Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

MEDIATE Report Summary

Project ID: 218684
Funded under: FP7-TRANSPORT
Country: Norway

Final Report Summary - MEDIATE (MEthodology for Describing the Accessibility of Transport in Europe)

Executive Summary:
The Mediate project, Methodology for DescribIng the Accessibility of Transport in Europe, is a Coordination and Support Action within the 7th European Commission Framework Programme, running from December 2008 - November 2010.

The objective of Mediate is to contribute to the development of inclusive urban transport systems with better access for all citizens by establishing a common European methodology for measuring accessibility to transport.

The Mediate project has therefore developed the following tools to help cities and transport operators improve accessibility in public transport:

* A Set of Common European Indicators for measuring accessibility of urban public transport and allowing for a common understanding between different stakeholders, at European and local level;
* A Self Assessment Tool helping stakeholders to assess strengths and weaknesses of the transport system and to define appropriate actions;
* A Good Practice Guide presenting examples of implemented measures throughout Europe on a range of themes;
* The APTIE Website, a 'one-stop shop' on accessible public transport (www.aptie.eu - Accessible Public Transport In Europe).

Mediate has also set up an End User Platform (EUP) representing, at European level, disabled people, older people, and other relevant groups facing barriers when using public transport. The long term strategy for the EUP aims to help end-users monitor and provide advice on the accessibility of public transport within European projects and beyond.

The Mediate project has been carried out with the active participation of different stakeholders: local authorities, public transport operators, industry, end users and experts. They have had a significant role in the project and their input has been very important. They have complemented the consortium partners with their expertise, contributed to the development process, and ensured a broader dissemination of the results.

The achievements described above are a direct result of distinctly defined interconnected and interacting operational objectives, where often the result of one fed directly into the other. The Mediate process began with a review of relevant initiatives and methodological approaches describing and measuring accessibility to public transport.

More detailed results of the project and information about the various tools can be found on www.aptie.eu.

The Mediate partners are: SINTEF (Coordinator), Polis, AGE Europe, Transport & Travel Research (TTR), Transport for London (TfL), Transportation Research Institute at Hasselt University (IMOB), TIS.PT, and TIMENCO.

Project Context and Objectives:
European transport systems play a key role in the transportation of people and goods. Thus they are closely linked to economic growth, and essential to Europe's prosperity. Despite the progress made in recent years in improving accessibility for all, European citizens are still experiencing barriers and limited accessibility to public transport. These barriers limit people's full participation in society.

Developing an inclusive urban transport system with better access for all has an impact on ensuring the human rights of all citizens by equal participation in employment, education & training, the community and social life. There are more positive aspects. Cities benefit from all members of society being able to use public transport to visit services such as libraries, health facilities and leisure centres, instead of providing special travel services. Manufacturers also benefit when national and local transport bodies commission accessible vehicles which comply with common European specifications. Improvements in accessibility increase comfort and quality of public transport trips for all people, and potentially increase the number of passengers using public transport. Finally, an inclusive urban transport will facilitate participation by an increasingly older and urban population. Therefore, increasing the accessibility of transport systems in Europe is more important than ever.

The objectives of the Mediate (Methodology for DescribIng the Accessibility of Transport in Europe) project are to contribute to the development of inclusive urban transport systems with better access for all citizens by establishing a common European methodology for measuring accessibility to transport. The Mediate project has therefore developed tools to assist public authorities and transport operators in achieving equality of access to public transport. These tools are a direct result of the following operational objectives:

Establish an overview of relevant initiatives and methodologies that focus on describing and measuring accessibility to urban Transport
The development of a methodology for measuring accessibility is a process. The first step was to define the knowledge base, by reviewing the initiatives and methodological approaches that are available which describe and measure accessibility to public transport. The project has reviewed initiatives in relevant EU projects, as well as other European projects and standardisation initiatives, addressing access to public transport and levels of accessibility. These initiatives were reviewed with particular focus on the methodological approaches used in identifying and describing accessibility in public transport systems.

The Review report (D2.1) can be found on www.aptie.eu

Identify a set of common European indicators for describing accessibility to urban transport
The purpose of this objective was to identify indicators to be used as a basis for a common set of standardized indicators at the European level. The indicators were selected to enable local authorities and operators to investigate the accessibility of the public transport system at local and regional level. They may also be used by individual operators, user organisations or others. The indicators can monitor the effectiveness of measures directed at accessibility, pointing out areas of strengths and areas which are in immediate need of improvement. With repeated investigations the indicators suggest whether development is sustainable, investments are well spent and contracts followed up, and point out the next core areas to focus on.

