In the Town, and in the Country, Can We Make a Real Difference for the Mobility Impaired?
D Carter and P Le Masurier, MVA, UK
This paper contrasts the way an urban and a rural transport scheme have affected mobility impaired travellers, examining the justification and out-turn impacts on sections of the community usually confronted by barriers to using public transport.
This Paper will provide an insight into whether accessibility and mobility can be significantly improved for those people with disability and mobility difficulties. The main focus of this Paper, and where there seems to be limited published information currently, is the impact of improved public transport systems on the lives of the physically disabled.
The Paper will review how the justification for two contrasting transport schemes considered the potential for accessibility improvements, and in particular impacts on the mobility impaired. Drawing on comparisons between the original business cases for the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) tram scheme, in an urban context, and the InterConnect ?hub and spoke? bus scheme in Lincolnshire designed to improve public transport accessibility in a rural area, the paper will examine the planning for mobility impaired travellers and methods used to assess costs and benefits which fed into the justification for each of these key schemes in neighbouring areas of the East Midlands.
Following this comparison of potential impacts put forward in the respective successful business cases, the Paper will move onto examining the reality for mobility impaired user groups, providing quantitative evidence in an urban and rural context of:
? the extent to which mobility impaired people in the community get ?out and about? more now that a improved transport facilities are available;
? what it is about NET and InterConnect that has led them to get ?out and about? more;
? whether, and how, NET and InterConnect have significantly contributed to greater social inclusion amongst the disabled community and, also, amongst the community of young mothers with buggies, the elderly and infirm, and those simply laden with bags; and
? the degree to which these people?s quality of life has been enriched.
Market research is currently being undertaken with NET passengers with results being available by Easter 2006.
Association for European Transport