Part 3: Our Approach to Developing an Accessible Travel Framework

Part 3: Our Approach to Developing an Accessible Travel Framework

This Framework has been built on open, frank conversations between disabled people, their representative organisations, local and central government and people working in the transport system. The purpose of these conversations was to find out, directly from disabled people and from people who work in or know about transport, how things could be improved to make travel more accessible.

As Scotland's first ever co-produced, national Accessible Travel Framework, it is also a commitment to turn these conversations into action to improve travel for disabled people.

Listening to concerns

The Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) have both published draft action plans setting out how they will implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (the Convention).

Both action plans have been the result of conversations with disabled people and their representatives across Scotland about removing disabling barriers in society and enabling disabled people to enjoy equal access to full citizenship.

From these conversations:

  • a list of 48 issues on transport accessibility (at Appendix 2) was identified and forms the basis for our high level action plan shown in Part 7 of this document; and
  • disabled people told us that some of the difficulties around using transport include getting to transport because of, for example, obstructions on the pavement and a lack of accessible toilet facilities around stations and on transport.


  • Ministers receive advice from the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland on widespread and significant issues, including issues similar to those being raised during the process of engagement on implementing the Convention in Scotland;

and significantly;

  • disabled people told us of bad experiences on occasion that put people off using transport more frequently or at all.
  • All of this highlighted that more could be done and things could be done differently to make travel more accessible to disabled people. It pointed to a need for better partnership working between disabled people and their representative organisations on the one hand, and the Scottish Government, local government and transport service and infrastructure providers on the other
    to understand and tackle the issues.

Encouraging conversations

Transport Scotland began a conversation with disabled people, their representatives, local and central government and people working in the transport system to understand all of their interests in accessible transport. A steering group (see Appendix 3 for details of membership) was formed comprising these groups to co-produce a Transport Accessibility Summit with the purpose of bringing together disabled people and people working in transport in Scotland to talk and listen to each other about these interests.

The main task of Summit delegates was to discuss and prioritise the 48 issues mentioned previously and shown at Appendix 2 of this document. The 48 issues were neither vetted nor otherwise altered before being presented to Summit delegates, ensuring the process was open and transparent and that nothing which had been raised was avoided or discarded.

The Summit report is available on and includes disabled people's discussion about the impact that barriers to travel have on their lives and the positive effects when these barriers are removed.

These were powerful messages and brought about a commitment from the Minister for Transport and Islands that the Summit was the beginning of continued discussion between partners to ensure that disabled people have the same opportunities to travel as anyone else.

So that those who could not attends the Summit also had the chance to contribute to the discussion, Transport Scotland asked a Disability Organisation (Scottish Disability Equality Forum) to design an accessible questionnaire. This was sent out via many of the organisations represented on the steering group. The results of the questionnaire are also available on

Some of the things disabled people said at the Summit about transport and on the questionnaire are shown in Part 2 of this document. The Summit itself received mainly positive feedback, although there were also lessons to be learned as shown at Figure 5.

Figure 5

Feedback we received[16] about the Transport Accessibility Summit:

  • "Atmosphere very warm and inviting."
  • "Very well organised event. It was worthwhile and provides a sense of optimism about accessible transport for the coming years."
  • "The breadth of the topics discussed was impressive and the range of organisations extensive. I hope that this is the beginning of the increased improvement of disability groups in transport provision."
  • "As an organisation supporting people with hearing disabilities I found the morning and afternoon sessions very fast-moving. The sessions never gave enough time to process information and give full feedback."
  • "The process of prioritising two issues out of 10 or more was far too challenging for people with learning disabilities. It felt like discussion was being sacrificed for the sake of decision-making. Most of the people at my table hadn't had the time to think about the issues before they came."

Working together to tackle the issues

One of the main recommendations from the Summit was to form a long-term strategic group consisting of disabled people, their representatives and people working in transport to discuss and resolve travel accessibility issues. To fulfil that recommendation, the Steering Group was reconvened and its first task was to develop this Framework including a Vision and Outcomes together with an Action Plan directly responding to the 48 issues.

The Steering group also wanted to keep up a direct engagement with a wider group of disabled people, especially those who had attended the Summit or commented on the issues. So one of the group members, the Scottish Disability Equality Forum, ran a further engagement process (including discussion events across Scotland) on the draft Vision, Outcomes and some priority actions. This provided an important check that the final Framework reflects disabled people's needs and wishes. The report of this engagement process can be accessed at

The process of developing this Framework shows what can be achieved in making travel more accessible by building on conversations that reflect the views and experiences of disabled people and those working in the transport system and coming up with joint solutions. The intention is to continue this way of working, and this is reflected in the governance and engagement process discussed in Part 6.