Lets design facilities suitable for all residents

CAKK4U9U8AApxB3According to this mornings Guardian, the centres of many of our cities are hard to navigate for residents who lack the mobility to sprint across the road when the man turns green and the beeps start. In todays Argus sighted residents are being invited to experience how difficult it is to navigate Brighton railway station for blind commuters. As I wrote last week the debate on equalities must not be allowed to focus exclusively on the issues that suit some of our political parties, nor can we assume that the work is done. If the commuter manages to navigate their way onto a train in Brighton, they will be faced with other train stations where the quality of the audible announcements is a great deal less clear than technology could provide. As an example, London Bridge is having its face-lifted and bearing in mind the cost of the upgrade overall it would be reasonable to assume that Network Rail and the Train Operators would want to ensure that the sound equipment is upgraded to ensure that the sound on each platform is heard clearly by all commuters and does not spill over to adjacent platforms causing confusion, especially for those with limited sight, or indeed to the community beyond the perimeter of the station. This is particularly an issue in the evenings when the sound travels much further than during the day. Anyone hoping for such a revolution at London Bridge or indeed any other station on the network will be severely disappointed, despite the modest investment involved. The new station will include the traditional sort of sound system because Network Rail is committed to replacing a system that has been in use for many decades on a like for like basis, even though we all know it has past its best. An improvement to sound systems on railway platforms or reducing the speed with which our pedestrian crossings demand we cross, are solutions that would benefit most of us. The cost for such changes is negligible, yet the improved quality of life for large groups of people is immense. These issues demand as much attention as the views of our would be political leaders. Let us hope the articles in the Argus and Guardian newspapers are the tip of a much bigger iceberg to come, and not merely an aberration!


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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