The first review of the AODA’s Transportation Standards became public in 2018. In this review, the AODA Transportation Standards Development Committee recommends changes to the existing Transportation Standards. In addition, the Committee also recommends action from other sectors of the province, to remove accessibility barriers that impact transportation. This article will discuss the Committee’s recommendations for technical requirements on public transit vehicles and stops.
Technical Requirements on Public Transit Vehicles and Stops
The current Transportation Standards include many technical requirements for new and renovated public transit vehicles, as well as transit stops and shelters. For example, stops, shelters, stations, and platforms should include accessibility features such as:
- Ramped or level entrances
- Turning space for passengers using assistive devices
- Signage with good colour contrast and large print
Likewise, technical requirements for vehicles apply to elements such as:
- Lifting devices, ramps, or portable bridge plates between train cars
- Grab bars, handholds, handrails, and stanchions
- Floors and carpeted surfaces
- Spaces for passengers using assistive devices
- Stop requests and emergency response controls
- Indicators and alarms
- Rail cars
Cities and public transit companies must work together to ensure that new and renovated transit stops and other facilities, such as bus or train stations, are accessible. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the Transportation Standards should require cities and transit companies to report on their progress. Each city and transit company should make yearly status reports on this progress, as part of their multi-year accessibility plans.
In addition, the Committee notes that signage at transit stops and stations is not accessible for some passengers who are blind or visually impaired. In a survey for its initial report, the Committee asked for public feedback on ways to improve signage accessibility. Survey responses include many suggestions for improving signage from transit passengers with visual disabilities. Therefore, the Committee recommends the development of a list of tools and resources on signage best practices, based on the valuable feedback from this survey. Moreover, the Committee recommends that the Information and Communications Standards Development Committee should also have access to this survey on signage. Furthermore, the Information and Communications Standards Development Committee should also explore how technology can enhance accessible signage in all sectors, including transportation.
Best Practices for Vehicle Accessibility
Similarly, the Transportation Standards Development Committee also recommends the development of tools and resources for best practices in vehicle accessibility. This list will support public transit companies in complying with the Standards’ existing technical requirements for vehicle elements such as:
The list should incorporate principles of universal design, and include best practices to support passengers with all disabilities.
Finally, the Committee recommends a change to the Standards’ technical requirements for grab bars, handholds, handrails, and stanchions. Protruding ends on these elements sometimes cause passengers injury. As a result, the Committee recommends requiring new and renovated vehicles to include grab bars, handholds, handrails, and stanchions without these protruding ends.