HTSI creates a cognitive accessibility manual for TMB


The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi (Ramon Llull University) has created a manual for improving accessibility for those with cognitive disabilities in Barcelona’s metropolitan transportation network.

With the assistance of Cátedra Ethos, the ESADE Social Innovation InstituteTMB (Barcelona Metropolitan Transportation) and Dincat, ESADE has created the manual “Accessibility for all. Adapting the Barcelona metro to those with intellectual disabilities”. This document provides helpful information for promoting universal access to the Barcelona metro, especially by analysing the specific case of the L3 line.

cognitive accesibility metro Barcelona

“The goal of the study was to see how accessible the L3 was, in order to identify points for improvement in cognitive accessibility –such as signage or illumination– and for improving users’ travel experience. How can a passenger with trouble understanding their surroundings get from one line to another? How can we improve their experience? How can we help them navigate on their own?” asks Mónica Cerdán, of the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi.

Although TMB already invests in accessibility with a series of corporate measures and policies, this is the first time the operator has worked with cognitive disabilities. In addition, this project is based on the detailed analysis of fieldwork meant to evaluate, identify and apply potential improvements.

Communication, signage, and ease of orientation

Individuals with intellectual disabilities have trouble understanding the world around them, interpreting certain messages, or getting used to social norms that are not clearly established. They also have issues with both comprehension and expression.

The new manual by the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi lists a series of questions to consider when ensuring that facilities and services take everyone into account, and any potential barriers are eliminated or reduced:

  • Incorporating accessible communication tools for everyone that meet the needs of this group and of others as much as possible. This especially involves signage, instructions, etc.
  • Ensuring that facilities are designed to facilitate orientation as much as possible, making it easy for users to know where they are and how to reach their destinations (beyond specific instructions).
  • Minimizing elements that may create unease in the highly sensitive members of this group (smells, noise, visual and tactile stimuli, etc.) and create as neutral an environment as possible (avoid excessively loud music, control the use of colours and visual contrast, etc.).

According to 2017 figures from the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Families of the Government of Catalonia, 8 out of every 1,000 Catalans (57,647 people) suffer from intellectual disabilities. In Barcelona, this means 9,932 individuals, or 0.6% of the population.

HTSI continues work with accessibility issues

This is not the first time the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi has prepared an accessibility manual. Last July, HTSI put together a travel manual for children with autism. This manual, written in collaboration with the Provincial Council of Barcelona, the MRW Foundation and Vueling, provided useful information for families and children in the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) community when planning trips involving airplane travel.


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