A set of common indicators has the following benefits:
- It provides a framework to help actors look for relevant information and recognise what information is missing.
- It gives stakeholders insight to the current accessibility situation and the strengths and weaknesses of the transport system.
- It makes transport providers and authorities aware of the complexity of accessibility.
- The indicators are instruments in target-oriented management and measure the effectiveness of budgets directed at accessibility.

The indicators have been carefully selected through a thorough process involving end user groups, experts, local authorities and practitioners in transport delivery in cities, to make sure that main issues of public transport accessibility are identified. The indicator report (D2.2) can be found in www.aptie.eu

Collect examples of good practice from European cities and collect data supporting the European indicators.
The goals of this objective were to collect and analyse data on the selected indicators from the cities involved in the Mediate Working Group, involve these stakeholders in the process of data collection, validate the indicators and exchange knowledge about good practice.

Following the agreement of the indicators, a data template was designed to allow respondents to submit their response to each specific indicator, and comprehensive guidance was provided to the cities on completion of data returns. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and the data were submitted electronically.

The analysis of data gathered from the questionnaires provides an overview of the way that accessibility to public transport is being carried out in Europe. Although the analysis does not reflect any site trend nor contribute to a benchmarking process, it does provide an insight on current accessibility levels of the cities and is a review of the selected indicators. In addition, all respondents were provided with detailed assessment of the level of development according to key indicators for their city.

Another important aspect of this objective has been to collect and highlight examples of good practice in the field of accessibility in transport. The examples collected in the Good practice guide are from a cross-section of cities of different sizes with different levels of development and investment, and different levels of evolution in their policies and practices on accessibility. The guide is intended as a tool to help authorities and transport operators plan and implement accessibility improvements. For the cities it is important to exchange information and learn from others in order to speed up the process of making transport systems more accessible. The Report on data collection and analysis (D3.1), and the Good practice guide (D3.2) can be found on www.aptie.eu.

Establish Working Groups involving European cities (local authorities and public transport operators) for exchange of information among the stakeholders and provision of relevant input to the project
The different stakeholders have played a significant role in the Mediate project. Involving relevant stakeholders (local authorities, public transport operators, industry, end users and experts) throughout the project has complemented the consortium partners, contributed to the development process and ensured a broader dissemination of the results in a European context.

The objective of the Working Groups has been two-fold: to facilitate the identification and transfer of good practice in delivering accessibility in public transport; and to solicit the expert input of public transport accessibility professionals for various tasks within the project, notably the identification and selection of indicators, the collection of public transport accessibility data, the collection of good practice examples and the definition of the self-assessment tool. Secondly the Working Groups have contributed to the dissemination of the results in a European context.

Twenty-two representatives from local authorities and public transport operators were recruited to participate in the Mediate project. Care was taken, in selecting representatives, to ensure good geographical coverage, provide relevant experience and select individuals who had an interest in engaging with disabled and older people and in the outcome of the project. These representatives were active participants in the Mediate project and provided input, information and feedback to the various tasks described above, and participated in and contributed to three Working Group meetings and a Final Conference. The report on the Establishment of the stakeholder group (D1.1), and its evolution (D1.2), can be found on www.aptie.eu.

Develop a self assessment tool for measuring accessibility to urban transport
A self assessment tool has also been developed. Its purpose is to give an indication of the actual quality level of accessibility of public transport, as well as to help authorities and public transport operators determine what will best improve accessibility. This tool has been designed based on the philosophy of Total Quality Management (TQM), recognising that the development and implementation of accessibility in urban public transport is a dynamic process consisting of consecutive phases that bring accessibility to a higher level of development.

The self assessment tool reflects this dynamic process by being divided into modules arranged in a continuous cycle of planning, implementation and evaluation. The assessment also involves all pertinent stakeholders. In this manner, cities at all levels of development are always being challenged to improve themselves, with the ultimate goal of meeting all user needs. The Self assessment tool manual (D4.1) and the Report on the practical implementation of the tool at two sites (D4.2) can be found on www.aptie.eu.

Create an End User Platform providing end user experiences and input from a broad range of passenger groups
The End User Platform (EUP) has been a very important stakeholder in the Mediate project. By involving relevant end user organisations, including disabled people, older people and other people facing barriers to accessing urban transport, the project has ensured that real user needs and high quality user input have been included in the identification of indicators and the development of the self-assessment tool for measuring accessibility. The End User Platform has also been an important dissemination channel, ensuring internal dissemination from the organisations to the end users.

