Transport Direct - Accessibility Information, Journey Planning and Its Challenges
A Maher, Atkins ITS, UK
Improving Transport Direct, the travel information and journey planning service for Great Britain, by addressing further the travel information needs of disabled people, particularly through improved accessibility information.
Transport Direct, the travel information and journey planning service for Great Britain, is a world first in delivering comprehensive travel information for both public and private forms of transport, offering people choice and enabling them to make better informed decisions when planning journeys within Great Britain. A key requirement for Transport Direct was the development of its Disability Policy and acting upon this to address the travel information needs and accessibility requirements of disabled people.
Policy statement 4 of Transport Direct?s disability policy states that: The Transport Direct portal will seek to assist disabled people with how to plan and undertake their journeys: By comparing routes & modes and by providing available information about accessibility of transport services and infrastructure.
Responsibility for providing travel information to the public resides with transport operators and also the public transport planning bodies. Previous investigations into the availability of such information were not encouraging as this information varied significantly between regions.
As a result, the information currently available on the Transport Direct portal to assist disabled people in planning and undertaking journeys are is lacking in detail. The most detailed information is provided on accessible taxis and is sourced from a small specialist taxi information company. The Transport Direct portal also provides links to detailed rail station information ? which includes accessibility information ? held by National Rail Enquiries, the official information service for all the train companies who operate Britain's rail service.
The source of information specific to disabled people on other modes of transport is provided in the form of external links to mode specific national web pages on disabled travel maintained by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), an independent body set up to advise the Government on the transport needs of all disabled people across the UK.
However, Transport Direct reviews the state of accessibility information regularly. The most recent investigation has shown that the level of accessibility information has improved significantly, in particular the location information provided by the public transport planning bodies in the major metropolitan areas. The level of information available has reached the stage that it is appropriate to go much further than the existing linking strategy for accessibility information within the Transport Direct portal.
Although the ability to plan journeys taking into account accessibility needs has not progressed in most areas, new European standards are under development which could support the provision of accessibility information within journey planning.
This paper describes the results of the latest accessibility information review, and how the Transport Direct portal plans to incorporate this improved information into its functionality.
Association for European Transport