News story

New partnership with Muscular Dystrophy UK to improve journeys for disabled road users

Changing Places accessible toilets to be brought to the majority of motorway service areas — making journeys easier for disabled people across England.

Changing Places toilet
  • Department for Transport announces new partnership with Muscular Dystrophy UK
  • £2 million funding commitment for Changing Places accessible toilets
  • new facilities to give greater confidence to disabled people travelling on the roads

A new partnership with charity Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) will bring Changing Places accessible toilets to the majority of motorway service areas — making journeys easier for disabled people across England.

The charity will work with the Department for Transport to allocate £2 million of funding for Changing Places toilets, which will be built in the early 2020s.

The funding was announced as part of the government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy, which aims to provide equal access to the transport network by 2030.

Transport Accessibility Minister Nusrat Ghani said:

It is not good enough that only 15 of England’s 112 motorway service areas currently have facilities that all disabled people can use with confidence.

I am committed to delivering an inclusive transport network, and our partnership with MDUK is the next step in ensuring that everyone, disabled or not, can use our roads.

Changing Places facilities differ from standard accessible toilets, providing more space and specialised equipment, including adult-sized changing benches and hoists, to allow people with conditions like muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy to use them safely and comfortably.

Catherine Woodhead, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:

We welcome the Department for Transport’s investment in Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations across England. By building more Changing Places across the road network, disabled people and their families can travel in the knowledge there will be fully accessible toilets they can use safely and with dignity.

Investing in Changing Places toilets means we can tackle the exclusion many disabled people face. We look forward to working in partnership with the Department for Transport and our campaigners in delivering this project.

The Inclusive Transport Strategy also included:

  • £300 million to make railway stations more accessible through Access for All
  • £2 million for audio and visual equipment on buses, so that passengers on almost every bus will know where and when to alight
  • a £2 million passenger awareness campaign to increase disability awareness and reduce hate crime on our network
  • an accreditation scheme for transport operators to receive formal recognition for positive work to improve disabled passengers’ experiences, such as training frontline staff and senior management on disability awareness
  • measures to ensure future technology is designed inclusively from the outset, with opportunities sought to harness innovation

This followed an announcement in May 2018, when the Prime Minister said she wanted people to enjoy an extra 5 years of healthy and independent living by 2035, while also narrowing the gap between the richest and poorest.

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Published 29 November 2018