Improving the accessibility of the GB rail network: Accessibility Maturity Assessment Tool for Rail: Guidance for Train and Station Operating Companies

Richard Tomlins, Giulia Scarani, Joe Hitchcock

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Mott MacDonald, on behalf of the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has produced an ‘Accessibility Maturity Framework Tool’ that may be used by train and station operators to help improve accessibility across the rail sector in Great Britain (GB). It sets out a series of self-assessment areas to allow users to assess and determine the degree of maturity of its levels of accessibility and to build and improve on them. The assessment areas should be applied to assess operational performance and when designing strategies and measures to improve infrastructure and processes for the benefit of accessibility within the GB rail sector.

This framework uses the social model of disability:
“The social model of disability says that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference. It looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life choices for disabled people. When barriers are removed, disabled people can be independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives.”

This framework is needed as rail travel, while functional and convenient for much of the population who live or work near railway routes and stations, can be highly challenging for people with disabilities. Improving accessibility is generally regarded as the most important factor likely to encourage disabled passengers and their carers to use rail more frequently.

The framework is primarily intended for train operating companies (TOCs) and station operators (including Network Rail). It is designed to help ensure that the experiences of people with disabilities using the GB rail sector are equivalent to those of others. The cross-cutting outcomes of the guidance are for people with disabilities to:
• be more confident to use the GB rail network
• have better experiences when using the GB rail network
• make more rail journeys.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRail Safety and Standards Board
Commissioning bodyRail Safety and Standards Board Ltd
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Richard Tomlins was part of the "Mott Macdonald" author credit.


  • Accessibility
  • disability
  • social model of disability
  • cognitive disability
  • rail transport
  • Transformation


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