Making Connections

Sign at rail station that says ‘Way out via 58 steps’

Sign at rail station that says ‘Way out via 58 steps’

How joined-up are your journeys?

We often have to make connections between services. Between the bus and the train, or the train and the taxi... sounds simple but there could be a lot to consider when navigating these spaces.

When I leave the station, will it be obvious where the next service leaves from? What’s the environment like? Is it step-free? If there are 58 steps up to the street, is the lift working today? Is it well lit? If I’ve booked assistance, do services talk to each other and will somebody know that I’ve arrived?

Travel connections can be challenging, potentially creating barriers to travel. And if the challenges lie in the spaces in between services how do we discover them, how do we go about reducing barriers and who is responsible for making improvements?

This will be the focus of a new project that brings together a broad group of partners, led by Go Upstream and funded by Transport Scotland - we’re calling it Making Connections: the spaces in between. We’ll be bringing disabled people and transport providers together to experience connections together and explore what we can do to improve them, together.

We’re tapping into the expertise developing here in Scotland around improving environments and services for people with dementia . Making Connections will benefit hugely from the growing network of projects and organisations funded by the Life Changes Trust - partners include StudioLR who are working on improving signage, Paths for All who are changing the way that we think about inclusive outdoor environments and the British Deaf Association who will ensure that the views of deaf people who are affected by dementia are included. We’re also delighted that Alan Ainsley is part of the team, combining his design expertise with experience from developing services such as Macmillan’s Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT) programme. The University of Edinburgh are our evaluation partners and PAMIS bring their unique experience of supporting people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

We’re just starting this all off, working with CalMac, NorthLink Ferries and ScotRail to explore connections between trains and ferries. We’re inviting operators and disabled people to initial workshops, to join us on journeys to navigate connections on Scotland’s east and west coasts, and help us to identify connection barriers that people face. We’ll then develop ideas for improvement - aligning with Scotland’s Accessible Transport Framework.

Yes, we’re aiming to find some immediate improvements, but we’re also looking to develop a new way of working, a model for exploring travel environments and connections together.

**Our first workshop will take place in Aberdeen on 22nd February - you can sign up here.

More information and updates over at