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Access for persons with reduced mobility

Maryvonne Dejeammes

Specialist opinion

Maryvonne Dejeammes - Certu

To participate in the various activities of a city, the user must be able to travel freely from one place to another and physically access public spaces, transport and public or private buildings. The urban environment has long been designed for the average adult. This normalising approach has created obstacles for handicapped people and, more generally, for people with reduced mobility (senior citizens, those with motor, sensory or intellectual disabilities, parents with children in pushchairs and people with heavy luggage, etc.). Infrastructure that satisfies the demand for physical access to a city must meet the needs of users in terms of locomotion, vision, hearing, understanding and communication. As a result, several questions are raised for public transport systems, vehicles and their infrastructure: how can we ensure level access to buses or trams? Can transport information be read, heard and understood? Plus, can ticketing systems be understood and used easily? Transport systems have to be looked at within the context of their environment: are pedestrian walkways wide enough and without obstacles that a blind person would not detect? Are pavements low enough to cross? Do lighting and general visibility provide adequate safety? Are entrances to stations and interchange hubs without steps? Can doors be easily opened? Can you find your way around even if you cannot hear or see well? Thus, physical access to a city is a succession of links connected by pedestrian walkways, all of which must offer the same level of accessibility, down to the smallest detail. Improving physical access means providing quality of use for all.

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