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Groundbreaking study assess how sustainable transport can include disabled people

A new study from Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) shows disabled people will help shape the future of sustainable forms of shared transport such as e-scooters and shared bikes.

The project has been commissioned by the Motability Foundation and will be delivered by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC).

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Last year another Motability survey, on the accessibility of transport generally, concluded that micromobility presents opportunities in accessible travel but the voices of disabled people need to be included at the design stage of future projects.

It was also found that disabled people make 38%  fewer journeys than non-disabled people, a figure that has remained consistent for ten years.

The new study aims to explore the experiences of disabled people when engaging with existing micromobility services and the challenges they face when accessing them.

Futhermore, it will look at how micromobility services can be more inclusive and how the voices of disabled people can be heard in future decision making.

The project will run for six month and incorporate an evidence review, a survey of disabled people, a series of focus groups and engagement with public and private sector stakeholders, before the publication of a final report.

Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said: ‘We are excited to be involved in this cutting-edge research, which will give disabled people a voice in shaping the future of how we all travel.

‘We know from our previous work that micromobility schemes such as e-scooters and bike sharing have the potential to be transformative, improving people’s health at the same time as cutting road congestion and air pollution and freeing up space in cities.

‘It is crucial that nobody is left behind as we move towards these sustainable forms of transport, which must be made as accessible as possible at the design stage.

‘We hope the findings of this research will help to inform the work of transport providers and policymakers in the years to come.”

Gordon McCullough, CEO of RiDC, said: ‘By working with our consumer panel of over 4,000 disabled and older people, we will gain insight into the experiences of disabled people using this type of transport, and what needs to be done to ensure that it is accessible for everyone.

‘These transport options represent relatively low-cost means of independent travel but only if they’re designed to be inclusive. As their availability grows, it’s vital that disabled and older people’s voices are included, and both the vehicles and the booking and payment systems are usable by everyone. Afterall, when you design with disabled people in mind, you create a product or system that works for everyone.’

Harry Fisher, innovation manager at the Motability Foundation, said: ‘Micromobility is a rapidly growing area and could present some really exciting opportunities for accessible travel.

‘However, to explore these opportunities fully it is vital that the voices of disabled people are heard in future designs and decision making.

‘We are pleased be working with CoMoUK and RiDC on this important research. It will provide invaluable insight on the experiences and views of disabled people, alongside engagement with key public and private sector stakeholders involved in the delivery of micromobility services.’

Image: Markus Spiske

More on this topic:

Disabled people’s organisation blasts ‘shameful’ Norfolk care charge plans

Ombudsman finds council placed homeless disabled child too far from school

Paul Day
Paul is the editor of Public Sector News.

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