The Department for Transport has announced a range of initiatives to support and enable confident travel for disabled people, linked to the National Disability Strategy. Disabled passengers will have better accessibility when using transport and a significant say in how they travel and how the future of transport is shaped.  The initiatives are welcomed by KTN's Transport Team, who are acutely aware of the importance of accessibility across all modes of transport.

Rail

An audit of all UK train stations is already underway; the findings will form a public database to enable journey planning for passengers as well as shaping investment in accessible rail travel with input from those with lived experience.

Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain, KTN’s Rail Lead and Transport Team diversity champion, said:

“Accessibility within rail is a crucial topic; much work has been done in this space including physical accessibility adjustments and work for those with less-visible disabilities, including the adoption of sunflower lanyards to self-identify as a customer who may want additional support and recently to identify as exempt from wearing a face covering. In innovation, KTN is pleased to support the First of a Kind rail innovation competitions, delivered by Innovate UK and funded by the Department for Transport, which has enabled some incredible inclusive programmes such as work from Transreport, who are developing a solution to automate the validation of bookings with passenger assistance requirements, offering a better experience for all.”

 

Dan Piner, Rail Lead at Innovate UK, added:

“It is great to see this recent commitment from government, which builds on the existing work delivered by Innovate UK through the First of a Kind rail innovation competitions programme. Our 2021 competition included the ‘easy to use for all’ theme, and we have supported multiple themes in this space over the last 5 years and have seen some outstanding innovations developed through this.”

 

Road and maritime

Regulation and legislation will also form a crucial element in improved access across public transport; for bus companies, new legislation will mandate audible and visual onboard announcements, with support from government grants of £3.5m, alongside new design of accessible bus stops and stations.

In other funding, £1m will improve access at the ports to the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly. Matthew Moss, KTN’s Maritime Lead said:

“It’s welcome news that this funding has been made available to improve access at these ports. Increasing accessibility allows more people to enjoy the delights the UK has to offer and being a maritime nation, access to the sea and other waterways is vital in achieving this.”

Further work includes accessible chargepoint design for electric vehicles and reducing pavement parking to enable better pedestrian access.

 

Aviation

Hannah Abson, KTN’s Aviation Lead said:

“Boosting accessibility across the transport sector is fundamental to enabling an inclusive culture. The Future Flight Challenge is a £125m investment from government, delivered by UKRI to enable next generation aviation solutions. The challenge offers a unique opportunity to shape an emerging sector and ensure better access to transport for all. KTN is committed to supporting our network develop an understanding of how to make their vehicle or technology more accessible to prospective customers. Join us on 8 September for our ‘Creating an Accessible Future Flight Workshop’ to find out more.”

 

The Department for Transport’s announcement can be found here;  KTN is working towards and supporting the drive for accessible transport and innovations that help us achieve the government’s strategic aims through our ongoing work across the transport team.

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