ITP fully supports the concept of “mobility for all” and undertakes projects and assignments that help to make travel for people with disabilities or mobility impairments as simple and straightforward as possible. Through in-depth social research with affected people and with groups and organisations that represent their interests, we have built up a deep understanding of the needs of people with limited mobility.
ITP is increasingly engaged by both public and private sector organisations to undertake projects on meeting the transport needs of people with limited mobility. We have led two major national research projects for the UK Department for Transport – on mobility service provision for disabled and older people; and on administration, eligibility assessment and enforcement of the Disabled Person’s Parking (Blue) Badge scheme. We are also authoring a guidance document for the World Bank on meeting the needs of people with limited mobility in transport projects in developing countries.
Review of UK mobility services for older and disabled people - ITP led this DfT-commissioned high-level policy review of mobility services provided for disabled and older people to support their independent and personal mobility. The findings were drawn from primary research work to gather views and data from providers of mobility services for disabled and older people, service users and third party organisations. Key tasks included interviewing key decision-makers at 30+ UK service provider organisations and representative bodies, and conducting 17 Focus Group discussions and 18 depth interviews in order to speak directly to older and disabled people from a range of different social backgrounds and with experience of different age, health, physical and sensory impairments. By contrasting the segmented needs of mobility service users (both now and 15 years hence) against the current range of mobility services which are currently available in the UK, this study informed DfT and other government departments’ strategic decision making regarding future policy and grant funding support for the mobility services sector.
Practical guidance on improving transport accessibility for people with limited mobility -ITP is working on behalf of the World Bank to conduct an evidence-based global review of transport systems and services that are accessible for people with limited mobility (PLM). Following extensive information gathering and analysis activities, the aim is to prepare a practical guidance note that will help World Bank Task Team leaders to ensure that accessible transport features are designed in to future initiatives, in line with the UN Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). This will highlight the costs, benefits and implementation issues associated with different features and approaches, as well as setting out a “roadmap” for ensuring that accessibility features are fully considered in each World Bank project.
Review of Blue Badge administration, assessment and enforcement - ITP was appointed by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) to conduct a major study to identify and evidence good practices associated with English local authorities’ Blue Badge administration and eligibility assessment procedures. This practically focused project was based primarily on in-depth case studies of practices in 33 local authorities, including eight local authorities that had been designated as Blue Badge Centres of Excellence. Our work included user consultation, stakeholder workshops, financial analysis of the cost-effectiveness of different approaches, and pilot studies of innovative approaches that showed promise for improving the way the Blue Badge scheme is run. The key output from the study was drafting of new DfT guidance (published in 2011), illuminated using case studies, for local authorities in England to use. Quantitative findings from the case study evidence base were sufficiently robust that they were included in the Government’s regulatory impact assessment which informed recently announced reforms to the Blue Badge scheme in England.
Blue Badge eligibility extension research - ITP was commissioned to lead a team conducting research into the feasibility and practical implications of extending eligibility for Blue Badges to people with severe cognitive impairments and people with severe but temporary mobility problems. These had been proposed as possible eligibility extensions by Government, following work by DpTAC and earlier research with potential badge users. The first workstream addressed a potential eligibility extension to people with severe cognitive impairments and involved recruiting and conducting qualitative research with a panel of eminent medical experts and reviewing whether existing benefit eligibility criteria could be used. The second workstream addressed potential eligibility extension to people with severe but temporary mobility problems. This included a review of Scottish experience with temporary badges; assessing the numbers and associated costs with eligibility extensions; and addressing the practicalities of eligibility assessment. This included significant liaison with local authority staff who deliver the English Blue Badge scheme, through interviews and workshops. We made recommendations on the best way forward for implementing eligibility changes and contributed to policy impact assessments.
Concessionary fares - the passenger perspective - ITP was appointed by Passenger Focus (the national independent body representing the interests of rail, bus and coach passengers) to undertake national research on the impacts on bus passengers of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme for older and disabled people. This included both qualitative research (through focus groups) and quantitative research (a survey at bus stops and stations) at selected locations that covered different types of geographic area. Our research findings showed that the scheme is popular with older and disabled bus users, and that bus users who currently have to pay full fare are
equally positive. They also showed that not having to pay to use the bus is making it easier for older and disabled people to lead full and active lives, and that in most cases the scheme does not appear to be having an excessive impact on overcrowding or the quality of local bus services.
Disabled companion pass survey - Portsmouth City Council’s companion pass is a local discretionary enhancement of the national concessionary travel scheme and is intended to enable people with learning disabilities or people that are registered blind to travel with a carer on the bus for free. We were appointed to analyse and report the results of a survey undertaken in early 2010 to assess the views of both passholders and non passholders towards the companion pass. The survey found the scheme to be very popular resulting in an increase in bus travel by pass holders. We also analysed and reported on the implications of discontinuing the scheme and continuing the scheme by extending the eligibility requirements to all disabled people.