The End User Platform is comprised of eleven end user associations at EU and national levels. The first EUP meeting was organised at the Mediate Launch Conference. In this meeting, the EUP agreed upon and signed a terms of reference that forms part of the End User Platform Activity Book, released in its final and official version in December 2009. The Activity Book includes a presentation of the Group, its tasks and its contributions to the discussions on the indicators for accessibility and the self-assessment tool, as well as the EUP's feedback regarding the technical site visits.

The EUP has actively participated in three Working Group Meetings and the Final Conference, and given valuable comments on some key deliverables. For more information on the EUP's establishment and involvement, see D1.1 and D1.2 in www.aptie.eu.

Define a strategy plan for the long term viability of the End User Platform with the purpose of providing a resource for other EU activities to tap into, and of engaging end users with different abilities in R&D projects
The strategy plan for the long term viability of the EUP is based on the commitment of the EUP, and dependent on the possibility of a sustainable form of economic support in the future and on political enthusiasm for user involvement.

When users are involved from the onset of a research project, their experiences and abilities complement the knowledge and expertise of researchers, and the results are relevant for both users and policymakers. The EUP envisages potential involvement in a range of activities, which might include projects, research studies, trials, demonstrations, seminars and policy-making.

The EU has emphasised the need for user friendly solutions in transport, as well as the need for a Passenger Forum at European level. This is a step towards a sustainable future for user involvement in research and policymaking, and involvement in these activities would constitute a step closer to the long term viability of the EUP. The strategy plan for the EUP (D1.3) can be found on www.aptie.eu.

Project Results:
A Set of Common European Indicators for measuring the accessibility of urban public transport, allowing for a common understanding between different stakeholders, at European and local level.

One of the outcomes of the Mediate project is the selection of a set of indicators to be used as a common framework for measuring accessibility of public transport throughout Europe. A review of earlier initiatives and research literature has served as a starting point for this process. The indicators have been identified and agreed upon through an iterative process involving end user groups, transport providers and transport experts. This process has ensured that important issues within public transport accessibility have been identified and has facilitated the testing of data collection and analysis involving 15 contributing cities.

The selection of ten indicators has enabled local authorities to investigate the accessibility of the transport system at local or regional level. The fact finding process and assessment provides an opportunity to gain insights into accessibility issues. For each indicator, the qualitative assessment is based on whether accessibility is considered for all user groups and through all stages of planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

The indicators are instruments in target-oriented management, monitoring the effectiveness of measures directed at accessibility, pointing out strengths and weaknesses and indicating where efforts should be made. Repeated at intervals, this process indicates the status, direction and pace of development. For the public transport system to perform better, measures to improve issues with low scores should be targeted.

The indicators are briefly presented in the table (See T1 in Tables and Figures in Final Report pdf) below.

A Self Assessment Tool helping stakeholders to assess strengths and weaknesses of the transport system and to define appropriate actions

The Self Assessment Tool aims at identifying, together with the different stakeholders and end-user groups, weak elements in the planning and implementation of accessible public transport, and coming up with improvement strategies. The self-assessment tool is based on the principle of Total Quality Management. An excellent policy is understood to be the result of a repetitive cycle of planning, implementation and evaluation. All stages of the cycle are critically reviewed and improvement strategies are proposed. Quality is a result of growth, and there is no instant blueprint.

Many parties play a role in the accessibility of a given system, and they can all take the initiative for a self-assessment. During the first phase of the process, an evaluation group has to be established, consisting of users, politicians, officials, operators, authorities and a moderator. The moderator is an independent person with knowledge of both Total Quality Management and the accessibility of public transport; he/she can assist in the setting up of the evaluation group. The final composition of this group depends on location-specific characteristics such as the type of public transport system, the number of operators and authorities, and the city or region's political characteristics. A structured discussion with users and providers of parts of the travel chain is the central element of the self-assessment. The needs of the user are crucial for accurate problem definition. (See F1 in Tables and Figures in Final Report pdf)

As preparation for the first meeting, the members of the evaluation group fill out the Self-Assessment Form, which is organised according to ten policy modules describing the accessibility of public transport and the policy process. The members of the evaluation group are asked to define, for each topic within a module, the appropriate level of development: the ad-hoc approach (level 1), the isolated approach (level 2), the systematic approach (level 3) or the integrated approach (level 4). For each topic, practical descriptions of typical examples in other cities are used as illustrations for each level of development, and then related to the local situation.

The aim of the first meeting is to arrive at a common understanding of the current level of development in the context of each of the topics within a module. The different backgrounds and roles of the members of the evaluation group will be reflected in the individual assessment of the modules. A crucial element in the self-assessment is the discussion about these different, sometimes conflicting, points of view, because it leads to ideas for improvement. The discussion focuses on understanding differences in the assessment of the individual members of the group, and detecting strong elements and points for improvement.

