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58 CHAPTER EIGHT VEHICLE DESIGN LITERATURE REVIEW ON VEHICLE DESIGN Low-floor Vehicles With the passage of the ADA in 1990, transit agencies in the Many agencies are selecting low-floor vehicles to serve not United States have been required to accommodate wheel- only people in wheelchairs but also the numerous wheeled chairs in their vehicles. U.S.DOT has assigned specific items that could benefit from this design, such as strollers, measurements to all components of various public transport shopping carts, and bicycles. The difference between low- vehicles in conjunction with ADA requirements. Modes and high-floor boarding is shown in Figure 56. Bombardier's include local and intercity buses and vans, light and heavy promotional material highlights the advantages of low-floor rail, commuter and intercity rail, and all other forms of trans- vehicles for its FLEXITY 2 tram. It states, "Since urban com- port (e.g., monorails, ferries, automated guideway transit) munities are generally ageing, we have designed the FLEXITY (Code of Federal Regulations 2007). As older vehicles were 2 tram with the needs of the less mobile in mind. The low-floor replaced, U.S. fleets have now been designed to meet ADA entrance and entirely step-free interior are key features-- not regulations. Many agencies in Canada have also purchased just for the elderly but also for passengers with pushchairs or vehicles that meet ADA regulations. heavy shopping bags" (Bombardier Transportation 2010). As passengers bring more large items onto buses and The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) in Charlotte, trains, competition has arisen for space in the wheelchair North Carolina, ordered its new LYNX light rail vehicles with areas. In addition to creating policies to deal with these con- low floors from Siemens Transportation Systems. Its 2006 flicting needs, transit operators are struggling to change the press release announces arrival of the first vehicles with 68 design of their vehicles, some by retrofitting their existing seats as well as four bicycle racks and space for four wheel- fleets, some by rethinking the space when ordering new vehi- chairs (APTA Passenger Transport Archive 2006). Low-floor cles. This section of the report focuses on accommodating cars have also been installed for the Denmark/Sweden inter- large items that are not covered by the ADA requirements. national rail link serving Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport, in FIGURE 56 A standard high-floor bus in Santa Maria, California (left ), has several steps to enter, compared with a low-floor vehicle (right ) in Salt Lake City, which has only one step into the vehicle (courtesy : J. Goldman, Nelson\Nygaard Associates).

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59 order to "accommodate bikes, wheelchairs, and persons with seats possible, although this tradition is changing somewhat baggage" (Leigh Fisher Associates et al. 2002). where wheelchairs and bicycles must be accommodated" (Parkinson and Fisher 1996). This statement is borne out by Modifications the bicycle design considerations for the new SonomaMarin Area Rail Transit Authority (SMART) in California, approved Not only for new car orders but even when vehicles are being for funding by voters in 2008. In planning SMART, a 70-mile retrofitted, low-floor vehicles are being recognized for their passenger rail system, directors confirmed staff recommen- efficiency when boarding wheeled vehicles. For example, dations "that the trains, running in two-car sets would have... designed to coincide with the progressive opening of the room for 24 to 36 bicycles and fold-down seats where the bike new Green Line from late 2009 to late 2010, DART's Super racks are. There will also be some work tables, luggage racks, Light Rail Vehicles (SLRVs) car refurbishment and platform Wi-Fi and reading lights. The seats about 32.5 inches apart, rebuilding project will expand system capacity and acces- a standard for commuter rail but more room than in typical sibility. The SLRVs are created by inserting new low-floor airline coach class" (Norberg 2010). center sections at the articulation joints of the 115 existing light rail vehicles. These new spaces will be level with newly Seat spacing that is not cramped is in alignment with a raised platforms and will be able to house wheelchairs, bicy- finding by the Easter Seals Project ACTION report Over- cles, luggage, and strollers (DART 2008). sized/Overweight Mobility Aids: Status of the Issue. This brief synthesis offers an overview of the problems posed by an Other transit agencies are making more modest modifica- increase in obesity rates in the United States, which will affect tions to respond to the needs of passengers with large items. the nation's transit systems in a variety of ways. For example, Toronto undertook a CAN$650,000 modification project more overweight Americans will necessitate an increased use that offered more room for standing passengers on its street- of larger mobility aids, which will challenge existing ADA cars. As part of the renovation, the stanchion pole near the specifications and regulations and thereby affect future design entrance was removed on many of the vehicles "to make of transit vehicles. According to the report, "Because acces- boarding easier for passengers with strollers and bundle sible transit vehicles are designed to accommodate mobility buggies" (Kalinowski 2007). aids that can fit within a 30" x 48" clear space, problems can arise when passengers using mobility aids that exceed these Subsequent to the opening of its line to the San Francisco dimensions (i.e., very large wheelchairs and scooters, reclin- Airport in 2003, BART removed seats near the vehicle doors ing chairs, gurneys, Segways) need to use bus lifts, safely to make more room for luggage, in addition to bicycles and engage securement devices, and maneuver through a transit strollers. As a further modification to promote bicycling, a vehicle" (Pass and Thompson 2004). report prepared for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition rec- ommends studying the feasibility of a bike car and exploring The report further describes the following: installation of bike hooks and a bike priority area on new The U.S. Access Board defines the required clear space cars that BART is planning to order (Vi 2009). (envelope) for a wheelchair or mobility aid as a minimum 48 inches long and a minimum 30 inches wide, measured at 2 The New York MTA is an example of a bus operator that inches above the floor or platform surface, and extending to has made modifications for luggage. The agency announced a height of 30 inches minimum above the floor or platform surface. The minimum clear width at the floor or platform a pilot program in 2009 to install luggage racks on 10 buses surface is 28 inches. These requirements were based on the seven routes serving Kennedy and LaGuardia Air- on research conducted in the late 1970's. However, the ports (MTA 2009). accessibility standards in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom now have a larger envelope than the U.S. standard. Preliminary findings from ongoing research conducted by California's Tri Delta has also made bus modifications, the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) in this case to accommodate an increasing number of stroll- on Universal Design at Buffalo supports larger clearances. ers. By removing one set of seats, each bus has room for two Their data shows that a clear floor space as large as 33 x 56 inches may be needed to accommodate people with the strollers (with room for two more if the wheelchair area is largest space needs (Pass and Thompson 2004). unoccupied). In response, ridership of those with strollers jumped, and the agency received a plaque from the Trans- portation Equity and Community Health organization in rec- Indeed, another Easter Seals report, Status Report on the ognition of the move (APTA Passenger Transport Archive Use of Wheelchairs and Other Mobility Devices on Public 2006). Tri Delta's experience is discussed in chapter five. and Private Transportation, points out that there is no set of national standards for vehicle interior design and warns that Considerations for Ordering New Vehicles "problem[s occur] when new vehicles are purchased and dif- ferent seating layouts or other features are selected, without A TCRP report on Rail Transit Capacity notes, "Commuter full understanding of the relationship between components" rail cars are generally designed with the maximum number of (Nelson\Nygaard 2008).