Aiming public transport towards people with reduced mobility (PRM) has become an essential requirement in today’s society, a society that attempts to democratise transport and make it be a fundamental aspect and a right for each and every person, regardless of their physical or mental state.

The United Nations have set the stage for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which main objective is to foster the so called inclusive transport in cities, a sustainable, secure and accessible transport for all kinds of users.

According to the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Report on Transport, there will be more than 5,000 million people inhabiting big cities by 2030, therefore transport will gain high importance in these areas, thus becoming a basic right for everyone.

The concept of “democratisation of transport” does not only refer to transport itself, rather than to the set of infrastructures related to it; a barrier removal infrastructure and which in consequence allows all the people to move at full capacity, including both pedestrians and users of public or private transport.

How to approach the democratisation of public transport                                          

Many cities are adapting their infrastructures and means of transport to people with reduced mobility through the inclusion of measures as important as necessary:

  • Adaptation of urban roads and removal of architectural barriers. Access ramps for people using wheelchairs, acoustic and tactile signals for people with visual impairment, visual signs for people affected by hearing loss, and even relevant information thanks to the use of mobile applications enable that all users may move freely through big cities and in a secure way.
  • Adaptation of accesses in stations and means of transport. In order that transport may be regarded as universal, the first requirement is that it must guarantee ease of access. Train stations, bus stops and parking spaces, sea ports or airports must guarantee that any user will be able to access their facilities without let or hindrance:
  • Automatic doors are a clear democratising example since they allow any person to move freely without needing to carry out extra effort. Automatic doors, besides simplifying people flow thanks to their automatic opening and their ample width of passage, are a key element as regards sustainability, since they save high amounts of energy.

Manusa, with its more than 50 years of experience in the sector, can offer a variety of solutions and control systems. For instance, platforms screen doors for underground and train stations, BRT automatic doors for bus stations, or Toran one-way corridors for airports are their most noted examples. Although it is true that these doors or corridors have security as their main mission, they also help people with mobility issues or any kind of handicap thanks to their automatic opening, and the fact that any visual or sound noticing system can be installed in them.

 

  • Ease of access for means of transport. One of the biggest handicaps people with reduced mobility must cope with is accesses to transport, which is why it becomes fully necessary to install access ramps and platforms with a view to make the access to buses or trains easier, as well as to remove the gap that usually remains between the parking space or station and the train or bus. Lifts are also essential elements dealing with the removal of architectural barriers, particularly in train and underground stations.

 

  • Spaces earmarked for PRM. Another essential measure with regard to universal accessibility includes the increase of spaces dedicated to people with reduced mobility. One of the most successful case studies regarding this democratisation of new means of transport is located in the city of Auckland, New Zealand. Auckland has increased the number of spaces dedicated to people using wheelchairs, as well as the seats earmarked for the elderly and people coping with any kind of handicap. This New Zealander city also relies on buses specifically designed to take different wheelchairs making it possible to move these users without restraint. Transport in Auckland is also adapted to people with visual impairment or hearing loss, thanks to its acoustic signs or the transmission of information in Braille in real time.

Mobility is a fundamental right for every human being, an accessible city is synonymous with a friendly, comfortable and secure environment, in which the quality of life of all citizens increases in an accelerating way. By virtue of technology, the services can be used without encumbrance by everyone, thus revealing that the democratisation of transport is of benefit to society in general.

Manusa Automatic Doors