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    Enhancing the mobility of disabled people:Guidelines for practitioners

    TRL Limited, Crowthorne, Berkshire, United Kingdom

  • Enhancing the mobility of disabled people:Guidelines for practitioners

    TRL Limited Department for International DevelopmentOld Wokingham Road 1 Palace StreetCrowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 6AU London, SW1E 5HE

    ORN 21

    Overseas Road Note 21

    The Guidelines were produced by the following project team members:

    Dr C J Venter CSIR Transportek, South Africa

    Mrs J Sentinella TRL Limited

    Mr T Rickert Access Exchange International, USA

    Dr D Maunder TRL Limited

    Mr A Venkatesh Central Institute of Road Transport, India

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    First Published 2004ISSN 0951-8797Copyright TRL Limited 2004.

    This document is an output from a project funded by the UKDepartment for International Development (DFID) for thebenefit of developing countries. The views expressed are notnecessarily those of the DFID.

    TRL is committed to optimising energy efficiency, reducingwaste and promoting recycling and re-use. In support of theseenvironmental goals, this report has been printed on recycledpaper, comprising 100% post-consumer waste, manufacturedusing a TCF (totally chlorine free) process.

    Subsector: Transport

    Theme: Improve the mobility of rural and urban poor formeeting their livelihood needs

    Project title: Enhanced accessibility for people with disabilitiesin urban areas

    Project reference: R8016

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    The Department for International Development: a brief mission statement

    The Department for International Development (DFID) is the UK Governmentdepartment responsible for promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty.The central focus of the Governments policy, based on the 1997 and 2000 WhitePapers on International Development, is a commitment to the internationally agreedMillennium Development Goals, to be achieved by 2015. These seek to:

    Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

    Achieve universal primary education

    Promote gender equality and empower women

    Reduce child mortality

    Improve maternal health

    Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

    Ensure environmental sustainability

    Develop a global partnership for development

    DFIDs assistance is concentrated in the poorest countries of sub-Saharan Africa andAsia, but also contributes to poverty reduction and sustainable development in middle-income countries, including those in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

    DFID works in partnership with governments committed to the Millennium DevelopmentGoals, with civil society, the private sector and the research community. It also workswith multilateral institutions, including the World Bank, United Nations agencies, and theEuropean Commission.

    DFID has headquarters in London and East Kilbride, offices in many developingcountries, and staff based in British embassies and high commissions around the world.

    DFID, 1 Palace Street, London SW1E 5HE

    DFID, Abercrombie House, Eaglesham Road, East Kilbride, Glasgow G75 8EA

    Tel: +44 (0) 20 7023 0000

    Fax: +44 (0) 20 7023 0019

    Public Enquiry Point: 0845 300 4100 (from outside the UK: +44 1355 84 3132)

    DFID website:


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    Overseas Road Notes are prepared principally for road and transport organisations indeveloping countries. A limited number of copies are available to other organisations and toindividuals with an interest in road management, and may be obtained from:

    Centre for International Development

    TRL Limited


    Berkshire, RG45 6AU

    United Kingdom

    Limited extracts from the text may be reproduced provided the source is acknowledged.For more extensive reproduction, please contact TRL using the postal or website addressabove.


    The authors wish to acknowledge the valuable comments received on earlier drafts of theGuidelines from a peer group comprising: Dr Mandke, Dr C Mitchell, Mr J Stanbury,Mr G Menckhoff and Ms A Werneck.

    In addition, the authors gratefully acknowledge the inputs over the entire duration of theproject from the following personnel who comprised members of research teams in the UK,South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique:

    Mrs T Savill, UK

    Ms H Bogapane, South Africa

    Ms A Meyer, South Africa

    Mr M Mashiri, South Africa

    Ms N Mulikita, Malawi

    Mr C Khaula, Malawi

    Dr B Gallagher, Malawi

    Dr A Munthali, Malawi

    Mr J Camba, Mozambique

    Mr K de Deus, Mozambique

    Mrs S Stoneman, UK

    The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of Access Exchange International incollating information for Appendix B.

