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Transport centre aims to help people with disabilities

The Wayfinding Centre is a training facility focused on making public transport more accessible to people with disabilities.

The state-of-the-art centre, which opens in April, is the first of its kind in the world.

Based in the former Smurfit Kappa Ireland Printworks in Glasnevin in Dublin, the 31,000 square-foot building has been repurposed to provide access to various modes of transport used in Ireland at present.

It boasts a Luas carriage, a DART carriage, a Bus Éireann coach, a double-decker bus and the forward fuselage section of an Airbus A319 aircraft.

It also has a streetscape replicating the built environment surrounding public transportation, including lighting, acoustics and hazards.

There are currently 1.1 million people in Ireland with a disability, however Vision Ireland has said that just around 6% use public transport on a daily basis.

The centre wants to boost that figure.

The centre’s boasts DART and Luas carriages among other modes of public transport

It is designed to simulate real-world public transport scenarios to provide confidence and familiarisation training for people with access needs.

It is also intended that it will serve as a space for training professionals such as transport operators, architects, designers, engineers and students responsible for future transport systems and designing the built environment.

“We are extremely proud to be in a position to deliver the world’s first accessible transport training centre that will assist in the shaping of an inclusive public transport environment in Ireland for all, ” Chris White, Vision Ireland Group CEO, said.

Vision Ireland Group CEO Chris White
Matt McCann is a member of IAAG which worked on the project

Matt McCann who is the CEO-founder of Access Earth, and was a member of the Inclusion Access Advisory Group (IAAG) which worked on the project, said that as someone with cerebral palsy he had “often encountered negative experiences when using public transport”.

He said: “Whilst some of these experiences can be put down to inadequate systems and infrastructure, some of them have been caused due to a lack of knowledge and awareness of transport staff on how to support someone with a disability.

“The Wayfinding Centre has the potential to provide a one stop shop for training as well as being at the forefront of innovating solutions alongside people with disabilities to current barriers.

“I am excited about my role in the IAAG as the group will shape the work program when the centre opens.”

The Vision Ireland project is supported by the National Transport Authority (NTA), Smurfit Kappa and Dublin City Council, as well as by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Iarnród Éireann, Go Ahead Ireland, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus, AerCap, EirTrade Aviation, Alstom and Meta.

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