5.1 Mainstreaming whole journey thinking in business practice
5.1.1 Business planning
Referencing the Whole Journey Guide in corporate documents is an effective way to mainstream whole journey thinking. For example:
- strategic and business plans
- state and territory government public transport action plans and implementation plans
- planning instruments in Commonwealth, state, territory, corporate and local authorities
- corporate guidelines for planning, designing, tendering, procuring, purchasing, contracting, constructing, certifying operation, and maintaining and redeveloping public transport systems
- disability policies and action plans
- corporate training resources.
5.1.2 Coordination within an organisation
Staff responsible for disability inclusion action plans or their equivalent are ideally placed to promote use of the Whole Journey Guide. This would support development and implementation of relevant policies and procedures with the aim that all modes of transport provide universal design with seamless access.
Within larger organisations this staff member should be supported by a senior executive champion.
5.1.3 Commercial delivery
Professional practitioners/consultants are encouraged to use this guide to inform whole journey outcomes.
5.1.4 Non-transport sectors
The Whole Journey Guide may suggest equivalent whole journey human-centred approaches in non-transport sectors, for example for the tourism and accommodation sectors52.
5.1.5 Monitoring and evaluation
Monitoring business effectiveness is necessary to improve enterprise performance including public transport accessibility. It should include customer focused measures for all stages of project development and subsequent operations.
Tools or apps to help measure and evaluate the transport user experience are also important. For example, the Department of Transport in Western Australia developed a walkability audit tool.
Independent accreditation systems allow organisations to demonstrate their commitment and effectiveness in delivering accessible public transport.
For example V/Line is the first public transport operator in the world to be accredited in the Communication Access Symbol system that has been developed by Scope53 (see also figure 12).
5.2 Working in partnership
Consultation between all stakeholders and people with disability is crucial to planning, developing and delivering accessible transport services. Commitment and capacity of all parties to listen to, hear and respond is essential.
Planning consultation with stakeholder groups provides the opportunity to ensure meaningful and effective outcomes. This should include people with disability and also extend beyond ‘user groups’ to include individuals without affiliations to access a diversity of views drawn from experience.
Considering options (not just single proposals) by stakeholders is essential, and information should be provided in a variety of accessible formats. Investing in education and awareness may be required to underpin a consultation process.
Honouring agreed consultation outcomes is essential, however when changes to consultation outcomes are needed, checking back with stakeholders is necessary.
Collaboration requires understanding and consultation between stakeholders involved in different parts of the whole transport journey. This will provide the linkages to understand issues and opportunities and to ensure that journey parts connect without gaps. It may take place at a number of levels including local, regional and inter-jurisdictional, and will potentially involve stakeholders from industry, user groups and individual users, non-government and government organisations.
Public transport providers seeking to improve accessibility can use collaborative opportunities to make connections and identify and test possible solutions. Collaborative forums may already exist as a foundation for discussion or alternatively a new specific purpose group may need to be formed.
There are a number of existing established groups that can support collaboration. For example, state and territory governments have established groups that consult on accessible public transport matters.
Similarly many local government authorities have established accessibility reference and advisory groups. These may be well placed to work with transport providers to, for example, ensure pedestrian environments leading to transport infrastructure are fully accessible.
An initial discussion between collaborators will need to establish if there is sufficient purpose for a collaborative project. Collaborations may range from information sharing to action on joint projects. Stakeholder collaboration could also be undertaken through online surveys or by approaching specific disability groups and distributing surveys through member organisations and other relevant networks. Easy, fit-for-purpose cross communication forums between various stakeholders may be needed for example, through a Linked-In specific project group.
Community and industry leaders who are committed to improving public transport accessibility can be critical to establishing purpose, facilitating change, setting action agendas and maintaining momentum and focus. Sponsors or champions can provide standing for a project within a community or organisation. Possible contenders to fill these roles should be identified early in the collaborative process.
5.3 Regional and remote challenges
People in regional and remote areas face significant challenges in relation to public transport which is critical if they seek to access basic services such as health and education.
Distance increases transport costs and journey times. Lack of services and gaps in timetables is common.
People living in regional and remote areas may only have a single bus service to get to their nearest centre and to access the services they need such as specialist medical treatment. That service may run at the beginning or end of the day, so the return trip is 12 hours later or the next day.
Bus stops may not be easy to identify, especially on roads that are unlit. Passengers can expect to receive no support on unstaffed rail platforms. Stops or stations with buildings are not likely to have any audible announcements. Station/stop services and amenities are frequently inadequate or non-existent, as is the case for on-board services. Air services may require travel in small aircraft which for some people with disability can be difficult to board, worse, possibly uncomfortable and/or demeaning to board, or even impossible to board. Aviation safety compliance can in some cases limit travel opportunities for users of large motorised mobility devices.
In remote areas, often the only form of transport is by small plane. Where there are no scheduled services, plane charter may be the only option, which comes at great cost. Bush buses are expensive.
In relation to remote areas, lack of accessible transport may force a person with disability and a chronic medical condition to live (and die) in a distant city, isolated from their family, community and country.
5.3.2 Finding solutions that meet local needs
Regional and remote settings frequently require a fit-for-purpose approach or tailored strategies and solutions to ensure public transport is accessible. This requires planning and solutions based on rural and remote design needs, not just urban design.
Local solutions can be enhanced by being identified, agreed and implemented with input and participation from the whole community. This guide can be used to support initial conversations and then be complemented by local discussions and engagement. The aim is to establish collaborative outcomes involving transport planners, local government and other professions. For example, Tenant Creek's bus service and bus stops were instigated and built in consultation with the local community.
For some communities lacking accessible public transport, simple solutions such as access to a van to establish a ‘community transport’ service run by a local group may be needed. This can enhance access to transport, as well as improve economic, health and social outcomes. Where people rely on informal transport arrangements, these can be enhanced through systems that communicate information about opportunities to share private transport (community pooling).
Moving from urban models of transport provision to local fit-for-purpose models may need to be supported by cultural change that is open to innovation. Regulators may also need to ensure there is enough flexibility to support local solutions that can increase access to transport for people with disability, subject to being consistent with their regulatory objectives.
5.4 Education and training
Incorporating this guide in education and training curricula is an important opportunity to ensure whole journey thinking is embedded in future public transport practice. This can include:
- tertiary studies in planning, architecture, engineering, design, building, certification, social sciences, public policy and business
- vocational courses associated with construction, engineering and disability support
- corporate training
- community education.
52 Western Australian Local Government Association submission on the draft guide.
53 Scope is a Victorian not-for-profit organisation (www.scopeaust.org.au).