Cover Image

Not for Sale

View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 2

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 1
STROLLERS, CARTS, AND OTHER LARGE ITEMS ON BUSES AND TRAINS SUMMARY Strollers, Carts, and Other Large Items on Buses and Trains is a synthesis of the state of the practice by transit agencies in managing capacity on vehicles carrying customers with large items. Items covered in this TCRP Synthesis include wheelchairs; Segways, scooters, and other mobility aids; strollers; bicycles; luggage; and miscellaneous large items such as skis and dog carriers. The synthesis also includes a discussion of vehicle designs to accom- modate these various large items. Information was collected through a literature review, an original survey of 42 tran- sit agencies in the United States and Canada that achieved a 100% response rate; and interviews conducted with survey respondents who had a particular success, innovation, or experience that highlighted issues with large items. Among the surveyed agencies, service areas included very small communities and very large regions (from 15 to 3,350 square miles) and annual respondent ridership ranging from roughly 294,000 to 3.36 bil- lion. Agencies included those with fleets of no more than six vehicles to more than 11,000 vehicles at peak operation. As evidenced by the literature review, with the exception of wheelchairs and many types of mobility devices, policies regarding bicycles, strollers, luggage, carts, and other large items seem to be developed in response to particular circumstances experienced by the transit agencies. Of the large items that buses and trains carry in the United States, wheelchairs have the clearest and most universal guidelines for accommodation on vehicles. The federal govern- ment has codified specific measurements for wheelchairs on public transport vehicles in conjunction with requirements resulting from passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and 80% of the surveyed agencies have a policy in place regarding the accom- modation of wheelchairs on transit vehicles. Most of the agencies' policies, including those in Canada, reflect ADA requirements with regard to size and weight of wheelchairs that may be accommodated, based on American National Standards Institute and Rehabilita- tion Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America transit-compliant wheelchair "WC19" standards. Most agencies that operate buses require their drivers to provide assistance to secure wheelchairs. Several agencies identified concerns about accommodating nonstandard, oversize, or overweight wheelchairs. With an increasing number of transit riders using nontraditional mobility aids or scooters that exceed standard size and weight conventions, many agencies are challenged to accom- modate these devices or develop policies that prohibit them. Some agencies are unaware of them until a rider attempts to bring one on a transit vehicle. The Segway and other gyro- stabilized two-wheeled devices are allowed on most rail operations, but only 13 of the 40 surveyed agencies operating buses have a policy to accommodate Segways. Several of the agencies that attempt to accommodate these devices express concerns that securements in their existing vehicles are not properly sized for them. Nevertheless, three-quarters of the agencies with scooter or Segway policies in place consider them to be effective.

