Changing Places for transport buildings has been a key focus area for campaigners and the government for several years. Despite great steps being made to make our transport network more inclusive, there are still nowhere near enough Changing Places toilets available across the network.
One area where improvements have been made is at motorway service stations. In 2019, the Department for Transport made £2 million funding available to roadside services to install a Changing Places toilet. To date, over 20 toilets have been installed at motorway services but there are nearly 100 services in the UK, so more work needs to be done to make motorway travel accessible to more people.
Government research into Changing Places availability demonstrates that transport networks are one of the key locations users want to see more Changing Places facilities. Other locations included country parks and tourist attractions.
So, what is the big issue with travel and Changing Places? And what other transport locations, aside from service stations should we be installing more toilets?
Travelling any distance in the UK is currently difficult for people with profound or multiple disabilities simply because it’s difficult to access appropriate toilets whilst making a journey.
Forced to use standard disabled access toilets, or even worse, the floors at transport hubs, a lack of access to Changing Places toilets severely limits how far people can travel away from their homes without having to return, just to use the bathroom or for assistance with continence wear.
Installing more Changing Places in motorway services was prioritised by the government initially as most people with severe disabilities, and their families, are more likely to be travelling by private vehicle. Having the ability to stop on the motorway, knowing there is a safe, hygienic facility to use opens the motorway network up to many more individuals and their families.
Such families may simply want to travel further to enjoy simple things such as tourist attractions – something most of us can do quite easily, without having to worry about bathroom stops. Most of us don’t have to plan out or restrict where we can go based on where we can access toilets in a dignified way.
Key locations Changing Places are needed in the transport network include:
Installing a large enough number of Changing Places in all these locations would enable so many more people to travel freely around the UK or even abroad. It would also make public transport, such as the rail network, more accessible to people with disabilities.
Building managers in the transport system may be concerned about the logistics of installing a Changing Places toilet – where would it fit in an existing structure? How will the project be carried out in what can often be an extremely busy area with high footfall?
TransPennine Express are one travel operator leading the way and showing just how achievable it is to install a Changing Places toilet. We were delighted to create a new Changing Places facility at Manchester Airport Station – one of the UK’s busiest travel hubs.
We installed the new facility on platform three, adapting unused space into a bright, airy Changing Places toilet complete with a feature wall. The installation was a speedy one to help minimise disruption at the station. The new facility was the first Changing Places toilet to be installed by TransPennine Express and is the start of a new commitment to improve accessibility on the UK travel network.
There are options too for locations where it may be difficult to find unused space internally. Modular Changing Places create more space and can be positioned anywhere around an existing building – in a train station car park, for example.
In either scenario, a consultation beforehand will help us identify a prime area to install a Changing Places toilet, is a great opportunity for you to ask any questions and tell us about any concerns you may have about the project. You can also read more about our timescales and process here.
Doing your part to help make transport buildings more accessible is easier than you think. Get in touch to see how we can help.
Call 07729 224 738 or email email@example.comWe’re open Monday to Friday, 08:00-18:00.
To learn more about Changing Places, why not download our brochure or attend one of our monthly online seminars.
Call: 07729 224 738email: firstname.lastname@example.org:00-18:00, Mon-Fri
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