Identifying Accessibility Problems and Appropriate Solutions for Socially Disadvantaged Groups

Identifying Accessibility Problems and Appropriate Solutions for Socially Disadvantaged Groups


P Jones, CTS, University College London, UK


Using part of South Yorkshire as a case study, the paper describes a series of methods developed to identify the accessibility problems, and appropriate solutions involving a broad range of agencies for various socially disadvantaged groups.


"Existing accessibility tools, such as Accession in the UK, focus mainly on the spatial dimension of disadvantage, by identifying groups that have to travel for excessive periods of time to reach a given service or facility. There is less understanding of the other kinds of constraint that poorer people without access to a car may face, including fear of travel, costs and timing constraints.

The first part of the paper describes the use of qualitative methods and the development of various stimulus materials, used to encourage local residents to identify and articulate the kinds of accessibility problems they faced in their everyday lives. Among other things, this identified problems arising from gaps in responsibilities between agencies ? with people ?falling through the cracks?. Many of the key results of this exercise were subsequently embodied in a spreadsheet, where typical timing and other constraints experienced by different groups have been codified.

As a further development of this work, a second tool was developed to help agencies identify the potential wider knock-on effects, on the areas of responsibility of other agencies and ultimately the wider public, of decisions that they might take that serve their own interests. For example, the amalgamation of two schools might be intended to increase the quality of education, but might lead to less sustainable travel patterns, reductions in physical exercise and increases in anti-social behaviour.

The second part of the paper describes a series of methods that were developed to encourage the generation of more open, innovative and ?joined-up? solutions to the various problems identified in the first part of the paper. These were applied both among groups of residents and groups of professionals representing agencies with an involvement in service provision. These include role playing, gap analysis and brainstorming. From this work two spreadsheet tools have been developed, one of which suggests known solutions to particular kinds of problems, while the other seeks to stimulate ?outside the box? thinking by presenting people with random sets of pictures that are designed to encourage new thought patterns.

This work was carried out as part of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences sponsored ?DISTILLATE? project, with additional support from Yorkshire Forward, SYPTE and Barnsley MBC."


Association for European Transport