Accessibility & User Needs in Transport for Sustainable Urban Environments - AUNT-SUE

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Civil Environmental and Geomatic Eng

Abstract

The proposal integrates the expertise of the research centres and project partners in transport policies and planning, design, operations and evaluation. The UK government, European Commission and other agencies rightly emphasise the importance of socially inclusive and sustainable interventions. As yet, however, there is a dearth of comprehensive 'toolkits' and resources to support those who are working to reduce social exclusion in journey environments. The shared vision is to produce rigorous methodologies for sustainable policies and practices that will deliver effective socially inclusive design and operation in transport and the public realm from macro down to micro level. Three Core Projects will develop decision-support tools that will establish benchmarks and incorporate inclusion into policies, and support the design and operation of journey environments and transport facilities. A real-world but controlled 'Testbed' facility will allow these to be piloted in the context of the policy intentions and constraints that shape implementation. Solutions will then be tested and transferred to other Case Study areas and sites. Phase 2 of AUNT-SUE will build on the suite of tools developed in Phase I and apply these to intensive case studies of transport interchanges, nodes and development areas. This will both develop and test techniques to design accessible journey environments (routes and facilities) and transport provision and planning, and consult on these with people who have been identified as socially excluded from travel. Three inter-linked research modules will be validated through integrated case studies outlined below, utilising a GIS-based platform supported by CAD, relational databases and both quantitative and qualitative social surveys.

Organisations

 
Description The purpose of this stream of work was to develop a software tool that could be used to examine the impact of local transport plans and policies on social inclusion. The tool AMELIA (A Methodology for Enhancing Life by Increasing Accessibility) is a user-friendly policy-oriented interface to a GIS (Geographical Information System). The key element of the phase 2 was to use AMELIA for consultation with community groups to see whether it reflected their views and whether it could be used for community consultation.



In AMELIA the user is presented with a set of possible policy actions relevant to the policy objective being considered, and then to quantify and map the effects of policy actions to help the user to assess which is the most effective. AMELIA is then run and the results examined, possibly in the light of the cost of implementing the policy action. AMELIA is run iteratively using different values for the policy action or other policy actions until a satisfactory solution has been found.



Consultations using AMELIA were held with a group containing elderly people and people with disabilities based in St Albans in Hertfordshire, and with two groups of young people: one aged 12 to 15 at living in East London and the other aged 16 to 19 in South London.



In the consultation in St Albans, a variety of techniques were used, including discussion about barriers to movement and the priorities for action by the local authority seen by the group, and the use of three imaginary journeys made using photographs taken by the research team linked to a GIS map projected directly through AMELIA running on a laptop computer. Five policy actions that came out of the consultation were tested with AMELIA and then fed back to the group at a later meeting. In addition the key elements of a website and a map that would show how to access various parts of St Albans for those with different disabilities was developed using the priorities and constraints identified by the group.



The objective of the consultation with the 12-15 year olds was to establish the types of places the young people went to in order to socialise, the places they would like to go to but cannot get to, why they could not, and then what could be done to overcome the barriers. Discussions involving the whole group and small groups were held to collect information about where they went and where they would like to go. From these, the barriers to access were established. AMELIA was used to establish the distance of each of the current activities from their home and school, and the number of young people living within distance bands of the various proposed new facilities. This is the subject of on-going work to establish improvements to the access for this age group.



The meeting in Croydon began with a presentation about AMELIA, with a demonstration relevant to their interests, the participants were invited to present information about their use of the local environment with the participants using the software via interactive hardware and software linked direct to AMELIA. The main finding from this consultation was that the barriers for members of this group were mainly the attitudes of other people.



The substantive outputs from this stream of work are:

1. The software tool AMELIA

2. The development of the data base and the methodology to set it up for use with AMELIA

3. The information system to generate policy options to meet the accessibility needs of various groups

4. Development of a range of methods for consulting with members of groups ranging from young people to elderly people with little knowledge of computers and to people with visual impairment

