Coventry University and Motability launch innovative research studentship in accessible transport

Motability, the charity, have announced their exciting collaboration with Coventry University to launch fully funded PhD studentships researching accessible transport design. This new opportunity is open to all suitably-qualified graduates. Read the article below to find out more. 


Coventry University has collaborated with Motability, the charity, to recruit and sponsor a number of doctoral candidates to undertake research into accessible transport at the university’s National Transport Design Centre (NTDC).

The collaboration combines Coventry University’s strong tradition of design transport teaching and Motability’s objective to support and develop innovative solutions to meet the evolving transportation needs of people with disabilities.

Successful candidates will conduct significant and original research at the university’s world class facilities in the design of vehicles and associated infrastructures, including emerging technologies and future transport solutions that are still waiting to be defined.

Research has shown poor transport design to cause reduced economic opportunities, social exclusion, a reduced quality of life, and other negative impacts for disabled people, who often lack a voice in key planning and decision making processes.

The fully funded studentships aim to address this lack of voice by giving disabled people, and those who have direct and frequent interactions with them, the opportunity to train in the specialised area of transport design accessibility research, so they can in future bring both technical knowledge coupled with a lived experience to future transport policy and practice.

The doctoral candidates will be supervised by Professor Paul Herriotts and Professor Stewart Birrell from the NTDC, which sits in the university’s Institute for Future Transport and Cities.

Paul Herriotts, Professor of Transport Design, NTDC, Coventry University, said

“We are delighted to work with Motability on this unique and exciting scheme, and to extend this opportunity to candidates who wish to undertake innovative research with us with the aim of making transport more accessible. Coupled with their personal experiences of disability, this will equip them to be advocates for positive change.” 

Rachael Badger, Director of Performance and Engagement at Motability, added:

“When the next generation of electric vehicles or shared urban spaces are designed, Motability wants people with lived experience of disability to be in the room. Through our extensive research, we know that disabled people face challenges when using public and private transport, so it’s vital that their voices are heard and their needs are met by transport designers in the future. This innovation pilot with Coventry University is one of the ways we aim to work towards that long-term goal.”

To find out more, visit the Coventry University website.

About Motability

Motability is a national charity with the vision that no disabled person shall be disadvantaged due to poor access to transportation.

In addition to setting the strategic policies and direction of the Motability Scheme and overseeing its performance, Motability uses charitable funds to support beneficiaries with the cost of their transportation needs, and is constantly looking for and developing new solutions to meet the evolving mobility needs of disabled people beyond the Scheme.

Motability’s research is available to download from the Motability website where you can also find out more about the charity’s Research and Innovation work.

Twitter: @Motability

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