Since February 15, 2021, the Technical University of Moldova is part of the project “DANOVA – innovative transport services for blind and visually impaired passengers in the Danube Region” through the Research Center “Road Infrastructure Safety Observatory – OSIR” within the Department of Transport Infrastructure Engineering, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, registered in the Platform for External Assistance Management (PGAE) with ID 8721186315739. Project manager: Dr. Ilie BRICICARU, OSIR director.

DANOVA is a transnational cooperation project, co-financed by the Transnational Program “INTERREG Danube Transnational Program”, one of the European Territorial Cooperation programs funded by the European Union (http://www.interreg-danube.eu/), whose main purpose is to improve the accessibility of airports, ports, train and bus stations for the blind and visually impaired, by developing a set of new services to enable disabled people to have full access to all information and transport services.

With a duration of 30 months (July 1, 2020 – December 31, 2022) and a total budget of 2,192,546.66 euros, the project brings together partners from 9 countries (Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Slovenia, Hungary) and 14 partners, motivated to work together to make transport facilities more accessible.

More than 30 million blind and visually impaired people registered in Europe cannot travel independently, as more than 96% of the European transport system, especially in the Danube region, is not fully accessible to these people. Many blind and visually impaired passengers find it extremely difficult and, in some cases, even impossible, to use conventional transport, such as airplanes, trains or urban public transport.

There are various reasons for this: blind and visually impaired passengers do not have equal access to visual or written information; staff are often not trained to adequately support and communicate with blind and visually impaired passengers; the lack of an adequate infrastructure accessible to these people; differences between existing national legislation on accessibility from country to country, etc.

Throughout the Danube Region, there is a growing demand from organizations that hire and represent blind and visually impaired people to improve or set up new services that will make the environment of transport facilities more inclusive and accessible, where blind passengers will be treated as equals.

DANOVA’s objective is to meet this need through tangible results and an integrated and transnational approach:

  • international study of best practices and solutions to be implemented in the Danube region;
  • capitalization strategy – to support decision makers in the transfer of identified knowledge and solutions in an effective way;
  • involving stakeholders in the process of designing a new transnational transport system concept in the Danube Region, which will be fully accessible to blind and visually impaired passengers;
  • testing innovative solutions in the countries involved in the project;
  • training staff on how to use the new services and how to properly assist and communicate with blind and visually impaired passengers.

The consortium of partners is led by Dubrovnik Airport (Croatia), being well balanced in terms of involvement of airports, ports, academia, local authorities and associations representing the blind: Žilina Airport, Budapest Airport, Budapest Transport Center, University in Maribor, the Bulgarian Association for Technology and Innovation Transfer, the Croatian Union of the Blind, the Austrian Federation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Dubrovnik Port Authority, Maribor, Montenegro Airports, Kotor Port, Sarajevo International Airport and The Technical University of Moldova.

The project also involves 4 associated partners: the Slovak Union for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Ljubljana Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Republic of Moldova and the DEX Innovation Center.

More details can be learned from the project manager Dr. Ilie BRICICARU, OSIR director, ilie.bricicaru@dmmc.utm.md.

Project details:

Project number: DTP543 DANOVA

Starting date: 01.07.2020

Closing date: 31.12.2022

Total budget: 2,192,546.66 Euro

ERDF contribution: 1,739,970.00 Euro

IPA II contribution: 362,130.00 Euro

ENI-MD budget: 90,446.67 Euro (including TUM contribution – 13,567,000 Euro).

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