Government calls for greater accessibility in transport tech
New transport tech should have a focus on older people and those with disabilities, the government has said.
Future of Mobility Minister Jesse Norman set out that new technologies including self-driving vehicles and the increased use of mobile apps have the potential to revolutionise everyday journeys for people with mobility issues, and this must be a key consideration for those companies developing future transport.
“Self-driving technologies could greatly improve the mobility of vulnerable user groups, helping to address problems of isolation and loneliness across the country,” said Norman.
“The needs of older people, and those with visible or hidden disabilities, must be at the heart of all new modes of transport.”
Its ‘Inclusive Transport Strategy’ sets out the government’s aim to make the entire transport network accessible by 2030.
Disability organisations the National Autistic Society, Muscular Dystrophy UK, Scope, Blind Veterans UK and Whizz-Kidz have come on board to support the move.
The comments follow a joint venture launched by Blind Veterans UK and Aurrigo in April, which launched a trial of self-driving pods equipped with accessible features.
A blind veteran became the first to take a trial in a driverless pod at Blind Veterans UK's Brighton Centre.
In their ‘Future of mobility: urban strategy, launched in March 2019’, the government declared that transport innovations must be accessible by design in order to empower independent travel, in line with the 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy which stated that advances in technology should provide opportunities for all.
The government highlighted he trend toward ride-sharing will need to cater for users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters, as well as those who might not feel comfortable sharing with strangers due to mental health or developmental conditions.