UITP signs declaration for improving accessibility in public transport
The new declaration is a crucial framework aligning key principles that organisations can build on to improve their own implementation of accessibility and support the realisation of accessible public transport.
On 12 July 2022, the International Association for Public Transport (UITP) announced that its Secretary General, Mohamed Mezghani, has signed a declaration on improving accessibility in public transport. The ‘Lecco Declaration’ is a framework of key accessibility principles, enabling the development of a Memorandum of Understanding and committing those involved to introduce concrete actions for accessible public transport.
This declaration has been signed alongside Georgios Kouroupetroglou, President of Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology (AAATE), and Laura Alčiauskaitė, Project Coordinator at the European Network of Independent Living (ENIL). Each of the organisations are partners in the EU-funded project, TRIPS, and have been actively working on co-creation with users with disabilities and public transport providers to develop new design concepts to remove barriers and make public transport more accessible.
During the meeting, representatives of different European associations and policy makers discussed approaches to speed up the conception and implementation of smart, green and accessible transportation for all. It was an opportunity to explain the TRIPS co-design approach and discuss practical implications of these concepts currently being trialled in seven European pilot cities: Bologna, Brussels, Cagliari, Sofia, Stockholm, Lisbon and Zagreb.
“When discussing accessibility, it is challenging to make sure all the different transport stakeholders are on board with such measures and co-ordinating their efforts. The Lecco declaration is important because it forces the sector to focus their attention on the user. We have to educate the sector that we are not only doing this for persons with reduced mobility but we are doing this for everyone,” said Mohamed Mezghani, UITP Secretary General.
Public transport plays a key role to keeping cities and regions connected and moving, which is why it is important that the sector offers sustainable and safe mobility solutions to all, while contributing to improve air quality, social cohesion, employment and much more.
According to UITP, creating barrier-free mobility shouldn’t be about ensuring the full sector is 100 per cent accessible for all but rather to direct users to multimodal transport services for door-to-door mobility so that they can choose the safest and most comfortable options for them.
By working with users and knowing their requirements, operators, authorities and industry providers can make informed decisions based on their direct feedback and ensure that public transport services are ready for their use.
The core concepts of the Lecco Declaration:
- Freedom of movement is a human right and personal mobility should be guaranteed to all
- Mobility is related to other rights such as participation, access to education and employment
- Public transport supports social and environmental policies and values. It connects places and people and fosters social and economic development. Everyone should be able to use it
- Technological developments has the potential to reduce or overcome access barriers providing new solutions.
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