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Home » Svayam Accessibility Awards 2015

Svayam Accessibility Awards 2015

Svayam Accessibility Awards 2015 at Lisbon, Portugal

Svayam Accessibility Awards were instituted on 25 October 2010 to promote and recognize the concept of Accessibility & Universal Design in all spheres of our lives to make way for livable communities – in both rural & urban scapes. The awards are conferred on the organizations in the TRANSED hosting nation, that have shown consistent commitment towards providing accessible infrastructure for all. These awards play a pivotal role in providing the right impetus to the development of inclusive infrastructure, related policies & practices so that such initiatives are sustainable and meaningful.

Svayam Accessibility Awards 2015 ceremony were held on 30 July 2015 at Lisbon, Portugal on the sidelines of 14th International Conference on Mobility & Transportation for the Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED Conference, 2015). The Awards were given away by Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder – Svayam during the official Gala Dinner ceremony of TRANSED 2015.

Jury/ Award Committee 2015
  • Ms. Ann Frye, Director, Ann Frye Ltd., U.K. and Member, International Activities Sub Committee of ABE 60, TRB
  • Prof. (Ms.)  Anabela Simões, Ergonomics Department, Technical University of Lisbon Portugal and Member, Research Sub Committee of ABE(60) TRB
  • Mr. Anuj Malhotra Chief Executive Officer, Centre For Green Mobility, India
  • Mr. Amit Bhatt, Strategy Head, Urban Transport, EMBARQ India
  • Dr. Billie Louise [Beezy] Bentzen, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Accessible Design for the Blind
  • Prof. (Ms.) Rosario Macario, Associate Professor of Transportation with Habilitation, University of Lisbon, Portugal  & Chair- Organizing Committee, TRANSED 2015 Lisbon
  • Mr. Russell Thatcher, Sr. Transportation Planner, TranSystems Corporation, Boston, USA and  Member & Former Co-Chair, ABE 60 Committee of TRB
  • Prof. (Ms.) Lalita Sen, Professor, Texas Southern University, Co-Chair, ABE 60 of TRB
  • Ms. Nina Frid, Director General, Canadian Transportation Authority, Canada & Co-Chair of the TRB International Committee.
Recipients of Svayam Accessibility Awards 2015


1. Porto City Hall, Portugal - Best Practice by a Municipality for their Project ‘Accessible Itinerary System (SIA)’ . The award was received by Arch. Ms. Lia Ferreira, Ombudswoman of Porto Municipality.

Svayam Accessibility Awards
Architect Ms. Lia Ferreira, Ombudswoman of Porto Municipality receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2015 from Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder Svayam

Porto City Hall, through its Municipal Ombudsman for Citizens with Disabilities, successfully implemented this ‘Best Practice’ project titled ‘Accessible Itineraries System (SIA) Porto’ – portal that comes to help all the citizens, specially the ones with reduced mobility, optimizing itineraries that meet their needs.

The project maps the city, identifies the barriers to seamless & accessible mobility on city routes and addresses them with active citizen’s participation. In short, the project allows online consultation of optimized routes for accessibility (through map consultation), digitally calculated between two previously chosen points giving information not only about paths but also intermodal transportation connectivity, accessibility of important public buildings & spaces.

The project has been implemented with active partners like Associação de Surdos do Porto (ASP), Associação de Cegos e Amblíopes do Porto (ACAPO), Associação do Porto de Paralisia Cerebral (APPC) and Associação dos Deficientes das Forças Armadas (ADFA), plus Porto’s Metro and FEUP (Porto’s Engineering University).


2. Municipality of Lisbon, Portugal - Best Practice by a Municipality for their Project ‘Lisbon Accessible Pedestrian Plan’ . The award was received by Mr. João Afonso, Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Lisbon Municipality. 

Svayam Accessibility Awards
Mr. João Afonso, Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Lisbon Municipality, receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2015 from Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder- Svayam

Municipality of Lisbon implemented the ‘Best Practice’ Project – titled ‘Pedestrian Accessibility Plan’ after its approval by the City’s Assembly, in February 2014, and is expected to be completed in 2017. The project follows a participatory approach throughout the Plan’s implementation, in the development and dissemination of data and tools, definition of priorities, and uptake of guidelines and solutions.

A key goal for the Plan is to change the way the City administration works. Therefore, while the majority of plan’s actions are being executed by several city departments, a special task force ‘The Pedestrian Accessibility Plan Team’ has been formed which is responsible for coordination, monitoring, technical support and a few very specialized actions. Mr. Pedro Homem de Gouveia, Architect is coordinator of Pedestrian Accessibility Plan Team.

The Plan has three overarching goals:

  • Prevent the creation of new barriers;
  • Progressively adapt existing buildings;
  • Mobilize the community to create a city for everyone.

Instead of budgeting & addressing all infrastructural barriers in one go, the Plan defines an effort rate. Every year the City will invest 3% of public works budget in the adaptation of public spaces (e.g. sidewalks, crosswalks, bus stops, etc.) and public buildings (elementary schools, museums and libraries, public markets, etc.). And it hopes to address most barriers by 2017 as per the current plan.

Community participation is considered as a key. A high value is put on the collection of quantitative and qualitative data on the needs, difficulties and preferences of persons with disabilities and the elderly population. This project creates a safe, accessible and free of obstacles route for all pedestrians.


3. Association Salvador, Lisbon, Portugal - Best Practice by an NGO for promoting inclusive tourism through their website http://www.portugalacessivel.com. The award was being received by Mr. Salvador Mendes de Almeida, the Founder of Association Salvador.

Svayam Accessibility Awards
Mr. Salvador Mendes de Almeida, Founder- Association Salvador receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2015 from Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder- Svayam

Association Salvador is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 by Salvador Mendes de Almeida that is dedicated to social integration and improving the quality of life of people with reduced mobility (especially those in wheelchairs).

The website portugalaccessivel.com is today a national reference guide in providing information about the physical accessibility in different types of spaces in Portugal, also proposing accessible itineraries and enabling interaction and exchange of experiences between community of people with motor disabilities.

It counts with almost 5000 audited spaces. At the same time, it is a tool to raise awareness among public and private entities to promote the importance of accessibility. In addition to the website, the Association has also created a mobile application available for iOS, Android and Windows Phones.


[For more details visit Svayam's Blog]