National, regional and local policy

The most common approach to developing national accessibility policy is to emphasise access to mobility (eg in the USA (FHA 2006), Canada and Australia) (Litman 2003). Such policies deliver targeted actions relating to groups of people who suffer from low mobility (eg facilities for people with physical disabilities, and subsidies for transport costs). The attraction of these policies is they do not involve other sectors since they relate solely to the transport sector. Although access to transport is a useful part of the accessibility policy mix, more integrated policies and measures are also needed. Policy on accessibility crosses sectors and modes, and integrated planning is enabled by measures which concentrate on attributes of people and places, rather than simply the transport system. Also by planning improvements for people and places accessibility planning delivers a focus on sustainable and inclusive neighbourhoods.

It is through the development of detailed local policies that accessibility assessments have been most widely used to deliver these integrated approaches. This recognises top-down policies cannot succeed without bottom-up ownership from local areas.