The overall goal of the self-assessment is improving the accessibility of the public transport system, and the first session gives a good insight into which areas of the accessibility policy are more and less developed. The second session is aimed at setting goals for the future, and deciding on concrete measures for future years. Furthermore, follow up actions and responsibilities have to be discussed. (See F2 in Tables and Figures in Final Report pdf)

The self-assessment tool has been tested within Mediate and has proved to be helpful in identifying those areas that most need to be improved. On the one hand, it facilitates a structured discussion about the different elements that all contribute to accessible public transport. On the other hand, working with a self-assessment form organised around state-of-the-art examples per level of development also gives inspiration for action.

Experiences with the tool in Lisbon and Flanders have shown its merits. It has been very valuable to have both users and providers of parts of the travel chain around the table, and to have a thorough discussion about quality, based on policy, facts and experiences. The self-assessment tool is therefore a very useful tool for cities willing to improve the accessibility of their transport system.

The Good Practice Guide presenting examples of implemented measures throughout Europe on a range of themes

The Good practice guide gives examples from cities across Europe of policies and schemes to improve the accessibility of public transport and the pedestrian environment for disabled and older people. It is intended to help authorities and public transport providers plan and implement accessibility improvements, by sharing information on how others have addressed the same issues. The examples have been taken from both large and small cities. They include cities with a long-standing commitment to accessibility, with funding to support it, as well as those tackling accessibility for the first time with modest budgets and with a legacy of old and inaccessible infrastructure and vehicles. The guide gives pointers to good practice in nine key areas of policy, planning and practice:

* Leadership and Vision: Commitment at senior level in the organisation is essential.
* Organisational and Policy Initiatives: Having the right structures and polices in place is fundamental to delivering access improvements.
* Staff Training: It is vital to ensure a culture of understanding and awareness exists throughout the organisation.
* Travel Training for Passengers: Disabled and older people who lack the confidence to travel can become public transport users, given good support.
* Passenger Feedback and Monitoring Systems: Disabled and older people must be involved in monitoring how well systems or facilities are working, to give feedback to the authorities.
* Accessible Information and Communication Systems: Good information enables people to make informed decisions about where, how and when they can travel with confidence.
* Level Access through the Transport System: The legacy of old, inaccessible transport infrastructure and the difficult environment of historic cities often create problems.
* Improvements to Infrastructure and the Pedestrian Environment: The greatest barriers to mobility are often found in the streets and pavements, where every journey begins and ends. Tackling these barriers is a priority.
* Ticketing Systems: For blind and disabled people the complexity of design and operation often means that they cannot buy tickets independently. A universal design approach can make systems easier for everyone to use.

The examples given in the Guide are underpinned by certain fundamental and non-negotiable principles:

* Engagement of disabled and older people at every stage;
* Having a goal of fully independent mobility that enables disabled and older people to travel without the support or intervention of others;
* Respect for the dignity of disabled and older people;
* Focusing on the barriers that poorly designed systems or vehicles create, not on the nature of the person's disability.

The Guide includes 27 Good Practice examples, from 15 countries, including:

* Personalised real-time information delivered via SMS or other technologies in Berlin and Vienna.
* A universal design approach to improving access by boat in Rogaland, Norway, and upgrading stations and new vehicles in Catalonia, Spain.
* Great improvements in customer satisfaction for Luxembourg Railways through working with organisations of disabled people to deliver training to front line staff.
* The London Travel Mentoring Service and the "Compagnons du Voyage" service in Paris, which both provide support for disabled or older people and encourage independent travel.
* A Barrier-Free Pedestrian Accessibility Plan in Lisbon, a city challenged by its steep hills and narrow streets and uneven pavements, and a low cost approach to pedestrian access in Helsingborg, Sweden.
* Prague's Working Group of disabled and older people, to provide impetus and direction to access improvement projects.
* Barcelona Metro's accessible ticket machines, which involved disabled people from the earliest design stage.
* A long standing and comprehensive policy goal of creating a barrier-free city in Berlin includes all the city's public transport systems.
* Copenhagen Metro has ensured that lessons were learned from access problems with earlier lines, so that all new lines were built with full accessibility.

The APTIE Website, a 'one-stop shop' on accessible public transport (www.aptie.eu - Accessible Public Transport In Europe).

The Mediate project has created a 'one stop shop' website enabling a visitor to find information on, or references to, a wide range of matters related to accessibility in public transport. The Portal is called APTIE (Accessible Public Transport in Europe) and is available at www.aptie.eu and www.AccessiblePublicTransportInEurope.eu.

