Accessibility - The Claudia Flanders Memorial Award

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The late Claudia Flanders, widow of entertainer Michael Flanders, was advisor on disability to the National Bus Company. In 1987, in memory of her husband, she established Tripscope to help disabled and elderly people solve their travel mobility problems.

Through seeking to highlight best practice and improvements in bus accessibility, this Award recognises her achievement, and seeks to encourage even more innovation and hard work in this field.

Winner: Linking the Journey

Practical ways of making services accessible in NottinghamNottingham City Council

To improve life for transport users with visual impairments and/or learning difficulties, Nottingham City Council’s Public Transport Team has formed user groups to provide a forum for making suggestions to the local authority and transport companies. This has empowered those customers to bring about positive change to the obvious benefit of people with disabilities.

The judges felt that this was an excellent scheme at a ‘grass roots’ level and a very good example of partnership working between a local authority, transport operators and other stakeholders to the benefit of those with disabilities, a good scheme from a good local authority extending its range of initiatives – just what would be expected from Nottingham so fully deserved. 

National Star College – LIFT

Training youngsters to use public transport gives them a LIFT in all senses of the word!

The National Star College provides independent transport training through its LIFT programme. LIFT offers innovative, personalised and practical travel training to enable individuals with a disability to achieve outstanding outcomes. Individuals discover lifelong travel skills that increase their choice and control, leading to greater and sustained employment, education, and general quality of life.

The judges were most impressed with what appeared to be an innovative partnership involving a number of different organisations, with the potential to deliver significant cost savings to the public purse.

Highly Commended

City of Edinburgh Council - Talking Bus Stops

Using the talking bus stops in Edinburgh

Bustracker is Edinburgh’s Real Time Passenger Information system (RTPI) for bus passengers. The City Council has extended the capability of the on-street signs to deliver audio announcements which provide visually-impaired passengers with information stating how long they will have to wait for their bus, as well as wayfinding information.

Whilst not the first such scheme in the UK, the judges were impressed with the plans to roll-out the scheme to twenty more signs in this financial year and more still in future years, and with the the process of consultation about the initiative generally and, in particular, which stops would benefit from the scheme development.

National Express West Midlands - Disability Consultation

Getting the signs right - part of NEG's consultation process

As part of its continued commitment to reducing social exclusion, National Express West Midlands has been proactive in engaging customers with concerns about accessibility to the point that a passenger with disabilities, a wheelchair user, has been hired to help the operator improve the service it provides. This has led to positive results and real changes in the way National Express trains its bus drivers.

The judges noted that the initiative had provided a number of firsts for National Express which has led the company to look at how it provides other aspects of its services, and has potential for use elsewhere in the industry.

Transport for Greater Manchester - Callaghan House Project

Working with the PCT in north Manchester

Since 2008, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has worked with Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust (PCT) on several projects in respect of access to healthcare. It had become clear that, for patients and the PCT, using ambulances to get outpatients to hospital appointments is not always the best solution. So TfGM has piloted a passenger-focused demand-responsive service for patients that has saved the PCT money.

The judges liked the partnership working to bring about this beneficial scheme and felt that there was the potential for such initiatives elsewhere in the UK.

Judges' Overall Verdict

The quality of the initiatives taking place remains very good in this field, and the judges had a difficult decision choosing between a number of quite different schemes to benefit people with disabilities.

So much of what was originally part of the rationale for this award is now mainstream so that the Claudia Flanders pioneering spirit of providing access at a basic bus use level for people with disabilities has now been achieved. That is a success story for the Awards and the Industry!

Who could be nominated?

The Award was open to operators, authorities, partnerships, suppliers or other organisations.

… and by whom?

Nominations were accepted from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.

Criteria and Entry Requirements

The award will be won by an operator, project, or a change in practice, which, in the view of the judges, has done most to promote or improve accessibility for any group of people.

Each other category contains a criterion concerning accessibility and the extent to which the needs of people with restricted mobility have been taken into account by the operator or in a project.

The judges may request additional information from short-listed nominees prior to deciding on a final winner.

Criteria used by the judges will include:

  • The impact of the project and any changes to the project made as a result of monitoring.
  • The results of the project in terms of patronage or other appropriate indicators.
  • The long term sustainability of the results likely to be sustainable
  • The nature and extent of staff involvement and training
  • Plans for future extension or development.
  • The extent of the involvement of passengers or representative groups

Entries should address each of the above criteria to assist with the judging process.

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