ATT : Access to Travel website
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The Access to Travel (ATT) Website contains information on accessible bus, train, plane and ferry transportation, on government policies and programs and on public and private local transportation, as well as links to other accessible transportation sites. This project is an initiative of the Canadian Federal Government, managed by Transport Canada, the Federal Transport Ministry.
The objectives of the project are :
- to provide persons with disabilities, their caregivers, and seniors, information on accessible-transportation services across Canada, in order to make their travelling experiences easier and more enjoyable;
- to enable Transport Canada to help the Canadian government fulfill its commitment to create a more inclusive society in Canada, while encouraging interdepartmental collaboration and private/public sector partnerships;
- to provide information in both of Canada’s official languages, English and French.
A study conducted by Transport Canada in the summer of 2000 found that Canadians and international travellers with disabilities face numerous challenges and difficulties when travelling in Canada. Differences were found in accessible transportation services among communities and a lack of readily available information. This made trip planning onerous and time consuming. In response, the Access to Travel Website
was developed to address these difficulties by the federal government in partnership with several provincial governments, as well as the private and not-for-profit sectors.
Although the ATT Website is directed primarily to persons with disabilities, it also provides information for their families and caregivers. The information on the site is also useful for seniors.
The Website was built on the principles of simplicity, relevancy, currency, comprehensiveness, and consistency in order to be useful to as many persons as possible. Users have an opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions on the website or file a complaint against a service provider. If a service provider wishes to be listed on the website there is a mechanism in place for it to do so.
Main resources needed :
- Transport Canada manages the ATT Website project : 2 Transport Canada employees are directly responsible for developing and maintaining the website, with support from another four working in information management and technology;
- provincial and territorial representatives provide contact information and local accessible-transportation information that is used to populate the Access to Travel database;
- Kéroul, a not-for-profit organization, and the Ontario Community Transportation Association (OCTA), both gathered data on accessible transportation in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario;
- private sector consultants, Once Corporation and subcontractor IntoInfo Inc. initially designed the ATT Website;
The technologies used for the project are an Oracle database, a Microsoft Web and NT server, Dreamweaver, Coast Webmaster 5.0, and Lynx software, as well as accessibility software (JAWS, Zoomtext, Bobby).
The Access to Travel Website was developed by Transport Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Canadian Tourism Commission, Human Resources Development, Canada’s Office of Disability Issues, and the Canadian Government On-Line office. Kéroul, OCTA, and the Canadian provinces and territories are all instrumental towards furthering the Website.
Project development :
Step 1 : Conceptual design
Step 2 : Design and development, Website and database testing, communications and marketing, manuals, translation, travel and promotion
- Phase 1 was completed on March 31, 2002, and the Website was officially launched on April 4, 2002.
- Phase 2 took place during 2002-2003, which involved the signing of co-operative agreements with the Canadian provinces and territories, promoting the website, and conducting usability testing and accessibility testing.
- Phase 3, 2003-2005, involved continued development of the site by building public-private partnerships, collaborating with provincial and territorial governments, and not-for-profit organizations.
During the Access to Travel Website’s first year, there were 330,000 successful hits, with a typical user staying on the site an average of 24 minutes. The number of hits rose from roughly 20,000 per month during the spring/summer of 2002 to about 40,000 per month during the winter of 2003.
More travellers are becoming aware of the availability of accessible transportation in Canada.
Key elements :
- a web-based database of shared information;
- a public, private and not-for-profit sector partnership;
- a clear plan of action, with milestones;
- a clear commitment to communicate government policy and information on accessible transportation.
Future challenges :
- usability testing, user feedback, and monitoring help to determine how the Access to Travel Website can better serve persons with disabilities, seniors, all Canadians, and international travellers. The Access to Travel team aim to improve both the content of the website and ease of understanding and finding information on it;
- to continue to collect more data from local communities and to market the website;
- to explore website improvements such as connecting accessible transport to accessible travel through gathering information on local tourist attractions, hotel accommodations, restaurants, and other sites and facilities;
- to integrate the Access to Travel project with the projects of other government departments.
Transport Canada Intergovernmental Affairs and Accessibility (ACCF)
330 Sparks Street Place de Ville, Tower C, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0N5
Mrs. Barbara Nelson