7. Processes: Planning, implementing and management

7.1 Introduction

This chapter includes planning processes regarding projects for maritime transport and infrastructure, implementation and management.

According to the Norwegian Planning and building act (see 0) the relevance of universal design shall always be considered in planning and projecting, and this will also be important for infrastructure regarding maritime transport. It is also required to document the choices which are made and consider user participation. Another element is requirements for management and maintenance to ensure universal design.

Processes related to universal design in maritime transport and infrastructure is an example of so-called human oriented development process. Such processes have in common that they have the following steps:

  1. Planning and adaptation for a human oriented development process.
  2. Understanding for, and specification of, the user requirements.
  3. Specification of user requirements.
  4. Production of design solutions to meet the user requirements.
  5. Evaluation of the design solutions with regards to the requirements.
  6. Establishment of a development group which has multi-professional competence and perspectives.

In order to achieve universal design users affected by the solutions, in this regard maritime transport, should be involved in the process in multiple steps, viz. point 7.3. The following will provide a guideline for how to implement a good process to ensure universal design.

7.2 Planning and universal design

It is essential to include universal design from the planning stage. The objective is to ensure that universal design is embedded with the procurer as well as the project owner and the project manager, as well as recruiting good user participants. This includes surveying potential user groups (passenger groups) and other interested parts. Planning includes understanding and specification of the user context, that us that it is necessary to carry out a survey and dialogue process. This can include:

  • Description of users and interested parties (for instance age composition).
  • Relevant characteristics for the users (e.g. commuters, tourists, local inhabitants).
  • The users’ tasks, objectives and needs (e.g. part of thoroughfare road, tourism, school road etc.).
  • Relevant technical, physical, social and cultural conditions (tide differences, difficult weather conditions, needs for special competence with the crew when providing services etc.).
  • Which assistive technologies the solutions should interoperate with (e.g. electronic submission of information regarding the use IT for blind people).

7.3 User participation

User participation is an important tool to ensure good solutions for universal design, in multiple phases of the planning process. User participation can take place at systemic level or individual level – that is, whether the users are representatives of a larger group, or a non-governmental organisation, or a council for disabled people[1] – or the users represent their own experience. Often a user representation on systemic level is the best choice in order to ensure better representativity.

Already during the planning phase representatives of the user groups should be identified, but at the same time one should ensure that the needs of those not represented through the user representatives are taken care of.

The non-governmental organisations of users, expert groups, user groups or individual users should be contacted and invited to participate. Their role in the process should be clarified and the degree and extent of their participation as well as compensation should be clarified, as well as procedures for conflict management and prioritization.

It is also important that user participation is ensured during all relevant phases of the process, whether it concerns the development of a product or a service. See also Chapter 9 Procurements.

7.4 Requirements specification

The requirement specifications included in the procurement of goods and services must be very precise in what is meant by universal design. The objective of requirement specifications is to produce solutions that fulfil the user requirements. It is important to develop design solutions which can be used by as many as possible and evaluate design alternatives. These should be evaluated by user participants as early as possible. Regarding maritime transport this will affect a series of elements which are mentioned in this guideline. Regarding the development of requirement specifications it is important to identify and follow relevant guides for accessibility, like laws and regulations, handbooks and standards for universal design. See also chapter 9 Procurement.

7.5 Evaluation and documentation

An important part of the process is evaluation, for instance of products and services, based on responses from the product users and the services that the enterprise offers. The solutions should be evaluated according to the user requirements and guidelines for universal design. Some points that may be part of an evaluation process may be:

  • Testing of the interface between the design solutions and individual assistive technologies (Braille reader, browser, other ICT; ramps and door openers/wheelchair/hearing aid loop/hearing aid apparatus users and user with information/cognitive challengers).
  • Systematic evaluation of draft designs in cooperation with the user participants.
  • Evaluation of proposed solutions in realistic user context (test of contrast in the cabin together with visually impaired persons, test of loudspeakers with hearing impaired persons etc.).
  • Inform everyone who is involved on the result of testing and evaluation.
  • Ensure that the onboard solutions and at quays are according to legal requirements and that there is consensus on the correct quality of the solution and that they fulfil the specified requirements.

7.6 Requirements to operation and maintenance

When a product has been received, operation and maintenance is important in order to keep the desired quality level of what has been procured. Also during this phase it is important to have a system for responses from the users, in order to control how the means of transport and the infrastructure function during various conditions, for instance during winter. Universal design should be included as a part of security measures during on-board operations, viz. Law on ship security (The ship security Act) § 7.

Good regulations for maintenance like snow cleaning, cleaning, lighting etc. are to be followed systematically. On board passenger ships this should be done through the vessel’s security management system.

[1] Councils for disabled people in Norway are established at county and municipality levels as advisory bodies for the local authorities. They are normally composed of NGO representatives, local politicians and the local administration (No: Råd for funksjonshemmende).