Wider accessibility in Qatar
Initiative description: Promote best-practice accessibility solutions in Qatar through appropriate consultation and engagement with expert partners and community organisations. This will include the continued development of the Accessibility Forum to engage with disability experts and disabled users, the establishment of working groups with stakeholders that can drive enhancements in the physical infrastructure and services in Qatar, and the implementation of audits to ensure accessibility objectives are being achieved.
Accessibility Forum and other partnerships
To further support and enhance accessibility and inclusivity for disabled people during but also beyond the FIFA World Cup 2022™, the SC established the Accessibility Forum in 2016. The forum is made up of 80 people from 25 different organisations and aims to ensure a seamless fan experience for disabled people during the tournament, through testing, evaluating and consulting on plans before they are implemented to ensure the best outcomes. Members of the Forum represent a diverse group of people, including wheelchair users, people with limited mobility, deaf and blind people, learning disabled people, people with mental health issues and people with sensory requirements. This has helped us to take all access requirements into consideration.
To date, the Forum has hosted a range of workshops that explore ways in which disabled people can take part in the organisation of the tournament and determine which requirements need to be fulfilled to ensure an optimal fan experience for disabled people attending the FIFA World Cup 2022™. The Forum has undertaken visits to Ahmad Bin Ali, Education City and Al Bayt Stadiums to test a range of accessibility features and provide feedback. As a result, a series of tournament and legacy accessibility enhancements have been achieved, particularly with regards to infrastructure and transportation.
Wider transport and public realm accessibility
The majority of spectators attending the FIFA World Cup 2022™ will be arriving through Hamad International Airport (HIA). We are working closely with the Qatar Company for Airports Operation and Management (MATAR) and airlines to ensure that there is adequate pre-flight information available, so that airports are aware of individual needs and the appropriate access preparations can be delivered. Additional opportunities continue to be explored and further accessibility enhancements will be made at HIA in preparation for the tournament. A comprehensive airport guide will also be developed to enable disabled people to make appropriate plans for their arrival and provide a seamless journey for these visitors.
Transport connectivity and accessibility is crucial to achieving ease of movement and equal services for all visitors. The launching of the Metro by Qatar Rail has significantly expanded the public transport network, with accessibility for disabled people being a core consideration. All 37 stations are accessible and provide disabled people improved connectivity and travel times to key destinations such as the stadiums, visitor attractions and accommodation sites. Furthermore, the SC is working closely with Mowasalat to ensure that significant accessibility improvements to both the public bus services and taxi operations are made well ahead of the tournament. All these travel options will be explained in an accessible travel planner that will be made available to disabled people, to enable them to plan their journeys with ease and confidence.
In addition, together with our partners the Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ and the Ministry of Transport, we seek to provide a network of key routes that are safe and accessible for all users. This includes an increased number of dropped kerbs and raised crossings, wider footpaths, less pedestrian and footpath obstructions, tactile paving, as well as improved signage and connectivity to key facilities such as transport hubs, accommodation and places of leisure. Work on these enhancements is already underway on key areas such as central Doha and the Corniche.
Accessibility of cultural attractions and accommodation
In 2018, following an audit by the Accessibility Forum of ‘Katara’, the cultural village in Doha, several accessibility enhancements were identified and over QAR 1M was invested by Katara on site enhancements. The Forum continues to engage with Qatar’s cultural sector to drive enhancements that will ensure Qatar’s visitor attractions can be enjoyed by everyone.
We are also working with the government and the private sector to ensure that a wide range of accessible accommodation options are available for people with varying access requirements during and beyond the tournament. Specific consideration is being given to ensure there are adequate wheelchair-accessible rooms available with easy access and adapted bathrooms across a range of permanent and temporary accommodation. Specific adaptations for hard of hearing, deaf, partially-sighted and blind people will also be provided.