On the portal, case studies are structured according to the nine areas of policy, planning and practice used in the Good practice guide. The website also contains information on, and links to, all outcomes of the Mediate project (i.e. indicators, self-assessment tool, good practice guide, end user platform). There are also pages on accessibility policies & standards in Europe and beyond, teaching & research, links, events and contact information.

APTIE has a strong embedded research engine for queries within the website, and beyond into thematically related websites. Additional websites can be suggested by visitors to the site. The portal also complies with the latest international accessibility standards (WCAG 2.0). Accessible colours, fonts and font sizes have been used. (See F3 in Tables and Figures in Final Report pdf)

An End User Platform (EUP) representing, at European level, disabled people, older people, and other relevant groups facing barriers when using public transport

A core activity within the Mediate project has been the establishment and management of the End User Platform (EUP). It is sometimes difficult for cities and transport operators to deliver accessible public transport (and to assess the quality of it) due to the complex mix of products and services that together define the accessibility of the system. It is therefore very important to include end user-groups and relevant stakeholders in the policy-making process and to provide them with appropriate structures.

Within Mediate, eleven user organisations working at European, national and local level, covering a broad range of functional limitations, were brought together. The EUP members were selected on the basis of their expertise in the area, and their commitment and interest in the objectives and activities of Mediate; care was also taken to achieve a broad geographic and gender balance.

On several occasions during the lifetime of the project, EUP members were asked to provide their experience, expertise and advice regarding the following:

* Sharing knowledge about local practice and other relevant initiatives;
* The definition of indicators relating to public transport accessibility;
* The provision of local data to support the definition and validation of indicators;
* Contributing with their knowledge to the development of a self-assessment tool
* Contributing with relevant case studies to the good practice directory

The involvement of EUP members has also led to the creation of synergies between organisations and the project itself, by disseminating relevant events, linking their initiatives with Mediate events and creating the good practice exchange platform.

Towards the long-term viability of the End User Platform

Mediate seeks to ensure a future for the EUP beyond the life of the project. A permanent End User Platform would work as a pool of accessibility experts, with the scope to monitor and provide advice on the accessibility of public transport within European projects and beyond.

The permanent platform could undertake specific tasks related to transport and accessibility in general, such as test devices and methodologies, assess the quality of tools and procedures, but also act as a networking and dissemination group. In addition, it could act as a living source of information and a valuable resource for consultation by European, national and regional institutions and authorities.

The End User Platform is willing to contribute to further discussions on accessibility at European level and is ready to engage both in new projects and in policy commitments for assuring that the voice of users is heard and taken into account.

The Mediate End User Platform (See T2 in Tables and Figures in Final Report pdf)
Potential Impact:
The main impact of the Mediate project is its contribution to the development of a more inclusive urban transport system with better access for all. This project has developed tools and methodologies which cities, public authorities and transport operators can use to achieve this goal.

The indicators and the self assessment tool give stakeholders a possibility of measuring the current quality level of accessibility of public transport as well as help determine what actions can be taken to improve accessibility. The Good practice guide gives a cross section of illustrations of how accessibility is being tackled in some European cities across a wide range of geographical, cultural and economic circumstances. Those responsible for these issues should be able to find useful ideas and approaches from among those in the Guide which they can adapt to their own city. Finally, the APTIE portal is a website which provides information and references to a wide range of matters related to accessibility in public transport (including all the results of the MEDIATE project).

The inclusion of end user groups and relevant stakeholders in the project has meant that these tools have been developed taking into consideration both the provider and the user and are therefore very useful and practical tools. This working method is one that the Mediate project strongly recommends for future research projects. Active participation of stakeholders is important in developing new and useful technologies that can be used by all. In this manner, investments can be directed at technologies that work and ultimately save money.

A holistic approach is necessary in order for the whole travel chain to be accessible. Accessible buses and trains are only accessible if the stops, stations and pedestrian environments are also accessible. They in turn are only accessible if local, regional, national and international policies are in place. The tools developed in Mediate have looked at accessibility from a holistic point of view. This has encouraged stakeholders to have the same awareness in their work with accessibility.

Working with accessibility is a continuous process where current conditions are always being improved upon. There is always something which can be improved and made more accessible. The set of indicators and the self assessment tool have been developed with this in mind. The indicators monitor the effectiveness of measures directed at accessibility and point out their strengths and weaknesses and where efforts can be directed. Applied repeatedly, the indicators can suggest whether development is sustainable, whether investments are being spent wisely and what new areas are in need of improvement. The self assessment tool recognises that the development and implementation of accessibility is a dynamic process consisting of consecutive phases bringing accessibility, with each phase, to a higher level of development. Together they ensure that quality is emphasised along the policy process and that accessibility solutions are sustainable.

