seats of a bus

Transport refers to any system or means of movement -transportation- of people or things from one place to another. Transport is one of the pillars of Independent Living (IL). It is closely related to the right of Freedom of Movement[KG1] .

Independent Living means freedom of choice, and this includes the right to travel freely, regardless of your access needs. Accessible transport includes physical access to transport (public or private-personal such as cars), accessible information about the routes, services for passengers and their obligations.

Unfortunately, disabled people still face many barriers and challenges when using the transport in European cities. Inaccessible transportation makes it more difficult for all people with access needs to go to work, go to school or just get around in the city. This effectively blocks people from participating in society as full and independent citizens.

By ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the EU and all Member States have committed to respect the rights of disabled people, including the right to mobility and independent living. In practice however, these rights have not yet been implemented in large parts of the EU and many of today’s transport systems remain inaccessible. As a consequence, people are disabled from accessing job opportunities, education, social and leisure activities and other services. This limits lifestyle choices, reinforces exclusion from local communities, and ultimately blocks people from participating in society as full and independent citizens.

Independent Living requires that transport is accessible. Among others, Community Based Services (CBS) should be in place in order to eliminate the need for special and segregated services, such as is the need for special transport because mainstream transport is often inaccessible.

See also:

EDF: EU Transport Policy

What is ENIL doing on this topic

Over the years, ENIL implemented a number of activities on transport, and tries to make sure that disabled people can use transport and be active in the community.

ENIL is part a European project called TRIPS, which was launched in the beginning of 2020 and is funded by the European Commission through Horizon 2020. The main aim of the project is to make the transport in seven European cities – Bologna, Brussels, Cagliari, Lisbon, Sofia, Stockholm, and Zagreb – more accessible for disabled people, elderly voyagers and really everyone. To do this, and in addition to ENIL, the project brings different people in each city together in co-production groups. The project has revealed that in all the pilot cities, disabled passengers are still restricted in many aspects when it comes to choosing public transportation. Moreover, people living in the largest cities still have more options than disabled people living in more remote or rural areas. The project is still running apart from that, ENIL is always alert to highlight the need for accessible transport, and call for measures to be taken. We often have articles on transport, whether it is a positive example (see for example here) or a negative (see here and here).