The year is drawing to a close but there’s still time to donate to Open Doors Organization if you like the work we do. While part of our non-profit’s funding comes from paid contracts and services, we still rely on private donations to support most of our charitable activities. We never say “no” to a good cause even though it means stretching our resources and working hours. That’s how our achievements consistently exceed everyone’s expectations, despite being such a small organization. At ODO you can be sure that your tax-deductible contribution will go directly into services, programs and employment to benefit people with disabilities. Donate online or call us at 773.388.8839.
News & Events
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UAIA 2016–Best Ever!
The 6th Universal Access in Airports (UAIA), held Nov. 14-16 in San Francisco, far exceeded our expectations in attendance, especially by the airports themselves, and in the quality of the presentations and discussions. We were truly impressed by how far the aviation industry has come since our first UAIA in Baltimore in 2006. No longer is it necessary to emphasize the importance of the disability travel market. Instead all the stakeholders are now fully engaged in how best to meet the needs of these valued customers, where to find the necessary resources and which technologies are likely to be most inclusive. A common theme running throughout the event was the need for greater cooperation among airports, airlines and service companies. Thanks to all who attended, especially for your valuable contributions to our ACRP focus group research, and to the many presenters for sharing their expertise. We also thank United Airlines, presenting sponsor; cohosts Airports Council International, Virgin America and Global Repair Group; and the many donors who helped make this unique event possible. UAIA 2016 Presentations
ODO Leads ACRP 01-31 Project
Open Doors Organization is lead investigator on a new Airports Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) project entitled Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities. It’s a broad topic and an exciting one. Partnering on the research, which kicked off July 2016, are Alliiance, Arora Engineers, Trillion Aviation and Indiana University. In addition to a literature review, ODO will be conducting surveys of aviation executives and travelers with disabilities, carrying out interviews and site visits at a number of airports in the US, Canada and Europe and holding focus groups on user needs. So if you work in aviation or have a disability, don’t be surprised if you receive an invitation from us to respond to a short questionnaire on Google Docs. For us to produce a really useful, comprehensive guidebook, your input is vital!
Open Taxis Wins New Bid
Open Doors Organization has again won the competitive bidding process to provide centralized wheelchair-accessible taxicab dispatch service to passengers across Chicago. The evaluation committee gave Open Taxis the highest score for its ability to connect passengers with wheelchair-accessible taxicabs with a smartphone app that includes key features such as estimated wait time and an estimated fare quote. The Open Taxis app is available from both the Apple App Store for IOS users and Google Play App Store for Android users. Riders can also call 855-WAV-1010 to request a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV). Mayor Emanuel’s taxi reforms will add 100 more WAVs by the end of 2016, with 400 in total mandated by January 1, 2018.
Disability Travel Spending at Record High $17.3 Billion
In conjunction with the ADA 25 Celebration, Open Doors Organization has released its much anticipated 2015 Market Study. It confirms once again that this is a strong market that’s still growing. American adults with disabilities now spend $17.3 billion annually on just their own travel. Conducted by Mandala Research, the 2015 Market Study is a follow-up to ODO’s groundbreaking 2002 and 2005 surveys. New this year are an expanded section on cruise travel and data on the use of mobile technology and ride share services. The 53-page report is available for sale on the ODO Academy website.
Press release: pdf doc
Key Findings: pdf msword
First ACI-ODO Workshop A Hit
ADA Motorcoach Training
In January 2012 Open Doors Organization (ODO), in cooperation with the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), launched a new training program for intercity and charter/tour bus operators. The program is designed to help companies meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and also provide the best possible service to their clients with disabilities including older travelers.
The lively, full-day training is conducted by two trainers, one a disability expert from ODO, the other a UMA board member and motorcoach operator. The morning session, which covers ADA basics, disability awareness and service on the coach, is for all personnel including drivers. The afternoon session, which addresses company policies and procedures, is for management
and sales staff.
The training is being marketed to state bus associations as well as to individual companies and groups of companies. A 2-hour Refresh Training is also available. For details and pricing, email
Laurel Van Horn, Director of Programs.