Vías Verdes (literally, "green-ways") are old disused railway lines that have been recovered and reconditioned for use by walkers and cyclists. Exploring them is a different, enjoyable and environmentally friendly way of getting to know Spain, its culture and its landscapes. This is an alternative ideal for all ages, that respects the environment and brings together sport and the great outdoors. Sounds good? .
When the trains stopped rolling over these tracks once and for all, they fell into disrepair and were forgotten. The old lines have now lost their rails, and what was once the domain of wagons and locomotives is the realm of cyclists, walkers and day-trippers. There are 2,400 kilometres of Vía Verde all over Spain. They are easy to get to, and being flat and even, provide no technical difficulties - ideal for all kinds of people: adults, children, and the elderly and disabled too.
On July 1, 2016 the Greenways4All European project will start. This project will be coordinated by the FFE, which aims to improve accessibility around the greenways, the quality of tourism -oriented people with disabilities and dissemination of these resources and infrastructure for all.
Accessible Madrid will participate in the Greenways4all project sponsorized by the EU.
Under the title "Accessible Tourism on European Greenways: Greenways For All" and whose acronym is GW4ALL, the aim of this project is to move toward the creation of accessible tourism products based on greenways.
This project aims to move towards a product that meets the value chain of accessibility advancing from the accessible route to travel or accessible experience. Thus, accessibility is the common element to all resources that integrate the tourism product: walking the greenway, eat in restaurants in the area, stay in the nearby vicinity to the greenway, visit museums or do some shopping, among others options.
During the 18 months that the project will be designed at least 2 fully accessible tourism products. One, in the Via Verde de la Sierra (Cadiz-Seville) and another in the Ecopista / Via Verde do Dao (Viseu. Portugal). To do this, the project includes different stages as a methodology for implementing accessible greenways; databases accessible resources in these two territories; workshop and technical visits; local accessibility pacts between agents of the territory and public-private- helping both parties collaboration; and finally the design of offers and affordable products.
In addition, the project will include training in accessible tourism for companies and ratings by groups with different special needs products designed (testing groups). So it will move from the "accessible resource" to "accessible product."
Collaterally with this project will deepen the consolidation of the image of "European Greenways" brand as environmentally sustainable tourism and accessible destinations, as elements of economic revitalization in rural areas.
This work plan will be developed by a consortium of nine partners from Spain and Portugal, with the European dimension guaranteed by the presence as a partner of the European Greenways Association, and in the intervening four SMEs specialized in accessible tourism and experiential.
This project, funded 75% by the COSME Programme, EASME Agency (Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) of the European Union for the Competitiveness of SMEs has a total budget of 166.148,60 €, and an execution period of 18 months.
The 9 members of the consortium from 2 countries developing this project are:
- Fundación de los Ferrocarriles Españoles (coordinador del proyecto) ES. www.viasverdes.com
- Plataforma Representativa Estatal de Discapacitados Físicos. ES. www.predif.org
- European Greenways Association (Escala europea) www.aevv-egwa.org
- Comunidade Intermunicipal da Região Dão Lafões. PT. www.cimrdl.pt
- Fundación Vía Verde de la Sierra. ES www.fundacionviaverdedelasierra.com
In addition, part of this consortium the following Spanish SMEs:
- Movilidad Ampliada S.L. – Accessible Madrid www.accessiblemadrid.com/
- Equinox Ciencia y Turismo–AstroAndalus www.darkskyadvisors.com/www.astroandalus.com/
- Turismo Vivencial www.turismovivencial.com