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Creating spaces that make our railway equally accessible to all is an integral part of our upgrade programme.
With Deafblind Awareness Week from 25 June to 1 July, we’re thinking about how our facilities are helping to improve everyone’s journey.
Most of today’s railway was designed during the Victorian era. Today we have a better understanding of how our built environment should provide wider access and inclusion for everyone. There are almost two million blind and partially sighted people in Britain, and one in six people is deaf or hard of hearing.
This is the aim to deliver spaces and places for everyone. It’s a core design principle that leads to greater accessibility, convenience and enjoyment. It puts people at the heart of the design process, ensuring they can use the railway safely, easily and with dignity. We have adopted inclusive design to remove barriers that create undue effort, separation or special treatment so that everyone can participate equally, confidently and independently.
“Inclusive design needs to be the ultimate goal of every designer, engineer, architect, accountant, sponsor, programme, project and facility manager. It has relevance to our stations, offices, depots, level crossings and footbridges - all of our spaces and places.” – Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, Network Rail Inclusive Design Strategy 2015-19
Inclusive spaces and places are safer because they are designed with people’s needs. Our improvements include:
London Bridge station (pictured) is a high-profile example of the work we have been doing to improve access and inclusion for passengers. The final phase of the station's redevelopment this year has included braille under handrails, which means passengers will be able to feel braille signage underneath handrails and know which platform they're heading towards.
Pre-recorded announcements also help people who struggle to hear public announcement systems due to voice pitch and speaker clarity; digital announcements provide pre-recorded messages that are crystal clear.
Expertise and education
Network Rail has established the Built Environment Access Panel (BEAP) to support our approach. It provides expert technical and strategic advice to our project teams, particularly on major, challenging or contentious projects. The panel, which provides practical and pragmatic advice, consists of disabled and older people who are inclusive design experts. Members understand accessibility, transport and the role our railways play in opening up opportunities and improving quality of life.
We are also supporting the government’s Built Environment Professionals Education Project, which aims to embed inclusive design into professional education and training. The project’s vision is that every newly qualified built environment professional will have the attitude, skills and knowledge needed to deliver accessible and inclusive buildings, spaces and places.
Find out about the Access for All stations improvement programme
Read our inclusive design strategy 2015-2019
The post Improving access for all passengers appeared first on Network Rail.
This article first appeared on www.networkrail.co.uk
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