Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by the Joint Committee on Mobility of Blind and Partially Sighted People (IT 29)

1. INTRODUCTION

  1.1 The Joint Committee on Mobility of Blind and Partially Sighted People welcomes the New Deal for transport and particularly the measures it takes to improve conditions for walkers, cyclists and public transport users.

  1.2 The RNIB needs survey[8] found that there were 1 million blind and partially sighted adults in the UK with a further 700,000 who, even with the aid of glasses would have difficulty in recognising a friend across the street. As many eye conditions are age related the number of visually impaired people will increase in the future.

  1.3 In developing an integrated transport policy it is important that the needs of all people, including visually impaired and deafblind people, are considered to enable them to move around safely, independently and without undue restrictions as pedestrians, passengers and as users of transport vehicles, infrastructure and information systems.

2. A NEW DEAL FOR TRANSPORT

2.1 Better places to live

  2.1.1 Revision and strengthening of planning guidance to bring together thinking on better transport and a better environment offers the potential to enable people to have more choice and lead healthier lifestyles. For blind and partially sighted people consideration of their needs in design, planning and development could avoid many of the hurdles which limit their independent mobility.

2.2 Local transport plans

  2.2.1 Local transport plans offer the potential to secure longer-term planning of travel routes and the creation of new powers for local authorities enables them to fund changes. The commitment that the criteria for how local powers are used will be monitored to ensure benefits to local communities is essential. Local transport plans and powers should increase accessibility and contribute towards more inclusive transport systems and local environments, particularly for disabled people.

  2.2.2 Better interchange and information are essential in ensuring that blind, deafblind and partially sighted people can travel in comfort and independently. Interchanges should ensure the benefits of accessible vehicles resulting from the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 are realised and accessible information should be available before and during the journey to make people aware of their choices and travel in confidence.

2.3 New deal for motorists

  2.3.1 In considering the disruption caused by street works the possibility of extending the New Roads and Streets Works Act to cover all street works should be examined.

2.4 Better buses

  2.4.1 Quality partnerships offer the potential to bring forward accessible transport vehicles ahead of regulations in the DDA but also to ensure higher standards of customer care, information provision and driver training.

  2.4.2 Quality contracts offer similar benefits and concessionary fares for elderly people will benefit the majority of visually impaired and deafblind people. Special funding for buses in the countryside should also consider information and infrastructure as well as frequency so that buses are accessible.

  2.4.3 A new Strategic Public Transport Authority that enabled integration across all public transport should be considered.

2.5 Better trains

  2.5.1 The new strategic rail authority will enable integration across the rail network for disabled people and consider their needs. Quality partnerships and contracts should also be considered for the rail network to bring similar benefits—improved vehicles, customer care, training and information.

2.6 Better safety and personal security

  2.6.1 Many pedestrians, particularly visually impaired and deafblind people, are intimidated by the proximity of any traffic, including cyclists. The main concern to both users, pedestrians and cyclists, is that of motor vehicles. The dangers to cyclists are recognised but the Joint Committee feels reallocation of road space should improve cycle facilities through using space from motor vehicles rather than pedestrians.

  2.6.2 Speeding traffic is a major cause of concern amongst blind and partially sighted people reducing confidence and reducing independent mobility. The review of speed policy should also consider enforcement issues so that speed limits are seen, and enforced, as maximums rather than targets.

  2.6.3 The reduction of staffing on public transport has reduced the confidence and ability of many people to travel independently. Staff are a source of advice, comfort and assistance to all travellers but can make the difference between accessible and inaccessible journeys for disabled people.

  2.6.4 The RNIB/GDBA Joint Mobility Unit is undertaking research with the Civic Trust into the real and perceived barriers facing elderly and disabled people when in towns and cities at night.

2.7 A more inclusive society

  2.7.1 Only one in four blind and partially sighted people of working age are employed. Visually impaired and deafblind people face many barriers in finding and keeping employment including travel to work. Only 5 per cent of visually impaired people have had any training in getting out and about.

