16 August 2021 | Atkins
Atkins – a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group – has been appointed by the Department for Transport (DfT) to carry out an accessibly audit of all UK rail stations as part of a Government programme to boost inclusivity across the transportation network.
The audit, originally pledged in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, will help identify improvements and highlights existing areas of excellence. The findings will form a new public database so people can better plan their journeys and, along with input from disabled passengers, will shape future investment in accessible rail travel as part of the Government’s National Disability Strategy.
Atkins is leading the work – which has already started – supported by global technology company ABB; software as a service business K2Fly; equality, diversity and inclusion specialists Goss Consultancy; data management and intelligent mobility pioneers You.Smart.Thing.; and project and cost management consultancy CPC.
2,500 stations will be audited over the next two years as the Government looks to remove barriers and improve confidence for disabled travellers as they return to public transport after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sukhy Duggal, Atkins Client Director for the DfT, said: “This is an incredibly important project which sees us bringing together experts in accessibility, asset surveying and technology to provide the DfT with comprehensive data which will inform investment decisions and provide the travelling public with reliable accessibility information that improves the passenger experience.”
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “Making the railways accessible for all is key to building a modern railway. Our partnership working with Atkins will help us unlock safe, accessible rail travel for even more people.
“This audit will have a positive, real-life impact for disabled passengers and double-down on our promise to building back fairer from Covid."
Atkins has also been supporting the Department for Transport’s Rail Fares and Ticketing Reform Action Plan as well as its Stations Improvement Programme.