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 Good Practice Database

This database contains good practice examples on how the accessibility of public space and public transport can be improved, covering all categories of the ISEMOA Quality Management System.

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All good practice examples can also be downloaded as pdf files. For a pdf file including all good practice examples, please click here (~15MB).


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ISEMOA Good Practice Fact Sheet

Title in original language Referat Barrierefreies Bauen
Title in English Department for Barrier-free Construction
Location Graz, Austria
Year 1985
Initiator City of Graz
Developed by
(one pick only)
  • Administration / Political actor
Implementation Area
  • City
  • Urban
Supported accessibility level
  • Micro accessibility
Elements of the working process - Strategy
  • People
  • Budget
Type of PRM Affected
  • Visual impaired
  • Motor impaired
  • Hearing impaired
Application Field / Target area - Public Transport - City Bus
  • Stops / stations
Application Field / Target area - Public Transport - Tram
  • Stops / stations
Application Field / Target area - Public Space - Pedestrian / wheelchair
  • Quality
Application Field / Target area - Public Space - Road Design
  • Freedom of barriers
  • Quality
Why is it a good practice example? The city of Graz was the first local authority in Austria that established a special department for barrier-free construction. This department is very experienced and the advice provided by this department is highly valued by citizens as well as by industry and administration.
Background and Objectives / Aims When planning, building or reconstructing public spaces, roads, or buildings, it is important that accessibility issues are taken into account at all stages of the planning and construction/reconstruction process. However, many people in the planning and construction business are either not aware of this or don't know whom to ask for expert advice.

To tackle these issues, the city of Graz established a special department for barrier-free construction in 1985. The aims of this department are:
- to give expert advice regarding barrier-free construction of buildings as well as of public spaces to all interested citizens, to other departments within the city administration, and to industry and companies involved in planning and construction of buildings, roads, places, public transport stops and stations etc
- to develop handbooks and practical guidelines for barrier-free construction
- to develop, in close cooperation with the local organisations of people with disabilities, solutions for overcoming barriers in public space and in public buildings
- to conduct training and implement awareness raising measures
- to document and publish the measures and solutions implemented by the city of Graz to improve accessibility
Implementation (incl. obstacles, public participation) The 'Referat für Barrierefreies Bauen' is part of the city's department for construction. It works in close cooperation with local organisations of people with disabilities, and a number of the experts employed in this department are disabled people.
Conclusions (incl. output, analysis of benefits) The fact that the city established a special department dedicated to barrier-free construction shows that accessibility is seen as an important topic by the local authority. The advice offered by this department is appreciated by citizens as well as by planners and industry, since this department provides a 'one-stop-shop' and is seen as a competent information point that takes into account the needs of people with different disabilities (while most local disability organisations are specialists for one specific kind of disability and thus might be biased in their advice).

However, close cooperation of the department for barrier-free construction with local disability organisations is essential to find solutions that are suitable for people with different impairments: e.g. the 'Referat für Barrierefreies Bauen' developed in close cooperation with local disability organisations the 'Grazer T', a combination of tactile guiding system and level crossing that takes into account the (conflicting) needs of both blind people and wheelchair users and is seen as one of the good practice examples for barrier-free design and construction of street-crossings.

Important framework conditions for success of a special department for barrier-free constructions in a city:
- sufficient resources (both in terms of personnel and in terms of budget) must be dedicated to such a department
- staff working in this department must be experts in barrier-free design and construction
- close cooperation with the various local disability organisations is essential
- awareness raising for the importance of accessibility and barrier-free design and construction shall be seen as one of the tasks of this department
- the internal rules within the local authority as well as the regulatory framework conditions should be supportive: i.e. consultancy of the department for barrier-free construction should be included in all procedures for obtaining building permission etc.
Source / Link http://www.graz.at/cms/beitrag/10026599/421916 (information in German language about the department for barrier-free construction of the city of Graz)
Pictures
BarrierefreiesBauenBroschuere-Graz.jpg (6 KB)