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Service area access guides designed to improve motorway experience

Service area access guides designed to improve motorway experience
16th August 2021 Ian Streets

Highways England has partnered with AccessAble, the UK’s leading provider of detailed accessibility information, to help motorists plan where to stop for a break at any one of the motorway service areas across England.
A new guide, which is available online or via the free AccessAble app, is packed with facts, figures, and photographs to help motorists plan their visit and look forward to better, safer journeys.
The information covers key services including parking, toilets, petrol stations, shops, and restaurants, with details on everything from staff training and hearing loops to walking distances and Changing Places.
The two organisations acted in response to feedback received by AccessAble from disabled people and carers who said how much they would value having access guides for motorway services, and what a difference comprehensive accessibility information would make to planning a trip.
In addition to the guide, which covers all 114 motorway service areas in England, the two organisations have worked together to create virtual route guides. These use 360-degree imagery to enable visitors to “virtually” explore routes to key facilities so they can find out exactly what to expect when they arrive.
Highways England said disabled drivers represent five per cent of the driving population and the access guides are one of many new services which the agency is introducing to break down barriers and help people reliably plan and feel confident about their journeys.
Julian Horsler, Highways England Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, said: “We’re committed to ensuring our disabled customers can travel safely on our roads. We’re making good progress to ensure our roads and services are more accessible and inclusive, and there’s lots more to do.
“Whatever the nature of your disability, the access guides for motorway service areas take the guesswork out of journey planning, giving you the information you need about facilities along your route.”
Dr Gregory Burke, Founder and Chair of AccessAble, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Highways England on this ground-breaking initiative to deliver a world class standard of access information across England’s motorway service area network.
“It’s clear that Highways England share our commitment to user-led service development and improving access and customer experience for the UK’s 18 million disabled people and carers.
“The new access guides will not only give people all the information they need to plan a trip but also support Highways England and motorway service operators to see how facilities could be improved in the future.”

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