David Brown Transport for People with a Disability
David Brown Transport for People with a Disability

Transport for People with a Disability

amclellan, 13th November 2019
Accessing transport can be a struggle for many, particularly if you have a disability. 

Transport engineer, David Brown, from Northside Radio, explores what is required from planners to overcome common barriers to access. 

Produced by David Brown of Northside Radio, Sydney.
Supervising Production by Martin Corben.

Broadcasting this on your station? Email [email protected] for audio and cue sheets.
Having been involved in transport for most of my career, I felt that one of my opportunities was to try and improve the travel conditions for people with a disability.
David Brown Transport for People with a Disability

IMAGE: Public Transport Graphic from AITPM conference Perth 2018.

My vision, however, was far too narrow. I was just looking at how they might get around in a manner that was tolerable.

When I chatted to people with disabilities, their stories showed that they were not nearly as narrow in their thinking.

Transport wasn’t the end goal.  Rather it was one of the areas in which they craved equal opportunity in order to pursue dreams, have a fulfilling life and make a valuable contribution to the community.

Here were people who, despite some harrowing difficulties, achieved goals such as tertiary qualifications, valuable jobs, sporting success and documenting important aspects of our history. Better transport could have made it easier.

David Brown Transport for People with a Disability

IMAGE: Ben Felten (on Blind1) and Kevin Magee (Magoo).

Our ‘help’ might not be helpful at all.

One of the left-over comments from the interviews, shows how people can, with the best intentions, rush to conclusions and try and solve the wrong problem.

David and Haley are blind, but they do not always need help to cross the street especially if they want to stay on the side of the road they are on.

David Brown Transport for People with a Disability

IMAGE: David Saxberg (photo by David Brown).

What should our approach be?

The best question is “Hello my name is xxxxxxx.  If you need any help, please feel free to ask”.

The diversity of the problems and the solutions was also a major revelation.  Since recording the interviews, I have heard of projects such as special maps in London for people with claustrophobia, special car technology to help deaf taxi drivers in Korean, and using technology developed for autonomous vehicles to help sight restricted people cope with footpaths that are being repaired.

- David Brown

Full interviews
  • Ben Felten – sports person, motivational speaker, and world record holder (272 km/hr riding blind on a motorcycle)
  • Johanna Garvin – Communications Officer - Create NSW
Special thanks to
  • Martin Corben - Radio Broadcast & Media Trainer
  • Giordana Caputo - Chief Executive Officer – Community Media Training
  • Andrew McLellan - CRN Operations Coordinator
  • Always Be My Unicorn - Freedom Trail Studio _ Royalty Free Music - No Copyright Music
  • Magoo train announcement and train coming into the station - YouTube

This piece was made for the 2019 CBAA National Features & Documentary Series, a showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers, with training and mentoring provided by the Community and Media Training Organisation. The opinions expressed in National Features & Documentary Series content are those of the individual producers or their interviewees, and not necessarily shared by the CBAA or CMTO.

Produced with the assistance of the Department of Communications and the Arts via the Community Broadcasting Foundation.


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