In the following paragraphs there is some basic information, from the very origins of hiking to the knowledge of the signs or the ‘MIDE’ method that all hikers must keep in mind.
Accessibility or universal accessibility is the degree to which all people can use an object, visit a place or access a service, regardless of their technical, cognitive or physical abilities.
The "Diagnosis of Universal Accessibility" is a necessary procedure which is previous to the implementation of an Improvement Plan associated to Universal Accessibility. The department responsible for the path’s management needs to be aware of the current situation in order to define the strategy and develop an Action Plan within the framework of the Improvement Plan.
Therefore, this report shall allow the Environmental Department of the County Council of Málaga to see the current situation and to establish quantifiable management objectives regarding universal accessibility in the future.
The aim of this project is to carry out the Diagnosis of the Universal Accessibility on the Great Málaga Path for the sake of detecting and analysing the level of accessibility along the stages that form the Great Path. This way we will have at our disposal all the information we need to determine areas that need to be improved, and to elaborate an action plan for improving the accessibility of different stages. Our goal is to create universally accessible path and guarantee access to all tourists, something which will assure the path’s uniqueness and increase its value.
The chain of universal accessibility which was taken into account was the following:
1. Entrance and exit points for the path: how to approach it and leave in vehicles.
2. Itinerary of the path: analysis of the ground, slopes, protection elements, changes in level, crossing free, bridges and footbridges, ramps, etc ...
3. Signs and instructions: blazes that show the correct way, wrong direction signs, signposts for the path (Hiking Trail), location and direction signs, information boards and signs for the start and the end of stages.
Given this chain of accessibility, difficulty levels and criteria used for diagnosing universal accessibility were the following ones:
Using the above difficulty criteria, each stage was assigned a difficulty level (low, medium-low, medium-high and high), and then the level of accessibility.
The various stages that form part of the Great Málaga Path has been defined into the following degrees of accessibility:
A path is not accessible when, due to its features or state, people with certain disability or handicap, whether it is temporary or permanent, physical, psychological, sensory or mental, cannot cross it without help.
It is a trail that can be at least transformed into practicable after some minor and not expensive adjustments have been done without changing its basic structure.
A trail is practicable if, without any adjustments, it allows visitors with certain handicap to use it with no-one's help permanently or temporarily.
A trail is considered to be accessible if its dimension and funcional qualities allow visitors with certain handicap to use it without difficulty or anyone's help.
A trail is considered to be universally accessible if its dimension and funcional qualities allow all visitors, no matter the handicap they have, to use it without difficulty or anyone's help.