    Finally, the contribution of numerous members of staff from the Central Institute of RoadTransport, Pune, India is acknowledged, with grateful thanks to the Director, Mr A Lakra.

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    Encouraging greater access to transport, including public transportmodes, can substantially transform the livelihoods of disabled peopleand their immediate families. People with disabilities are specificallyrecognised as a vulnerable population, due to the double penalty ofsocietal discrimination and physical exclusion which often traps themin poverty. Inaccessible transport can make it especially difficult fordisabled people to find employment, to gain an education and accesshealth care, as well as limit their social and recreational activities. Inaddition, poverty is characterised by the inability to be able to affordto live in areas with easy access to social services. Ideally, disabledpeople should be able to travel locally or within urban and suburbanareas using public transport and other modes with ease. Sadly,however, in cities within developing and transition countries this is theexception rather than the rule.

    Improved mobility is a crucial and necessary element in alleviatingpoverty throughout the developing world as it can allow people withdisabilities to play an active role in society both economically andsocially. Countries in the developed world have made significantprogress in improving the accessibility of transport systems to peoplewith disabilities, and adhere to standards that are generally uniform(albeit with local variations). Among developing and transition countriesthe situation is much more diverse. Accommodation of the needs ofpeople with disabilities is still largely seen as a welfare function of thestate and of non-governmental welfare organisations. The human rightsapproach to disability, where every citizen has the right to be includedin social and economic opportunities, is however, slowly gainingacceptance. In some developing and transition countries awareness isgrowing of the need to gradually remove barriers in the transportenvironment. The trend is strengthened when stakeholders realise thatthe same features that benefit people with physical, sensory andcognitive impairments also benefit other travellers. Slow progress ispartly caused by funding constraints, but also by a lack of good practiceand awareness: thus where features are included they are not alwaysappropriate to the needs of travellers.

    Overseas Road Note 21 entitled Enhancing the mobility of disabledpeople: Guidelines for practitioners is aimed at improving access totransport and hence reducing mobility barriers of disabled people indeveloping and transition countries. Although basic problems faced by

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    disabled travellers are similar worldwide, access solutions cannot simply betransplanted from developed to developing countries as clearly, priorities,resources, and operating conditions vary greatly. The Road Note utilisesprinciples of universal design to improve access to pedestrian and publictransport systems for all users.

    Peter ONeill

    Head of Knowledge and Research

    Central Research Department

    Department for International Development (DFID)

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    Foreword iv

    Contents vii

    Glossary xiii

    Part 1: Introduction 1

    1 About this guide 3

    2 Disability on the agenda 5

    3 Why pay attention to transport? 6

    4 Disability and barriers to transport 8

    5 Outline of the guide 11

    6 References 12

    Part 2: Setting up a programme for improving access 15

    1 Introduction 17Background 17

    2 Advocacy 19

    3 Formulating policy and legislation 25Process of developing policy and legislation 26Principles for developing policy and legislation 29

    4 Cooperation and consultation 32

    5 Funding 35Funding for pedestrian infrastructure and publictransport 35Funding for door to door transport 36

    6 Strategies for planning and implementing accessimprovements 39The need for coordination 39Two strategies for incremental implementation 40The use of access audits 41

    7 References 44

    Part 3: Guidelines on good access practice 47

    1 Introduction 49

    2 Principles of good practice 50

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    Safety 51Accessibility 53Reliability 53Affordability 55

    3 Basic information 56Clear ways for walking 56Wheelchairs 57Walking distances 58Standing 59Step heights 59Colour contrast 59References 60

    4 Personal mobility 62Types of mobility aids 62Wheelchairs, Tricycles and Trolleys 63Walking aids 63Lower limb prostheses and orthoses 64Long and guide canes 64Guide dogs 67Basic principles 68Good practices 68The role of Government 68Locally made devices 69Local workshops 69Mass production in developing countries 70Imported devices 71Wheelchair design guidelines 71Mobility assessment 71Mobility training 72Funding 72Where to start? 72References 73Further ref


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