Making public transportation accessible

  • Case Partnering to promote equal access to public transportation in Spain
  • Show more info
  • Client Fundación ONCE
  • Industry Nonprofit
  • Capabilities Design Research
    Service Design
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Spain’s largest organization for people with disabilities, Fundación ONCE is committed to carrying out employment programs and promoting accessible environments. Together with their parent organization CERMI, Fundación ONCE represents over 3.8 million members in over 3,000 member organizations. Their diversity and breadth presented a challenge in understanding the needs of the organizations and people they represent.


In order to better serve their member organizations and the people they represent, Fundación ONCE wanted to find a standard way to detect real user needs and execute agile solutions. We needed to define and test a pilot methodology that could be scaled to help Fundación ONCE in a range of fields, from healthcare to education. Enhancing access to public transportation was the focus of the pilot program, with an eye towards how it would eventually be applied to all of Fundación ONCE’s initiatives.


We divided the project into four phases – qualitative research, finding opportunity spaces with Fundación ONCE’s technicians, ideation with accessibility experts, and a development plan to prioritize next actions. In order to understand the obstacles of public transportation access from all angles and forms of disability – visual, aural, mental, intellectual, physical, and those with multiple impairments – we created six focus groups of under ten people with a mix of different disabilities.


Our research revealed four main opportunities spaces that we created into an impact diagram for each disability. The diagram has three different levels: 1) This stops me from traveling, 2) This makes traveling difficult, and 3) This makes traveling uncomfortable. This deliverable can be read on two different levels – the opportunity spaces presented for Fundación ONCE, and the challenges faced by each group of persons with disability.

Working with everyone from managers, designers, and users has been essential in defining our challenges and future avenues of research. Designit has been crucial in identifying future opportunities and user needs. Jose Luis Borau Jordán, Architect and Head of Physical Accessibility Department, Fundación ONCE


We built connections between Fundación ONCE and their member organizations to facilitate communications, and we created a common framework that addresses all the barriers to making public transportation accessible. Going forward, Fundación ONCE will be able to push initiatives and projects on the same path.  

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