City of Sibiu (Romania)
Sibiu, situated in the central Romania in the Cibin callow, covers 121.64 km² and has a population of 155,000 permanent inhabitants and 25,000 temporary inhabitants, mostly students, as well as tourists. It is situated near the beautiful mountains of Făgăraş. Industry and tourism are important economic sectors. Sibiu is one of the most important municipalities in Romania and has seen remarkable economic development. The municipality has good public transport services - mainly buses (for urban transportation), but also trams (for cultural and tourist purposes) and trains (which connect the municipality with the other regions of Romania, and abroad); it has an international airport too. The main urban routes are connected by bus to all important areas of the municipality: the railway-station, the two important industrial areas, the residential areas, and the airport.
Actual state of accessibility-work
In Sibiu, responsibilities in accessibility work are carried out by the local authority: Sibiu City Hall. Such responsibilities includes: planning, construction & maintenance of the road-network’/ pedestrians’/cyclists’ infrastructure, land-use, and public transport. Each of these services is carried out by specialised companies, based on specific agreement. For instance, the administration of the urban public transport services is carried out by SC TURSIB SA, a company specialising in such services, with more than 100 years experience.
Therefore the Sibiu ISEMOA-team was formed by representatives of Sibiu City Hall, SC TURSIB SA and three main groups of PRM.
The accessibility-work is not so advanced although there have been important steps made in this direction, for instance:
- public transport stops are well equipped
- the locations of the public transport stops assure complete intermodality
- the entire bus fleet provides spaces for PRM
- 50% of the buses have lowered floors
- although 40% of the buses are equipped with wheelchair elevators, the elevators can hardly ever be used in traffic, due to some construction weaknesses
- 10 % of the buses have ramps that are moved manually so that passengers with wheelchairs, pushchairs, or trolleys can easily get on/off of the bus
- most of the main sidewalks are of the required width (150 cm)
- most of the curbs on key streets are painted in contrasting colours
- most of the main sidewalks have a smoothed surface
- on the most important streets, street furniture does not impede PRM as they limited to one side of the sidewalk.
There are also some important issues to be addressed, such as:
- building accessibility regulations & construction
- funding policy regulation
- the importance of accessibility to be made more visible
- strengthening the concept of accessibility.
Sibiu implemented the ISEMOA method, in order to find out where the weak points in their accessibility work are, and in order to get inspiration for improving their accessibility work.
In the last meeting of the Sibiu-ISEMOA-team, an action plan was elaborated for further implementation of accessibility measures. It contains 17 actions, which are to be implemented during the following year. These measures are:
- installation of 300 m tactile strips for the blind, on the routes indicated by the representatives of blind persons
- audible traffic lights for people with hearing disabilities, at two important crossings
- rehabilitation of the ramps at level crossings, road crossing, on C. Coposu boulevard, according to national requirements
- equipping the entire bus fleet with a GPS tracking system
- reconstruction of buses’ audio system, to announce the next station
- acquisition of five electronic displays, for five bus stops, which specify the time until the arrival of the next bus, for each route passing through that station
- endowment of 10 more bus stops with domes, chairs and info-boards
- translation of the web page on public transport into English for foreign tourists
- adding information about the ISEMOA project to the web page for public transport, and the City Hall web page
- installing on the website a poll, specific for PRM
- editing articles in the local press and local station for raising awareness on accessibility for all, including PRM
- editing articles in the local press regarding ISEMOA development in Sibiu
- organising a photo exposition entitled "Accessibility in Sibiu"
- one more dialogue meeting with representatives of PRM (during the project lifetime, besides the other two meetings which have already taken place)
- indicating on the timetable which buses have ramp access for PRM
- marking the places for people with disabilities, on all buses
- training the drivers on how to help PRM, or how to intervene in possible conflicts between PRM and the other passengers
The members of Sibiu-ISEMOA-team are glad that the project ISEMOA could help them to realise more improvements in the work of accessibility.
Quotes of local stakeholders
“I learned to be more attentive to the needs of PRM” (representative of public transport operator)
“An awareness campaign on accessibility is needed” (representative of public transport operator)
“The technical visit helped us to collect real information, to see the real situation ‘on site’ ” (representative of public transport operator)
“We changed our perception about the needs of PRM. In this respect, Annex B was very helpful” (representative of public transport operator)
“I think that the National Government must be included in the implementation process of accessibility too” (representative of City Hall)
“I am keen to find out what the other test-sites have done” (representative of City Hall)
“The technical visit of the test-site together with the other members of the ISEMOA-team revealed many aspects, which otherwise would have remained undisclosed” (representative of City Hall)
“ISEMOA is a an example of good practice” (representative of City Hall)
“I learned more about what other kinds of accessibility measures can be made” (representative of City Hall)
“I consider that it would be more efficient to allocate funds for implementation” (representative of PRM)
“I learned that no matter how far you are, there is still place for improvement” (representative of PRM)