Myself and the Journey Planner team all attended the Access All Areas event at ExCeL London at the start of this month, which was a free public exhibition and conference about disabled and older people’s access to transport.
The event highlighted current and future innovations aimed at making it easier for everyone to get out and about in London. It also provided an opportunity for disabled and older people and their organisations to discuss priorities for accessibility with leaders in the transport field, whilst giving our team a valuable insight into how to further develop our information and options related to accessibility.
Presently, Journey Planner offers a number of settings which can be changed to provide customised journeys, based on accessibility criteria:
• I can use escalators but not stairs
• I can use stairs but not escalators
• I need step free access to the train, bus etc
• I need step free access to the platform
• Select modes you wish to use
• Routes with least walking
• Routes with fewest changes
Major new investment in increasing the number of locations with step-free access was announced at last week’s event, and most notably all Crossrail stations in the London area, and hopefully beyond, will be fully step-free, complementing the bus network which has been fully accessible for several years.
However, we realise that there is still work to do to provide the most accurate journey information possible. In particular, by the end of this year, Journey Planner will reroute you when a step-free lift is temporarily unavailable on the Underground network, rather than the present approach which advises of a problem but does not adjust the route journey. Testing is scheduled to begin on this new feature next month.
At the moment we are auditing all London Overground and National Rail stations in the London area to ensure they are correctly represented in terms of their access, whilst opening new lines of communication to ensure that we find out about station upgrades in good time. Discussions are also underway with colleagues in London Underground to determine how best to reflect stations with manual boarding ramps as accessibility solutions.
Also, we’ll shortly add descriptions advising wheelchair users where they should board and alight in order to use newly-installed platform humps, and our intention is that as London’s transport becomes ever more accessible, Journey Planner will offer an even more comprehensive solution for those travelling with specific accessibility needs.