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The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 11-13 [Final (Synthesis)]

Bus Transit Accessibility for the Handicapped in Urban Areas
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data

Many transit systems provide accessible, fixed-route service for handicapped people, which means that buses on regular routes are equipped with lifts that enable a person in a wheelchair to board the bus. This synthesis is intended to assist transit systems in implementing such services in conformity with state or federal requirements or in response to goals and objectives of individual communities. The physical, technical and operational characteristics of lifts and buses are discussed. In addition, consideration is given to the climate and terrain and to the ease of access to stops for both user and bus on accessible services, reliability and maintenance of lifts, and scheduling delays due to wheelchair boardings. The level of accessible service provided, the operational procedures chosen, and the maintenance experiences and policies affect one another. They also affect ridership by the handicapped and nonhandicapped. Handicapped ridership on most routes with lift-equipped buses has been low, but some of the factors affecting ridership are changing. As service becomes more widespread, reliable and frequent, ridership may increase. The report also discusses cost-effectiveness of accessible transit services and the alternatives, and problems in obtaining accurate cost and ridership data. Lift-equipped, fixed-route transit service addresses the needs of only a small number of handicapped travelers, principally wheelchair users. It does not meet the problems of many other handicapped travelers--such as information needs (before and during travel), difficulties waiting at stops or standing in a moving vehicle, difficulty in paying fares, and mental disorientation. There are measures which would remedy these and other problems. However, it is not known what the costs are or how many travelers would be aided.  The report for this topic can be purchased at http://www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=3474

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