Accessibility – The Ability to Participate
Accessibility is an important but undervalued objective in transport. Although we want transport to be safe and efficient, it is also important that it helps people – all people - to live their lives. In this ongoing research project, TDG partnered with the University of Waikato (Institute for Business Research) and CCS Disability Action Waikato to value inclusion in transport.
The research method involved counting observable mobility aids (such as wheelchairs and walking sticks), by persons making all manner of trips as pedestrians and public transport users. The data was then incorporated into cost-benefit appraisal and these methods can be used to inform broader transport planning.
The proportion of people using a mobility aid in catchment populations can be estimated so that gaps can be defined between current and desired levels of demonstrated inclusion in transport, to inform investment decisions concerning accessible infrastructure. This indicator is readily operational to estimate benefits and comparative costs of trips not made. These methods can be refined to objectively assess accessibility in parallel with other objectives for transport.
This research was funded by the Ministry of Social Development’s Think Differently Fund. It was carried out by TDG and the University of Waikato in collaboration with CCS Disability Action Waikato, and in March 2016 was presented at a roundtable meeting of the International Transport Forum at the OECD. The following web links provide a broader summary of the research undertaken and the presentation made by Bridget Burdett (TDG) and Professor Stuart Locke (University of Waikato).