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COST 349

Accessibility of Coaches and Long Distance Buses

for People with Reduced Mobility

This reasearch project is a part of

the EU Iniative


COST 349 image

Chairman: Mr. Ad van Herk (NL)
Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Waterways of the Netherlands
Fax: +31 70 351 64 13
Email: (email removed)

Scientific Secretary : Mr. Jan Spousta
European Commission
Directorate General for Research
DG Research COST Secretariat
Fax: +32 2 29 98 226
Email: (email removed) (email removed)


3.5 years; due to be completed June 2005.


11 COST Countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Signature in procedure: The Czech Republic, Sweden

International organisations: IRU, European Disability Forum .


The main objective is to produce a concept providing guidance on the construction and design of interurban and international coach and bus systems in respect of the needs of people with reduced mobility.This in order to assist operators, passenger and authorities when developing plans for accessible and high quality transport systems.

The topics of the Action:

  • identification of the social economic perspectives of high quality services
  • availibility of pre-travel information
  • access to terminals and bus stops
  • bus & coach design
  • safety restraints systems of wheelchair users
  • training of staff and passengers
  • demand-responsive services

The Action's results can be of considerable relevance in the development of the EU legislative or regulatory acts.


COST 349 will build on Recommendations and Conclusions of the ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) and on two previous COST Actions related to the topic of disabled people mobility (COST 322 - Accessibility of Urban Buses and COST 335 - Accessibility of Railways).

The Action will focus on the potential of accessible services in their multitude of appearances and contribute to improving the position of disabled and elderly people in society, stimulate creativity in construction and design of vehicles and improve the quality of transport services

The programme and its schedule is divided into following Working Groups:



Improving accessibility aims not only at expanding the bus transport market but also at contributing to the provision of public transport services to all citizens in an equitable way.

Disabled and elderly people can plan and undertake a journey only if they can be confident that all stages of the journey will provide compatible levels of accessibility. Public transport, both local and long distance, is an obvious field in which compatibility between methods of access is required. Without it, the scope for disabled and elderly people to make use of the European coach network is very limited. There is a substantial actual and potential passenger market among this section of the population. Indeed, the combined total of disabled and elderly people (100 million) is approximately 24% of the total European population; this proportion is expected to rise to more than 30% (over 130 million) within 25 years, according to the consensus view and informal studies.

Additionally, there are many people who are not disabled, but to whom policies and facilities designed for disabled people would be helpful, such as passengers with luggage, etc. Finally, research has shown that improved accessibility improves the quality of the public transport system and therefore increases its attractiveness to many passenger categories.

In order to understand how to reach this potential market it is necessary to conduct an in- depth study of the market, then use this to identify the requirements for design and refurbishment.

Benefits to Different Users

  • The technical requirements developed will be useful to governments, industry or other bodies who wish to develop technical standards for vehicles, stations and interface mechanisms.
  • The economic and market information can be used by bus companies to develop related commercial policies.
  • The social information may be used by governments or local authorities to define and implement policies for improved accessibility to public transport services.

Related Activities



Information on the Opening Seminar will be available in May 2002.

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