  2.7.2 In a socially inclusive society blind and partially sighted people should be able to access employment opportunities and be enabled to live a healthy and independent lifestyle. The New Deal for transport could enable more people to get out and about.

2.8 Sharing decisions and modernising local democracy

  2.8.1 Local people should be consulted and be able to exert influence over their environment, including the transport within it. Local access groups and visual impairment societies are one method of including the needs of disabled people and these should be supported as a means of communicating with local disabled people.

  2.8.2 Disabled people's needs, including blind and partially sighted people should be fully incorporated into regional and devolved agencies and powers.

2.9 Everyone doing their bit

  2.9.1 The Joint Committee, and its constituent organisations, welcome the notion of partnerships and individual responsibility and will contribute to achieving the New Deal for Transport. It will continue to bring together organisations of and for visually impaired and deafblind people with a specific interest in mobility to provide a consultative forum for Government and major transport operators.

  2.9.2 The RNIB/GDBA Joint Mobility Unit will continue a programme of research and advice on the mobility needs of visually impaired people and supportive technology, designs and policies.

3. SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT

3.1 Better health

  3.1.1 Blind and partially sighted people are predominately elderly. Enabling a healthier lifestyle through making it easier to walk and reach local services will ensure people have a choice and can be more independent and active.

3.2 More jobs and a strong economy

  3.2.1 The decline in staffing levels on public transport has reduced the confidence of blind and partially sighted people to travel independently and for much of the day left many parts of networks with no staff available. Staff are a source of advice, information, assistance and reassurance for all passengers but for many blind and partially sighted people can make the difference between making journeys possible and impossible.

3.3 A fairer more inclusive society

  3.3.1 The RNIB needs survey found taxis were one of the most frequent forms of transport used on a regular basis by blind and partially sighted people. Twenty-eight per cent of visually impaired people under 60 taking a taxi in the previous week absorbing a considerable proportion of their income which is lower than that of the general population.

  3.3.2 Therefore the Joint Committee, while recognising the value of taxis, welcomes measures to make public transport more affordable and the vehicles accessible to blind and partially sighted people, through the DDA, and provide them with a choice for the first time. In addition the Joint Committee welcomes the measures to make taxis themselves more accessible.

  3.3.3 Better transport choice for disabled people will also require highway authorities, Railtrack and other agencies to consider the interchanges and interfaces between different modes of accessible travel and the pedestrian environment to ensure the whole trip is seamless.

  3.3.4 Land use and transport planning can influence the availability of service providers to retain local and diverse services. Planning on the part of other agencies, such as health authorities and supermarkets, also has an important influence on local travel conditions and these partners should be encouraged and enabled to retain local services.

  3.3.5 The RNIB Needs Survey in 1991 found that 74 per cent of blind and partially sighted people considered their local environment busy while only 25 per cent had some road crossing with audible and tactile signals enabling them to cross in confidence. This survey will be repeated in 1998 when improvements can be assessed.

3.4 A modern integrated transport system

  3.4.1 A modern integrated transport system needs to consider door to door travel, including the walking environment and that people will have different needs and desires. The New Deal for transport can ensure that any future contracts, agreements or partnership's performance targets include access for disabled people.

3.5 Changing travel habits

  3.5.1 For may disabled people, including visually impaired and deafblind people, the opportunity to choose alternative modes of travel is restricted because they can not access them or do not have information about the services available. Improvements to public transport and the pedestrian environment would provide greater choice for many disabled people although there will always be some who require special transport provision or need their own car.

3.6 Technology taking the strain

  3.6.1 The Joint Committee can provide more details of technology and research which is helping blind and partially sighted people plan and use public transport, for example the developments of a smart card for disabled people to adapt buildings to their needs. How ever well technology develops it is only a further assistive measure and many people will always require, or prefer, the availability of staff to assist.

  3.6.2 It is not always necessary to develop new technological solutions and many existing technologies could be implemented effectively now to improve conditions for travellers, for example trials of audible way-finding systems on London Transport.

