Barrier-free Tourism for Seniors: ACCESS

Barrier-free Tourism for Seniors: ACCESS


Mobility is indispensable for participation in every day life. Elderly people often are limited in this issue since it is hard for them to pass barriers like stairs, slopes or heavy doors. This frequently restrains them from access to events or locations and therefore many seniors are excluded from great parts of public life. The research project ACCESS wants to explore touristic offers and locations and show up ways to make them easily accessible for people with mobility handicaps. The intended system is meant to help its users in planning their spare time and constitutes a mobile help to avoid barriers.


Project ACCESS is intended to develop an assistance system for senior citizens with mobility handicaps, providing barrier-free city and in-building navigation. The goal is to countervail the decreasing agility of older people through adapted city and tourism information, senior-focused services an individually adjusted routing. By regarding the users mobility barriers can be avoided by the navigation system. Until the end of the project there will be a prototypical guidance system in several selected model regions and cities all over Germany. Fraunhofer IIS’s solution for self-sufficient wireless LAN positioning awiloc® is going to pave the way for an unlimited navigation – both indoors and outdoors.

Navigation application for mobile devices

The wireless LAN based positioning with awiloc constitutes one of the key values of the ACCESS project since it will facilitate indoor navigation. Current GPS based systems only perform in open spaces, not in places like buildings, subway stations or shopping malls. The awiloc technology overcomes this limitation, so the ACCESS assistance services can be available indoors, too.

By using the mobile application users will additionally be able to rate barriers and capture new ones directly on site. This will create a data pool which will be consistent and available all over Germany and always up-to-date.

Gathering of barrier data

For a customized routing it is necessary to have accurate information about the existing terrain. Under the project partners there are several associations representing seniors and disabled people which makes them experts in judging what could be barriers. They identify the relevant aspects so proper data can be gathered. Therefore existing data bases from the model regions and cities are used as well as new data, which will be collected. The exact knowledge about public spaces then forms the basis on which the navigation system can regard the user mobility in its routing.

Sponsorship and project partners

As part of the research program »Mobil ins hohe Alter« which is focused on avoiding barriers through seamless mobility chains project ACCESS is promoted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The agenda »Das Alter hat Zukunft« (age has a future) aims on improving life quality for older people.

Project leader IT2media and partner art2guide are going to create the information system and service tools. For an adequate definition of what can be barriers there is Sociopolis, BAGSO and NatKo on the project. Fraunhofer IIS delivers the awiloc® positioning platform for the navigation on barrier-free routes. The senior-focused services will be organized by Caritas Mecklenburg e.V. For the development of a prototypical system following model regions and cities participate in the project: Nuremberg, Landkreis Rostock, Landkreis Spree-Neiße, Heidelberg, Koblenz, Euskirchen, Görlitz and Bad Dürrheim.

Information on the developments of the project can be found on and on Facebook.