About 15% of the world’s population suffers from a disability, a proportion that is expected to increase, particularly as the population ages. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities makes it obligatory to make transport accessible to persons with disabilities so that they can participate in society “on an equal basis with others”.
To allow disabled users to experience mobility more easily, public transportation facilities should offer a design that:
• Is adapted to people with diverse abilities,
• Is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge or language skills,
• Communicates necessary information effectively, regardless of the user’s sensory abilities
• Can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue
• Ensures an appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation.
One good practice example is ‘Aubin’: an app designed to improve rail journeys for people with autism by using stress related preferences, rather than time or cost, to help the user reach their destination.
The widespread use of smartphones is a powerful vector of innovation: digital accessibility is not only an accessory but an essential component of accessibility to public space. However, many mobility services today are offered to customers through digital channels, leaving some, literally, at the side of the road. This is a critical point for seniors, often disoriented by the widespread digitisation of society, but also for people who do not have the financial means to get a smartphone.