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Challenge / Goal

More than one billion people in the world live with some form of disability, of whom nearly 200 million experience considerable difficulties in functioning. In the years ahead, disability will be an even greater concern because its prevalence is on the rise. This is due to ageing populations and the higher risk of disability in older people as well as the global increase in chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health disorders.

Longevity is one of the biggest achievements of modern societies. In 2020, a quarter of Europeans were over 60 years of age. Combined with low birth rates, this will bring about significant changes to the structure of the society. In this regard, population ageing has profound implications for the planning and delivery of health and social care. At developed countries the spending on medical care is currently growing faster than GDP. According to the 2015 Ageing Report, the total ageing costs in the euro area are projected to increase by 1.5% of GDP, from 26.8% in 2013 to 28.3% in 2060.

Despite the life expectancy rise, quality of life in these latest years may be poorer due to frailty. While frailty increases, average amount of health spending increases in a range from 1,500 to 5,000 €/person year. But frailty does not occur in silos; it comes with loneliness. Senior citizens who experience loneliness are at increased risk of becoming physically frail. Ageing, frailty, and loneliness constitute overlapping conditions submitted to multiple health and care interventions. Frailty can be considered a malleable and manageable condition, therefore, there may be opportunities to halt, reverse, manage and/or prevent its adverse consequences and worsening.

As every other city Barcelona and its citizens had to face these challenges.


App&Town Compagnon is the System which improves mobility, inclusion and quality of life of people with disabilities and senior citizens.

Why was App&Town Compagnon used in Barcelona?

The advances in geolocation technologies and the rise of mobile devices have induced the development of technological solutions that help in transport. These solutions, however, are not designed for people who require assistance due to:

·      Lack of precision: their guidance systems are based on predefined milestones within the provided route. When the user arrives to the milestone, an instruction is given. However, if the user never reaches it, the system provides a new route, causing possible confusion and disorientation.

·      Lack of accessibility: interfaces and applications are developed without considering the accessibility requirements or the needs of people with disabilities.

·      Lack of assistance: trip planners do not provide assistance, leaving the user unattended and not offering support if required.

App&Town Compagnon comprises:

1. Control Panel based on a Web App hosted in the cloud, which is used to plan and customize the routes of the users, as well as to monitor the trip, receive alerts and assist the user before any incident.

2. A mobile application with a universal design that provides users with high precision guidance during their travels, when walking, when using public transport and when accessing indoor facilities.

App&Town Compagnon roles:

•      User: people with disabilities or reduced mobility, extendable to users who require help.

•      Assistants: relatives and caregivers who can plan routes and monitor the trip.

•      Operators: watching the user's journey, as well as provide remote assistance in case of incident.

•      Helpers: people who are part of the Collaborative Angels Network to provide enroute assistance.

App&Town Compagnon meets the following four characteristics:

•      Provides personalized route planning.

•      Offers high-precision guidance and navigation.

•      Ensures user safety through remote monitoring and assistance.

•      Maximizes the accessibility of the system for people with any kind of dysfunctions.

Citizen participation

System was co-created with Société de transport de Laval, Organizations of people with cognitive disabilities in Canada, Fundació Sant Pere Claver (Barcelona), Fundació AMPANS (Santpedor), Fundación ONCE (Madrid), Germanes Hospitalàries (Barcelona) and Ilunion Accesibilidad (Madrid). The system hasn’t been designed for vulnerable people but designed with vulnerable people.



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Time period

Planning time: 6 months to 1 year

Implementation time: Less than 6 months

    Main benefits

  • Improving social integration

  • Improving life quality

  • Improving travel safety

  • Improving public transport accessibility

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