09.07.2013

City of Vienna and Bank Austria Provide New Impetus for a Barrier-Free Environment
Service initiative launched to ensure accessibility for people with special needs in Vienna

The City of Vienna has launched a new initiative in the transport sector to provide additional impetus for a barrier-free environment: Bank Austria has become the first partner to join the project. Starting today, all barrier-free branches of Bank Austria will be shown on the online version of the city map. This makes Bank Austria the first private company in the financial industry to have contributed its barrier-free data for inclusion on the map.

In future, a comprehensive information system about barrier-free transport facilities in Vienna will be made available electronically.
As well as the first images of the barrier-free Bank Austria branches, the City of Vienna will also offer online transport-related information about barrier-free facilities in public spaces as of September 2013. Information about dropped kerbs, tactile surfaces to guide the visually impaired (guidance system for the blind), information about materials such as paving stones and asphalt as well as acoustic signals for the blind at pedestrian crossings are all to be made available online.

This will be followed in 2014 by information about, among other things, stairs and barrier-free routes for pedestrians.
"We hope that with this initiative we can provide new impetus for a barrier-free environment and offer more service. Being able to create a barrier-free pedestrian route using the city map, for example, can be really helpful. I am delighted that Bank Austria approached us with a desire to cooperate with us in this area and has made its data available. Any other organisations wishing to enter a partnership are most welcome," said Vienna's Deputy Mayor Maria Vassilakou.

Willibald Cernko, the CEO of Bank Austria: "We were very pleased to pick up this City of Vienna initiative and participate in supporting the targeted expansion of the city map information platform with our data. It is one more successful step toward making the public space barrier-free. As one of Austria's leading banks, we are not only committed to succeeding in business, we also have a social responsibility to the people in our country. We therefore want to play a pioneering role not just in terms of our business results, but in our social competencies and the respect with which we treat people. Intensive efforts to support people with special needs are a long-standing priority for Bank Austria, for we can only fulfil our social responsibility successfully if we do so with as many people as possible."

Bank Austria Creates a Barrier-Free Environment at all Levels
Approximately two thirds of Bank Austria retail branches already have barrier-free access. Last year, 67 branches throughout Austria – including 30 in Vienna – were made barrier-free for customers. By the end of 2013, Bank Austria will have an additional 71 barrier-free branches, 42 of which will be in Vienna.

In consultation with associations representing the blind and partially sighted, all functions of the foyer cash dispensers and bank statement printers have been implemented in a simplified version with a voice output so that users can listen to the entire menu via a headset. As of 8 July 2013, at least one cash dispenser and all statement printers at every branch are fitted with an audio guide function. In addition to this, Bank Austria offers hearing-impaired customers a special service at approximately 100 branches: Pick-up devices that capture the acoustic information and amplify it. Bank Austria will thus become the first banking group in the country to implement acoustic accessibility in all its branches by 2013.

Bank Austria is also a pioneer in Austria with regard to braille: Combined business cards in black and braille print have been in use since 2010. Since 2011 Bank Austria has also offered visually-impaired customers a special bank card with braille lettering. Moreover, Bank Austria was also the first bank in Austria to offer special websites for people with visual disabilities, for hearing-impaired users of sign language and people with learning disabilities.

In consultation with the Austrian Association in Support of the Blind and Visually Impaired special solutions have been developed for visually-impaired customers that make it easier for them to interact with their bank. These include entrance ramps, tactile guidance path surfaces and low-level bank counters for wheelchair users.

Further information can be found at http://www.wien.gv.at/stadtplan/ and http://www.bankaustria.at/ (branch finder).

Enquiries: Bank Austria Press Office Austria
Martin Kammerer, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 - 52803
E-Mail: martin.kammerer@unicreditgroup.at

City of Vienna Press Office
Andreas Baur, Tel. +43 (01) 4000-81691
E-mail: andreas.baur@wien.gv.at