Persons with disabilities are facing moderate to severe difficulties with transport in Moldova, concludes a study released today, 21 April 2016, by the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) and the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST). The research was based on a survey with 100 persons with disabilities and was conducted in partnership with the United Nations (UN) in Moldova and several non-governmental organizations.
“Ensuring accessible mobility and reducing road risk for vulnerable groups is a challenge for all countries. However much more needs to be done in Moldova to ensure people with disabilities are able to travel safely and more easily. All Moldovans should be able to use their talents to the full – benefiting Moldova’s economic and cultural life. I welcome this report and hope that its many recommendations will be seriously considered by policy makers”, said Emma MacLennan, Director General, EASST.
Overcrowded public transport, dangerous crossings and poor roads are hazardous for anyone. For persons with disabilities, these dangers are accentuated. Many survey participants reported problems with mobility that have impeded their full participation in social and economic life, and prevented them from playing an active role in their communities. Half of the interviewed persons feel that poor mobility affects the attitude of others towards them and almost one third – that impacted their life opportunities.
“The UN is firmly committed to a human rights-based approach to infrastructure development and urbanization, based on the principles of participation, accountability, non-discrimination, empowerment and alignment with international human rights standards. Together with our partners in the Government, civil society, private sector and international community, we will continue our efforts towards the goal of making infrastructure and transport services in Moldova safe and accessible to everyone”, noted Dafina Gercheva, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.
Dafina Gercheva, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, introducing the press launch of the report in Chisinau
One third of respondents have reported difficulties while leaving home and travelling to work. Every second interviewed person has described travelling to school as hazardous. Every fifth respondent reported difficulties with transport while visiting a doctor.
“People with disabilities have various problems in their everyday lives including mobility and road safety in our country. Such people are not visible in our society, and, unfortunately, because of road risks they lose their right to access social life. We hope that the reports’ recommendations will contribute to an effective road safety management and will improve the lives of many people with disabilities”, said ACM Project Manager, Tatiana Mihailova.
Almost 50% of the survey’s participants noted issues when travelling to other cities and 16% of the respondents do not travel at all. Even crossing the road is worrisome for 40% of the interviewed persons.
The main type of transport used by persons with disabilities seems to be trolleybuses (52%). Pedestrian travel, either by foot or wheel chair, also prevails with 47%. Buses and maxi-taxis seem less friendly and accessible, so as cars, only one respondent reporting driving an adapted one.
Survey participants arrive at the press launch on a trolley bus
The Republic of Moldova has legal commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to take action to improve this situation. Among the recommendations of the study, to be highlighted: the law requiring disabled access for public buildings and all new construction should be enforced; inclusion of persons with disabilities into the commissions responsible for giving permission, approval and certification for buildings; development of a plan for accessible inter-city travel and for accessible tourism in Moldova; improving road markings, particular at crossing-points; putting in ramps where needed or, if this is not possible, lifts to enable full access to important services.
Disability and road risk are closely interlinked. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every year 20 to 50 million people are injured and 1.24 million are killed on the world’s roads. Road crashes are the primary cause of head injuries, and an estimated 30% of those injured on the roads remain permanently disabled.
The new framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals makes a commitment to people with disabilities that governments should, by 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety with special attention to the needs of persons with disabilities and older persons.
Disability, Mobility, and Road Risk in Moldova
This report by the Automobile Club of Moldova provides data based on a survey of 100 individuals with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova on types of issues faced by people with different disabilities as road users and offers recommendations to improving mobility and accessibility to policy makers.
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