Travel apps and navigation tools will have to offer clearer and more streamlined advice for disabled users under new guidanace launched today by the government.
The new code of practice aims to ensure that all travellers can obtain personalised advice for their journey, including such information as step-free access for those with mobility issues and safer options like well-lit routes.
Included in the government’s new Mobility as a Service (MaaS) code of practice is a requirement for developers and companies to bring together vital travel information, such as timetabling and ticket prices, from multiple types of transport to offer a simple choice for travellers on one app.
As well as the need to include things such as wheelchair accessibility and safer ‘main road’ options, apps will also have to offer the ability to share live location data with a contact while on the move.
The rules also insist apps should allow for rural areas with poor internet coverage which makes planning difficult. This means including telephone numbers as an offline option for things such as ordering taxis or claiming delay compensation.
Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman said: “New technologies are transforming how we travel, making journeys easier for those with disabilities and connecting rural towns and villages better, among much else.
“With the new code of practice, the Department for Transport (DfT) is encouraging app providers to make the most of the new technology, helping to ensure potentially vulnerable groups and communities are not left behind.”
The government says the use of MaaS technology will streamline planning, increase choice and competition and drive down prices for consumers.
Examples of MaaS platform operators already operating in the UK include Solent Transport’s Breeze app, which allows people on the south coast to plan, book and pay for all journeys, including public transport, cycling, e-scooters and ferries. It also provides information about how busy services are and suggests the greenest way to travel.