Working Group on Access and Inclusion


Works undertaken by the Group

Established in February 1985, the Working Group on Access and Inclusion played an important role in bringing together Governments and experts from ECMT Member and Associate Member Countries to exchange ideas on transport for people with reduced mobility and the ageing population. This Group produced many reports and recommendations which provide guidance on achieving barrier-free travel, among them the Charter on access to transport services and infrastructure. Political support for this work was given through the adoption of several formal resolutions by the Council of Ministers.


  • Achieve greater understanding and recognition of the transport and mobility needs of disabled and older people as an integral part of transport policy and planning across the modes.
  • Identify key social, structural, operational and financial issues affecting the mobility of disabled and older people as well as individuals facing temporary mobility difficulties (use of public and special transport, private vehicle use, pedestrian activity) and exchange experience and promote best practice in these areas.

Of key importance to the Group was the need to bring accessibility issues into the mainstream of transport policy considerations, no longer treating them in the margins of policy development as additional or secondary conditions.


With the decision of Ministers at their 2006 Dublin Council to transform the ECMT into an International Forum, the Access and Inclusion Group held its final official meeting in September 2006 in Vienna. The Group remains a network of experts who will be consulted when the work of the International Transport Forum requires input on accessibility issues.

A number of major reports and studies undertaken in the Group were finalised in 2006 or are to be published in 2007-2008:

  • Updated Guide to Good Practice on Travel for Disabled and Older People

    An update of the ECMT 1999 publication "Improving Transport for People with Mobility Handicaps: A Guide to Good Practice" was presented to ECMT Ministers at their Dublin Council in May 2006 and is now available as a publication, also available in French and Turkish.

    Areas covered in the Guide include access to travel information, the road and pedestrian environment, transport infrastructure, vehicles, new/innovative transport services, and the role of Government.

  • Improving Access to Taxis

    A major study was carried out in 2005-2006 in co-operation with the International Road Transport Union (IRU) on "Improving Access to Taxis". This work follows up the joint report published by the ECMT and IRU in 2001 on Economic Aspects of Taxi Accessibility.

    The Study, published in March 2007, is the fruit of extensive consultation with European-based motor vehicle manufacturers and conversion specialists, disabled people, representatives of the European taxi trade and national governments. It starts with the needs of disabled users, and then takes account of what would be feasible for vehicle manufacturers and what would be acceptable to the taxi trade. The recommendations provide practical guidance, which if adopted by governments, vehicle manufacturers and operators, will be of considerable benefit to the more than 45 million disabled people who live in Europe. Press Release and Summary Document.

  • Cognitive Impairment, Mental Health Problems and Transport

    For the first time, ECMT has undertaken an examination of cognitive impairment, mental health problems and transport.

    The study explores the transport experience of individuals with cognitive impairment and mental health problems and what transport policy makers, operators and authorities can do to address the needs of individuals with these disabilities and problems. The report was published in 2009.


  • Transport Accessibility for All: A Guide to Good Practice

    2006 saw the publication of the latest compilation of good practice for transport accessibility, prepared by the ECMT. The Guide updates the 1999 Guide to Good Practice on Improving Transport for People with Mobility Handicaps with examples from recent experience in a wide range of countries, pointing to areas where progress has been made as well as to those where challenges persist.

  • Improving Access to Public Transport: Guidelines for Transport Personnel

    The ECMT-UITP Joint Report on Improving Access to Public Transport published in 2004 identified training of transport personnel as an important factor in ensuring full accessibility of the public transport system.

    Together again with the UITP, a set of Guidelines for interacting with disabled users of the transport system was published in 2006 and presented to Ministers at their Dublin Council.

    The Guidelines are designed to encourage understanding of the specific problems experienced by disabled and older passengers when using the transport system, and to provide guidance on how best to respond to their needs. They provide a practical approach to providing good customer care - a priority for all transport companies.


A Report on "Implementation at the National Level of Measures to Improve Accessibility" was submitted to Ministers at their Council in Ljubljana. The report highlights best practice in national-level initiatives to implement accessibility improvements in the transport system as well as efforts to encourage effective implementation of measures in local and regional areas. It also identifies and assesses barriers to implementation -- such as those of an institutional, financial or policy nature; and proposes ways in which these implementation barriers can be overcome -- more specifically, what national governments can do to facilitate accessibility improvements.


In the context of the 2003 European Year for Persons with Disabilities, the ECMT and the European Disability Forum organised the ECMT-EDF Access and Inclusion Award for Transport Services and Infrastructure. The award was designed to recognise examples of good practice in improving accessibility to transport, reward approaches in the field which are inclusive of all people with disabilities and recognise the importance of consulting with representative disability organisations. Report of the Jury.

Out of a pool of 60 candidate dossiers, the prize was attributed ex-aequo to:

Runner-up was: Helsinki Kaupungin Liikennelaitos (HKL) (Finland).

Also in the context of the 2003 European Year, the ECMT and the French Ministère de l'Equipement organised a conference on "Transport and Accessibility: Taking the Challenge Further", which featured debate on three principal themes: the accessibility chain, door-to-door services, and the need for dialogue with all stakeholders. At the conference, a National Accessibility Charter for France was signed.


A joint task force was established with the International Public Transport Union (UITP) to examine how to improve accessibility to public transport via (among others) stronger links and better co-ordination between public transport operators and local authorities. The findings from the joint task force entitled "Improving Access to Public Transport" were submitted to and approved by Ministers at their Council in 2003 and was published in 2004. Conclusions and Recommendations.


At their Council in Lisbon, Ministers of Transport adopted a Consolidated Resolution on Accessible Transport and agreed the Conclusions and Recommendations of a comprehensive body of work on Transport and Ageing of the Population.

Other work undertaken includes:

  • Transport and the Ageing of the Population

    It is well known that populations are ageing in most countries. At their 2001 Council in Lisbon, Ministers of Transport agreed the Conclusions and Recommendations of the comprehensive Report on Transport and Ageing of the Population. Work on this topic was then taken forward by the Group on Access and Inclusion in collaboration with the ECMT Road Safety Group.

    Earlier work of the ECMT in this area includes and ECMT Round Table on Transport and Ageing of the Population held in 1998. The OECD also published a report in 2001 entitled "Ageing and Transport: Mobility Needs and Safety Issues".

  • Reciprocal Recognition of Disabled Parking Badges

    ECMT Resolution 97/4 provides recommendations for reciprocal recognition of parking concessions across the Member countries of ECMT as well as the Associate members. It is important to ensure however the application of the reciprocal arrangements between Member states. The Group gathered information on the different badges being used so that these can be recognised and accepted.

  • Consultative Arrangements for Disabled People

    Involving People with disabilities is fundamental for the planning and operation of accessible transport systems. Consultation with disabled persons and their representative organisations has been shown to be an effective way to obtain improvements in accessibility at national level
    The 2000 report provides information on the consultative arrangements in ECMT Member countries and Associate Member countries.

  • Concessionary Fares

    The Access and Inclusion Working Group collected data in 2000 from its Member countries on concessionary fares on public transport or aviation for older people as well as people with disabilities. Report.

  • Tactile Surfaces and Audible Signals

    The Access and Inclusion Working Group carried out a study in 2000 on policy considerations of tactile surfaces and audible signals for visually impaired people. This study was sent to the ISO, with a request that it finalises its work in these areas in order to facilitate the move towards harmonisation of facilities for blind and partially sighted people. Report.

For further information, please contact Mary Crass