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Project Team Members: Danielle Fraser

Awaits is a mobile application aiming to automate the consignment of wheelchairs at airports.

How does your project remove barriers for people with disabilities and/or aging populations?

My project focuses on removing barriers for people with mobility disabilities at airports. More specifically, the app intends to automate the consignment of wheelchairs for airlines at Toronto Pearson International Airport. This is an airport where all airlines are currently responsible for independently organizing the process of providing wheelchairs to those that need them while travelling with the airline. This app allows passengers to log in and request or change their needs in advance or check the status of the wheelchair while waiting for it at the airport before reaching security. It also allows airline employees to interact with passengers and keep them updated while tracking the location of all the wheelchairs. Overall, its purpose is to prepare for the upcoming increase in wheelchair requests by using a mobile app to keep both the passengers and employees organized and prepared.

Where did the idea for your project come from?

The idea for my project began years ago while working as a marketing assistant at Savaria, which is a leading manufacturer of wheelchair lifts, stairlifts, home elevators, and accessible vans. Savaria focused on paying attention to the growing senior population in Canada. Knowing this, I began to research some of the predicted effects this demographic change will bring. Then, in my Master of Digital Media program in the summer of 2017, I decided to focus on airport travel for my thesis project.

What are the goals and objectives of your project?

The goal of my project is to help make airport travel a barrier-free experience for people with mobility disabilities – which is especially important with our aging population – and to increase knowledge of accessibility legislation in Canada.

Who is the target audience for your project?

Awaits focuses on older adults and people with mobility disabilities.

What did you and your team gain from being involved in the Accessibility Project?

Through my involvement with the Accessibility Project, I have had the amazing opportunity to bring my idea to life. This began with hiring a designer to create a branding package, a website for information, and wireframes for a mobile app. It has more recently given me the chance to begin the development process by hiring an iOS developer to create this mobile application. The Accessibility Project has also allowed me to meet several people in the industry and connect with people that have similar goals and aspirations, which in turn is when I realized that this app is targeting an issue that is much larger than I originally realized.

What are your future plans for your project?

Once the developer has completed all the requirements for the mobile application, I plan to approach some of the major airlines at Toronto Pearson International Airport and sell them the application. More specifically, I have plans to meet with the creative team at Air Canada and pitch this idea to eventually bring it to life as part of their business practices. Following the success of this, I have plans to eventually extend the app to other Canadian airports.