Europe is an urban continent. Four out of every five people live in a city. For those 80 million European citizens that have some kind of disability going to the city can be very complicated. People with disabilities and reduced mobility have the right to move independently; therefore, is there a way to design cities so that they can be more accessible to all?
The latest strategy published by the European Union was aimed at railway passengers. Members of the European Parliament have revealed that they wish to reinforce the rights of railway passengers all over the European territory. The members of parliament consider that there ought be greater financial compensation if there are delays and they also request more assistance for disabled people. All European railway companies should guarantee free assistance for people with a disability or reduced mobility. They should also guarantee total compensation for loss of or damage to mobility equipment, and for loss of or damage to guide animals.
In 2011, Europe was able to enjoy the first integrated rights of passengers that covered all means of transport. To better consolidate these rights, the European Commission reviewed them in September of the same year. The organ defined 10 passenger rights: related to non-discrimination, accessibility, information, assistance, compensation, responsibility; and their application to all forms of transport. Regarding the pathway to creating a sole transport area in Europe, the Commission stressed the need for quality systems, both accessible and secure, for all transport services, as a way to promote public transport. It also insisted on the need to make transport measures more accessible for the elderly and people with a disability or reduced mobility.
Moreover, the European Union is working to achieve a common legislation in all member states to be able to cover the basic needs of disabled people whatever European country they are in. For example, if a person with a recognised disability moves to another country of the EU, he/she can lose access to national benefits like the possibility to have free use of public transport or at a reduced price.
According to the United Nations, there are different populations that can suffer similar risks as they are exposed to the negative effects of the city, caused by the atmosphere and humans themselves. However, their vulnerability will depend on their socioeconomic conditions, their civic and social prestige, and their access to mitigation and support resources. Currently, there are many projects at a local level that are trying to create better urban and road safety.
The network of local projects can create a trend and influence other European cities.