Promote and raise awareness of technology and initiatives that provide passengers with timely and up to date information to help them to make informed decisions in order to complete their journey
The need to plan journeys in more detail and to gather information on what to expect when travelling has taken on a new importance as a result of COVID-19. There are now a range of things to consider: capacity constraints in order to abide by physical distancing guidance; a new emphasis on public health safety; queuing requirements, wearing of masks (unless you are exempt); changing timetables; and in some instances reduced services as well as new street and road layouts. This has made it all the more challenging, especially for disabled travellers, so knowing what to expect in real time information is vitally important.
As Scotland’s Coronavirus restrictions ease, the demand on services, including from disabled people, will increase. It is therefore essential that disabled people are able to plan their journeys, which includes the accessibility measures to meet their needs, for example, lowered kerbs, lifts, clear direction with marked distances, information on accessible buses and stops etcetera.
The predominant use of English for written communication and audible announcements on journeys highlights the need for a more inclusive approach to communication too, including providing information in more accessible formats.
If we are to encourage greener travel choices, people need to feel confident that they can safely walk or wheel to the tram stop, wait for a bus or train and good journey planning options will increase levels of confidence. We know that most door-to-door journeys include more than one mode of transport, and therefore different steps in that journey should not be thought of in isolation. If we want people to make different travel choices, we must think more clearly about their whole journey, how each part of it connects, and how we can better integrate those parts. This applies to all citizens but is perhaps even more relevant to those members of our communities that have a disability or restricted mobility.
And there are many examples of good practice across the country including the introduction by ScotRail of a British Sign Language (BSL) app to allow its staff to aid BSL customers in any part of their journey and Calmac and NorthLink Ferries have introduced a range of accessible information and projects to support disabled travellers with their journeys including Information on accessible cabins; that shows the full range of cabin facilities and a Recite Me function which reads the content of all documents on their website.
Key actions for 2021-2022
In order to fulfil this objective Transport Scotland will:
- Promote a more inclusive approach to communication and raise awareness of technology and initiatives that ensure passengers can access timely and up to date information that suits their needs, ensuring they feel safe to complete their journey.
- Continue to work with Traveline Scotland, Disability Equality Scotland and Scottish Government Digital to ensure the digital travel information needs of disabled people have been considered. This is helping us understand areas for further improvement within the Traveline Scotland website and app services, and also where enhancements can be made to travel planning information currently available.
- Continue to support development of the Thistle Assistance Programme to increase awareness and use of the existing card and app, utilising the new branding, creative and website. We will also be supporting the development of journey planning and wayfinding by working with SEStran and the project team to deliver a prototype solution by July 2022.
- Work with transport operators and Disability Equality Scotland to enhance and promote the information on the accessible travel hub to ensure we can further provide support and raise awareness of new and existing journey planning apps.