A new national centre aimed at making future transport accessible to all has been launched at Coventry University. The launch was accompanied by a report showing that disabled people in the UK take 38% fewer trips than those without disabilities. Closing the gap could bring and annual economic benefit of £72.4bn, it claims – the equivalent of almost the entire public sector spend on education. The National Centre for Accessible Transport (NCAT) is a £20m project funded by the Motability chairity. It will be based at the university’s National Transport Design Centre, working in conjunction with a specialist consortium comprising organisations including the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers. Participant Stephanie McPherson-Brown, whose PhD at the university is researching disabled people’s experiences of public transport, said: “For me it’s about how transport impacts on quality of life, everybody uses transport for different things, it’s not just getting to work or the hospital, disabled people need public transport to be able to socialise, see friends and to be spontaneous just like everyone else.

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