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Workshop on Assessing the Needs and Existing Solutions for Target Users in Varna

On May 31, 2024, a workshop on Assessing the Needs and Existing Solutions for Target Users was held in Varna, organized by the Bulgarian Association for Transfer of Technology and Innovation (BATTI). The event took place at the Karin Dom building and was attended by representatives from the hosting organization and the Union of the Blind in Bulgaria, which unites over 13,000 citizens with reduced work capacity due to vision loss.

The workshop began with an introduction to the DANOVA NEXT project, whose main goal is to improve the accessibility of transport in the Danube region for all people with disabilities (visual/hearing impairments and reduced mobility). The project focuses on innovations and technology transfer to create new, personalized services and provide fully accessible digital transport information services by building an intelligent network between airports, ports, and local urban transport.

The DANOVA NEXT project has three main objectives:

• Developing a strategic framework for accessible transport in the Danube region,

• Creating an intelligent transport data network for digital accessibility,

• Testing innovative services to enhance the accessibility of transport hubs in the Danube region.

During the workshop, a common needs assessment template was used to gather participants’ opinions. An international survey is also being conducted within the project to collect views on the need to improve the availability and accessibility of transport for people with disabilities and reduced mobility. The survey encourages all stakeholders to express their views and needs. Guests at the event had the opportunity to fill it out live and share additional comments.

In the final part of the workshop, participants held a discussion, evaluated the achievements so far, and shared suggestions for improvements. Photos were taken to document the event, and catering was provided for the attendees.

The event concluded with optimism and a commitment to future actions to improve transport accessibility for people with disabilities, contributing to a more integrated and inclusive society.