Transport for NSW

DSAPT Accessibility Audit

Completion Date

March 2021

In June 2020, Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) engaged Sterling Infrastructure (Sterling) to review and advise on the compliance of its train stations and ferry wharves in accordance with the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (DSAPT) and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA).

Sterling audited 421 locations (373 train stations and 48 ferry wharves) to assess their standard of accessibility. Equipped with a bespoke data capture tool on a mobile device, customised to the requirements of TfNSW, our auditors inspected 338 locations across New South Wales. The audit tool was designed to provide clear questions for an auditor to answer, ensuring data was collected consistently and in a systematic way. The auditors obtained measurements, checked crossfalls and gradients, captured inventory items and took photographs. Eighty-three stations and wharves were assessed via desktop review of existing drawings and documentation and the information added to the database to provide a robust and consistent dataset across all locations. Over 100,000 pieces of data were collected.

The project was undertaken to measure compliance with Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT) as well as the functional accessibility of the NSW heavy rail and ferry networks.  The key output was to provide a basis for TfNSW future decision making for allocation of government funding to meet DDA requirements across the state. Balancing the objective requirements of a large-scale audit, with the subjectivity required in assessing functionality across differing disabilities was the key challenge in project design.

To achieve the balance, in consultation with TfNSW, Sterling developed a comprehensive audit questionnaire to capture factual data. This data was converted into a full database allowing compliance outcomes to be interrogated and manipulated to produce Tableau type reports and allow ability to compare the requirements across station types and geographies.

The logistics of delivering mass audits is always a challenge in budget and time constrained environments. When the constraints exist in a COVID environment, involving managing lockdowns and state border closures, the challenges are so much greater. Sterling delivered 338 sites audits over a 12-week period, with 5 concurrent auditing teams deployed across NSW from Broken Hill to Sydney metro.

Quality comes through the repeatability of excellence, and this data was quality assessed, and then converted into individual location reports. These reports assessed the compliance and functionality of each station in a standard repeatable format to allow comparability across varying types and geographies of stations and wharves.

The intense logistics of delivering these works on time with a project team of 30 staff in a COVID environment made this a remarkable achievement.

Using the information captured in the database, Sterling produced individual reports for each station and wharf, including inventory data and maps. Any non-compliance issues were identified and a functionality assessment undertaken to determine their impact on the overall accessibility of each location.

Sterling also compiled summary reports to highlight trends and assist TfNSW with prioritising upgrade and maintenance work into the future using differing criteria as required by different stakeholders.

The project was successfully delivered in a very tight timeframe to meet the NSW Government’s commitment to complete a comprehensive accessibility audit. Throughout the duration of the project, Sterling worked closely with TfNSW to ensure priority stations and reports were prepared in line with the project plan and ensure stakeholders had the opportunity to review and comment.