Modernisation and construction of railway stations must follow the requirements described in European regulations (TSI PRM). Conformity with the TSI PRM standards increases the accessibility of buildings, the structure of which should take into account the needs of persons with disabilities. The activities of UTK in the framework of improvement of accessibility focus among other things on the analyses of accessibility of infrastructure buildings and issuing of recommendations, which form the basis for designing and construction standards of such buildings. Railway stations are after all the central element of modern transport transfer centres. They perform many new functions, integrate the agglomeration and long-distance rail transport with the local passenger traffic system. – For many years we’ve stood for the protection of rights of persons with disabilities. We have an important task to perform. We cooperate with entities and non-governmental organisations, providing solutions and mapping out changes, which allow for such adjustment of public space, so that it is accessible to everybody. We monitor the development of new railway stations with regard to their accessibility. We check the ways, in which our guidelines are followed. We control both the accessibility to station’s infrastructure by people with movement disabilities, as well as to the ticket windows of people with eyesight and hearing deficiencies – underlines Ignacy Góra, the President of UTK. – We have actively participated in the activities in the framework of the governmental programme “Accessibility Plus”, we were one of its first signatories – he adds.
Jointly with the Centre for Universal Designing of the Gdańsk University of Technology UTK has prepared the “Accessibility Audit of the Railway Station in Nasielsk”. The paper was completed by a team of experts under the direction of the University’s professors – Marek Wysocki and Daniel Załuski.
The target of this audit was an innovative and systemic railway station. Not only have the experts analysed the modern building, but also the accessibility of the entire transfer centre, which this new station forms. The structure of this building seems to fulfil its task, however one may have some reservations with regard to the accessibility to platforms or correlation of the train timetables with the local transport options. Such problems may usually be solved with little effort. Analysis of public transport timetables shows that passengers travelling in evening hours are forced to wait for a train connection for more than 30 minutes, where in case of 6 connections this period extends by an additional hour. The solution to this problem requires only a slight change in the bus service timetable so that it is adjusted to the arrival and departure times at the railway station in Nasielsk.
The report provides many conclusions, guidelines and recommendations regarding the introduction of measures which take into consideration the needs of different types of passengers, so that the concepts and projects of new transfer centres be designed without barriers. The audit’s authors recommend among other things that the platforms and rolling stock be designed in a way that ensures the boarding and leaving the train by persons with disabilities without any outside help or need to use any supporting mechanisms. They also advise mounting of the support platform lifts which are not operated manually as in case of a person in wheelchair it necessitates help from an additional person. They point out that the passenger information systems should be additionally equipped with a voice information option that benefits persons with eyesight deficiencies. They also recommend that all rest areas ensure the passengers with benches equipped with armrests this way facilitating sitting down and getting up.
The preparation of the audit of accessibility with regard to newly constructed or modernised railway stations fulfils the recommendation of the Experts’ Council on Persons with Reduced Mobility Capabilities, which is affiliated with the President of UTK. Its members are very much aware of the problems of persons with disabilities. The Council aims at the improvement of accessibility to the railway transport. In 2018 UTK joined the “Partnership towards Accessibility” programme in the framework of the governmental programme “Accessibility Plus”.