3.7 Making a difference: a more inclusive society

  3.7.1 The reduction in traffic and subsequent re-allocation of road space to pedestrians, cyclists and street activity is a vital component in enabling many of the barriers faced by blind, deafblind and partially sighted people to be addressed, removed or ameliorated.

3.8 Making a difference: through extending the range of targets

  3.8.1 New indicators, monitored by the Commission for Integrated Transport, to see how policies and programmes are affecting different groups in society would be welcomed. Some existing indicators, such as the Audit Commission consideration of road crossings with accessibility features, provide useful insights. For blind, deafblind and partially sighted people one of the key indicators we would like to see is the proportion receiving formal mobility training.

4. INTEGRATED TRANSPORT

4.1 Making it easier to walk

  4.1.1 The Joint Committee welcomes the proposals to make it easier to walk and the proposals set out for increasing priority to walking. In addition to the principles outlined one further key consideration should be added, removing the causes of street clutter and obstacles.

  4.1.2 The specific reference to encouraging local authorities to introduce pedestrian crossings that are fully accessible to all incorporating tactile features and audible signals is essential. Road crossings, including Zebras, without these features can reduce the confidence and ability of people to go out independently and safely.

  4.1.3 The new guidance on tactile paving should improve its layout and design for all users. Local authorities should install and maintain tactile paving in accordance with this guidance.

  4.1.4 The National Walking Strategy presents an opportunity to set these principles out in more details and establish targets for improvement at local and national level, with a National Walking Forum to oversee implementation. The walking environment is essential as it links together the activities for which travel is made.

4.2 Making it easier to cycle

  4.2.1 The Joint Committee supports the promotion of cycling as a sustainable mode of travel. It is concerned that previous policies to promote cycling have resulted in space being reallocated from walkers rather than motor vehicles. The Joint Committee looks forward to revised guidance and good practice advice that highlights the new priorities in the New Deal to provide cycle facilities by re-allocating space from motor vehicles for both walkers and cyclists.

  4.2.2 The new priorities have the potential to reduce the growing problem of shared use for cyclists and pedestrians to the benefit of both user groups.

4.3 More and better buses

  4.3.1 Quality partnerships should not be unusual and the co-operation between local transport providers and highway authorities should be encouraged in all areas. Placing Quality Partnerships on a statutory basis provides the opportunity to require the more rapid implementation of accessible vehicles under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, but also other service standard criteria, such as improved driver skills and information provision. The criteria should be flexible enough to ensure innovation but contain safeguards to ensure all users are benefiting from the partnership.

  4.3.2 The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 regulations for buses and coaches are one such criterium in which there should be no relaxation of standards. The Joint Committee feels that all buses should be accessible and that this is not included as a higher quality criterium for which disabled people will have to pay a premium.

  4.3.3 Half price, or lower, fares for elderly people will benefit many disabled people as there is a strong link between ageing and disability. We would urge that National concession schemes are seen as an opportunity to round up and improve local concessions not round down to national standards. However for younger disabled people the problems of affordability of public transport are still common, especially as many are unemployed. RNIB research showed that only one in four blind and partially sighted people of working age were in employment.

  4.3.4 Quality contracts should establish criteria that reflect best practice in the UK and abroad, the Joint Committee looks forward to consultation on the criteria and measures to ensure they reflect passenger needs, including blind, deafblind and partially sighted people.

4.4 A better railway

  4.4.1 The innovation shown by the bus industry in developing local partnerships should be encouraged within the rail industry. While there will be more partners involved the principles could be applied in a similar manner to bring forward benefits on particular routes and at stations.

4.5 Women and transport

  4.5.1 Women do have different transport needs and it is important these are recognised through local transport plans and auditing transport initiatives. The Commission for Integrated Transport could provide a lead on defining these needs and publicising good practice.

