Inclusive Design – Helping to reduce the load of our ‘other’ journeys

Georgia Corr, TPS Board Member and at the time of writing, Transport Planner at the London Borough of Ealing, but soon to be Lime's UK Public Policy Manager.  


As we emerge from the pandemic we have a revolutionary opportunity to reshape our transport systems, looking beyond the commute to account for the 'other' journeys. Currently, our public transport system falls short at ensuring that these journeys are inclusively planned for, often resulting in unneeded car trips, and discomfort. 

Georgia Corr Blog photo1

Image Source: Annie Mole

I’m one of the UK’s growing numbers of under 30s that cannot drive. While this works for me most of the time living in London and having access to an excellent public transport network, I’d be lying if I said that there hadn’t been occasions where I wish I could just jump in a car to make my life easier for my ‘other’ journeys. 

By ‘other’ journeys, I refer to all those fuzzy in-between moments, the ones that don’t happen often, but when they do, and you don’t drive, you mentally must prepare yourself for discomfort, anguish, exhaustion, and to top it off, contemplation of whether there will even be space for your items, like bringing your life’s contents to university, or having to lug a Christmas tree (yes, a 6ft Christmas tree) home by train.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who is part of the public transport heavy lifting fuzzy moment group. Sadly, however, it’s not only these once in a blue moon occasions that also fall victim to this issue, but rather what should be everyday occurrences, like bringing your bicycle onto public transport.

Whether it is the awkward side-eye between parents at the bus stop trying to frantically collapse their pushchair in a race to get the only pushchair space, or watching parents forced to scoot home one-footed on their child's scooter, or even accepting that desiring anything other than the smallest IKEA flatpack requires waiting weeks for home delivery while those who drove neatly pack away their goods into their car. These problems are all around us.

With fewer young people now questioning whether to drive at all, combined with COVID-19 potentially reducing the need for a commuter-car, now is the time to rethink how public transport systems can support 'other' trips? Reconsidering how we physically design and permit the use of our transport systems helps ensure access for everyone for a variety of trip purposes. In turn, this creates a more inclusive system that can reduce dependence on unsustainable inactive modes for 'other' trips - which perhaps are more often than we think... 


What can Transport Planners do to support inclusive design? 

Bicycle hiring schemes

The city of Fortaleza, Brazil, provides an excellent example of how to execute a children’s bicycle hire scheme. The city began piloting children’s bicycle hiring stations at several main train stations in 2018 as part of their strategy to get more children cycling and raise awareness of cycling from a young age. The scheme proved hugely successful, with over 6,000 rides recorded within the first six months[1].

Integrated bicycle hire schemes have been shown to facilitate multi-modal journeys; however, to ensure that they truly are accessible to all, it is important to provide a variety of bicycle models such as adapted bicycles and children’s bicycles to facilitate a wider range of users, whilst also helping to free up hands and space on public transport networks.

Gerogia Corr Blog photo 2 Brazil bikesImage Source:Mobilize Brasil, 2021, ‘In Fortaleza, children get another public bike station’, Available online:

As well as providing a convenient hassle-free solution, versus having to bring your own bicycle with you when you travel, hire schemes can transport larger goods too – a service that would have been perfect when I was collecting my Christmas tree!

Last year, IKEA announced that they would be launching an electric-cargo bike hire scheme for customers in Germany to take home the items they purchased in-store as part of their commitment to reducing their overall emissions and promoting sustainable methods of travelling to the store[2]


Designing for those ‘other’ trips

As anyone who has fought for space in the sea of suitcases on a Piccadilly line train will know, recognising the bulky items that make up these other trips is essential, not just for those that make these trips, but those that travel amongst them. The new generation of Piccadilly line trains Transport for London plan to introduce from 2025 recognises this with wider carriageway doors and the ability to walk from one end to the other, enabling passengers more space to navigate the maze of suitcases[3].

Georgia Corr Blog photo 4 Underground train

Image Source:Transport for London, 2021, ‘Improving the trains’, Available online:

So, if you ever witness someone carrying something looking uncomfortable on public transport, know that as Transport Planners we have the power to change this. The journey isn’t the issue, the issue is that our systems have not been created inclusively. As the commuter peak becomes less and less of the driving force behind public transport systems, making sure that public transport isn’t simply accessible for some for part of the time, but rather all for all of the time, should be our priority. 


Tweet to us at @TransPlanSoc telling us what’s been your most awkward other journey!



1Mobilize Brasil (2021) ‘In Fortaleza, children get another public bike station’, Available online:

2Inka Group (2020) ‘IKEA installs cargo bikes to deliver change’, Available online:

3Transport for London (2021) ‘Improving the trains’, Available online:



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