How to Provide Accessible Public Transportation
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlines how to provide accessible public transportation to individuals with disabilities and mobility issues. While ADA offers the guidelines and rules for transportation, it’s the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates public transportation.
ADA Compliance for Accessible Public Transportation
While in some situations a private company may not be obligated to comply with certain standards, when a public organization works with a private company for public transportation, the service must meet all ADA compliance standards. Examples of such would be hotel shuttles, private buses, taxis, or airport shuttles.
Vehicles and public transportation must offer accessible information in formats that make sense for people with a variety of different disabilities. This means information should be available in large print, electronic, audio, or braille.
When it comes to vehicle accessibility, both the equipment and facilities must operate well. If something breaks down, the repair must occur immediately with an alternative accessible vehicle or option.
Public transportation operators must also provide plenty of time for people with disabilities and mobility devices to board or exit the vehicle. Service animals also exercise the privilege of accompanying their owners on public transportation, regardless of whether or not they are licensed by the state or local government.
For public transportation that operates on a routine route, every vehicle must have designated seating for individuals with disabilities that are marked with a sign. One set of these seats should be forward-facing.
Fixed Route Public Transportation Requirements for Individuals with Disabilities
Public transportation that follows a specific route according to a schedule is considered a fixed route transportation system. These systems generally include city buses, subways, and intercity rail transportation. Meanwhile, a demand-responsive public transportation system covers transportation such as taxis, van services, shuttle buses, and limousines.
For public transportation, any transfer points, major intersections, and destination points should be announced over the speaker system. Passengers with disabilities can also request for particular stops to be announced.
To ensure that a passenger with a mobility device can board a public transport safely, all vehicles must be outfitted with boarding devices such as lifts or ramps. Lifts must be able to handle a minimum of 600 pounds while being wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair that is 30” by 48”.
Slip-Resistant Turning Room
All areas within the public transport vehicle should be slip-resistant and include sufficient turning room for mobility devices. Within the transportation vehicle, handrails should be reachable for someone using a wheelchair.
Public Transportation Facilities Accessibility
For passengers with disabilities, the accessibility of public transportation facilities is crucial to a good riding experience. The ADA and the U.S. DOT have established standards for alterations to existing facilities and new construction. These standards apply to bus stops, curb ramps, fare collection, platform edges, wheelchair spaces, boarding ramps, restrooms, public telephones, and emergency services.
Two key ways that public transportation facilities can be more accessible is by providing accessible pathways and level boarding. For an accessible pathway, this path should be near to the general path and minimize distance to other accessible features such as ramps or elevators. Level boarding means that the gap between public transport and its corresponding platform should be minimal. Otherwise, a short bridge plate should be used to decrease the gap.
It’s important for the community to understand how to provide accessible public transportation to individuals with disabilities. Each step towards accessibility for everyone creates a better world for all. At StrongGo, we are committed to an accessible world, and we walk the walk by providing the sturdiest and most reliable detectable warning dome tiles for mass transit platforms and other projects.