Quality, CO2 reduction and social participation

The awareness that accessibility is far more than the provision of accessible vehicles, the holistic approach in addressing accessibility and the notion of quality along the policy process are all important elements in providing a more inclusive transport system. Accessibility is not only an important right for disabled people, but also of great importance for all of society. Everyone will be in need of accessible transport at one point in their lives, whether it be babies in prams, older people with mobility impairments, travellers with luggage, or people who are temporarily injured. Therefore, improving accessibility will mean an increase of comfort and quality in public transport trips for all people.

The Mediate indicators take quality into consideration. Confidence, frequency, punctuality and regularity are issues which are relevant for all public transport users. Working with quality will allow for the demographic changes happening in society by increasing capacity along the travel routes in urban areas and by giving confidence for new travellers to rely on public transport. This is very important when considering that the European Commission estimates that about 80% of European citizens live in urban environments and that urban road transport accounts for 40% of all CO2 emissions; and that one of the key targets of the European White Book on sustainable transport is the modal shift from individual car trips to public transport, especially in urban areas. Increasing the number of people using public transport and decreasing the number of people using private cars will reduce CO2 emissions, pollutant emissions and support cleaner and safer urban transport. Therefore, improving quality will be the most effective manner to deal with the environmental issues of today and the future and of achieving key targets set forth by the European Commission.

An efficient, accessible transport system is also very good for business and policymakers alike. An increase in public transport use will give a competitive advantage to European transport operators. It will also enable more people to access the job market, and earn a wage (instead of being passive recipients of benefits). This in turn will be good for the economy and social participation through increased shopping, increased use of services and increased tourism. This cycle has an impact at a macro and micro level for all people, and especially for disabled people.

Stakeholders such as local authorities will benefit from people with reduced mobility being able to visit public services such as libraries and leisure centres, rather than having to make special travel arrangements. Manufacturers will benefit when national and local transport bodies commission accessible vehicles complying with common European specifications.

Developing an inclusive urban transport system with better access for all citizens will have an impact on ensuring the human rights of all citizens by equal participation in employment, education & training, the community and social life.

Impact on standardisation

The Mediate tools have had an impact on standardisation by being widely disseminated, throughout Europe, by cities and public transport operators involved in the Working Groups. The End User Platform, representing users with different needs, age and geographic location, has ensured that real user needs and input have been included in these tools, making them useful for measuring accessibility to transport and therefore likely to be widely used.

The usefulness and availability of these tools will be of major value in establishing common European Standards for accessibility and inclusion in urban transport. The need for standardisation and harmonisation of solutions and environments has been expressed by the End User Platform and the Working Group members during the course of the Mediate project. Common European standards on all aspects of a travel chain would make travelling easier for Europeans. Confidence in public transport is provided when travellers know what solutions to expect and how to use them. These standards would also benefit manufacturers and industries which would save money on standardised solutions as well as earn more money by having access to a larger market.

Impact on international cooperation and added value of the European approach

Researchers, experts, and policy makers from 22 cities in 15 different European countries, as well as eleven European end user organisations, have cooperated in developing tools and methodologies in the Mediate project. Everyone involved in the project has had a vested interest in the project in one way or another.

The lack of European standards on accessibility has meant that there are many local and national initiatives and examples of good practice, but these activities are not coordinated, and valuable experience is not available in a wider European perspective. In the Mediate project, all parties involved have learned from one another's research, practices, policies and challenges in order to ensure more inclusive urban transport systems. The development of a set of common European indicators and a self-assessment tool for measuring accessibility could not have been possible without this established European cooperation and exchange. Being a European-wide initiative, the Mediate project can have an impact across Europe.

Dissemination activities and exploitation of results

A considerable amount of time, effort and resources has been dedicated by all partners in the dissemination of Mediate foreground to researchers, public authorities, transport providers, end users and the public in general. Mediate has had one work package whose sole intention has been to disseminate the activities of the project during its lifetime and to ensure the widespread exploitation of key results, as well as raise awareness of the importance of public transport accessibility.

Partner participation by two European networks (AGE and Polis) representing the main groups of potential users of the Mediate outputs (self-assessment tool, set of indicators and good practice guide) has resulted in quick and effective dissemination to these groups. Also, the direct involvement of many local transport authorities and end users in the Working Group and End User Platform has provided in itself excellent opportunities for further uptake and exploitation of the project's output and results. Furthermore, all partners have, whenever possible, participated in either branding or directly disseminating results of the Mediate project when participating in conferences.

