ARTICLE 9 - ACCESSIBILITY

(For article 9, two themes have been treated, rail travel and guide dogs, please click on each country to see whether one or both themes are included).

Convention Text

1.1 To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:

(a) Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;

(b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.

1.2 States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to:

(a) Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public; R1

(b) Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; R2

(c) Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities; R3

(d) Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms; R4

(e) Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public; R5

(f) Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information;

(g) Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet; R6

(h) Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.


Declaration of Needs and Characteristics

2.1 Blind and partially-sighted people need to have full, safe and unencumbered access to public transport and the built environment in order to lead inclusive lives in the community. To achieve this, facilities and services need to be designed, delivered and managed to enable blind and partially-sighted people to:

• Access, interpret and understand information that is relevant to their journey and location;
• Know where they are and whether they are travelling in the right direction;
• know that they are as safe as other people who are in that environment.

2.2 Blind people and partially-sighted people adopt very different approaches to the acquisition and interpretation of information when using public transport and moving around the built environment.

2.3 In essence, people who have very little or no sight rely on information that is acquired through other senses, such as touch, hearing, kinaesthesis and smell. Most of this information is normally present in the environment and can be accessed and interpreted by blind people. Sometimes however, it is necessary to provide environmental information that is specifically designed to assist blind people.

2.4 The ability of blind people to use information that is generally found in the environment depends on the extent to which such information can be differentiated. The presence of a particular sound that would give a blind traveller information about their location or direction might be masked by high levels of ambient noise. The extent to which a blind person is assisted by a special feature, such as a tactile surface depends on whether the installation complies with, and the individual understands national or international standards or guidance.

2.5 Partially-sighted people rely much more on their ability to utilise visual information that exists in the environment. Their ability to do this depends, not only on the nature and extent of their visual loss, but also on the way the environment is configured. Lighting levels, contrast between surfaces and objects and the size and clarity of signage are some of the critical factors that will determine the extent to which individual partially sighted people can function independently in any environment. Guidance and standards are available to assist those concerned with the design, construction and management of the built environment and public transport to provide environments that are best able to enable partially-sighted people to move around safely and independently.

2.6 There are many situations where it is necessary for blind and partially-sighted people to travel with a guide or guide dog. A human guide may be needed, not only to enable someone to make a journey, but because personal assistance is required to accomplish the outcome for which the journey is being made. The guide and the blind or partially-sighted person should be able to travel and gain access to the facility for the same cost as a single person.

2.7 Some blind and partially-sighted people have trained and make use of a guide dog. The dog enables many people with a visual loss to make journeys that might otherwise be difficult or impossible, and can reduce the stress experienced when travelling.

2.8 Products, as well as facilities and services available to the public, that are fully accessible to blind and partially-sighted people are essential to achieve equality of opportunity and full inclusion.

2.9 The majority of blind and partially-sighted people are elderly. They are likely to have health conditions that limit their strength, dexterity, hearing and other physical abilities. These factors need to be taken into account when designing and providing products, services and facilities.

2.10 Blind and partially-sighted people need to know about the availability and purpose of products, services and facilities and to be able to obtain instructions on their use or application in a range of accessible formats.

2.11 One of the primary disabling effects of visual loss is the potential limitations of access to information in the public domain. It is only possible for blind and partially-sighted people to participate fully in the life of their communities when full accessibility to information and communication services is provided.

2.12 The built environment and all public transport, information, goods, facilities and services must be capable of being as fully, easily and effectively accessed and used by blind and partially-sighted people as by other citizens.

 
Important Aspects of Convention Text

3.1 Convention text - R1 2(a) Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public.

3.2 Convention text - R2 2(b) Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities.

3.3 Requirement - Standards and guidelines must ensure that blind and partially-sighted people are able to move around the physical environment in safety, independently, with a sense of security, to wayfind and to know where they are. Information on the nature and content of such standards and guidelines must be made available in accessible formats.

3.4 Requirement - There must be no part of any pedestrian environment that is not safe or accessible for blind and partially-sighted people.

3.5 Requirement - All public transport vehicles, infrastructure and associated information services must be fully accessible to, and safe to use by blind and partially-sighted people.

3.6 Requirement - All products and services available to the general public, including computer based systems must be designed using the principles of universal design, to ensure their full accessibility to blind and partially-sighted people. Instruction for their use must be available in a range of formats.

3.7 Requirement - Representative organisations must be consulted on the design, implementation and monitoring of standards and guidelines.

3.8 Convention text - R3 2(c) Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities.

3.9 Requirement - All staff working on the design, maintenance and management of public transport or the built environment, or who come into contact with the public in the course of working in these fields, must have training to understand the needs and characteristics of blind and partially-sighted people.

3.10 Requirement - All staff working in the built environment and public transport that come into direct contact with the public must have the skills required to guide a blind person safely.

3.11 Convention text - R4 2(d) Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms.

3.12 Requirement - All signage and information in the physical environment and on public transport must conform to standards that enable blind and partially-sighted people to access and understand it.

3.13 Convention text - R5 2(e) Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public.

3.14 Requirement - Guide dogs accompanied by their blind or partially-sighted owners must have free and unencumbered access to public buildings, public places, public transport, including taxis and air travel facilities.

3.15 Requirement - Blind and partially-sighted people should be able to travel on public transport and gain admission to cultural, heritage and other public facilities with guides without incurring additional costs.

3.16 Convention text - R6 2(g) Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet.

3.17 Requirement - All information in the public domain, including websites, provided electronically must be accessible to blind and partially-sighted people.