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Design of Universal Accessibility Systems for Public Transport

This project wants to promote the networking and coordination of R&D activities in the field of universal design of accessibility systems for public transport with a comprehensive group of stakeholders who have a view to achieving equality of access to public transport in the EU.

Tags: Multimodal


Our society has committed itself to providing all citizens with equal opportunity. This means that, inasmuch as possible, people with different degrees of mobility (the young, the elderly, people with disabilities, people carrying infants or shopping, pregnant women, etc.) should be granted the same comfort, speed and capacity when using public transport. The only way to guarantee this is to ensure that the whole of the public transport system (railway, buses, taxis and its supporting infrastructure) in the EU becomes universally accessible.

In addition, universal design is not only a way of solving a problem; it is also an opportunity to increase the quality, usability and safety of public transport as well as the competitiveness of the industry.

Experience has shown that accessibility design is a multidisciplinary problem that demands a highly coordinated approach. End-users must validate new designs; they must also communicate their needs and assessment of the current situation. Designers and manufacturers must find cost-effective viable solutions and that what works in the laboratory must also work in reality. Authorities must legislate and regulate taking all of this into account to achieve maximum effectiveness.


The aim of this project is to break with the traditional ways of dealing with these issues, which mitigate the problem but do not fully solve it.

  1. To collect useful state-of-the-art knowledge for designing universal accessibility systems for public transport in a way that allows this knowledge to be used and shared by all stakeholders in accessibility to public transport with a view to favouring synergies and better quality.
  2. To produce a roadmap of future R&D in universal accessibility to public transport based on:
    1. the current situation of accessibility to transport
    2. our vision of future accessibility to transport based on the universal design philosophy
    3. the emerging R&D concepts in this field
    4. the technology gaps that separate our current situation from the intended one.
  3. To invent new R&D project proposals that allow us to bridge the existing technology gaps, such as for example
    1. to come up with promising ideas that allow us to make access easier and more comfortable for all
    2. to reduce time waste during access.
    3. to achieve an efficient use of available space
    4. to obtain concepts that can be applied to different train, bus and car types with as few modifications as possible
    5. to maximise reliability to keep the devices always working properly
    6. to achieve a safe system.
  4. To define an improved collaborative innovation process in accessibility to transport that takes advantages of all the stakeholders involved in the field: end-users, operators, authorities, designers and manufacturers.
  5. To spread knowledge of universal design among educational institutions, end-users, operators, designers and manufacturers with a view to facilitating the adoption of the new concepts.

Example of universal design
Example of universal design
STS Siemens

Description of work

The work has been divided into five work packages (WP).

WP1: this ensures that the consortium works efficiently and that information is available to all partners.

WP2 is concerned with the review of the state of the art. More than gaining new knowledge, the goal here is to establish a basis on which new ideas can be generated and new designs developed.

WP3 will identify concepts for new accessibility devices that can be used by people with or without mobility problems.

WP4 will define a new improved collaborative innovation process which breaks the communication barriers that prevent us nowadays from taking full advantage of the contributions of all stakeholders to improve accessibility to transport.

WP5 covers the dissemination of the results of the project to all the EU agents who can facilitate the adoption of universal accessibility systems to public transport: end-users, authorities, operators, manufacturers and designers, educators and the public in general.



1.1 Periodic progress report and cost statements

1.2 Minutes of project and steering committee meetings

1.3 Report on IPR and confidentiality management

1.4 Report on website and other supporting infrastructure

1.5 Final report

2.1 Report on end-user requirements

2.2 Report on the current situation and constraints of means of transport and infrastructures (the operators’ view)

2.3 Report on design and manufacturing

2.4 Report on legislation and standardisation

2.5 Report on accessibility to public transport in different countries

2.6 Report on crosscutting studies and other studies

3.1 Report on emerging concepts

3.2 Roadmap of future R&D

4.1 Current practices in the innovation process in the field of accessibility to public transport

4.2 Report on improved collaborative innovation process

4.3 Report on new project proposal definition

5.1 Newsletters

5.2 Report on workshops and conferences

5.3 Guides and training for operators, end-users, designers and manufacturers

5.4 Report on society awareness activities

Potential market impact:

When speaking of accessibility, this project considers requirements for the disabled and their satisfaction would result in a society-wide increase in the quality of transport all over Europe. If we can design solutions for these people, we will be creating extremely easy and user-friendly products and services for all citizens.

Moreover, with better levels of accessibility we would be facilitating transport interoperability, reducing embarkation/disembarkation time, speeding up the flow of information, etc.

Good example of universal design in a car
Good example of universal design in a car
CRF Italy