Transportation & Accessibility

Sunday, 15 Rajab 1439 AH - 1 April 2018 AD 1:30 PM-3:30 PM Auditorium 2

Session moderator : Eng. Talal Al Harbi


2- W-6 : How to Make Your Academic Institution Accessible for All in Five Years?

Speaker: Dr Wajdi Wazzan

Wajdi Ahmed Wazzan

Vice Dean for Students with Special Needs and Faculty of Engineering

King Abdulaziz University


He obtained his B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from King Abdulaziz University (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) in 1993, M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Central Florida (Orlando, USA) in 1998, and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Central Florida (Orlando, USA) in 2007. Dr. Wazzan, a wheelchair user due to polio, is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Industrial Engineering, KAU and the Vice Dean for Students with Special Needs, Deanship of Students’ Affair where he is working on large projects (more than 1 Million US $) to make King Abdulaziz University an accessible environment for students with disabilities. His Ph.D. dissertation was partially supported by the National Science Foundation (NSA) in the USA and currently his research endeavours received grants from the Deanship of Scientific Research and the Vice Presidency for Academic Affairs at KAU and the national transformation initiative 2020 towards the new vision for the kingdom in 2030. His research interests include engineering education, disability research, universal design, information systems, cognitive learning.


How to Make Your Academic Institution Accessible for All in Five Years?


This workshop offers a hands-on experience on the work done at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to make the university a friendly environment for persons with disabilities over the past five years and how to take advantage of it in other universities in the region. The workshop outlines the short, medium, and long-term strategic plans developed to achieve the goals, administrative measures and changes that have taken place at the university in this context. The workshop is presented interactively and includes the following topics:

1. A presentation on the status quo in the university before the start of Project

2. Changing the educational environment (topics including the application of the concept of universal Design in learning, changing the attitude of teaching staff with students with special needs, opening new disciplines and educating the deaf, autistic, etc.)

 3. Changing the built environment (accessibility project, first and longest blind track in the region and safe mobility for people with visual impairment)

4. The funded project by the national transformation initiative 2020 towards the new vision for the kingdom 2030 (Bluetooth for the blind project, the Daisy Format project, testing center project)

5. Serving the community (ex. Life on wheels exhibition, Makkah Governor prize for accessible practices)

6. The House of expertise

Who can benefit from attending the workshop:

1. Supervisors and administrators of university needs Centers

2. Leaders and members of the teaching staff of higher education institutions

3. Leaders and decision makers

3- W-7 : Royal Commission methodology in designing handicapped-complied projects

Speaker: Eng. Meshary Al-Ghanim

Meshary Al-Ghanim    

Project Engineer

Royal Commission in Jubail


Project engineer for designing many schools and kindergartens. Participated in the study of functional analysis of schools, the regional center for quality and excellence in education, the center of educational activities, Jubail airport and interactive visitors exhibition center. In addition to many mosques and other projects. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Engineering and Construction Management from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.


Royal Commission methodology in designing handicapped-complied projects


Royal Commission in Jubail and Yanbu ensures that its projects are complying with Saudi and international codes including the accessibility requirements.The neighborhood districts and clusters accessibility is designed to meet the requirements of privacy, security, controlled access, way finding and identity. Pedestrian circulation and activities are encouraged and laid out in a simple network to be accessible and to encourage residents to walk for short trips to the neighborhood centers. Buildings accesses are integrated with the surroundings to provide ease of accessibility. The buildings are designed to be in compliance with SBC, IBC and ICC-A117. A checklist is used in designing and reviewing the projects to ensure that the building design is fulfilling the accessibility requirements. This checklist are meant to assist the designers and reviewers in the preparation and review of project documents.  It identifies the minimum code analysis and code requirements for all projects. This checklist includes Parking, walkways, entrances, corridors, toilets and plumbing fixtures, doors, and signage. Royal Commission prepare periodical training for their designers and reviewers for educating them about the requirement of the code.The cycles of design reviews are 10%, 30%, 60%, 90% and 100% where at each stage the project is reviewed against the Saudi and International codes. An example of RC designed project shows the different elements of ADA complied project that need to be implemented. Details of requirements in ADA elements are highlighted such as Grab bars size, shape and strength in addition to stair nosing shape and visibility, surfaces resistance, ground opening sizes and direction, signage finishes and dimensions. 

