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Sign Language Day: ÖBB focuses on improvements for people with disabilities

Sign Language Day: ÖBB focuses on improvements for people with disabilities
photo: Eisenberger / ÖBB/Sign Language Day: ÖBB focuses on improvements for people with disabilities
27 / 09 / 2022

ÖBB, as an inclusive mobility service provider, has been working for years to reduce barriers and provide a barrier-free travel experience for all passengers, especially those with disabilities.

Currently, just over 400 out of a total of 1,046 train stations in Austria are barrier-free, with work on the major stations and stations in district capitals beginning in 2006 as part of a staged plan. As a result, about 86 percent of customers now have access to a station with barrier-free features. By 2027, the goal is to increase this figure to 90 percent, making every second station in Austria barrier-free, which will be achieved with the addition of 500 more barrier-free train stations, reaching more than 90 percent of passengers.

ÖBB's commitment to accessibility goes beyond step-free access, and the company has been implementing various measures to simplify the use of trains for people with disabilities. ÖBB is expanding tactile guidance systems, installing barrier-free ticket vending machines and lowerable sales facilities in ÖBB travel centers, and preparing information in plain language. ÖBB also offers easy-to-access information to make it easier for passengers to find the nearest barrier-free station, for example.

ÖBB is also focusing on improving accessibility for people with hearing disabilities, such as those who are deaf. Inductive hearing systems are available at modernized travel centers and infopoints at train stations, allowing for noise-free and demand-oriented communication with ÖBB employees. All new ÖBB trains come equipped with an optical and acoustic passenger information system that provides information about upcoming stops.

ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG is continuously modernizing the digital passenger information systems at train stations. New loudspeaker systems and monitors provide real-time information following the two-senses principle, which is especially useful for platform changes, delays, and information about connecting services. Smaller train stations are also getting updated with monitors that can read out timetable-relevant data.

On Sign Language Day, ÖBB and its cooperation partner MyAbility held the Sensing Journey at Klagenfurt Central Station. The event gave participants the opportunity to experience firsthand what it's like to have a disability and move around a train station. Attendees tried out ÖBB's services, including moving around in a wheelchair, learning about visual impairments and locomotion with a long cane and guide dog, and learning important expressions in sign language. Experts with different disabilities were present to share their everyday experiences and travel possibilities with ÖBB. With these efforts, ÖBB is continuously working to improve accessibility for all passengers and reduce barriers for people with disabilities.