4.6 In pursuit of the seamless journey

  4.6.1 The seamless journey should ensure that blind, deafblind and partially sighted people can obtain information about their journey before and during the trip, receive high quality customer care and be able to transfer onto and between vehicles and use terminals and stops that meet their needs and expectations.

4.7 Fares and ticketing

  4.7.1 The use of area or issue wide travel cards offers many benefits for all passengers, especially those who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted.

  4.7.2 The Disabled Persons Railcard offers many benefits to disabled people and applies across nearly all the network, the exception being the new Heathrow Express link. This type of card enables disabled people to claim their discount easily from all rail companies, although greater awareness amongst sales staff and easier application processes would help users. A recognised disabled persons travel card would offer greater value and benefit to disabled people and would not necessarily require standard discounts.

4.8 Physical interchange

  4.8.1 Local transport plans should consider interchanges and the requirement for audits of existing facilities is very positive. Auditing should be produced to a national standard to ensure consistency and quality. There may be a need for greater awareness of existing or new guidance on auditing interchanges and the issues involved for all passengers, including disabled people, and the commissioning of new research offers this possibility.

  4.8.2 It is essential however that the audit leads to action and therefore the expectation to identify improvements in local Transport Plans is necessary. New interchanges should be required to adopt inclusive design principles to avoid creating additional barriers in future journeys.

4.9 Timetable co-ordination and service stability

  4.9.1 In requiring a standard electronic format for information the ability to convert this information into formats accessible for visually impaired people, such as Braille, should be considered.

4.10 Passenger information

  4.10.1 Clear and comprehensive and up-to-date information enables the traveller to make an informed decision about where, how and when they are going to travel. For many visually impaired and deafblind people the provision of even the most basic travel information is inaccessible, for example the lack of audible announcements at stations.

  4.10.2 The national public transport information system by 2000 should enable people to plan their journeys by all forms of public transport be they trains, trams, buses, coaches or metro systems. If a charge is made for this service it should be within the means of disabled people, who are often on low incomes.

  4.10.3 A similar National Special Needs Service describing what is available to disabled passengers and the accessibility of those services is needed. This could use a similar central database to that used by train companies to operate the National Rail Enquiry Service.

  4.10.4 Enquiry lines should operate as National numbers but be delivered through regional offices where people are aware of the region over which they are giving advice.

  4.10.5 When on board transport vehicles passengers should have access to information relating to the next stop, delays and fares. Speech systems and clear visual signage on board vehicles, at passenger stops and terminals will aid all passengers.

4.11 Better taxis

  4.11.1 The Joint Committee welcomes the support for regulating London Minicab drivers, removing a current anomaly with the rest of the country.

  4.11.2 The DDA regulations for taxis will provide more accessible services for many disabled people who depend on their flexibility and availability to reach their destination and should be implemented without delay.

4.12 Travelling without fear

  4.12.1 Much of the fear of crime comes from the type of offences being committed going unpunished and considered minor by those responsible for enforcement. Cycling on the footway, graffiti, litter and abuse all contribute to an intimidating environment for all users.

  4.12.2 Staff are particularly valuable in reassuring people and discouraging the type of minor offences which contribute to peoples perceptions of crime.

  4.12.3 The Joint Mobility Unit and Civic Trust are undertaking research, funded by the National Lottery, into the barriers to evening and night time activities and possible solutions desired by elderly and disabled people.

4.13 Accessible transport for disabled people and easier access for all

  4.13.1 The Joint Committee welcomes the steps being taken through the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and looks forward to the formal consultations on buses and taxis that will enable regulations to come into effect.

  4.13.2 The recognition that accessibility is a complex issue involving the whole journey is particularly welcome. The Joint Committee's aim is to reduce barriers and suggest solutions and will assist in developing guidance on planning, design, management and operation of public transport.

  4.13.3 Airports, airplanes, docks, and ferries are important elements of the travel network both for international and domestic travel, especially in areas such as the Highlands of Scotland. It is important that these modes of travel, for which DDA regulations will not be forthcoming, that good practice and guidance is provided and implemented.

