Overcoming barriers to mobility
To make Gloucestershire a more inclusive county and improve the lives of people with additional needs and disabilities, a survey has been launched to find out the mobility issues they face.
Over the past three years, the county council’s SEN travel enablement team has supported many young people with additional needs and disabilities to become more independent by using public transport. It is now working with partners including the University of Gloucestershire and Inclusion Gloucestershire on a project called ‘Barriers to mobility’.
It aims to find solutions to the transport issues faced by people with a wide range of disabilities, including those with visual or hearing impairments, learning disabilities, autism, social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs and physical disabilities.
Many disabled people use the bus to get to education or training settings, work, socialise or carry out tasks such as shopping. But with only one wheelchair space available it often means that people have to wait for the next bus, missing appointments or catch-ups with friends.
Working closely with Stagecoach and other bus operators, the project team will tackle these issues and work on solutions that will support greater numbers of disabled people travelling on public transport as a result of the study.
It will also look at people’s experiences when using other forms of transport, such as barriers to cycling, use of mobility scooters and private transport, including Dial-a-Ride or Community Connexions, and any issues they face getting to and from a bus stop, such as pathways or dropped kerbs.
The travel survey is open until the new year and will be used to gather information about people’s experiences. It can be accessed at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/inclusiontravel
It can be completed by anyone in the county with additional needs, or someone on their behalf, and includes questions on what transport you use, what your experiences are and how improvements could be made.
It is hoped that any solutions identified will also lead to greater opportunities for disabled people, such as in employment.
Figures show that less than half of disabled people in the UK are in employment (48 per cent), compared to 80 per cent of the non-disabled population.
About 105,000 people in Gloucestershire (16.7 per cent) have a long-term limiting health problem or disability and 24 per cent of households have at least one person with these.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member with responsibility for public and community transport, said: “We want to make Gloucestershire a more inclusive county and this survey will help us gather information to make that possible. People with disabilities should have equal access to opportunities so I fully support this work and hope it will lead to solutions to overcome these obstacles.”