Wheelchair accessible cities

Universal access is something becoming increasingly sought after in all new development, and the design of new train stations in Melbourne in recent years has changed dramatically to be far more accessible than their older counterparts. For new stations to be designed for accessibility seems a no brainer, but what are the possibilities for retrofitting older stations? 

Cost is obviously a considerable factor, but so are heritage considerations, and the availability of land to construct new ramps in densely built up areas. Is the answer simply that these locations will never be fully accessible via public transport? Or can we do better?

Image source: City Metric

Since breaking his neck 9 years ago, Peter Apps has explored many of the world’s great cities via wheelchair and writes on the best and worst to get around by public transport, taxi and “foot” path. 

His experiences of public transport worldwide indicates that the world isn't particularly well designed for people in a wheelchair and a trip that able bodied people take for granted can be unusable for a person who is wheelchair bound. Interestingly, he indicated that Dubai has lifts at every station, unlike some of the world's busiest cities - New York, London, Paris - who have older metro systems.

So yes, we could do better and as the Melbourne Metro Rail Project is developed, we could potentially revisit older stations to ensure that the journey is easy and efficient for all users.

Read more about accessibility here.

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