  4.13.4 How ever accessible all forms of travel become there will be some people who have to use a car and will require parking close to facilities. This will require consideration of reserved parking places at all developments, particularly in schemes such as pedestrianisation, to ensure that the distances are not greater than people can manage.

  4.13.5 Disabled people do have different transport needs and it is important these are recognised through local transport plans and auditing transport initiatives, in a similar manner to that suggested for women's transport needs. The Commission for Integrated Transport could provide a lead on defining these needs and publicising good practice.

4.14 Streets for people

  4.14.1 Streets for people is a strong concept and the greater priority given to pedestrians and cyclists is particularly welcome. Issues such as pavement parking are serious for blind and partially sighted people but the enforcement agencies often have different priorities. Making it easier to resolve and control this type of issue is important for giving streets back to people.

  4.14.2 Where the regulations on street works are being reconsidered the opportunity should be taken to extend controls to all street and road works.

  4.14.3 There is an opportunity in creating quality residential environments that are not dominated by the motor car and meet everyone's needs. The relaxation of procedures for creating 20 mph zones is one example of how existing infrastructure can be made easier for all people by controlling motor vehicles.

4.15 Making better use of trunk roads

  4.15.1 The Joint Committee welcomes the inclusion of accessibility and safety as two of the fundamental criteria in developing a road policy. The application of accessibility in making places easier to get to should apply equally to the pedestrians who use the area around roads.

4.16 Better integration of airports and ports

  4.16.1 Airports, ferries and ports are essential components in transport networks, especially for international travel and in areas such as the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

  4.16.2 Airports, ferries and ports should be accessible to disabled people and moves to promote and adopt best practice are welcome. As major employers it is also essential that local transport links to such sites provide the opportunities for disabled employees.

4.17 Travelling safely

  4.17.1 The reduction in the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on the roads since the 1987 targets represents a significant improvement although there is a long way to go. Slight casualties and near misses all contribute to a perception that the street environment is increasingly hostile.

  4.17.2 For many visually impaired and deafblind people the street environment is particularly hostile because of unexpected hazards such as pavement parking, road works and pavement cycling. These can contribute to a reduced confidence in using the streets. Enforcement of existing regulations against minor offences, together with a programme of mobility training, would make a significant improvement and enable independent and safe mobility.

4.18 Review of speed policy

  4.18.1 Lower speeds and increased education and awareness, particularly on local roads, would contribute to improved conditions for many users, especially cyclists and pedestrians, including blind and partially sighted people. The review of speed limits is therefore particularly welcome.

4.19 Railway safety

  4.19.1 The horizontal and vertical gap between the platforms and the steps varies widely, even on a single platform. Accident statistics indicate that one of the most common type of accidents to passengers occur when boarding and alighting from trains, approaching 50 per cent. This causes significant problems for many disabled people, including blind and partially sighted people, and is not included within the DDA regulations for Rail vehicles. Further research and development within the industry is needed to adopt a common solution that meets everyone's access and safety needs.

5. MAKING IT HAPPEN

5.1 Commission for Integrated Transport

  5.1.1 The Joint Committee would expect the Commission for Integrated Transport to represent the needs of all passengers including disabled passengers. In addition it would expect representation on the Commission from the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee.

  5.1.2 The Joint Committee looks forward to establishing working relationships to advise the Commission on the mobility needs of blind, deafblind and partially sighted people.

5.2 Funding transport

  5.2.1 Transport requires significant funding and investment to enable people and goods to move around. The New Deal for transport sets out some principles that would entail this existing funding being spent with different priorities and new sources of funding being created.

  5.2.2 Flexibility in funding transport investment should be linked to consideration of the new priorities including health and housing policies. Resources from these sources could be spent to ensure future communities have effective and efficient travel choices.

5.3 Strategic rail authority

  5.3.1 The Strategic Rail Authority provides the opportunity to ensure that the needs of all disabled people are considered in the provision of rail services, including access to the stations.

