Memorandum by the Joint Committee on Mobility
of Blind and Partially Sighted People (IT 29)
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
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
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
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
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 benefitsimproved
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
5.4.1 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 Railwaysbetter services, accountable
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 Railwaysthe 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.
5.16.1 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 Technologyresearch 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
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
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