Accessibility for Embracing Social
Labour and Welfare Bureau, Architectural Services Department,
Housing Department, Highways Department, Transport Department

Exemplary Services@Gov
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(Cantonese with English subtitles)

In 2010, a Task Force led by the Labour and Welfare Bureau with members from the Architectural Services Department, the Housing Department, the Highways Department, the Transport Department and a number of other bureaux and departments (B/Ds) was formed tocoordinate follow-up actions on improving accessibility to public premises.

Shared vision to create a barrier-free society

To achieve universal accessibility, the Task Force has adopted a facility-based approach. From the angles of persons with disabilities, accessible routes are designed to lead users step-by-step from nearby transport and road systems to the major public facilities to facilitate their access to the services therein. The routes make full use of tactile guide paths, signs, ramps, escalators and other barrier-free facilities. Coordination among B/Ds ensures smooth integration of these facilities.

The concerted effort of B/Ds is no simple task bearing in mind the complexity of design, the need for consultation with stakeholders, as well as the large number of venues (over 3,500) under the Retrofitting Programme. Yet with a shared vision, the Task Force has successfully implemented the improvement works.

Besides, B/Ds have appointed Access Co-ordinators and Access Officers, who are responsible for coordinating accessibility issues within B/Ds, managing accessibility facilities at venues and offering assistance to persons with disabilities in accessing the venue and using the services and facilities therein. Training programmes such as sign language courses and workshops on diversities are also conducted.

Taking a user-centred approach by listening carefully

Persons with different disabilities have different needs for facilities. A seemingly simple task like the design of signage requires careful considerations to its position, font size, colour contrast and whether audible signs are required to address the needs of users.

The best way to understand the needs of users is to listen actively and patiently. To this end, B/Ds conducted site visits with various organisations of persons with disabilities to gather views and fine-tune the design of barrier-free facilities. They are attentive to every detail of the barrierfree facilities to meet the diversified needs. An excellent example is Yau Lai Shopping Centre, winner of the Grand Award of the "Hong Kong Barrier-free Shopping Mall" competition. In addition to multi-sensory maps, pen and paper are provided at service counters to facilitaten communication with the hearing impaired.

The project has not only enhanced the accessibility of persons with disabilities to physical environment, but also made a significant contribution to building an equal and inclusive society.

Multi-sensory maps are placed at appropriate locations to guide the visually impaired to public facilities.
To ensure that the design of barrier-free facilities meets their needs, works departments arranged site visits with organisations of persons with disabilities to elicit their feedback.
The installation of handrails, ramps, tactile guide paths and automatic doors have made it easier for persons with disabilities to reach their destinations.