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Public Access Terminals

Navigation: Minimum Sustainable Recommendations | What are the Issues? | What are the Options? 

Public Access Terminals refer to technologies such as ATMs, Information Kiosks, Ticket Vending Machines, POS Systems, etc.

Minimum Sustainable Recommendations

Request supplier to provide equipment with the following sustainable attributes:

  • The equipment should contain energy-saving features such as:
    • Low-power consumption key units
    • Solar power (pending the operational environment)
    • LED lighting (e.g. keypad, signage panels, etc.)
  • Equipment parts must be durable and long-lasting to minimize environmental impact.
  • Equipment must have the option of receiving a hard-copy of the receipt; a digital copy of the receipt; or no receipt.
  • Equipment must be RoHS compliant.

Bid documents must communicate to suppliers the expectation to purchase goods made from electronic manufacturers that are working towards a “conflict mineral free” supply chain. Ask that they provide the manufacturer’s policy and proof of their involvement in programs aimed to establish a conflict-free supply chain of Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten and Gold (3T+G).

Request supplier to provide equipment supporting Universal/Accessible Design features, including the following:


  • Ensure that controls are adequately sized and sufficiently spaced to be operated by people with limited dexterity
  • Ensure that operation requires minimal strength, grip and wrist twisting
  • Ensure that the terminal can be operated using only one hand
  • If using a touchscreen or contact-sensitive controls, do not require that it is touched by a body part
  • Ensure that users with restricted or no vision can use all functions of the terminal (e.g. multi-colour LED for the pin pad and Braille for visually impaired users)
  • If using cards, ensure that the card can be inserted into the card reader in its correct orientation without requiring vision
  • If using biometric identification, provide an alternative access security mechanism for users who do not possess the required biological characteristic

Software Programming

  • Use the simplest language possible for instructions, prompts and outputs and, where possible, supplement it with pictorial information or spoken language
  • Avoid display flickering or flashing with a frequency of more than twice per second
  • Allow sufficient time to accommodate the slowest users
  • Provide a way for the user to cancel the whole transaction at any point and retrieve any items they have inserted
  • Ensure that the user interface and task flow is similar across different functions and remains the same across repeated visits
  • When deploying more than one version of a terminal, ensure that the user interfaces are similar
  • Do not require users to remember a fixed supplied pin
  • Ensure software can provide for users with multiple impairments
  • Ensure software can provide user training or assistance, if applicable
  • Ensure privacy and security during use
  • Ensure that an equivalent service is available through an accessible channel for users who cannot use the terminal

Other things to consider

Thermal receipt paper must be FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified and BPA (Bisphenol-A) free.


What are the issues?

The long term environmental impacts associated with computer (and other electronics) manufacturing, use and disposal are well understood and publicized.  Two of the most significant impacts usually discussed are:

  1. The amount of energy required to produce and operate the equipment, and;
  2. The quantity of heavy metals such a lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and bromated fire retardants in public access terminals.  These chemicals pose risks to production workers during manufacturing and to soil and water supplies, if computers are not disposed of using a licensed electronic waste recycling facility.

In addition to the impacts noted above, it is important to address issues associated with manufacturers’ use of conflict minerals.  Many of the electronic devices used every day contain materials mentioned in discussions of conflict minerals (gold, tantalum, tin, tungsten etc). These materials are often extracted against a backdrop of human rights abuses and armed fighting.

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act and its related standards require entities to identify and prevent barriers to accessibility in operations. For a person who has a physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment, a barrier is anything that interacts with that impairment in a way that may hinder the person's full and effective participation on an equal basis. Ensuring that goods and services we procure do not create new accessibility barriers is therefore important.


What are the options?

Manufacturers of public access terminals have been incorporating green technology in equipment. Numerous features can be requested that reduce energy consumption, minimize the use of hazardous substances found in electrical components (e.g. lead, cadmium, chromium, etc.) and contain durable and long-lasting parts to reduce the overall environmental impact of equipment.

From an accessibility perspective, a number of features can be implemented to reduce barriers and enhance accessibility of public access terminals. Both modifying the built environment (i.e. ensure displays are within sight of people of all heights including people sitting in wheelchairs and scooters, etc.) and incorporating technical specifications to enhance the functionality of public access terminals itself and programming the device to enhance accessibility. This document focuses on the technical specifications of the item itself.

To prevent barriers, the product should follow the seven principles of universal design (Equitable Use, Flexibility in Use, Simple and Intuitive Use, Perceptible Information, Tolerance for Error, Low Physical Effort and Size and Space for Approach and Use).


Last updated: April 2017

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