16 May 2024

Joining up the journey

Airports could improve the experience of passengers and staff by taking a more holistic approach to interactions between people, technology and equipment, new research claims. The study examined the cognitive and physical challenges that people who need additional support faced at the transport hubs using surveys and observation.

Issues reported by passengers included not enough communication from staff, problems accessing Special Assistance services and fragmented journeys with worries about long waiting times at each handover point.

For staff, concerns included lack of awareness about how to deal with people with disabilities and those from different cultures, as well as a shortage of equipment such as wheelchairs and high-vis vests.

The study’s recommendations include improving the layout of Assistance Points (APs), which employees had reported as being inefficient, bringing in one-way systems for wheelchairs and improving the handover process for the passengers requiring special assistance (PRS).

It said: “Further research is recommended to include larger sample size and capture end-to end passenger journey across all landside and airside APs in order to verify the results of this study and build more complete picture of PRS journey.”

The research was presented by Edyta Ostrowska from Arup at last month’s Ergonomics & Human Factors 2024 conference. Read more about her research