Research on step-free railway station access carried out by an EEH officer as part of his masters degree in transport planning has been featured in an international journal.
EEH project lead, Antony Swift, examined the benefits of step-free access and its relationship with rail usage among ‘persons with reduced mobility’ (PRMs), and the wider benefits of railway station accessibility.
The research was conducted for Antony’s dissertation with the University of Westminster, which was supported by EEH as part of its commitment to support colleagues’ professional development. It has now been published in European Transport Research Review, which is free to access online.
Naomi Green, EEH’s interim director, said: “We are immensely proud of Antony. By investing in this degree, and supporting him through it, we have seen Antony drive forward thinking on improving accessibility on public transport. It is a wonderful example of how a small, dedicated team can deliver for the region, and the transport sector."
The research involved interviews with key organisations and an analysis of Senior/Disabled Persons Railcard data from 17 railway stations in Buckinghamshire, each with varying levels of step-free accessibility.
It has shown that the benefits of step-free access extend beyond benefits to individuals, positively affecting broader society economically, environmentally, and socially. The findings also show a positive correlation between the level of step-free accessibility at a railway station and the percentage of PRMs using it.
It argues that government and interested stakeholders should commit to expanding the number and coverage of step-free stations throughout the UK, while ensuring that the appraisal process for investment in step-free accessibility appropriately captures both user and non-user benefits.