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Elevators and escalators (El/Es) play important roles in public transportation, moving pas- sengers vertically to train stations above and below grade levels. Keeping this equipment operational is essential, especially for persons with disabilities who rely on El/Es for their transportation needs and are inconvenienced the most when equipment breaks down. Active involvement by the disability community has helped agencies realize the importance of pro- viding reliable El/Es service. The task of keeping El/Es operational falls squarely on agency maintenance departments that must comply with legal requirements, equipment manufacturersâ recommendations, and their own unique operating environments. This task, however, is fraught with significant challenges that include aging infrastructure, nearly continuous use in harsh conditions, lack of standard equipment, difficulty in obtaining spare parts, insufficient staffing levels, and customer abuse. Despite the challenges, agencies have implemented several proactive maintenance approaches to overcome staffing shortages and put into place various communications strat- egies to inform the public when El/Es do fail and to provide them with alternative means of transport. Efforts by maintenance and communications departments, regardless of how diligent or efficient, must be supplemented by the entire transit agency, especially upper management. Because vertical transportation can receive less attention than the prime movers of rail cars and buses, agencies are better served if they treat El/Es with the same level of importance as rolling stockâintegral agency assets that require active management to account for on - going maintenance, modernization, and replacements. The purpose of this synthesis is to document El/Es maintenance programs, safety practices and passenger communication efforts at five U.S. transit agencies: â¢ Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), â¢ Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), â¢ New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), â¢ Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in Philadelphia, and â¢ Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco. The in-depth case studies provide a snapshot look at how representative agencies provide El/Es services, the specific challenges they face in doing so, and the steps taken to provide safe and reliable access to their customers. In particular, the synthesis brings attention to a segment of public transit that is often overlooked, and it allows other agencies to learn from the experiences of their peers as they work to improve their own El/Es programs in a time of shrinking budgets. This synthesis is intended to provide a better understanding of EI/Es to those who work with El/Es on a daily basis, as well as upper managers, other transit officials, and policy makers. The approach to this project included a literature review, a comprehensive survey of the case study agencies, and follow-up telephone interviews to obtain additional information. Summary ElEvator and EScalator maintEnancE and SafEty PracticES
2 Collected literature, while useful, is somewhat limited. Therefore, the survey questionnaire administered to the case study agencies became the primary tool used to obtain detailed El/Es information. Collectively these five agencies operate 1,418 elevators and escalators throughout 850 rail stations. Several conclusions were drawn from the study: â¢ El/Es are an important but often overlooked element of public transportation. â¢ Their application is unique to transit with increased use and environmental conditions being harsher than in typical building applications. â¢ Unlike rolling stock that benefits from having spare replacements, El/Es are fixed and must be repaired where passenger service is provided, which draws greater public attention when equipment becomes inoperable. â¢ Agencies use a variety of measures to make prompt repairs required by the ADA, inform passengers of downed El/Es equipment, and provide alternative transportation options. â¢ Regardless of the steps taken to inform passengers and make prompt repairs, the nature of downed El/Es is such that passengers are inevitably inconvenienced unless redun- dancy is built into the station design. â¢ Asset management, where agencies adequately plan and budget ongoing maintenance, repairs, equipment modernization, and replacements is absolutely essential for continued safe and reliable El/Es operation. â¢ Enhanced technology features have greatly improved passenger safety but also add to equipment shutdowns and inconvenienced passengers. â¢ Agencies understand their maintenance responsibilities and use a combination of funda- mental and innovative procedures to improve efficiency and El/Es reliability. â¢ Agencies surveyed do the bulk of their maintenance and repairs in-house, while typically contracting for major refurbishments and replacements. â¢ When services are contracted out, strict oversight by the agency is essential to ensure satisfactory contractor performance. â¢ Not all agencies are required to have licensed and certified technicians. â¢ Agencies do not have, or may be reluctant to provide, information pertaining to unscheduled maintenance, making it difficult to gauge their performance. â¢ Agencies use a variety of definitions to classify El/Es being unavailable for service, which also makes performance comparisons between agencies difficult. Suggestions for future study include developing standard definitions for monitoring and measuring El/Es availability nationally, expanding the ADA definition of âprompt repairâ to provide additional agency guidance, developing a process that transit agencies could use to determine appropriate El/Es staffing levels, investigating the need for additional standards, and studying the feasibility of establishing an Internet forum where El/Es professionals could exchange information.