Accessibility in Public Transport

  • Training
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  • Belgium


In our growing and increasingly fast-paced cities, access to public transport for all is a key factor of mobility and social inclusion. In this regard, the public transport sector has an important role to play to ensure that all citizens move smoothly in and around urban areas, and more particularly to make passengers with special needs more confident when preparing and during their journey.

Ensuring the accessibility of urban transport is an immense challenge which the public transport sector has been embracing unevenly from one network to another. While some transport networks are already fully accessible, and still improving by integrating the newest technologies available, many more are still in the process of delivering the right infrastructure, service or technology to become fully accessible.

Whatever measure is implemented, it needs to take due care of the purpose of public transport networks and vehicles, which are primarily designed to provide fast and reliable mass transit solutions for millions of passengers every day. Furthermore, the modernisation of transport lines often involves expensive large-scale adaptation of infrastructure which, in some cases, is more than a century-old. Achieving a completely accessible transport network requires a thorough understanding of those local needs and specificities to ensure finite levels of investment are directed to where they are most useful.

In this context, this course aims at teaching on a multitude of aspects and combines theoretical learning, best practice sharing as well as a table-top exercise and a field visit to apply your learnings. As all networks may not apprehend “accessibility” in the same way, the group will work on the development of a toolkit and conduct a field visit to assess the local public transport in Brussels.

Objectives of the course

  • Broaden your knowledge and perspective on accessibility in public transport by learning and sharing experience with professional leaders.
  • Outline the key practices required to improve accessibility of networks in the most efficient way.
  • Understand the particular challenges linked to different modes of transport and different categories of disability
  • Table top exercise and field visit: Considering the key characteristics of your public transport system, participate to the development of a maturity model for accessibility to assess the level of accessibility of your network and analyse the efficiency of measures needed to improve its accessibility.
  • Understand how new technology and digitalisation helps reinventing accessibility.
  • Illustrating the variety of solutions that local operators and authorities are implementing in the world


  • Get inspired by our trainers, understand the main aspects of accessibility in public transport and learn from successful best practice
  • Participate to interactive plenary sessions with introduction by course leaders, presentation by the trainer and open discussion with participants
  • Contribute to the development of a tool kit to benchmark and improve accessibility in your network
  • Challenge your practical knowledge in this professional field
  • Address the topic from an international perspective, enriched by different cultural approaches and points of views
  • Participate to workshops and a field visit allowing you to apply on a concrete case the main principles and tools learned
  • Benefit from a unique exchange of knowledge and experience between professionals

Target audience

  • Accessibility managers and staff of accessibility departments
  • Public transport authorities and operators
  • Industry involved in the deployment of “hard measures”

Participants must have a good command of English to follow this course.

Inspiring Trainers

Our skillful trainers are composed of international experts and professionals with extensive experience and knowledge in accessibility in public transport.

Trainers will be:



Daniele Abdelnour, Mission Accessibility, RATP, Paris, France

James Wardell, Head of Accessibility, London Underground, UK

Christian de Strycker, Manager Accessibility, STIB, Brussels, Belgium

Marie Denninghaus, Policy Coordinator, European Disability Forum

Daniel Courcol, Customer Experience Director, Keolis Group, Paris, France
Lionel Valette, System Bogie Manager, ALSTOM, Le Creusot, France
Anne-Laure Le Merre, Mobility Expert, UITP



UITP reserves the right to make amendments to the programme or any related activity

The following topics will be addressed throughout the course:

  • Why are we here?

        o Legal requirements:
           - UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities
           - EU legislation: Directive for a European accessibility act - Passengers’ rights regulation - Rail TSI PRM regulation
           - Insight into some national legislation
        o Context of ageing societies
        o Increasing demand for social inclusion

  • What disability do we talk about?

       o Definition of PRM - Person with Reduced Mobility
       o The notion of handicap
       o Identifying the target population
       o The affected PRM and the needs of each category
       o Challenges of a EU disability card

  • What strategy works best?

o Making a network accessible: the "geographical zone" vs "line" approach
o Distinction between hard & soft measures
o Functional requirements for products and services («Design for all» principle)
o Alternative services, incl. individual door to door service 
o Examples of measures: 
        - Designing the space and conceiving the facilities
         - Rolling stock (rail and bus)
         - Transversal measures
         - Website, apps and digital tools
         - Travel information and wayfinding
         - Personnel training
         - Research & innovation

  • How do I finance my accessibility strategy?

       o European co-financing (with example)
       o State financing (with example)
       o Own financing (with example)

  • A selection of best practices: Ticketing machines, travel information tools and communication, human assistance. Innovation: Al, beacon, apps/mobile etc. 

