Strong push for better accessibility on NSW public transport

Town Hall, Sydney

The past decade has ushered in real improvements in the accessibility of public transport services across Australia, but there’s still a long road to travel before equal and fair access to public transport services is a reality in every state, regardless of age or ability.

With the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities explicitly calling on governments to embrace accessible and inclusive design in developing new products, services and environments, including public transport networks worldwide, there are now firm signs progress is being made.

New South Wales is leading the move towards complete accessibility, as it continues to further the goals of the 2002 Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport.

In a paper to be presented at the Universal Design Conference in Sydney on 20 – 21st August at Sydney Town Hall, Gail Le Bransky, Principal Manager Accessible and Inclusive Transport at Transport for NSW will elaborate on how the customer first culture at Transport for NSW has shifted the organisation’s focus from compliance with standards, to delivery of a high level of access and service for all customers.

There a number of factors to be considered in the design and implementation of a more accessible transport network, and these are reliant on the development of inclusive policy which is then put into practice. These include how the local walking environment can support access to public transport, how customer service improvements can reduce difficulties in the physical environment and; possible barriers to full implementation of the UN Standards.

In comparing accessibility of public transport to world standards, the Sydney metropolitan bus network can be used as a case study. Liz Reedy will represent the Western Sydney Community Forum at the conference, bringing a comprehensive understanding of transport policy, transport planning, mass transport services/networks, local transport accessibility gaps, and community transport experience across NSW. Ms Reedy will also discuss the direct and indirect benefits of enhancing accessibility to the Sydney bus network, and provide a new perspective of that of the end user, and their personal evaluations of universal design measures in public transport.

The Universal Design Conference is to be opened by Ian Day, CEO of COTA NSW, with a welcome address from Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore. The conference program features a mix of international speakers including Gerald Craddock, Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (Ireland), Kay Saville-Smith, Centre for Research Evaluation and Social Assessment (New Zealand) and a number of industry experts, thought leaders and policy makers.

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