  5.3.2 The Office of the Rail Regulator Code of Practice for Disabled People provides many useful considerations and its current revision should improve it still further. However, there is a need to ensure that this Code is taken forward and the recommendations are implemented and progress monitored.

  5.3.3 As more accessible rail vehicles result from the DDA regulations and existing rolling stock and stations are improved travel for disabled people should become easier.

  5.3.4 There are currently many operators and agencies with responsibilities in the rail industry, providing a focus for the strategic considerations, including disabled peoples needs, is important in co-ordinating action.

5.4 Railways—fares

  5.4.1 The Disabled Persons Railcard offers significant benefits off standard price tickets. However due to the complexity and variety of new ticket structures it is often cheaper to purchase other tickets than to use a Disabled Persons Railcard. The benefits to disabled people of cheaper travel should be retained.

  5.4.2 In addition the Disabled Persons Railcard is the only railcard that can not be purchased at train stations and requires a user to send off an application form. This can cause difficulties for many disabled people.

5.5 Railways—better services, accountable to passengers

  5.5.1 Performance standards can relate to many factors, not solely punctuality. In negotiating further franchises consideration should be given to customer care standards, such as staff receiving disability awareness training.

5.6 Railways—the passengers voice

  5.6.1 The Joint Committee will continue to ensure that the needs of visually impaired and deafblind passengers are heard by those responsible for running the railway.

5.7 The Rail Regulator

  5.7.1 The concept of local quality partnerships in the bus industry should be encouraged within the rail industry, such as through the Rail Passenger partnership scheme. While there will be more partners involved the principles could be applied in a similar manner to bring forward benefits on particular routes and at stations, especially for disabled people.

5.8 Regional action

  5.8.1 While welcoming the use of regional structures to guide strategies and integrate new developments into integrated transport systems some criteria relating to accessibility should not deviate from national standards. Examples include the use of tactile paving surfaces or requirements for accessible parking places for people who have to use cars for transport.

5.9 Integrated transport in London

  5.9.1 The proposed London Transport Authority must have representation of, or firmly established consultation with, disabled people, including visually impaired and deafblind people. It should be a mix of professionals and user groups and accountable to the assembly.

5.10 Role of passenger transport authorities

  5.10.1 As above the Passenger Transport authorities and executives should have representation from, or consultation with, disabled people, to ensure they are meeting their needs.

5.11 Local transport plans

  5.11.1 Local Transport Plans are central to delivering many of the improvements necessary for visually impaired and deafblind people. Developed in consultation with local people, businesses and transport over a longer time frame they offer the opportunity to plan strategies that will make a real difference to people's perception and experience of their local environment.

  5.11.2 Disability should be considered across the spectrum in developing strategies and policies. It is not an add on policy as such but a component of all other strategies. Improvements for disabled people will make conditions easier for all people, from increased availability of information to the removal of obstructions on the pavement.

5.12 Funding bus services

  5.12.1 Increased patronage is the best way to ensure the bus industry survives. Making buses more accessible, frequent and reliable will help ensure bus travel becomes an option for more people, including disabled people. Partnerships with local authorities and other agencies will help ensure that the infrastructure for accessible transport vehicles is provided.

5.13 Reducing social exclusion

  5.13.1 The national minimum standard for local authority concessionary fares schemes for elderly people, with a maximum £5 charge, entitling holders to half prices fares on buses will be beneficial to many disabled people as there is a strong correlation between age and disability.

  5.13.2 However, there is currently a Disabled Persons railcard at £14 a year that entitles holders of all ages to similar discounts on rail travel. Extending this statutory concession to all forms of transport and linking it to the elderly person concession would enable disabled people to continue to use public transport and use it more often. This would improve access to a range of basic necessities, such as health care and shops, and reducing social isolation.

  5.13.3 Similarly extending the elderly people's concession to rail travel would enable them to benefit from alternative forms of public transport. It may be that many journeys are not possible solely by bus in an integrated network.

