The Greek capital, Athens, recently achieved a landmark, as it now has a metro station, Monastiraki, that is fully accessible for people with reduced mobility (PRMs). The work was undertaken on the initiative of the Superfund and Athens Transport and involved the participation of passengers with reduced mobility, which was key for the evaluation and implementation of the project.
In particular, a survey was distributed to PRMs to identify the obstacles that they face in their journeys and to allow them to suggest the best design of the products and services that an accessible metro station should have. The results emerging from the survey and from wider research enabled the realisation of the accessible Monastiraki metro station in Athens' city centre.
The project was part of the initiative "TOGETHER EVERYWHERE we become accessible", under which the following actions have been planned:
- Training and information: The provision of training for bus drivers and staff in metro stations, and the creation of accessible communication tools, which indicate the location of all metro lifts on Google Maps, to facilitate PRMs’ access to metro stations.
- Infrastructure: The completion of 2 accessible metro stations (Kallithea and Monastiraki), which includes an accessibility assessment by PRMs and the recording of detailed suggestions for improvement. In addition, 20 soft infrastructure measures will be implemented to improve the accessibility of public transport, along with a monitoring mechanism to report and verify progress, as well as the installation of 409 ramps at bus stops.
- Monitoring of results & governance: The creation of an Accessibility Index as the main KPI to monitor the effectiveness of these actions, measuring the increase in the use of public transport by PRMs.
- Help Desk: With the support of PRMs, a helpdesk will be set up to improve the accessibility of communication materials.
The project will improve the accessibility of public transport infrastructure and improve passengers’ travel experience, thus facilitating PRMs’ daily life, making their journeys on public transport easier, and more attractive. The project works on the basis that accessibility to public transport for PRMs is a fundamental right. The initiative is fundamental to providing such rights, which other users already have, and is a sign of the transition towards a more inclusive society that embraces everyone.
The participatory approach showed the success of involving users in an urban planning project and demonstrated how their involvement can bring extensive benefits to all when urban public transport facilities are co-shaped, co-created, and co-decided by the entire local community.
Original article published by economix.gr on 17 May 2023.
Photo Credit: © Brigida Soriano - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.