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Community & Business Groups

What is the Linked Data for Accessibility group?

The Linked Data for Accessibility Community Group’s mission is to make accessibility information about buildings, services and routes easier to find — everywhere where people need it.

This is done

  1. by creating a common and open standard vocabulary for accessibility and
  2. by providing a central place for the web community to discuss issues around physical accessibility data.
  3. This group may publish Specifications based on the outcome of (1) and (2).

We aim at defining a common linked data vocabulary for accessibility information that can be used on the entire web. Such vocabulary can build upon or other linked data vocabularies and expand upon that to harmonize many accessibility data standards into a whole. Numerous accessibility data formats already exist, but the interoperability of those data formats is not very coordinated yet.

Accessibility is a wide-ranging subject that has bearing upon a broad spectrum of areas such as mobility, construction, automotive, travel/tourism, health, public transportation, and many more. We aim to bring together stakeholders that are active in those areas and already existing W3C communities such as Linked Building Data. Instead of reinventing the wheel we will use what is already there to to create a linked data standard for accessibility data.

Common use cases involve online services such as booking a hotel room, buying tickets for a concert or checking the accessibility of a route. As of today, it is very difficult for people with disabilities to request certain services online because the existing accessibility information about services, products, places and events is not linked and is thus not searchable. Currently, a guest, user or customer has to call the place or service provider to obtain all the necessary information, even when booking an offer marked as accessible. Search engines, online travel agencies and public transport companies do not yet provide comprehensive accessibility information about physical places. They do not because even if such data exists, it is not standardized and it is never linked. 

Accessibility and with it equal opportunities for participating in every aspect of life, be it on- or offline, is a human right, which must be reflected in every mainstream data exchange standard. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that persons with disabilities must have access so as to be able to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life. With the Linked Data for Accessibility Community Group, we want to work towards making this human right a reality for the world’s one billion inhabitants who live with a disability.

This Community Group is being proposed by Sozialhelden e.V. This non-profit organization also works on accessibility topics in other projects, such as and Accessibility.Cloud. The motivation for bringing this topic to W3C is to get input from a broader range of stakeholders and to greatly increase its impact.

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