Design and Construction, Human Resources, Maintenance and Operations, Safety

LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B Earns Top Rating for Accessibility

LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal B has achieved the highest-possible rating for accessibility in the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program, earning Gold from the Canada-based foundation dedicated to raising awareness, changing attitudes, and removing barriers for people with disabilities. This recognition makes LaGuardia Terminal B the first airline terminal in the United States to receive this distinction.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the manager and developer of Terminal B, cut the ribbon on the terminal’s $4 billion overhaul in early 2022. As part of the redevelopment of the New York City airport, Terminal B was designed to be accessible for guests with hearing, vision, and mobility disabilities.

The terminal is equipped with hearing loops available at all guest experience desks; intuitive departure board displays in two formats along with color coding to support easy interpretation and gate distance information; accessible assistance at curbside drop-off/check-in service with call buttons; color-coded wayfinding across the airport; and a calming seating area with sensory stimulation features such as plants and foliage.

Terminal B also offers the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard to guests with disabilities that may not be easy to observe such as autism, PTSD, and hearing loss. The lanyard identifies these guests and communicates that they may need extra help while traveling through the terminal.

The RHFAC program helps organizations understand their level of meaningful accessibility from a people-centric perspective of those with varying disabilities. Using common methodology and language, it provides a roadmap on how to improve, helps organizations prioritize decision-making based on data, and celebrates achievements in their journey towards improved access. More than 1,800 sites have been rated through the program to-date, with more than 1,300 becoming certified.

“Accessibility is a critical part of the Port Authority’s mission to create world-class airports, where state-of-the-art technology and thoughtful design will make travel easier and less stressful for passengers of all ability levels,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Among all the accolades received by Terminal B, we are particularly proud that the new terminal is the first in the nation to be awarded Gold certification by the Rick Hansen Foundation.”

“When I embarked on my Man In Motion World Tour in 1985, the vision of a truly inclusive and accessible world for people with disabilities was just a dream. Thanks to the leadership of organizations like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and LaGuardia Gateway Partners, we will get there faster,” said Rick Hansen, founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation. “Accessible travel is a critical part of creating a world where we all can participate. Thank you for your commitment to helping to create a world where everyone can go everywhere.”

In addition to the Gold RHF accessibility certification, LaGuardia Airport and Terminal B individually have received multiple awards for excellence. Most recently, Terminal B was named best new airport terminal in the world and awarded five stars by Skytrax. Over the last two years, Terminal B was awarded the UNESCO Prix Versailles, the world architecture and design award; the National Academy of Construction’s Special Achievement Award; NYC & Company Foundation’s “Visionaries and Voices” award; and awards from the Urban Land Institute New York and the Design-Build Institute of America.

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