Main dissemination tools and activities

The success of the Mediate project has been dependent on an effective dissemination of foreground knowledge to key stakeholders. For this purpose, several dissemination channels have been used: a promotional item, the Mediate leaflet, a video, four newsletters, posters, conference presentations and participation, the Final brochure, the Mediate website, the Mediate Final conference and the APTIE portal.

The project identity was established early in the project, resulting in, among other things, a logo which captures the challenge of entering/accessing a transport mode quite dynamically. (See F4 in Tables and Figures in Final Report pdf)

This logo is unique, easily recognisable, portrays the values and goals of the project quite effectively and gives a strong association to the project. This was important, because it would be included on all outputs of the project, thus reinforcing its branding.

The leaflet was the first dissemination article to be produced. The purpose of the leaflet was to describe the goals of the Mediate project, describe the stakeholder involvement and introduce all partners. The leaflet was printed in 1,000 copies and distributed to all possible stakeholders and organisations with vested interest in having a methodology for describing accessibility to transport in Europe. A promotional item, consisting of a reusable, ultra compact shopping bag, was also produced and distributed primarily among the End User group.

Four newsletters have been produced and released on these dates, and dealing with the following topics:

* June 2009: The first newsletter presented the Mediate project to its readers, summarised the first Working Group Meeting (Launch Conference) in Brussels in March 2009, announced the next Working Group Meeting in Nuremberg in September 2009 and asked for examples of Good Practice.

* January 2010: The second newsletter contained an editorial by Mediate project officer, Patrick Mercier-Handisyde, and reported on the work carried out within Mediate: the Working Group meeting in Nuremberg, the accessibility indicators, the good practice guide, the self-assessment tool and put the KOOLA project from Göteborg in the spotlight.

* June 2010: The third newsletter reported on the work carried out at the third Working Group meeting in Barcelona in March 2010, contained a viewpoint from one of its members, and put the spotlight on the city of Burgos.

* January 2011: The final newsletter summarised the Final Conference which took place in November 2010, and listed the conferences where Mediate outputs were presented.

Another dissemination output has been the Mediate video. This video was produced mainly for the Transport Research Arena (TRA) Conference held in Brussels in June 2010. The video summarises the goals of the Mediate project and uses good practice examples from the Good Practice Guide to describe the main indicator topics.

The Mediate project has also been presented at other external events, using dissemination outputs that have included the Mediate poster and Mediate presentations:

* Mediate was presented at the Poster Exhibition during TRANSED 2010. This was the 12th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons, held in Hong Kong on 2-4 June 2010;
* TTR and Polis presented Mediate at the Transport Research Arena Conference, which took place in Brussels on 7-10 June 2010;
* TIS.pt delivered a project presentation at the World Conference on Transport Research, held in Lisbon on 11-15 July 2010;
* SINTEF presented the indicators at the Transportforum 2010 held in Linköping, Sweden on 13-14 January 2010;
* Mediate staff were involved in a conference about universal design in public transport. This took place in Stavanger, Norway on 20-21 September 2010;
* Mediate staff participated in an International Association of Public Transport workshop on the contribution of public transport to social inclusion. This was held in Brussels on 12 October 2010;
* IMOB presented a paper on the self assessment tool at the Colloquium Vervoersplanologisch Speurwerk conference, held in Roermond on 25-26 November 2010;
* Polis and Lisbon presented the project at the Polis annual conference, held in Dresden on 25-26 November 2010.

The Mediate website has been a key dissemination instrument. It contained information on the aim, outputs, structure, and partners of the project and it has enabled easy access to the project's public reports and publications, as well as other interesting links and information. It also dedicated specific pages to the End User Platform, where their Activity Book, containing their aim and contribution within the Mediate project, is available. The Mediate website can still be found at the following address: www.mediate-project.eu. However, all the outputs have been imported to the APTIE portal (www.aptie.eu) which now centralises all the relevant information for possible further processing in another framework.

The Final brochure summarises the key outcomes of the Mediate project and provides some thoughts about their use after the project's end. It describes the project results in a brief and effective manner, and is written so that it is easily understood and therefore accessible to as many people as possible. The brochure is available in six European languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Polish.

The Mediate final conference
The Final Conference, "Defining & Evaluating Transport Accessibility: A European Perspective," was one of the most important dissemination activities of the project. At this two-day conference, held at the British Library in London on 18-19 November 2010, Mediate's results and outputs were presented. It was an extremely successful event, with over 100 delegates. A wide range of stakeholders from across Europe was represented, including end user organisations, local authorities, public transport operators, universities and other expert institutes, and the European Commission and Parliament.

