UK Government Unveils Plan to Improve Accessibility in Transport

The Government has announced work aimed at improving accessible toilets on the railways, ensuring better use of Blue Badges and trials in autonomous vehicles are among measures to improve accessibility in transport for people with disabilities.

The draft accessibility action plan, published on 24 August 2017, is the next step in the government’s commitment to removing barriers for millions of disabled people to be able to travel independently and confidently.

Accessibility in Transport
Wheelchair spaces inside a Class 345 train on the London Underground © citytransportinfo (license)

Accessibility Action Plan

The Department for Transport is now consulting on the plan to seek views and ideas on how to best improve accessibility on roads, rail, water and in the air.

Transport Minister Paul Maynard, who launched the plan in Leeds, said:

I take the issue of accessibility across all modes of transport very seriously.

This draft accessibility action plan is the next step in a much needed dialogue with disabled people, carers, transport providers and local authorities to identify new ways to improve travel.

It sets out the government’s strategy to address gaps in our transport services which serve as a barrier to people with disabilities.

I secured commitments from the rail industry earlier this year to help make things better for disabled people. It is absolutely vital that all people are able use transport.

From October, a pilot study will explore opportunities to increase the availability of accessible toilets on trains and improve their reliability through better tanking facilities.

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Alternative Journey Options

The department is also working with the Rail Delivery Group to provide ‘alternative journey options’ – for example, if the only accessible toilet is out of use.

A competition will be launched jointly with the Rail Safety and Standards Board, to find solutions to reducing the cost of accessibility improvements at stations, including the availability of accessible toilets. It will also focus on supporting people with less visible disabilities.

The government is also working in other sectors to improve accessibility.

Original article © DfT.

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