Woman Helping Another Woman in a Wheelchair Get on a Bus

Best Practices for Accessibility in Transportation: Making Sure Everyone Can Get Around

When it comes to transportation, people prioritize convenience. Whether taking a two-hour flight instead of a ten-hour drive or utilizing public buses rather than walking, convenience drives pedestrians’ and commuters’ decisions. 

However, transportation is only convenient for some. Due to accessibility limitations, many modes of transportation are not approachable for people with disabilities. Instead, to ensure everyone can get around effectively, cities and transit authorities must understand the best practices for accessibility in transportation, from the beginning user journey to clear road signs and warning tiles.

Understanding How Different Groups Use Public Transport Systems

To understand the needs of people and groups who utilize transport systems, you must put yourself in their shoes. As The Rural Health Hub discusses, if someone intends to use a bus, they must first be able to get to the bus stop. It is crucial to ensure the travel process is accessible from start to finish, including navigating toward the bus, maintaining an accessible bus stop, and easily getting onto the bus. 

Accessibility and safety in transportation start when the users’ journey starts. So it is also important for cities and transit companies to ensure that transit plans include safe, wheelchair- and bicycle-friendly pedestrian access to bus stops or other transportation hubs. 

Identifying what groups are underserved by current transit solutions opens the door to providing transportation for all! 

Improving Clarity with Signage, Warnings, and Guides 

People with visual or auditory impairments may experience particular challenges when using public transit services. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides some requirements for accessibility that public transit agencies must follow. Accommodations can include:

  • - Installing pedestrian signals that emit noises and offer visual cues to indicate the signal has changed to “walk”
  • - Ensuring there are well-placed and usable crosswalks near transit stops
  • - Providing signage, route maps, and other information in formats other than print
  • - Ensuring bus stops are consistently placed across the transit system (for example, always placed just before the corner or just beyond the corner)

Creating Physical Accessibility, Comfort, and Safety for All Passengers 

According to the National Household Travel survey, “25.5 million Americans have travel-limiting disabilities.” Thankfully, many solutions exist to improve accessibility, comfort, and safety for all passengers. Regardless of age, gender, and level of mobility, individuals should be able to utilize the advantages of public transportation. 

To improve accessibility, comfort, and safety, transit authorities and organizations should: 

  • - Improve physical features on public transit to accommodate more space.
  • - Educate public transit operators on how to utilize accommodations such as wheelchair lifts. 
  • - Utilize multiple methods of notifying passengers when a stop is approaching, occurring, or passing.

Benefits of offering accessible, safe, and comfortable transportation solutions include: 

  • - Reducing social isolation. Social isolation is a significant cause of depression; lowering the rate of social isolation also decreases the rate of depression. 
  • - Increasing independence. These accommodations can immensely increase independence in the lives of people with disabilities, especially if they live alone.

Learn how we are doing our part to make transportation more accessible. Check out our product offerings for sidewalks, curb ramps, mass transit stops, and more. 



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