Richard Barnes, Deputy Mayor of London, welcomed delegates to the conference, and Jack Short, Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum, set the scene by providing European perspectives on accessibility. Discussion then focused on key policy issues affecting public transport providers, local authorities, and disabled and older people as public transport users. The conference also reported on collaboration with a parallel Seventh Framework project, Access2All, and drew on good practice examples from across Europe.

There were several panel discussions, including an interactive training session on using the self assessment tool and one about end user involvement in European policy formulation and the future of the End User Platform.

Finally, Patrick Mercier-Handisyde, of the EC Directorate-General for Research, presented the main policy drivers for urban mobility, and plans for EU research development, and associated future opportunities.

All presentations from the Final conference are available at www.aptie.eu.

The APTIE portal
Mediate has developed a portal called APTIE (Accessible Public Transport In Europe) where a visitor can find information on, or references to, a wide range of matters related to accessibility in public transport. The contents of this portal are constantly being enlarged, and careful consideration is paid to its long term strategy. In addition to containing all the outputs of the Mediate project, the following information is also available on the portal: Case studies, Policies & standards, Teaching and research, News, Links, Events and Contact information. The portal's existence beyond the life-span of the project will enable future exchange between stakeholders, provide information on accessible transport and ensure further exploitation of the results of the Mediate project. The portal is available at the following address: and www.accessiblepublictransportineurope.eu.

Exploitation of results

The work carried out by the Mediate project has generated many outputs which have been exploited during the lifetime of the project, and further exploitation is expected in the future. The exploitation of results of the Mediate project can be seen as an interaction between its products, its processes and its actors. The exploitable products of the Mediate project are the following: the Indicators, the Self assessment tool, the Good practice guide, the APTIE website and the End user platform.

The above mentioned products have been supported by methodologies that themselves constitute exploitable results. These methodologies can be exploited when modified to fit other contexts: the involvement of users at each stage of project development; the joint approach to accessibility and quality management; the concept of levels of development and the self assessment methodologies and auditing process.

The actors involved in the exploitation of the products include the partners of the Mediate project, researchers, transport stakeholders, including the direct participants in the project (Experts, Working Group and End Users), and, indirectly, the European Commission, standardisation bodies and higher education institutions.

The interaction between the processes and the actors has been the most effective method of disseminating and exploiting the results. For example, through the involvement of the actors, the indicators and the methodology for the self assessment tool have been validated and promoted. Their involvement in the process of addressing accessibility from planning to implementation and monitoring, along the different decision levels, has created great enthusiasm for the tools developed by Mediate. The city of Lisbon, for example, one of the two field sites for the validation of the self assessment tool, has presented its successful experience with the use of the tool at both the Mediate Final Conference and the Polis Conference 2010 in Dresden.

Both the indicators and the self assessment tool are flexible tools which can be adapted to the realities of different cities. Therefore, the potential for further uptake and exploitation of these tools by other European cities, beyond the scope of the project, is great. The concept of the level of development means that all cities can begin assessing themselves and reaching for new accessibility goals, regardless of the level they find themselves in at the present moment. One condition for the use of these tools, however, as discovered during the test sites and the validation sessions, is the need for the transfer of experience and the training of people in the use of the tools. Therefore, an interactive training session was arranged during the Final Conference. However, the Mediate project foresees that further exploitation of the self assessment tool needs trained people who know how to further implement the tool, and registering the property rights of the tool might be one way to address this.

The other outputs generated by the Mediate project have also great exploitation value beyond the lifetime of the project. The Good Practice Guide and the APTIE portal are good reference tools for anyone interested in accessibility in transport, and the End User Platform can continue to give invaluable input to other research projects, studies, trials, demonstrations, seminars, policy-making processes and more.

The tools of the Mediate project can be used alone, or combined, to assess level of development and to help in developing accessibility of public transport in a city. They are tools for inspiration and motivation and have not been developed to produce a benchmarking of accessible cities. It should awaken organisations and administrations to the importance and potential benefits of an integrated approach towards policy.

The tools and concepts of the Mediate project were published and made accessible to all. Consequently, there are no applications for patents, trademarks or registered designs to be listed. However, the project does have exploitable foreground, as listed in the table below. A detailed Exploitation Plan (D5.4) has also been developed and is available in the APTIE portal at www.aptie.eu.

Related information

Contact

Gloria Azalde, (Executive Officer)
Tel.: +47-97701026
Fax: +47-22067909
E-mail
Record Number: 196135 / Last updated on: 2017-03-22
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