1- W-5 : Design across the visual divide: Design for Universal Delight

Speaker: Chris Downey

Christopher V. Downey, AIA


Architecture for the Blind


With 20 years of architectural practice before losing all sight in 2008, Chris Downey now leverages his disability as a unique strength specializing in projects rooted in universal design and in projects that are specific to or challenging for people who are blind and visually impaired. Whether rehabilitation or transit centers, eye clinics, or museums, he designs environments that are accessible with particular care and focus on visual accessibility and the non-visual experience. Chris has consulted on projects in San Francisco, California including the Lighthouse for the Blind, the Independent Living Resource Center and the Transbay Transit Center as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center in nearby Palo Alto, CA. He has also consulted on various planning and public transit projects including the development of the Downtown Corridor Plan for the nearby City of Concord, design and community engagement for the AC Transit Bus Rapid Transit project, and has consulted with and advised BART on numerous accessibility and Universal Design initiatives. He has consulted nationally on such projects as the Duke University Eye Center in Durham, North Carolina, renovations to housing for the blind in New York City and for accessibility improvements for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL. He is currently consulting on the new headquarters for the National Industries for the Blind in Alexandria, VA, the new UPMC Eye Institute in Pittsburgh, PA the development of a new inclusive wayfinding strategy for Microsoft's campus in Redmond, WA and a new campus and building(s) for the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Aberdeen, SD. His work is now global consulting with Grimshaw Architects of the UK and Thinc Design of New York for the Expo 2020, Sustainability Pavilion in Dubai, UAE.

As an architect and designer deeply imbedded within the blind and disability culture and community, he has grown to realize that his disability, his blindness, is less about what cannot be seen but more importantly about the broad and rich spectrum of the sensory phenomena that can be experienced and understood on multiple levels that can all be composed and curated toward a common shared goal. Chris has transformed his disability into a unique strength leveraging it as a powerful design strategy for richer and more immersive experiences to the benefit of all. This approach infuses his prior sighted architectural experience with the wide range of work specific to and within the blind, visually impaired, and general disability experience for a truly unique skill set and platform as collaborator and advisor .

Chris also teaches accessibility and Universal Design for the University of California, Berkeley Department of Architecture, is involved with two federally funded research projects including the development of design guidelines for improved wayfinding and orientation for the blind and visually impaired in airports for the Federal Aviation Administration and has a Gubernatorial appointment to the California Commission on Disability Access. He has served on the board of directors for the LightHouse for the Blind of San Francisco since 2010 and as its president since 2016. He speaks internationally about Architecture and visual impairment ,has been featured in numerous media stories including The 2015 AIA documentary short, "An architect's Story " while his TED Talk, "Design with the Blind in Mind," has been viewed nearly a million times. The American Foundation for the Blind has honored Chris with its 2017 Helen Keller Achievement Award and the Associated Services for the Blind in Philadelphia, PA honored him with its 2017 Louis Braille Achievement Award while the AIA California Council has honored him with its 2016 Norma Sklarek award for social responsibility. Most recently, the College of Design at North Carolina State University, where he received his undergraduate degree in architecture, has selected him for its 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Chris received his Bachelor of Environmental Design from North Carolina State University in 1984 and his Masters of Architecture from the University of California Berkeley in 1992.


Design across the visual divide: Design for Universal Delight


Blind architect Chris Downey offers a unique look through his total sight loss to share a thoughtful glimpse of the broad spectrum of the blind and visually impaired experience posing the question, "what is delight if it cannot be seen?" He then helps sighted architects, engineers and designers to imagine and nurture delight for all to enjoy - with or without sight. The workshop and address will consider empathy, research, design examples, strategies to emulate and failures to avoid through an inspiring  and at times humorous talk with a uniquely accessible presentation format. Workshop exercises will include break-out sessions to explore non-visual design strategies and multi-sensory experiences. Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of visual and non-visual needs to address for more inclusive design, a stronger understanding of how design for multi-sensory experiences are essential to the creation of delight and several new ideas to pursue for future projects. If you aspire to provide access beyond mere function toward access to delight for all of us, your future success depends on developing a rich sense of empathy across the entire visual and sensory experience. Learn to look through and design for the eyes of others including those that don't "look" like you.

W-8 : King Saud University &  Universal Accessibility 

Speaker: Dr. Naser Al Ajmi 

W-9 :  Transportaion Authority 

Phillipe Ducom