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New funding for tech solutions to accessible travel challenges

These projects could provide a range of practical solutions that remove physical barriers, make it easier to access information, automate processes or see better support for travellers

03 November 2020

 

The Department for Transport (DfT) is marking Purple Tuesday, an accessibility campaign, by launching the Accessible Technology Research and Innovation Grant (A-TRIG), which will invest up to £500,000 in projects that can improve access to services or inspire more confidence to travel.

These projects could provide a range of practical solutions that remove physical barriers, make it easier to access information, automate processes or see better support for travellers.

They could include:

  • ways for visually-impaired passengers to identify the bus they want to catch

  • smartphone apps to report inaccessibility and track progress

  • a Wayfinder-style system to plan bus journeys

Mike Adams OBE, Founder and Creator of Purple Tuesday, said: 'Purple is calling on organisations to rethink their current strategies towards disabled customers for Purple Tuesday to help them take advantage of the £274 billion Purple Pound – the consumer spending power of disabled people and their families.'

The department’s Access for All programme has now provided 200 stations with better access across Great Britain, with around 100 more to be completed by 2024 – a quarter of these in Scotland and Wales. The continued success of the Access for All programme, and accessibility improvements delivered as part of other station enhancement projects, means that more than 75% of rail journeys are now through stations with step-free access, compared with around 50% in 2005.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: 'I want to harness the power of technology to improve accessibility for disabled people through COVID and beyond. Today’s funding will play a key role by finding new and innovative ideas and projects to break down barriers and could make a massive difference to people’s lives.

The competition comes as the department publishes its 2-year update on its Inclusive Transport Strategy (ITS), highlighting the work delivered – including expanding Blue Badges to non-visible disabilities, launching the It’s everyone’s journey public awareness campaign, and funding 59 Changing Places toilets in motorway services, 7 of which have now opened, with more to do so next year.

As part of this, the department has also launched the Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme and is announcing the first companies to receive accreditation under the scheme. 

 
 
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