Lecco, ITALY, 12 July 2022: Today, ENIL, AAATE, and UITP – representing end-users with disabilities, assistive technology experts and public transport providers across Europe, signed the Lecco Declaration.
The Lecco Declaration outlines key principles that organizations can build on to implement accessibility and foster an understanding of how to shape future public transport models to become increasingly inclusive and accessible. It highlights the opportunities provided by new technologies in speeding up the process to achieve these goals, and was developed in the framework of TRIPS, an EU project aiming to remove barriers and make public transport more accessible for persons with disabilities, elderly voyagers and really everyone.
“Assistive technology and digital accessibility along with the implementation of the Design for All approach are crucial for moving independently and to take full advantage of inclusive public transport for all. This is why AAATE is happy to sign the Lecco Declaration and support translating this human right also for people with disabilities and other disadvantaged people into reality,” said Georgios Kouroupetroglou, President of AAATE, the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe.
Freedom of movement is a human right and the basis for full participation in society, access to education and employment. Public transport is a vector of social and economic development and has to be able to be used by everyone.
“I believe the Lecco Declaration is a very strong step towards making public transport more accessible, more inclusive and more comfortable for everyone. It is very important for us that the voice of the users, including users with disabilities, is heard and that there is the true willingness and commitment from all partners for future collaboration in co-designing the accessibility solutions for public transport on different levels”, said Laura Alčiauskaitė, Project Coordinator at ENIL, the European Network on Independent Living.
The Declaration is a stepping stone, laying the grounds for a Memorandum of Understanding currently under development, which will introduce a range of recommendations and a practical range of actions to support the urban mobility sector in becoming more accessible and harnessing the opportunities arising from facilitating public transport for everyone.
“When discussing accessibility, it is challenging to make sure all the different transport stakeholders are on board with such measures and are coordinating their efforts. The Lecco Declaration is important because it forces the sector to focus their attention on the user. We have to educate the sector that we are not only doing this for persons with reduced mobility but we are doing this for everyone,” said Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).
The Lecco Declaration can only live through the endorsement of numerous organisations and individuals. Everyone interested is invited to go to https://aaate.net/the-lecco-declaration/, join the signatories, and start implementing the principles at local, regional and national level, and watch out for the MoU to come by the end of the year to move our strive to make public transport accessible and inclusive to the next level.
The Declaration was signed during a High-Level Meeting on “Moving faster forward towards. Accessible and Inclusive Public Transport for All”, organized in the framework of the pre-conference programme to the Joint International Conference on Digital Inclusion, Assistive Technology & Accessibility (ICCHP-AAATE), held on 11-15 July 2022 in beautiful Lecco, Italy.