Transportation is the lifeblood of any great metropolis to able to function. Citizens must be able to move from one location to another during the course of their daily life.
A functional rail system is high on the list of transportation modes. In order to use railway trains, railway stations located throughout the network must have suitable capability to ensure that all commuters have the ability to move freely and easily to and within the station areas.
Early this year, the NSW Government called for tenders to undertake accessibility audits of approximately 420 railway stations and ferries in the State Railway System. As a result, Morris Goding Access Consulting and Sterling Group won that tender. This project is vast and requires substantial resources and management to complete the audits and reporting within an aggressive timeframe. To date, we are progressing well.
All things being equal, as a result of this mammoth audit process, we should see an upgrade of accessibility infrastructure across all railway stations and ferries within the NSW network in the future.
This has huge implications.
Mobility is a way of life for people with accessibility issues. Imagine not having a car or bicycle and not being able to travel on public transport, not being able to travel to meet friends, not being able to go to the cinema or watch sport, or go to the beach or to park or go to work?!
To create an enhanced level of accessibility at all railway stations and ferries, will mean people will be able to have the mobility they are entitled to. People with accessibility issues will be able to create complete, seamless journey using public transport (whole of journey planning). Public transport is often the only cost-effective and practicable travel option for people with accessibility issues; and it is therefore key to people confidently accessing services and participating with full inclusiveness in society.
From a universal design perspective, not only those with a permanent disability will be advantaged; but other sectors of the community will be well served - people with temporary mobility issues such as injuries, the elderly, mothers with prams. pregnant ladies, people travelling with children, and people who are in unfamiliar locations and people with luggage, goods or equipment.
The work that the NSW Government will be doing is a game changer and people lives will be enriched by it.