DPTAC'S APPROACH AND ITS BASIS IN POPULATION
1. DPTAC uses four overarching principles
on which to base its advice to Government, other organisations
and disabled people on. These are that:
Accessibility for disabled people
is a condition of any investment;
Accessibility for disabled people
must be a mainstream activity;
Users should be involved in determining
Achieving accessibility for disabled
people is the responsibility of the provider.
2. DPTAC's principal concern is to ensure
accessibility for disabled people. By this we mean inclusive transport
systems and built environments that are easy to reach, use and
understand by all; in safety and comfort.
3. Disabled people account for a significant
proportion of the population. People with physical and sensory
impairments make up one in five of the UK population, or 8.5 million
adults in Great Britain. One in five of these are of working age.
In addition, one in six adults will experience some form of mental
ill health at some point in their life. It has also been estimated
that up to 1,750,000 people may have mild, and up to 350,000 people
may have severe learning disabilities.
4. Levels of disability increase with age:
8% of those aged 16-17 years have a current long-term disability,
compared with 33% of those aged 50 to 65. Disabled people have
a spending power of around £40 billion each year.
5. Disabled people are not an homogenous
group with identical needs. The needs of people with mental health
problems or learning disabilities are distinct from those of wheelchair
users for example. Even within disabilities needs vary; for example
a profoundly deaf person will not benefit from an induction loop.
6. Of disabled people overall, in broad
70% have difficulty walking and/or
41% have a hearing loss;
24% have a vision loss.
7. The recent 2001 census has confirmed
that the population in England has aged and will continue to do
so. There is a strong positive correlation between ageing and
disability, particularly as ever more people will live into their
late 70s and 80s when the incidence of disability rises sharply.
In broad terms, over the next 30 years:
The proportion of the population
over 65 will increase by 40%;
The number of people aged over 65
The proportion over 80 will increase
by 100% and the number will treble.
8. Over the period that will bring about
these changes in the population profile, the overall population
will increase by less than 7%.
9. The nation risks adverse economic as
well as social impacts from this growth in numbers of disabled
and older people, if we fail to recognise and address the need
for more inclusive environments. Mobility and transport are vital
to achieving and sustaining self-sufficiency and independence
into old age.
10. Disabled people live throughout the
community. One in four households has a disabled resident. The
need for access for disabled people is not limited to specific
areas or buildings but present throughout the wider transport
and the built environment systems.
A STRATEGIC APPROACH
11. There is enormous scope and opportunity
to improve accessibility for disabled people but it will require
a strong commitment at all levels.
12. Accessibility for disabled people is
often only considered in terms in terms of detailed design. DPTAC
believes this is no longer sufficient and that strategic decisions,
investment and policies must be underpinned by consideration of
accessibility for disabled people, with evidence of how diversity
has been considered in decision making.
13. DPTAC welcomes the Government's commitment
to accessibility being a condition of public money being spent
in Transport 2010.
14. Private and public investors of any
transport or built environment project need to know whether investment
plans meet the need of disabled people. They will also need evidence
that people at all levels of responsibility understand how to
provide accessibility for disabled people effectively to prevent
a waste of resources.