Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities

Airports strive to make their facilities more user-friendly by going beyond compliance to respond to the changing demographics and unique needs of the 21st century traveler.   Since airline deregulation, air transportation has become a more affordable option for all types of travelers. In addition, travelers have become more independent and willing to travel regardless of age, disability or limitations in mobility. The airport industry has adopted specific design codes in response to state and federal regulatory requirements including The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to accommodate employees and travelers with disabilities. These design codes include general architectural guidelines and technology adapted for transportation facilities. Airports need guidance on current and potential innovations, technologies, business practices, and partnerships with stakeholders to better address the needs of passengers who have a variety of physical, sensory and/or cognitive challenges.   The objective of this research is to provide guidance and information to airports and their stakeholders on the availability of innovative solutions to facilitate accessibility for passengers who have a variety of physical, sensory and/or cognitive challenges. This guidance shall be applicable to a variety of types and sizes of airports and shall include at a minimum, the following considerations: (1) Leveraging innovation (digital or physical) at passenger touchpoints and throughout the course of the journey, including at remote terminals; (2) Issues related to physical facility layout (i.e., distance, time, physical and sensory obstacles, including access to and accommodations for service animals); (3) Enhancements to existing airport physical and IT assets to improve accessibility and the passenger experience; (4) Innovative resources and communication methods needed during irregular operations (IROPS); (5) Needs of the inexperienced passenger; (6) Methods to allow continual process improvement among stakeholders; and (7) Possible impediments to implementation (e.g., legal, regulatory and safety issues).  


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 01-31

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Schatz, Theresia

  • Performing Organizations:

    Open Doors Organization

    Chicago, IL  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Van Horn, Laurel

  • Start Date: 20160616
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190415
  • Actual Completion Date: 20190415
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40166

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01572154
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 01-31
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 1 2015 1:30AM