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

Lead Research Organisation: London Metropolitan University
Department Name: Cities Institute


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.


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Description see Final Report submitted to EPSRC in 2010.

A key emergent 'inclusion' theme emerging early on in Phase 1 was that of fear of crime and community safety as one of the prime barriers to pedestrian and transport access, amongst older, younger and particular vulnerable groups (e.g. ethnic minorities). Research into accessibility and mobility benchmarks found that official standards (DfT) did not reflect user needs and did not reflect the journey types (e.g. everyday shopping) undertaken particularly by older and less mobile people. The Loughborough team's HADRIAN-SAMMIE CAD-based design model was developed in response to the fact that (product and industrial) design standards effectively designed out a large proportion of the population and specific ability-restricted groups in particular. AUNT-SUE provided the opportunity to widen and test this lab-based design model into the transport and mobility sphere, and to extend this into travel information planning and transport facility design.

A key advance made by AUNT-SUE has been the further development, validation and knowledge transfer of individual research approaches and methods and the development of inter-disciplinary methods across the research teams and integration of research tools and toolkits arising. Key methods and strands included 1. Policy & Benchmarks, 2. Design and Operation and 3. Evaluation of 1 and 2.
Exploitation Route In accessibility and transport planning, urban design, community and user consultation and engagement. Policy, planning, design and evaluation stages of urban mobility and pedestrian systems. This includes transport and local authorities in London/London boroughs, Herts County Council and regional Passenger Transport Authorities. AUNT-SUE findings and design tools have also be taken up Canadian cities and health/ageing agencies
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport

Description Research findings used in transport and street accessibility design and planning including in capital funding proposals and assessment. Further evidence of impact and take-up of research outputs include the following examples: • AUNT-SUE GIS-based urban environment and audit tool incorporated into Transport for London's (TfL) Guidance for Submissions of Local Accessibility Schemes, prepared for all London Boroughs and sub-regional partnerships (March 2007). This was the requisite guidance for all local authorities and others groups in their bids to TfL for accessibility improvement capital funding • i-Journey and related stresstimator tool tested in TfL's widely-acclaimed online Journey Planner • AUNT-SUE research findings and tools included in successive Parliamentary annual reports Research and development work relating to assistive technology, 2008-9 and 2007-8, Department of Health
First Year Of Impact 2007
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

Title AUNT-SUE toolkit 
Description Suite of online tools to improve accessibility design, consultation, transport planning 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Take up by transport and planning authorities in London, Herts., Canadian cities, health and other agencies 
Description Events 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Events - attendances (LAB/LFA - 2006 German Gymnasium; Hoopers Gallery Clerkenwell, St Pancras station, 2008 - Building Centre) over 25,000 (2006) / 75,000 (2008) visitors respectively attended these biennales, with research and community workshops organised with local authority chief planners, councillors and ministers/shadow ministers. A follow-on exhibition and conference North Country held at URBIS Centre/Manchester 2008, OS Terra Futures, 2008, INCLUDE Inclusive Design International Conference 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2013

Follow up enquiries for information, website hits/downloads, one to one discussions on project and research findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2008,2009,2010
Description Number of newsletters up to Jan 2010: 9 (bi-annually since Dec 05) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Website 'hits', enquiries from users, opportunities for further testing and fieldwork, presentations and policy exchange

see above
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010
Description Presentation to the East of England Accessibility Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This presentation to local authority planning officers described the development of AMELIA (A Methodology to Enhance Life by Increasing Accessibility) as part of the AUNT SUE project.

Take up of tools developed and disseminated via AUNT-SUE website
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007