5.14 Changing travel habits

  5.14.1 While welcoming the opportunities presented by congestion charging to fund the new priorities and improvement consideration must be given to the needs of disabled people who have to travel by car. While the number of people in this category may reduce as accessible transport is provided there will always be some for whom the car is the only option.

5.15 Better planning

  5.15.1 The land use planning system provides incentives and controls to ensure that development enables integrated transport systems to be possible. The review of policy guidance should ensure the New Deal priorities are reflected in land use planning as well as through local transport plans.

  5.15.2 The Joint Committee expects aspects of accessibility for disabled people to be reflected in the revised and new guidance for transport, development plans and housing. In addition to guidance there should be evidence of implementation and monitoring to ensure the environment is improving for all.

5.16 Housing

  5.16.1 Planning for new housing should ensure that access by people with disabilities is possible. In existing areas money is being spent on housing and regeneration which should reinforce the principles in the New Deal. One example, would be the release of capital receipts and expenditure on local areas. The opportunity should be taken to ensure that access for disabled people is being improved as part of the wider objectives.

5.17 Good design

  5.17.1 The Joint Committee welcomes publications on good practice and will continue to advise on the needs of blind, deafblind and partially sighted people for inclusion in such publications.

5.18 Better enforcement

  5.18.1 The Joint Committee agrees that in many instances the offences that impact on the mobility needs of blind, deafblind and partially sighted people have been considered minor offences. Enforcement of laws against this type of offence is vital but does not necessarily have to be by fully trained police officers. The relevant issue is preventing these offences being committed in the first instance, not who is responsible for enforcing the laws and regulations.

  5.18.2 Therefore any review, and technology, that leads to greater enforcement of laws against the type of offences that can make the difference between inclusive and excluding environments is welcome.

  5.18.3 Examples of offences that particularly affect visually impaired and deafblind people include speeding, cycling on the pavement, shop displays, parking on the pavement and intimidation at road crossings.

5.19 Better appraisal

  5.19.1 The Joint Committee welcomes the greater use of impact assessments, including the consideration of accessibility as key component.

  5.19.2 Accessibility in this context should include the needs of disabled people. This could be in a similar manner to the development of a checklist for women's transport requirements for auditing and ensuring needs are considered from the start. A national standard for the checklist should be developed, possibility through the Commission for Integrated Transport.

5.20 Technology—research and development

  5.20.1 There are many technology projects which assist disabled people. Many good ideas are now available and should be promoted to address some of the issues affecting the mobility of disabled people, such as audible and visual announcements in transport terminals and vehicles.

  5.20.2 In addition to specific aids for visually impaired and deafblind people general technological developments should be developed considering user needs and accessibility requirements are the outset to avoid the need for other substitutes and further developments.

6. SHARING RESPONSIBILITY

6.1 Partnership in innovation and design

  6.1.1 The Joint Committee, through its constituent members, will continue to work in partnership with various agencies in the private sector, research community and abroad to evaluate or develop technology that assists visually impaired and deafblind people.

6.2 Working with transport operators

  6.2.1 The Joint Committee looks forward to assisting transport operators, including bus and train designers, in creating modern transport vehicles which carry all disabled people, including visually impaired and deafblind people, in comfort.

6.3 A Shared Responsibility

  6.3.1 At the local level the Joint Committee and its constituent members will continue to disseminate information and advice to local societies and access groups and visually impaired and deafblind people themselves.

  6.3.2 In return these people should be consulted on the problems they experience in local areas so that improvements can be planned.

6.4 A new direction

  6.4.1 The Joint Committee welcomes the new direction outlined in the New Deal for Transport. The new priorities will bring many benefits to visually impaired and deafblind people who have been increasingly excluded by the growing dependency on motor vehicles.

  6.4.2 Overall the new deal provides an opportunity for visually impaired and deafblind people to be included in society, lead healthy lifestyles and travel in comfort without undue restrictions.


8   Bruce et al, 1994, Blind and partially sighted adults in the UK: Vol. 1, RNIB, London. Back


 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1999
Prepared 28 April 1999