It’s about the whole journey

Picture showing the level access from the platform into the trainThe NSW Government recently ran a two-day event, Live, Work and Play: NSW State of Inclusion Conference. Fellow Director, Nick Loder, attended and has written an overview of the talk by Gail Le Bransky from Transport for NSW: “Moving beyond rights based legislation: People with disability as mainstream customers.” Read on for the key points and the link to the Australian Government’s guide on this topic. This guide is the result of a consultation process.

Key points from Gail’s talk:

  • The Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards) recognised that prior to the introduction of the Transport Standards – “there was no focused effort to remove discrimination from Australia’s public transport systems (including aircraft, buses and coaches, ferries, taxis, trains, trams, light rail, motor rail, rack railways, and other rolling stock (including vehicles and vessels classified as public transport in the Transport Standards).
  • Thus the Transport Standards aimed to provide certainty of DDA responsibilities but importantly a focus on a customers, liveable communities and the uptake of new technologies.
  • Transport for NSW access upgrades requires local council co-ordination, Apps and real time information to give people with disability information about accessible routes and transport, starting from the home.
  • The problem identified with access standards for transport in her view was they were too prescriptive, cobbled together from other standards, with no understanding about transport related issues, and significantly strove for minimums, not excellence.
  • The take home message from Gail was that accessible transport is an enabler, promoting age-friendly cities, with walking as an ingredient, hence the need to look at the whole journey, requiring quality footpaths, kerb crossings, pedestrianisation.
  • The technological revolution is here, and Transport for NSW is embracing this as ‘Packaged Mobility’, recognising that some transport options are out of the financial reach of many in the community.

picture of two Sydney buses side by side waiting at traffic lights.A terrific document referenced by Gail was the Australian Government’s consultation paper The Whole Journey – a guide for thinking beyond compliance to create accessible public transport journeys.”