Making Connections

‘Making Connections’ brings disabled people together with transport operator staff and other professionals to experience and assess journey connections between rail and ferry services.

What is this research about?

Many journeys rely on us changing from one mode of transport to another, navigating the spaces between services, where one ‘stops’ and another ‘starts’.  But even short transfers have potential barriers – crossing a busy street, poor lighting, difficulty finding a place to sit down and rest, particularly for disabled and Deaf people.

Who’s responsible for the quality of the connection? And what’s the best way for everyone concerned to work together to improve it?

The Making Connections project created opportunities for transport operators, designers and disabled and Deaf people to work together, between February and August 2019, to explore a process for improving connections between train stations and ferry terminals.

OPENspace undertook the evaluation for the project. We also advised on research methods and data collection. The project adopted a mapping approach to allow participants to take photos and record locations of challenges they faced, alongside transport operators and other project partners. Interviews were also conducted with the project team, project partners and participants to allow everyone to reflect on the project process.

Who is working on Making Connections?

OPENspace research team:

Sara Tilley (Evaluation Lead)

Agnès Patuano

Catharine Ward Thompson

Other partners:

Transport Scotland our funder and supporter. 

Go Upstream (Project lead) a training and design consultancy that focuses on creating better travel experiences for people with dementia.

StudioLR (an Edinburgh-based design agency) and other design partners.

ScotRail, CalMac and NorthLink are our transport partners.

PAMIS the British Deaf Association and other disability groups

Paths for All bring experience of developing outdoor environments for people with dementia

Who is funding this research?

Making Connections is funded by Transport Scotland’s Accessible Travel Fund.

Where can I find out more?

Making Connections has its own website: