MyAccessible.EU is the name of the communication platform of CAP4Access, a three year research project funded by the European Union. Here at MyAccessible.EU we report on activities initiated by the CAP4Access partners and highlight the work of other activists and organisations working for accessibility in Europe. The CAP4Access project consists of a diverse consortium of eight European partners, each with a very different area of expertise. The partners are researching tools and methods that can improve accessibility for people with mobility impairments in European cities. CAP4Access is more than a research project, it aims to produce concrete and useful results that will outlive the duration of the project. Another vital aspect of the project is that its outcomes are made available to everyone: any data gathered in the course of the project is available under an open licence and any tools being developed are open source.
With its eight partner organisations the consortium brings together a broad field of experts, comprised of disabilities activists, software developers, social innovators, project coordinators, community mapping experts, accessible tourism advocates and experts on the needs of senior citizens.
The project will focus on online, crowdsourced maps and on various methods of raising awareness for accessibility issues. OpenStreetMap and Wheelmap, the online map for wheelchair accessible places, will be used as examples of best practices, upon which can be built further. The project will explore possibilities such as new or expanded functions for existing maps, integration of large amounts of new data into the maps, tools for wheelchair accessible routing and navigation, methods of engaging new target groups and for raising awareness for disability issues among the general public and with policy makers.
In order to ensure that the project develops tools and methods that are actually needed by, and beneficial for, people with mobility impairments, the project partners will be in close interaction with a broad spectrum of people with mobility impairments. People of different generations, with various types of disabilities and from many countries will be encouraged to become involved in the project via MyAccessible.EU. It is only by actively involving those that know precisely what is needed and what works for them that this project can ultimately be successful.
Throughout Europe a vast variety of initiatives aimed at improving accessibility and at providing information on accessible places and activities are already up and running. Very often they are doing great work from which we can all learn a great deal. It is also the aim of MyAccessible.EU to seek out local and national success stories and to provide opportunities for international interaction and cooperation.