papers were launched at the webinar by Dr Faith Valencia-Forrester.

Apps, activities and travel

A man stands on a train platform looking at his smartphone. He is wearing a hat and has a bright yellow backpack.There are many map apps and trip advisor ICT sites currently available and emerging, each with their own focus. But how can we better understand how people will use the apps? And how do the apps impact on activity and travel behaviour? This is an issue researcher Dick Ettema is keen to investigate. Apps, activities and travel: an conceptual exploration based on activity theory, is a very thorough piece of work for anyone with the time to read through it. Activity theory is used as a systematic way of investigating the effect of ICT on travel behaviour, and also how this links with maintaining social relationships.The author argues that with so many apps/ICTs we need a classification system  based on the objectives, practices and embeddedness in community. This would make it easier for researchers to identify differences in the way people use of ICTs/apps, and to identify inequalities in the use of apps. This leads to better understanding equity issues in terms of access to the technology and who profits from them. The full article can be found in Transportation, Special Issue: ICT, Activity Space-Time and Mobility: New insights, new models, new methodologies. March 2018, Issue 2, Pages 267-701. 


Barriers to public transport use

picture of two Sydney buses side by side waiting at traffic lights.Norway has gone to great lengths to create an accessible transport system, but the use by people with disability has not risen significantly. So it was time to find out why. The answers are not what you might expect. The experiences of non-users reveals the actual design of a bus or a train is not enough to ensure accessibility. The barriers to public transport use is because the system itself needs to be universally designed.

You can read more in the article, Public Transport and People with Disabilities – the Experiences of Non-users There are valuable lessons here for transit designers in Australia. The authors refer to people with “impairments” and having “deficits” rather than people with disability – the preferred term in Australia. Part of the abstract is below.


Society should be designed so that its infrastructure is accessible to all, as much as possible without special solutions and despite differences in level of functioning, to the point where disabilities are rendered irrelevant. Universal design or accessibility for all is high on the agenda in Norway, but despite years of focus on design in public transport, it seems that the number of people with disabilities actually using it has not increased significantly.

The aim of this paper is to add to the knowledge of why non-users with disabilities refrain from travelling by public transport. The authors’ research question is: “Why do people with impairments avoid travelling by public transport even when it is readily accessible, and are there any further measures that could lead to improvements?” 

[T]he authors made certain assumptions which were tested in qualitative studies on people with impairments who seldom or never travel by public transport. These were: 1) that insecurity and expectations lead to seldom or non-use of public transport; 2) that the triggering factors causing seldom or non-use of public transport are different from the issues that users experience; 3) that lack of knowledge among (and help from) drivers and personnel is a considerable barrier to non-use; 4) that a ‘travel buddy’ might help increase the use of public transport among non-users; and 5) that some impaired people do not use public transport because they have alternatives that work better for them in everyday life. 

The findings indicate that insecurity while travelling on public transport and expectations that problems will be encountered along the way are significant barriers to non-use. For many with deficits, it is the sum of all these challenges combined, real or anticipated, that leads to them refraining from using public transport. The findings also point to a ‘travel buddy’ as a measure that might encourage some non-users to use public transport more often and help make actual availability of the system more visible.

Finally, the authors question whether universal design is the solution, or whether individualized solutions provide a sense of freedom, of participation in working life and of value added in society among those who do not have physical and/or mental premises for travelling by public transport.