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Attitudes of Disabled People to Public Transport

United Kingdom
United Kingdom Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

This survey would complement the work carried out by MORI for the Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT), published in July 2000.

It would seek to establish the attitude of disabled people to public transport, the current use of public transport by disabled people, and the factors, which encourage or discourage disabled people from using public transport. It is in part a behavioural project.

It would assist DPTAC in formulating advice to Ministers on how to encourage disabled people to make greater use of public transport, thus reducing social exclusion and reliance on the private car.


The objective of this research is to assess attitudes of disabled people to public transport, the current use of public transport by disabled people, and the factors, which encourage or discourage disabled people from using public transport.

This is the first such survey by DPTAC and is possibly the largest survey dedicated to the transport needs of disabled people in England and Wales. MORI questioned nearly 1000 disabled people.

Its specific objectives are to:

  • Establish the importance of public transport to disabled people
  • Establish the modes of transport currently used by disabled people
  • Determine the transport priorities of disabled people
  • Assess how disabled people currently rate public transport provision
  • Determine what disabled people consider are the priorities for improving public transport
  • Assess what deters disabled people from using public transport

The survey used a holistic approach combining both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.


  • Qualitative Component.

The first stage of the study was to conduct focus groups in order to gain a better understanding of some of the key transport issues facing disabled people and to identify specific issues that may not otherwise have been considered. Five group discussions amongst people with a range of disabilities were held in October 2001. Quotas were set for gender, age, disability type and modal usage, with groups covering a range of these. Two in depth interviews with people with learning disabilities were also conducted; one person was interviewed with assistance from his carer.

  • Quantitative Component

For the quantitative phase, MORI conducted a total of 989 interviews across England and Wales. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in-home or at a location where the respondent felt comfortable (e.g. day centre), between 19 November 2001 and 6 January 2002 in 100 constituency-based sampling points. Minimum quotas were selected for people with different impairme


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Department for Transport
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Transport issues are important to disabled peoples lives - being the single most prominent concern at the local level. Pavement and road maintenance generate the most dissatisfaction, along with access for disabled people to transport vehicles and the frequency of public transport.


Disabled people travel a third less often than the general public. Disabled people drive cars a lot less and are less likely to have one in the household. Despite this, cars are central to disabled people's mobility in England and Wales, with the most common mode of transport being a car driven by someone else.


Disabled people use buses, taxis and minicabs more often than the general public. There are also encouraging signs that disabled people will use public transport even more if improvements are made.

Policy implications

It is important to note that disabled people are not a homogenous group, nor are their transport needs and priorities the same across England and Wales. Therefore, plans will need to reflect local priorities - although solutions should be based on national standards, developed with validated research into user needs Disabled people would particularly welcome their views being taken into account in the implementation of transport services.


At present, disabled people feel that local and central government, planners and mainstream transport operators are not properly considering their needs. Some disabled people would like the opportunity to work alongside these decision-makers and become more involved in future transport issues, as DPTAC does on national transport policy.

Equity and accessibility

Key Findings
No results directly relevant to this theme. However, please note that some findings relevant to the project's key theme (User Aspects) are generically applicable.

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Policy Implications


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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