Government calls for ‘accessible’ transport

Roads and rail minister John Watts is challenging designers to create accessible and attractive transport systems for the future.

Speaking at a Design Council conference at the London Transport Museum last week, Watts said the Department of Transport is drawing up design specifications to satisfy last year’s Disability Discrimination Act.

Disability is and will be more prevalent in the UK’s aging population, and future transport design must take note of changing needs, said Watts.

The DoT, said Watts, “is very keen to make sure that innovation is not stifled”. He added: “As far as possible we have talked in terms of a performance specification, leaving the field wide open to designers of this generation and the next to come up with innovative ideas and solutions.”

Safety is cited by the minister as another vital consideration for designers of transport systems and vehicles. The DoT is to research the extent to which people are put off using public transport through fear.

The conference heard London Transport design director Jeremy Rewse-Davies plead for any privatisation of London Underground to preserve LU as a single company, not least for its effect on design: “If LT or LU is privatised as one unit it would work extremely well.”

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