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 114 motorway service areas across England, for better, safer journeys.
For many years, disabled people and carers using AccessAble have 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.
The new guides, available online or via the free AccessAble app, are 100 per cent facts, figures, and photographs to help motorists plan their visit. They cover key areas including parking, toilets, petrol stations, shops, and restaurants, with detailed information on everything from staff training and hearing loops, to walking distances and Changing Places.
In addition, the two organisations have worked together to create virtual route guides. This new type of guide, which uses 360-degree imagery, will enable visitors to ‘virtually’ explore routes to key facilities like accessible toilets and Changing Places, so they can find out exactly what to expect when they arrive.
Highways England encourages everyone to plan their journeys before setting off and for some people this isn’t as easy as for others. With disabled drivers representing five per cent of the driving population, the access guides are one of many new services Highways England is introducing to break down barriers and help people reliably plan and feel confident about their journeys.
“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.
“Lucy Wood, also known as ‘The Four-Wheeled Wonder Woman’ visited the Roadchef services in Norton Canes to test out the access guides.” said Highways England Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Julian Horsler.
“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.” said Dr Gregory Burke, Founder and Chair of AccessAble
Disability blogger and National Diversity Awards finalist, Kerry Thompson (pictured) shares her thoughts about the access guides in this video.
These guides will mean road users can plan their journeys with greater confidence and help make England’s motorway network more accessible.
All Access Guides are available free of charge on the AccessAble website. and on the AccessAble App.