Coventry University has been tasked with helping to change the face of transport for people with disabilities through a £20 million grant to create the UK’s first evidence centre for accessible and inclusive transport.
The grant has been made available by disability transport charity Motability, whose research shows that disabled people in the UK currently make *38% fewer journeys than non-disabled people – a figure that hasn’t changed in the last decade. This impacts disabled people’s access to healthcare, employment, education and social activities.
The evidence centre will seek to create change by undertaking applied research and delivering exemplar projects to influence policy and transport providers by demonstrating that accessible transport can be achieved.
Professor Richard Dashwood, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) said: “This is an exciting project to lead and will make a huge impact on the lives of people who have disabilities. Coventry University has already made great strides when it comes to looking at transport design and any issues which arise.
“We are very proud of the ongoing impactful work we are doing, and it’s important for us to be at the forefront of transport and technological development.
“We pride ourselves on being an inclusive and diverse university and are constantly working to create better futures. There is a huge amount of expertise among both students and staff which will contribute to this work and help improve the lives of disabled people when it comes to transport.”
The research and agenda will be led by people who have disabilities and will build upon the user-centred approach successfully developed at the university’s National Transport Design Centre (NTDC), where the evidence centre will be based.
With the support of Coventry University and the NTDC, Motability wants to create change and achieve its mission to ensure that no disabled person is disadvantaged due to poor access to transport.
Barry Le Grys, Chief Executive of Motability the charity, said: “We are pleased to grant fund to Coventry University and collaborators to run the UK’s first evidence centre for inclusive transport.
“We know they will bring their wealth of experience and expertise in transport design and the experiences of disabled people to help us to create longer-term solutions in travel accessibility.”
Established in May 2017, the NTDC explores the future of transport design, drawing upon Coventry University’s proud heritage as a School of Design, established in 1843.
It delivers research that guides the design and development of transport systems of the future, working closely with the industry and global car innovators.
NTDC is part of the university’s Clean Growth and Future Mobility research area, which has more than 100 research staff and a research portfolio that explores all aspects of sustainable transport, with expertise that will prove vital in delivering Motability’s ambition for accessible transport.
Paul Herriotts, Professor of Transport Design in the Centre for Future Transport and Cities at Coventry University, expressed how delighted the University is to lead the evidence centre and is looking forward to starting the passion project.
Coventry University will lead a consortium of collaborators representing a wide range of organisations including RiDC and Designability, Connected Places Catapult, Policy Connect and WSP UK.
The evidence centre will look to improve the lives of disabled people and support Coventry University’s vision of Creating Better Futures.