European Disability Forum - Articles and news items
Issue 5 2012 • 31 October 2012 • Guillaume Dufresne, Mobility and Transport Officer, European Disability Forum (EDF)
A Europe free of barriers is where there is freedom of movement for all. The European disability movement believes that all forms of transport should be accessible, including urban buses, which is an important element for the travel chain of passengers with disabilities.
The European Disability Forum (EDF) is the umbrella organisation representing the interests of people with disabilities in Europe. Our mission is to ensure that people with disabilities have full access to fundamental human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation. Urban transport is a priority area of our activities and we are involved in strengthening the rights of passengers with disabilities. In the field of transport, the advocacy efforts of EDF have been extremely successful – over the past decade we have seen significant changes and increased awareness. EDF is frequently consulted by relevant European Commission Directorates General for input and expertise and we also regularly work in partnership with other transport stakeholders such as UITP and EUROCITIES.
Transport and mobility are essential to disabled people’s full participation in society. Accessible transport is a must. As our population ages rapidly and with an increased consciousness in society of the essential nature of accessible transport in the lives of disabled people, we see a distinct trend towards the development of transport systems based on a design for all approach. However, this trend is not consistent, harmonised or fast-moving.
This article will highlight some of the areas of activity of the European Disability Forum in the urban transport domain, and will point to current opportunities which could have a significant impact on the long-term accessibility of urban transport. It will also argue that not only are there human rights-based and sustainability-related arguments for investing in accessible urban transport, and in addition to legal obligations which are beginning to extend – ultimately, it makes financial sense for operators and transport authorities.