Information on Accessible Travel – When What is More Important Than How
Elmar W.M. Fürst, WU Vienna - Institute for Transport and Logistics Management, Christian Vogelauer, WU Vienna - Institute for Transport and Logistics Management
While there are guidelines for the presentation of accessible information, there are none regarding the content. This leads to unnecessary problems, discouraging the potential customer. We evaluate websites of PT-providers and derive recommendations.
Information on specific services provided to impaired passengers (e.g. special fares, mobility services, elevator/ramp positions and approach points, etc.) is of vital importance for many persons when planning their daily as well as their holiday trips. Furthermore, lacking the chance to flexibly adopt to changes in the routing while on-trip, impaired persons require extended up-front information. Acquiring this information is not always an easy task.
While there are standards on the presentation of information in an accessible format, like the “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” (WCAG), there is no such reference to the content on accessible travel itself. This poses several problems for passengers as well as public transport companies.
For the (impaired) passenger the quick reference to certain accessibility-relevant information provided on the website or app of the mobility provider might proof too complex to assess in a stressful environment. Another such problem is the overall lack of information on services provided to impaired passengers. For the mobility providers there is often the problem that there are no guidelines on how and to which detail to communicate accessibility related content. This leads to some companies over-specifying their services and thus perplexing their customers.
In a qualitative study we investigated the web-sites of large mobility providers on the accessibility-relevant information that is presented there. We set out with a review of the relevant guidelines and standards to show, why content has to be considered separately from its presentation and derive a proposed framework on how to evaluate the provided information. We then apply this framework to the information on accessible travel provided by various public transport companies serving different modes. Therefore we will also be able to show the differences in bus, train and LPT-operators. The paper will conclude with a revision of the applicability of the proposed framework and provide some first guidelines on the design of content on accessible travel.
Association for European Transport