Volume 8, No. 2, Summer 2002
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This Issue's Lead Editorial
This journal has always taken a clear line on the need for a human-centred conceptualisation of transport. One of the key trends that has grown in strength during the long period of Louise's life is the development of motorisation and high levels of mobility. Whilst for some people this has produced a dazzling array of destinations and travel opportunities within a couple of hours driving time, for others it has produced a sterile and machine dominated world that reduces travel opportunities and accentuates isolation. A child in the 1950s had far more freedom and independent mobility than a child has in 2002. For the elderly and those with mobility problems the situation is much worse than it is for children. A child is deprived of independent mobility and freedom (see M. Hillman, J. Adams & J. Whitelegg, (1990) One False Move: a study of children's independent mobility Policy Studies Institute, London) but still has one or two parents who will go to quite extraordinary lengths to ferry them around, arrange visits and ensure that social networks are as rich as geography, time and cash can permit.
Many elderly people, people with mobility problems, people with low income and people with long term serious and debilitating illnesses do not have this parental support system. The results can be devastating. Modern life is predicated on the assumption of high levels of mobility and 'in your face' celebration of the delights that await us all at the end of the car trip. This encapsulates one of the fundamental failures of our transport and planning systems. We have lost the plot in terms of human-centred, supportive and modest transport services that take a kind and nurturing view of the travel needs of everyone within a well planned local environment.
Personal stories are important if we are to regain this lost ground. Louise found life increasingly difficult as her Parkinson's disease developed . This included very real difficulties in getting around. We have to try and understand how to provide transport services through the eyes of Louise and others like her who because of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, MS, psychological problems, injury or whatever find themselves in an unforgiving world that is dedicated to speed, cars, poor quality public transport, poor quality pedestrian pavements/sidewalks and impossible crossing facilities. Crossing a very wide road in Paris, Copenhagen, Lancaster or Brisbane requires athletic skills of Olympic standards. This penalises the slow, the ill and those in pain. The planning of crossing times for pedestrians is only one small example of this lost ground but it shows clearly that our transport systems are not caring, kind or human centred.
Another personal story. In 1977 and 1978 I had the enormous pleasure of walking around Lancaster with my small children. We walked everywhere and enjoyed it. There were problems but in the main an adult could walk around with a 10 month old child in a pushchair/buggy on a reasonable sidewalk and at the same time hold the hand of a 3 year old child. I am now repeating this experience with a 10 month old grandson and it is dreadful. The sidewalks are broken, cracked and uneven, the cars go too fast and are driven too aggressively (turning across my path when I am crossing a side road), the timing on the signalised crossings are not long enough for me to get the buggy across within the allotted time. It is very unpleasant.
These same conditions make life difficult for the elderly and for those with mobility problems. We have allowed our local environment to become child unfriendly and to be shaped only by the desire to reward car drivers. They can now drive faster and metal railings have been erected on some streets to make sure that the elderly and the ill have to walk even further so that drivers can be given even greater opportunity to drive faster and ignore vulnerable road users. Why should the journeys on foot of the elderly, the ill and young children be made more difficult and circuitous to enhance the ease and joy of the motorist?
This special issue can only scratch the surface of this subject area. We have put together a collection of papers that share an interest in those groups that have been ignored and have carried the burden of our inhumane and unkind transport systems. We want to continue to represent the views of those who have been ignored. We want to restore the importance and the dignity of those who have been forgotten. Louise Darracott Britton will not be forgotten and her struggle with Parkinson's Disease will be an inspiration for us to do better in this area and to act as a focus for a new paradigm in transport based on inclusivity, social justice, kindness, humanity and respect for all ages and all abilities. (She would have liked that very much.)
Current Issue Contents
Abstracts & Keywords
Compromise & constraint: Examining the nature of transport disability in the context of local travel, Alison Porter
This paper examines the question of 'what is transport disability?' It argues that research on transport disability gains depth and value by making stronger links with the major developments in theoretical understandings of disability from the last twenty-five years. Priestley's (1998) four-fold typology of disability theory provides a framework for exploring the complex and contingent nature of transport disability, using qualitative research into disabled people's experience of local transport in Swansea, UK.
Keywords: Access, disability, local transport, mobility, Swansea, transport, travel.
Older people & road safety: Dispelling the myths, Kit Mitchell T
his paper attempts to look objectively at accidents to elderly travellers and the resultant casualties. It will show that while older travellers have fewer slight accidents than younger travellers, a disproportionate number of older travellers are killed in road accidents.
Keywords: Bus users, car occupants, cyclists, elderly, drivers, pedestrians, transport, travel.
'Enabling' transport for mobility-impaired people: the role of Shopmobility, Robert Gant
Shopmobility provides a vital link in the community transport chain in the United Kingdom. It has been designed to secure for mobility-impaired people equality of access to shopping facilities and 'barrier-free' movement within town centres. This report introduces key findings from a nationwide audit of Shopmobility services within the context of a U.K. government commitment to an 'inclusionary' and integrated transport policy.
Keywords: Shopmobility, mobility-impairment, 'enabling environments', transport policy, U.K.
Concessionary fares in Britain: what we need to know, Tom Rye, David Seaman, David McGuigan & David Siddle
Concessionary travel on public transport is available in the U.K. to pensioners and people with disabilities. The concession varies geographically. There are free travel or reduced fare schemes while other local authorities provided tokens; some schemes are limited to one's home local authority, others allow use in neighbouring authorities. On this hotchpotch, the Government has legislated for new national minima of a minimum half fare within existing scheme boundaries. However, Scotland and Wales have their own ideas. This paper will first consider how much the UK taxpayer currently pays for concessionary travel schemes, and what this buys in terms of discounts. It will then review the data that are available about existing levels of travel by people who are eligible for a concession. Finally, it will consider how the concession is changing and some of the effects that this might have, and the research that is needed to find out whether this use of money represents best value.
Keywords: Buses, concessionary fares, pensioners, travel.
The Disability Discrimination Act & developments in accessible public transport in the U.K., Bryan Matthews
This paper outlines some of the background to the Disability Discrimination Act and its transport provisions and sets out some of the expected future developments. The paper reviews the major developments in the implementation of the transport components of the Act; it highlights its key implications for future provision and seeks to identify salient lessons for the international community.
Keywords: Accessibility, disability, discrimination, Disability Discrimination Act, mobility, Public transport, Transport.
Evaluating Transportation Equity, Todd Litman
Transportation gives people the opportunity to access goods, services and activities that provide benefits. Transportation helps determine where people can live, shop, work, go to school, and recreate. Transportation is therefore about opportunity and equity. This paper explores the concept of transportation equity and suggests better ways to incorporate fairness into transportation decisions. It describes three major types of equity: horizontal equity, vertical equity with respect to income, and vertical equity with respect to need and ability. How transportation is defined and measured often determines how equity is evaluated. Current transportation equity issues are discussed, and examples are used to explore the equity implications of specific decisions. Case studies include automobile user charges, transit funding, and traffic management.
Keywords: Efficiency, equity, fairness, funding, transport.
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