Karen Armstrong, Team Leader of Accessible Travel Policy at Transport Scotland, showcases a year in the life of the Accessible Travel Team.
I joined the team in April 2018 and what a year it has been. On joining the team, I was astounded at the wide range of priorities we had responsibility for, however our core objectives cover 3 main areas:
- The Accessible Travel Framework.
- Providing Secretariat for the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS); and
- Blue Badge Policy.
To say this has been a busy year for everyone is an understatement and a lot has been achieved by not only the Accessible Travel Team but by our Steering Group, MACS, stakeholders across Scotland and disabled people themselves. Everyone’s commitment has been second to none.
So, here are my highlights:
Accessible Travel Conference – took place in March this year, after much consultation and engagement with many stakeholders an ambitious agenda was agreed. Around 300 people attended, and we trended on twitter in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. A huge success and thanks go to all involved.
Improvement Work – The team, MACS and our Steering Group undertook improvement work enabling creative thinking and new approaches in our work and everyday activities.
The Accessible Travel Fund was launched and implemented with 5 very different organisations benefitting from funding to support accessible travel.
First Annual Delivery Plan
After a year-long period of co-production our first delivery plan was published in June with progress being made in all areas as follows:
- Presenting to the Rail Delivery Group on the aspirations for Passenger Assistance.
- Airport audits are in place for Inverness on 25 July,
- Bus Research underway to find out about the various approaches taken across Scotland and where good practice exists.
- Signs, Wayfinding and Information Working group is being established.
- The development of the new Thistle Cardapplication and branding is moving at pace with phase one of the project to be completed by October and testing of the new branding being undertaken in August.
- Ensure Clear Pathways- within the legislative framework, the Transport Bill passed Stage 2 with pavement parking restrictions.
- Taxi and Private Hire Car – in relation to guidance for good customer service a survey of local authorities is being developed.
- A survey has been devised by the Hate Crime working group members, this will now be shared with transport providers in the next few months through a series of face to face meetings.
I have had the privilege to meet many different organisations and individuals at various events and meetings all of whom have helped me in my learning journey and have enabled me to build my knowledge.
I am writing this article in a hotel room in London as it is worth mentioning that a lot of work we are undertaking is reserved and delivered by the Department of Transport within the UK Government.
I hope this short article gives you an insight to a rewarding, exciting, sometimes challenging and exhausting year, but for me a very worthwhile one. One which I have thoroughly enjoyed.