Posted on Nov 15, 2022
This week, at the Transport Research Arena (TRA2022) conference in Lisbon, delegates heard of the obstacles faced by persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable persons, when using public transport.
In particular, Stephen Perkins head of policy research at the International Transport Forum, drew attention to the lack of adequate transport infrastructure in rural areas, when compared to cities, leaving people with insufficient access to services, economic opportunities and social activities
He emphasised the need for heavy subsidies in such areas.
He also spoke of the need to allocate "safe space" for pedestrians, and highlighted the risks to vulnerable persons by the blocking of pavements by cars, and in recent years by electric scooters which increasingly blight urban streets.
Rita Jacinto, programme manager, Division for Pedestrian Mobility, Lisbon, called for regulation on this issue. "If a bus company wishes to operate a service, there are regulations in place that must be adhered to," she said, adding that "there need to be regulations in place for scooters too."
Visually impaired people are at risk from scooters blocking pavements, as are people in wheelchairs, for whom public transport is also inadequetly prepared.
Every day, people are prevented from using bus shelters - even where there is one - because of their wheelchairs.
Most public transport users are women, delegates heard. The current energy crisis has led to a reduction of street lighting, creating new safety issues. Safe space, said Stephen Perkins, "is essential to the sustainability agenda."
Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years, and approximately 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. More than 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
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