DIGNITY (DIGital traNsport In and for socieTY) was an EU-funded project that took place from Jan 2020 to Dec 2022. It involved a consortium of academic, industrial and local authority partners from across five different European countries. Its overarching goal was to foster a sustainable, integrated and user-friendly digital travel eco-system that improves accessibility and social inclusion, along with the travel experience and daily life of all citizens.
The project delved into the digital transport eco-system to grasp the full range of factors that might lead to disparities in the uptake of digitalised mobility solutions by different user groups in Europe. Analysing the digital transition from both a user and provider perspective, DIGNITY looked at the challenges brought about by digitalisation. It then designed, tested and validated the DIGNITY approach, a novel concept that seeks to become the ‘ABCs for a digital inclusive travel system’.
THE DIGNITY APPROACH
The DIGNITY approach combines analysis and action to ensure that digital mobility services are inclusive over the long term. The approach links users’ needs and requirements (the Micro-level) with the provision of mobility services (Meso-level), while also connecting the institutional framework (Macro-level) to that same service provision.
It is a multi-phase process that first seeks to FRAME and understand the digital gap, and then to BRIDGE that gap by developing strategies and solutions for different mobility contexts. Finally, it EVALUATES, tests, and fine-tunes these strategies and solutions.
The approach is inspired by proven inclusive design methodologies that, in combination with the principles of foresight analysis, foster a structured involvement of all actors –local institutions, market players, interest groups and end users. Together, these actors bridge the digital gap by co-creating more inclusive mobility solutions and by formulating user-centred policy frameworks.
The DIGNITY approach starts with the Framing phase, which provides a detailed understanding of vulnerable-to-exclusion users and their needs. This stage explores how many people are at risk of being excluded in the mobility sector and why, as well as how target groups use existing products and services and why they use or do not use them.
At the heart of the DIGNITY approach is the Bridging phase, aimed at producing solutions to bridge the digital gap. As part of DIGNITY, Cambridge University’s Inclusive Design Wheel was adapted for the digital mobility sector. The resultant DIGNITY IDW guides companies through the design of inclusive digital mobility products and services, engaging end users and other stakeholders in the co-creation of new solutions. At the same time, a Scenario Building approach involves a range of local stakeholders in examining policy and identifying possible future scenarios, encouraging decision makers to reduce the digital gap by adopting appropriate legislation and governance frameworks.
Then comes the Evaluating phase. This final stage involves the analysis of DIGNITY’s overall results and impacts with specific attention to the Inclusive Design Wheel and Scenario Building. The outcomes of these methodologies are examined to determine whether the proposed solutions are more inclusive, to what extent mutual understanding between the different stakeholder groups has been enhanced and to formulate long-term strategies to fill the gap.
The toolkit is designed to support two main activities:
- It guides public and private mobility players and providers in developing more inclusive mainstream digital products or services. The goal being to make these digital travel solutions accessible to and usable by as many people as possible, regardless of their income, disability, social situation or age.
- It helps policy makers in formulating long-term strategies that promote innovation in transport while responding to global social, demographic and economic changes, including the challenges of poverty and migration.
The toolkit provides a set of TOOLS to help with these activities by improving the understanding of the issues faced by vulnerable-to-exclusion groups and the integration of inclusive design practices in the design of mobility policies, products and services. By focusing on and involving end-users throughout the process, it is possible to reduce social exclusion, while boosting new business models and social innovation.
The DIGNITY toolkit includes an innovative DECISION SUPPORT TOOL, which guides the website user to identify the tools that are most suited to their specific context and needs.
All statistical data in this website come from the Dignity surveys. Extensive information can be found at:
- Goodman-Deane, J., Waller, S. (2022). D1.2 Benchmark of factors affecting use of digital products and services across Europe. DIGNITY project deliverable. Available here.
- Goodman-Deane, J., Kluge, J., Waller, S., Roca Bosch, E. (2022). DIGNITY digital exclusion dataset – Germany [Dataset]. 1 v. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Link here. Available open access from UPCommons repository.
- Goodman-Deane, J.; Waller, S.; Roca Bosch, E. (2022). DIGNITY digital exclusion dataset – Italy [Dataset]. 1 v. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Link here.
- Goodman-Deane, J; Waller, S; Roca, E; Lazzarini, B; Maciej, B; Villares, M. (2022). DIGNITY digital exclusion dataset – Barcelona [Dataset]. 1 v. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Link here.