The Guardian online recently reported that in the UK, buses and taxis will lead a self-driving public transport push.1 All very high-tech but not a word on how people will hail, alight or access these buses and taxis. Direct assistance at boarding / alighting will not be possible unless the units are crewed with a customer service operator — which begs the question of making them driverless.
Regrettably, these innovations are streaking ahead of the legal framework that requires their accessibility. Innovation brings wonderful benefits to people with and without disabilities alike, but at times the innovators appear to have no clue about accessibility. If there is no regulatory framework the innovators all too often come up with exclusionary designs, and then at great expense have to retrofit those designs for access.
QAI’s primary concern about the DSAPT (‘the Standards’) is that they do not require transport providers to include people with disability in the planning and design process from the beginning. Part of the reason for this lies in the essentially voluntary participation in and compliance with the Standards. There are few repercussions for transport providers that do not comply.