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Final report: How can mobility become more barrier-free?

Are the existing laws and instruments for achieving accessibility in the area of mobility sufficient or are there deficits and a need for optimisation? STUVA e. V., in collaboration with KCW GmbH and Professor Matthias Knauff (University of Jena), sought answers to these questions in the research project "ex-post evaluation of legal regulations and instruments for establishing accessibility in the field of mobility" (FE No. 70.0898) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport Affairs (BMDV).

Barrier-free and self-determined mobility for all people is a key socio-political objective in Germany. Based on the inclusion of the prohibition of discrimination in the Basic Law, the Federal Government has implemented a paradigm shift in disability policy with the Disability Equality Act (BGG) and the associated amendments to specialised laws. The BGG came into force on 1 May 2002. Since then, the focus has been on the right of people with disabilities to self-determined and equal participation in social life, and no longer - as before - on the care and provision of disabled people. An essential prerequisite for achieving this goal is the widest possible accessibility and unrestricted use of all areas of life for people with disabilities, but also for people with other mobility impairments, such as pregnant women, people with pushchairs or heavy luggage, and people unfamiliar with the area. In the meantime, disability equality law has been regularly developed further. The BGG has been supplemented and amended several times. In addition, amendments have also been made to specialised laws and amendments have been implemented that affect aspects of accessibility. One example of this is the Passenger Transport Act (PBefG), which, among other things, set the goal of "complete accessibility".

Disability equality law has been further developed through new laws, such as the Barrier-Free Accessibility Strengthening Act (BFSG). In addition, European legal standards are becoming increasingly important in Germany - from fundamental regulations to detailed provisions (e.g. passenger rights). Furthermore, Germany has acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). With the first and second National Action Plans (NAP 1.0 and NAP 2.0) on the UN CRPD, the Federal Government has created an ongoing instrument for the practical implementation of the UN CRPD. This is reason enough to take stock in order to analyse the impact of the regulations to date and to identify possible deficits in order to be able to further develop disability equality law for the area of mobility if necessary. In addition to a comprehensive basic analysis of the legal framework at federal and state level as well as the existing planning instruments (e.g. local transport plans, railway programmes), an impact analysis was carried out to examine how the practical implementation of accessibility can be achieved. This included case studies from all mobility sectors - from public transport on road and rail to motorised and non-motorised private transport to aviation and shipping. The case studies focussed on intermodal mobility chains. The impact analysis also included interviews with state disability commissioners, disability organisations and various stakeholders in the case studies. The main result of the study is that there are no significant gaps or serious shortcomings in the legal requirements for barrier-free mobility. Nevertheless, it has been shown that it would be sensible and necessary to tighten up individual regulations in certain areas. In workshops, the project team developed specific recommendations for action, supported by a broad-based project advisory board and with the involvement of external experts and people with mobility impairments or their representatives. The total of 89 recommendations include advice to various addressees on improving implementation practice, further developing the legal framework and other suggestions. The final report on the research project can be downloaded from the website of the Forschungsprogramm Stadtverkehr (FoPS) under the research number FE 70.0898.

Sign indicating a service point for passengers with reduced mobility at the airport
Connection point between railway and public transport with floor indicator-based guidance system (Photo: Eichmann/KCW)
Same-level passenger transfer and visually contrasting floor design on a ferryboat
Three-wheeled bicycle in a parking facility at a light rail station
Large-area button for requesting assistance from people with limited mobility in road tunnels
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