Get on Board – The Economics of Making the Rail Network Fully Accessible

Published: December 2020

Leonard Cheshire are campaigning to make train travel accessible to everybody and specifically to put into legislation a legally binding guarantee that all rail journeys in Britain will be fully accessible by 2030. This report, authored by WPI Economics, seeks to estimate the financial commitment that would be required to meet this guarantee. We review a range of capital and operational accessibility improvements that would be required and construct a cost model to estimate the cost of providing step-free access to platform level across the entire UK rail network. We estimate that this would cost just 1-3% of total transport capital investment over the next decade.

Full public transport accessibility should be a basic right, but it also delivers a wide range of individual and social benefits. We review the evidence on the benefits and find that economic appraisal evidence suggests significant benefits. We also produce new estimates of improved labour market access and find that a fully accessible rail system could help around 51,000 disabled people into employment and a further 85,000 employed disabled people into a new job.

Click here to read the full report.