Case studies

  • The case of London, by London Underground

This case study will start with an overview on Transport for London (TfL) and its place in supporting London (ridership, demographics, etc.). The current state of accessible transport across TfL’s modes (physical infrastructure and technology/staff measures to help customers) will also be presented. Presentation will also cover the accessibility of London Underground and the challenge of making a 150 year old network accessible. London Underground will show how they tried to make stations step free in the past. The main part of the case study will then focus on the 2016 Step Free Access Programme: making the case, the approach taken to selecting which stations to include, the engineering and technical challenge, the scope and cost challenge, the results and how the Step Free Access is an enabler for Wider Accessibility Initiatives.

  • The case of Paris, by RATP

The role and task of RATP’s “Mission accessibilité” will be presented. That includes the means put in place to make all modes it operates accessible: tram, metro, bus, RER, with the details of accessibility measures for each category of disability, and both for the rolling stock and the built environment. Other “soft” measures will also be presented, i.e. apps, staff training, website, with a focus on innovative solutions. Lastly, the challenges RATP is facing when having to adapt a century old infrastructure, and the solutions put in place, will be mentioned.

  • The case of Brussels, by STIB

The accessibility plan of STIB will be presented, including how different categories of disability are taken into account, how dialogue is organised with representatives of persons with reduced mobility, and how the cooperation with the organising authority is managed. A particular focus will be given to the solutions implemented on buses to respond to different types of disability, as well as to the challenges faced by the mobility operator when operating in stations shared by the national railway operator.​

  • The case of Alstom

Gaps between the train and the platform are an important issue faced by persons with reduced mobility when getting on and off the trains. Alstom has implemented a solution to address this issue, aiming at facilitating the access to trains. The explanation about how it works will be illustrated by practical examples.

  • The case of Keolis

    How to guarantee the accessibility of public transport in times of traffic disruptions? Taking the example of heavy disruptions affecting a tram line during several months, Keolis will present the measures put in place to provide accessible alternative transport to passengers with reduced mobility, as well as the users' feedback. Information will also be given on the collaboration with start-ups to accompany passengers with reduced mobility during this particular period.

Capturing insights on the field: Maturity model for accessibility and site visit in Brussels

This activity combines an exercise aiming at developing a maturity model for accessibility with a visit of the public transport network in Brussels. With the aim to improve the accessibility of your own network, the exercise will allow you to assess the level of accessibility of your network with that of other networks, and find the most efficient improvement measures for your network.

  • Table-top exercise: preparation of a maturity model for accessibility
  • General introduction to the Brussels public transport landscape and focus on the challenges of a zone jointly managed by two undertakings (visit of Schuman metro station)
  • Field exercise: experience, observe and analyse your public transport journey as a different type of user (with the use of guidelines)
  • Debrief & conclusions


21% VAT excluded

Until 30/10/2018

After 30/10/2018


1210 €

1610 €

Member « developing nations »*

885 €

1175 €


1635 €

2170 €

Non-member « developing nations »*

1095 €

1465 €

Group UITP Member (4 or +)

1130 €

Group UITP Member (4 or +) « developing nations »*

830 €

Group UITP non Member (4 or +)

1520 €

Group UITP non Member (4 or +) « developing nations »*

1020 €


* Participants from developing nations benefit from a special discount. Check here the list of eligible countries.

To register a group of 4 persons of more from the same organisation, please contact us: - Tel: +32 2 663 66 57

Participation fees include:

  • Training instruction
  • Lunches and coffee breaks
  • All training documents: Binder including all presentations and supporting documents; Access to all training material via UITP's electronic library Mobi+ (after the training)

Groups generally consist of 25 participants and are limited to about 30 in order to increase the learning experience and interaction during the programme. Places allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Terms and Conditions

Please download our Terms and Conditions here.

Contact Person

Sunita Kelecom, Training Assistant, UITP Centre for Training,, Tel: +32-2-663 66 57


Practical information: 

Training Venue

Rue Sainte-Marie 6
1080 Brussels

Metro: Comte de Flandre/Graaf van Vlaanderen (line 1 or 5) or Tram 51: Porte de Flandre


Participants are responsible for making their own hotel reservation.

Hotel Meiniger  (***)
Quai du Hainaut 33
1080 Brussels
Phone:+32 2 588 14 74

Hotel Ibis Sainte-Catherine (***)
rue Joseph Plateau N°2
1000  Brussels
Phone: + 32 2 620 04 26

Hotel Metropole (*****)
31, place de Brouckère
1000 Brussels
Phone: +32 2 217 23 00

Hotel Hilton Brussels Grand Place (****)
Carrefour de l'Europe 3
1000  Brussels
Phone: + 32 2 548 42 11


Daniele Abdelnour, Mission Accessibility, RATP, Paris, France

James Wardell, Head of Accessibility, London Underground, UK

Christian de Strycker, Manager Accessibility, STIB, Brussels, Belgium

Marie Denninghaus, Policy Coordinator, European Disability Forum

Daniel Courcol, Customer Experience Director, Keolis Group, Paris, France
Lionel Valette, System Bogie Manager, ALSTOM, Le Creusot, France
Anne-Laure Le Merre, Mobility Expert, UITP


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