Rogaland passenger ferry
There was great excitement in Rogaland when a new call for tender went out for high-speed passenger ferries in Ryfylke. One of the key criteria was that the ferries should be universally designed.
Ivan Fossan, CEO of the shipping company Tide Sjø, talked about the good level of cooperation between themselves, the client Rogaland Kollektivtrafikk FKF, Kolumbus and the shipyard Brødrene Aa in Hyen.
“When the tender contract was signed we built an excellent rapport with the client,” explained Mr Fossan. ”It was important that we worked closely with the yard already during the contracting phase. We held meetings with both the yard and representatives from the client to discuss universal design and ensure that we were all on the same wavelength. The yard has subsequently used its experience from this pioneering work in other projects, which we feel is very positive.”
Listening to users
Kolumbus prepared the design specifications and ensured that organisations such as the Norwegian Association for the Blind and Partially Sighted and the Norwegian Association for the Disabled, who represented different user groups, were consulted. Compromises often had to be made, since the regulations were too general in their nature. However, Ivan Fossan explained that each compromise was individually considered and the resulting solutions always aimed to make things better than before.
The gangways have been redesigned so that people with disabilities can get on and off without assistance. These gangways can be adjusted hydraulically allowing the crew to change the length, height and angle of inclination. They have non-slip surfaces, no steps and no transverse steps. The handrails are positioned at two heights along the entire length for added usability. Not only do these gangways ensure easy access to the ship for wheelchair users and parents with strollers, but also for service trolleys.
Inside the ships, all the colours, patterns and flooring have been selected to make it easier for visually impaired passengers to orient themselves. All lighting points have also been strategically positioned to create natural ambience and atmosphere, or to provide dedicated task lighting. Signage and plans throughout the ship are tactile and provided in 3D for people who navigate using touch.
The ships have induction coils, so all information given on the loudspeaker system can also be heard by passengers using hearing devices. All safety information is also shown on monitors around the ship to reinforce the message. The ship’s position is shown in real time on the monitors in the passenger salon. Prior to docking the name of the port is displayed on the monitors, something which also makes it easier for passengers who do not speak Norwegian. The ships are also equipped with external electronic destination signage. And last but not least, all construction materials and textiles used were selected with regard for people with allergies or hypersensitivity.
All these criteria have been taken on board to become a standard for ships built in this shipyard, including a number now being exported to Sweden.
The high-speed passenger ferries have been in service for four years to date and the results are extremely successful. Passengers find the boats easy to travel on as everything on board is intuitive and almost no one encounters difficulties. Embarkation and disembarkation is done efficiently, saving time for everyone.
Inside the ships, all the colours, patterns and flooring have been selected to make it easier for visually impaired passengers to orient themselves.
These gangways can be adjusted hydraulically allowing the crew to change the length, height and angle of inclination.