Cities transform themselves on a daily basis, aiming to become more accessible, sustainable and user-friendly in respect of their inhabitants. With a view to offer and guarantee the same opportunities to all users, it becomes necessary to remove the existing architectural barriers, amongst them, those dealing with transport. Therefore, it is essential that tomorrow’s cities are equipped with accessible transport systems that enable free mobility and the inclusion of all citizens.

Airport accessibility  

Airport infrastructures have notably improved in recent years. The following measures can serve as an example:

  • Parking spaces close to exit and entrance terminals.
  • Installation of ramps and lifts with the required dimensions so that people with reduced mobility are able to access with no trouble.
  • Braille writing in elevators and acoustic announcements for hearing impaired passengers.
  • Toilets adapted to people with reduced mobility.
  • Information systems adapted to people with all types of impairments, be it shorter information desks aimed at those people using a wheelchair, information in Braille, or mobile applications displaying information about flight status aimed at people with hearing loss.
  • Automatic doors having the width of passage required so that people using walkers, wheelchairs or crutches can access the facilities with total ease.
  • Personal assistance service comprised of skilled staff attending the needs of those people with mental or physical disabilities.

Accessible rail transport

Accessibility of railway transport has been one of the most developed in recent years. This means of transport was one of the most problematic for users with mobility issues due to the gap between the train and the edge of the platform, as well as the staircases that need to be surpassed in most cases in order to reach the station itself. These are a few measures applied by railway stations aimed to remove architectural barriers:

  • Vehicle slots for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) with an easy access to the station.
  • Automatic doors to access the station.
  • Accessible toilets adapted to PRM.
  • Partitioning of platforms through tactile bands that fix an optimal clearance for people visually impaired.
  • Reserved areas for users riding wheelchairs with a special anchorage system.
  • Ease of access to the different areas existing within a train (cafeteria, toilets, etc.)
  • Incorporation of folding ramps or elevating platforms to access the train interior with more ease.
  • Incorporation of automatic platform screen doors. This system is not only perfect for PRM, but it also guarantees all users’ total safety and security. Manusa offers two significant models: platform screen doors (PSD) and platform screen gates (PSG). Both systems separate the platform from the rails and their doors open only after the train has fully stopped and is aligned with these gates, preventing accidental fallings to the rails, removing the existing gap between the station and the passenger car, as well as enabling all users’ passage regardless of their physical condition. 

Accessibility in highway transport

With regard to highway transport, buses are particularly worth mentioning. Although this sector has not undergone the same evolution in favour of inclusion than others, different steps are being taken in order that people with reduced mobility can make proper use of this means of transport:

  • Installation of protection systems and shelters in platforms and docks with a view to ensure accessibility and security. Manusa offers their automatic doors for BRT systems (Bus Rapid Transit), a system of automatic door control and management for stations which synchronises the opening and closing of the bus and dock doors in an automatic and secure way.
  • Installation of hydraulic elevating platforms so that users may access the bus with total ease.
  • Reduction of the number of conventional seats with a view to widen space for PRM.
  • Incorporation of special seats in buses for those passengers making use of a wheelchair. The main benefit of these seats is that they ease the transference from the elevating platform of the dock into the vehicle interior.
  • Seat numbering, toilets, fire extinguisher or emergency exit signs in Braille.

In recent years, accesses to different means of public and private transport throughout the world have been adapted and enhanced, which is something that gives great liberty to people with reduced mobility. By virtue of implementing such steps, the so-called ‘universal accessibility for transport’ is now within reach.