OCR for page 1
2 The problem of accommodating strollers has grown as their size has increased. As a result of several mishaps and conflicts on board transit vehicles, several agencies have adjusted their stroller policies in the last decade, whereas some agencies have made efforts to better accom- modate strollers. One California transit agency created designated stroller areas on its buses. A majority of the surveyed agencies consider strollers to be a significant issue or concern for their operations, primarily owing to worries about safety when strollers block aisles. Most of the policies do not limit the size of strollers, and among agencies with stroller pol- icies, most require strollers to be foldable or collapsible. Although few agencies can point to safety data as the basis for their stroller policies, a majority of agencies believe their stroller polices are effective, but often drivers are inconsistent in enforcing the policies. Agencies that operate rail services allow for bikes on trains at least some of the time or in at least some locations. Although a few transit agencies allow bicycles to be carried inside a bus, most have made efforts to add external bicycle racks (84% of agencies reported that they have external bike racks on at least some of their operating fleet). Agencies sometimes allow bikes inside buses when exterior racks are at capacity, but almost one-half of the agen- cies that allow bikes inside buses require them to be foldable. Most agencies consider their bicycle policies to be effective. Although more than one-half of the surveyed agencies consider luggage, carts, and other large items to be an important issue, polices regarding these items are not as universal as policies for bicycles, strollers, or mobility devices. Existing policies range from being simple and permissive to very detailed in their restrictions. Several transit agencies have size restric- tions or limit the number of grocery bags that may be brought on board transit vehicles. Unlike policies regarding bikes, strollers, and other items, few differences exist between the policies on buses and the policies on rail vehicles. Several agencies restrict passengers to what they can reasonably carry on a vehicle, and a majority of agencies have a policy that requires luggage, grocery carts, or parcels to be stored in a specific location on a vehicle. Most agencies' policies afford drivers some flexibility in assisting passengers with lug- gage, unlike other items. Agencies serving recreational areas have policies regarding skis, snowboards, and surfboards. The synthesis reviews various types of transit vehicles and the modifications that some agencies have made to their vehicles to accommodate large items. Several agencies have ordered new vehicles--buses and rail cars--that have dedicated space, storage racks, or securement area for mobility devices, bicycles, luggage and other large items. Nevertheless, the majority of agencies surveyed indicated that designated storage/space for large items is not an issue when purchasing new vehicles. Safety for passengers and drivers is one of the primary reasons agencies develop their policies. Risk management practices also impact an agency's policies. Agencies reported injuries that ranged from minor scrapes and pinched fingers to significant accidents. More than one-half of all agencies receive complaints related to bringing strollers, carts, luggage, bicycles, mobility aids, or other large items on vehicles. Nearly one-half of all agencies prioritize one item over another on their vehicles. All of these agencies indicated that persons with disabilities take precedence. Almost one-half of agencies believe their policies regarding bringing large items on transit vehicles could be improved, and many suggest that enforcement is a significant issue. Among agencies that operate buses, 92% of them expect drivers to enforce the agency's policies. Only one-fifth of all agencies believe the agency's enforcement of its policies is very effective.

OCR for page 1
3 Overall, the synthesis provides an opportunity to disseminate information about agency policies and procedures. The analysis suggests additional research that could be carried out to find solutions to some of the questions raised in this synthesis: Equipment tests and other research techniques might be valuable to evaluate oversized wheelchairs, two-wheeled, and other new mobility devices to determine whether they could be accommodated on transit vehicles. Further study could evaluate the potential utility and safety of bungee cords, belts, or other tools that riders may use to secure mobility devices. Research might consider universal securement devices that could accommodate the array of mobility aids and other large items on transit vehicles. Research regarding strollers on transit vehicles might focus on (1) stroller types and size trends; (2) vehicle configurations for best accommodating strollers (i.e., stroller seating area, high-floor versus low-floor); and (3) findings about strollers in vehi- cle accidents, making a determination on whether children could remain in or be removed from strollers on transit vehicles. Information gathered for this synthesis, both from the literature review and survey, offers little direction for transit agencies in establishing a policy based on child safety findings, pointing to a gap in current transportation research. Further research about bicycles on transit vehicles might include opportunities to evaluate promotion of folding bikes on transit vehicles or for transit agencies to offer bicycles to bus or train riders at transit stops or stations. The examples of bike rental facilities in Stockholm, Sweden; Paris, France; and Long Beach, CA, show that some communities are moving in this direction. Tests may be conducted to examine how the various policies regarding bringing large items (including grocery carts, wheelchairs, and different mobility aids) on board impact riders' independence, well-being, and overall mobility. Safety evaluations of large items as hazards or potential projectiles on buses and trains may provide some risk management tools for transit agencies. Current infor- mation to help agencies determine policies for items other than wheelchairs, based on passenger safety issues, is limited. An evaluation of vehicle configurations and new technologies might be conducted to determine how to better accommodate luggage, carts, groceries, and other large items. Research might look at capacity and utility of transit vehicles with modular/ flexible spaces versus vehicles equipped with storage areas or racks. Bus operators' capacity to enforce agency policies, given their other responsibilities, is another topic noted in this report. Further research might help define a "reasonable" expectation for bus operators. Given that the overwhelming majority of bus agencies in the survey rely on drivers for enforcement, such research might assist agencies in refining operator responsibilities.

OCR for page 1