September 1 - The launch today of London 2012’s Accessible Transport Strategy will be the catalyst for change for accessible transport for national rail, taxis, waterborne transport, community transport, Stratford Regional station and coaches, it was claimed.
The first Accessible Transport Strategy for London 2012 which includes plans to create a multi-modal interactive map of accessible transport was launched by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and LOCOG.
London 2012 will work with transport delivery partners to create a new network, promoted using a map highlighting the accessible elements of mainstream transport services such as local buses, light and heavy rail, Underground services and other modes such as Dial-a-Ride.
This strategy will empower disabled people to make informed choices across the full range of accessible travel options available to them during Games-time, working towards achieving London 2012's goal of holding an inclusive public transport Olympics, they claimed.
Lift provision and level access are key features of accessible transport, but other elements include low counters at ticket offices, sufficient manoeuvring space, good signage and real time information accessible to sensory impaired people, the ODA said.
Experience from previous Games suggests that seven per cent of spectators will have some difficulty negotiating stairs or escalators and a further one per cent will be unable to use them at all.
On the busiest day of the competition, this could mean that 23,000 ticket holders could be people who will have some difficulty using, or unable to use, stairs and escalators.
ODA chairman John Armitt said: “The Accessible Transport Strategy is based on a fundamental belief that spectators with different levels of mobility or impairment should be able to travel easily, unaided if possible.
“This strategy develops the London 2012 bid commitment to deliver the most accessible Games ever, and will ensure that a wide variety of accessible journey options to and from London 2012 events are available to spectators, the Games Family, workforce and volunteers and will lead the way in improving accessible transport.”
The strategy outlines how London 2012 are going to enhance the current accessible transport infrastructure to leave a legacy for commuters.
Priorities from the Accessible Transport Plan also include:
· Contributing to projects that will improve accessible transport options
· Establishing a games network of accessible transport
· Providing a range of services to Blue Badge holders
· Providing a Games mobility service at all venues
· Integrating complementary transport services into London 2012 transport planning
· Researching accessible transport requirements
· Promoting independent travel to Games events
· Ensuring access facilities are in good working order
· Ensuring that Games Family vehicles are accessible;
· Providing high quality real time information in a variety of formats.
Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012, said: “There are a wide range of people who have accessibility needs, and we want to make travelling for0 all of them better and easier.
"We want to use the power of the Games to inspire change.
“We look forward to working with our stakeholders to provide improvements in accessible transport not only for the period of the Games but also to leave a lasting legacy.”
ODA Director of Transport, Hugh Sumner, said: “One of the key aims within the Transport Plan was to provide accessible transport to everyone travelling to the Games.
"This new network will enable passengers to discover, in fine detail, service levels and provision of facilities on all modes – enabling personal journey plans tailored to individual needs.
“Its aim is to develop and promote our integral philosophy of inclusion among London 2012 staff and our transport delivery partners throughout the planning and operation of Games transport.”
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London said: “ London is a world class city and deserves world class transport. The 2012 Olympic Games gives us a deadline to deliver the necessary changes, on top of what we are already achieving, and the Paralympic Games will help us focus on making the network more accessible for those who find travelling in the capital difficult.
“The plans being put forward today by the ODA and LOCOG underline my commitment as mayor to making sure that all Londoners and visitors have the same opportunity to access and enjoy the Games.”
Rosie Winterton, the Minister of State for Accessible Transport, said: "Providing a transport system that is able to serve everybody in the community is one of the Department for Transport's highest priorities.
"That is why we work very closely with disabled people and industry to make all modes of transport more accessible.
“So I am pleased that the ODA Accessible Transport Strategy supports our own work to promote accessibility and reduce social exclusion. It demonstrates an investment in transport that will make a huge difference to people’s lives."
The full strategy can be accessed at https://www.london2012.com/documents/oda-transport/oda-accessible-transport-strategy.pdf.