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OCR for page 72
72 example (chapter nine) illustrates the complexities of man- explored the potential for accommodating--or even encour- aging strollers and the impact that a vocal ridership group-- aging--portable, folding bikes on buses and trains. As com- mothers with children--can have on a transit system's munities grapple with "last mile" transit solutions (providing policies and reputation. Efforts by some transit agencies local feeder bus services or other modes that connect transit to limit strollers to those that fold or to specify a stroller's hubs with riders' destinations), bicycles can play an impor- allowable dimensions for transport have been questioned by tant role in a multimodal solution. rider groups as unjust, possibly even discriminatory against parents, often low-income women. Although some agencies have reached out to riders with strollers by creating stroller- LUGGAGE only areas or providing both written and oral information in the languages spoken by mothers on transit, others have had Most transit riders do not transport luggage on a daily basis. difficulty addressing their challenges. Thus, local riders with luggage are often leaving town or returning home from another city, and many passengers with Among the stroller policies that transit agencies have luggage are visiting from elsewhere. Visitors with luggage deemed most effective are those that minimize an opera- may be unaware of the agency's policies governing luggage tor's involvement: strollers must fit through vehicle doors in advance of trying to board a transit vehicle. and be kept out of aisles. Platform-level boarding on trains, along with new technologies in bus ramps, have made it To address the needs of persons with suitcases and sup- easier for riders to bring large strollers on board vehicles: port efforts to keep aisles clear, several transit agencies have easier boarding may be a disincentive for carrying small, experimented with luggage racks on bus routes or trains collapsible strollers. Helsinki's pram button to keep doors that serve an airport (e.g., MTA in New York City and Bos- open longer or Portland TriMet's button on its MAX trains ton's MBTA Silver Line). Other agencies, such as TheBus to activate bridge plates are examples of simple technol- in Honolulu or SamTrans in San Mateo County, California ogy enhancements that allow more time for safer boarding explicitly prohibit luggage on some bus routes that serve the and alighting. airport, not only for capacity purposes but in some cases owing to private competition. Luggage racks may be suitable The results of the survey and the literature review are for routes that serve airports, but for most transit services, inconclusive with regard to whether a child in a stroller is open space solutions offer greater flexibility, allowing more safer than a child taken out of a stroller, and different agen- standing passengers or general capacity for large items. cies have policies that reflect the two different perspectives. The dissimilarity of the two types of policies points to the value of additional research on this topic. CARTS, PARCELS, AND OTHER ITEMS Three groupings of transit agency policies generally exist BICYCLES regarding carts, parcels, and other items on buses and trains. Concerned that policies limiting grocery bags or carts might Exterior racks or underbody storage compartments on buses unfairly impact transit-dependent riders, the first group of allow transit agencies to offer an amenity to bicycle users agencies allows as much as the rider can carry in one trip without the complications of bringing bicycles on board without assistance (e.g., Ottumwa Transit Authority and vehicles. Nevertheless, some agencies' bus routes have exte- Sioux Area Metro). Many of these are smaller agencies rior bike racks that are at capacity, forcing them to allow that acknowledge some flexibility exists in how the driver bikes on buses or to retrofit vehicles with larger racks. Like- accommodates these riders. wise, most rail operators have policies that make accom- modations for bikes inside vehicles. Some have created A second group of agencies defines specific size limits designated bicycle areas or installed bicycle mounting racks or restricts the number of bags or parcels on transit (e.g., or hooks. Commuter rail operated by some agencies includes Link Transit or Las Cruces RoadRUNNER Transit), based cars designated for transporting bicycles. However, owing to on what an agency deems reasonable for an individual to high passenger loads, several agencies restrict bikes at peak carry by himself or herself. hours or in peak directions. The third group of agencies has policies that rely on indi- Some solutions have been tried. An innovative program, viduals to maintain control of their carry-on items on their such as Caltrans' Bay Bridge operation, is an example of lap or under their seat, effectively limiting the quantity or supplementing limited rail capacity by operating bicycle- size of items that may be brought on board. Several of these carrying vans between rail stations. Rented lockers at bus larger agencies acknowledge that operators have a lot of dif- and rail transit centers allow users to secure bicycles when ferent duties, and measuring carts or counting bags adds yet they transfer to public transit. Many agencies have not yet another responsibility.

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73 Most transit agencies respond to changes in societal pri- Research regarding strollers on transit vehicles might orities by implementing new policies or adjusting existing focus on (1) stroller types and size trends, (2) vehicle ones. Wider and taller strollers, sometimes accommodat- configurations for best accommodating strollers (i.e., ing two children and allowing for storage, are designed to stroller seating area, high-floor versus low-floor), and address the demands of families that use them. Large suit- (3) findings about strollers in vehicle accidents, mak- cases with wheels allow travelers to independently trans- ing a determination on whether children could remain port their belongings to airports and train stations. Dollies in or be removed from strollers on transit vehicles. and grocery carts mean transit-dependent individuals are Information gathered for this synthesis offers little not restricted to their neighborhood market, and can carry direction for transit agencies in establishing a policy purchases from big-box retailers on buses and trains. New based on child safety findings, pointing to a gap in cur- devices offer independence to people who previously had rent transportation research. limited mobility options, but many of them come in nonstan- Further research about bicycles on transit might include dard shapes and sizes. opportunities to evaluate promotion of folding bikes on transit vehicles or for transit agencies to offer bicycles With greater numbers of aging adults in our society, many to bus or train riders at transit stops or stations. The with mobility aids, or more parents using transit with their examples of bike rental facilities in Stockholm, Sweden; children, transit agencies will be pressed to adapt their vehi- Paris, France; and Long Beach, California, show that cles and policies. Agencies implement policies to address some communities are moving in this direction. shortcomings, such as capacity of existing equipment, or Tests may be conducted to examine how the vari- to ensure the safety of passengers and staff. Depending on ous policies regarding bringing large items on board, community priorities, vehicle types, services offered, or rid- including grocery carts, wheelchairs, and different ership demands, some agencies are more constrained than types of mobility aids, impact riders' independence, others. Nevertheless, some agencies consider themselves well-being, and overall mobility. more successful than others in developing policies (and Safety evaluations of large items as hazards or potential enforcing them) to help them cope with these constraints. projectiles on buses and trains may provide some risk This synthesis provides an opportunity for agencies to share management tools for transit agencies. Current infor- their policies and procedures, while illustrating that no sin- mation to help agencies determine policies for items gle set of policies will be appropriate for all. other than wheelchairs, based on passenger safety issues, is limited. Further opportunities for research include the following An evaluation of vehicle configurations and new tech- areas: nologies might be conducted to determine how to bet- ter accommodate luggage, carts, groceries, and other Equipment tests and other research techniques might large items. Research might look at capacity and utility be valuable to evaluate oversized wheelchairs and of transit vehicles with modular/flexible spaces versus other new mobility devices to determine whether they vehicles equipped with storage areas or racks. could be accommodated on transit vehicles. Further Bus operators' capacity to enforce agency policies, study could evaluate the potential utility and safety of given their other responsibilities, is another topic noted bungee cords, belts, or other tools that riders may use in this report. Further research might help define a "rea- to secure mobility devices. Research might consider sonable" expectation for bus operators. Given that the universal securement devices that could accommodate overwhelming majority of bus agencies in the survey the array of mobility aids, as well as other large items, rely on drivers for enforcement, such research might used on transit vehicles. assist agencies in refining operator responsibilities.