EBSF D2.1.1.b Improved Information for Wheelchair Users of Urban Buses
Requirements for traveller information have been formulated in D1.4.2. “Vehicle requirements”, in D1.5.1. “Infrastructure Requirements” as well as in D1.6.2. “Operational requirements”. Overall, travellers with disabilities have the same information needs and requirements as all other travellers. However, depending upon their disability they will in most cases require additional and more specific information to complete their journey in an efficient and safe way. One group of travellers which has been identified as requiring additional information is wheelchair users.
The aim of the report is to present a summary of the specific information needs and requirements of travellers using a wheelchair, to provide a description of state-of-the-art regarding information to wheelchair users travelling by public transport and, further, to propose how the information could be improved in a future public transport system.
As all travellers, travellers using a wheelchair require information on, e.g. how to travel from a to z, what route to take and at what time. The specific information needs of travellers using a wheelchair include information on which parts of the public transport system that are accessible, e.g. which vehicles, bus stops and stations. Furthermore, they require information on the location of specific solutions, such as elevators, ramps, etc. as well as where information can be found that particularly target travellers using a wheelchair.
The inventory of solutions shows that information services exist specifically focusing travellers using a wheelchair. There is, in particular on the web, information to support these travellers to decide what route to take and at what time, which routes and vehicles are accessible and which are not. There are solutions to help travellers using a wheelchair identify through what door of the bus to enter/exit and where to place the wheelchair during the trip.
However, there is also room for improvements, e.g. regarding the level of details provided. A positive development would be if travel organisations involved travellers with disabilities in developing their own information. Web-based “crowdsourcing” could be one possibility to further involve travellers and use their experiences and suggestions to help other travellers use the PT network in an efficient and safe way. In addition, the information offered include static as well as dynamic information on e.g. departures in real-time. One real-time information that would certainly benefit travellers using a wheelchair would be if the dedicated areas for wheelchairs are already occupied or not already before they prepare for entering the bus. Even more beneficial would be a service that would allow the traveller to make a reservation in the same way as is possible on e.g. trains and long-distance bus trips.