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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.
"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," said Dr Gregory Burke, Founder and Chair of AccessAble. "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."
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.
The new access guides will also support Highways England and motorway service operators to see how facilities could be improved in the future.