5. Engagement with practitioners and policymakers from various local authorities

6. Engagement with academics interested in similar topics at conferences and other events.
Exploitation Route This project has developed methods that can be used by transport and urban planners to improve the accessibility of areas for particular groups in the community such as older people, people with disabilities, and children. It has also developed an approach to consultation that helps to ensure that the views of these community groups can be incorporated into the planning process, using the approach to ensure that the views of older and disabled people were included in the St Albans Public Realm Delivery Strategy. This research has shown how the impacts of transport and planning policies can be explored in terms of the impacts of changes to the local environment on various groups in the community such as older people, people with disabilities, and children. The findings can be used to invest in improvements to accessibility in the most cost-effective way. In addition the methods developed in the project for consultation with groups in the community can be used by others to help develop accessible environments.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Healthcare,Transport

URL http://www.aunt-sue.info/toolkit/amelia/
 
Description The written report on the consultation with a group of older and disabled people in St Albans carried out during the project and the map of the barriers that had been identified by the group, were presented at a meeting of the St Albans Access Group with some staff from St Albans City Council present. The work was subsequently discussed at a meeting of the St Albans City Forum in December 2010. This is a consultative body that provides an opportunity for the St Albans City Council to communicate with representatives of community groups, stakeholders, businesses and members of the public. The councillors present recommended that the written report be referred to the planning department of the City Council and to Hertfordshire County Council, which is the transport authority for the area, with a view to the implementation of the recommendations. The city planners decided to implement the recommendations as part of the the St Albans Public Realm Delivery Strategy to improve accessibility in the City Centre. A meeting was held between the research team, the consultants developing the St Albans Public Realm Delivery Strategy and a member of the St Albans City planning staff. The research team presented written comments on the draft Strategy and was invited to comment on it at the meeting of the City Forum in December 2011. The strategy was subsequently published.
First Year Of Impact 2005
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Contribution to the St Albans Public Realm Delivery Strategy
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact The written report on the consultation with a group of older and disabled people in St Albans carried out during the project and the map of the barriers that had been identified by the group, were presented at a meeting of the St Albans Access Group with some staff from St Albans City Council present. The work was subsequently discussed at a meeting of the St Albans City Forum in December 2010. This is a consultative body that provides an opportunity for the St Albans City Council to communicate with representatives of community groups, stakeholders, businesses and members of the public. The councillors present recommended that the written report be referred to the planning department of the City Council and to Hertfordshire County Council, which is the transport authority for the area, with a view to the implementation of the recommendations. The city planners decided to implement the recommendations as part of the the St Albans Public Realm Delivery Strategy to improve accessibility in the City Centre. A meeting was held between the research team, the consultants developing the St Albans Public Realm Delivery Strategy and a member of the St Albans City planning staff. The research team presented written comments on the draft Strategy and was invited to comment on it at the meeting of the City Forum in December 2011. The strategy was subsequently published [see http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/Images/St%20Albans%20Public%20Realm%20Delivery%20Strategy%20%28December%202011%29_tcm15-25668.pdf ]. Target Audience: Local Government;Civic Organisation;General Public
URL http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/Images/St%20Albans%20Public%20Realm%20Delivery%20Strategy%20%28December%2...
 
Description Brighton and Hove City Council 
Organisation Brighton & Hove City Council
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description Bristol City Council 
Organisation Bristol City Council
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description British Transport Police 
Organisation British Transport Police
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description British Urban Regeneration Association 
Organisation British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2008
 
Description CCD Design and Ergonomics Ltd 
Organisation CCD Design & Ergonomics
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2008
 
Description Docklands Light Railway 
Organisation Transport for London
Department Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description Greater Manchester Passenger Transport E 
Organisation Transport for Greater Manchester
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description Hertfordshire County Council 
Organisation Hertfordshire County Council
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description London Borough of Camden 
Organisation London Borough of Lambeth Council
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description London Borough of Tower Hamlets 
Organisation London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description London Transport Users Committee 
Organisation LTUC - London Transport Users Committee (UK)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2008
 
Description RICS 
Organisation RICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2008
 
Description Sammie CAD Ltd 
Organisation Sammie CAD Ltd
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2008
 
Description South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Exec 
Organisation South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description Transport for London 
Organisation Transport for London
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2008
 
Description Participation in Impact 360° Event 'Success stories from the Sustainable Urban Environment' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact The session sparked discussion about the knowledge transfer process between academic research and practitioners and policy makers.

The activity fed into the project being carried out at Cambridge and Heriot-Watt Universities monitoring the impacts of the EPSRC SUE programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.building4change.com/page.jsp?id=657