Bus rapid transit accessibility guidelines.
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Bus rapid transit accessibility guidelines.

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  • Alternative Title:
    BRT accessibility guidelines
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  • NTL Classification:
    NTL-ECONOMICS AND FINANCE-Transit Economics and Finance;NTL-PLANNING AND POLICY-Transit Planning and Policy;NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Bus Transportation;NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Transit Planning and Policy;
  • Abstract:
    In recent years helpful guides have appeared in both English and Spanish to assist planners

    and officials to construct accessible buildings and pedestrian infrastructure which are usable

    by seniors, persons with disabilities, and all others who especially benefit from universal

    design. Less has been written about access to public transport systems. Very little guidance

    is available concerning specific issues which confront those planning Bus Rapid Transit

    (BRT) systems – mass transit systems which incorporate a spectrum of design and

    operational features on integrated trunk and feeder routes and which were initiated in Latin

    America and are now spreading throughout the region and beyond.

    In Colombia, BRT systems are in different stages of

    planning, implementation, and expansion. Bogota’s

    well-known TransMilenio is expanding and Pereira’s

    Megabús BRT system recently opened. Planning

    and construction are moving forward for Cali’s El

    MIO, the Metroplús system in Medellín, Metrolínea

    in Bucaramanga, Transmetro in Barranquilla, and

    Transcaribe in Cartagena, all scheduled to being

    operation in 2007 or 2008. Colombia will thus be the

    first country in the world to provide integrated

    systems of mass transport in most of its major cities.

    External funding for these systems is provided by the

    World Bank, with the exception of Cali, where funding is provided by the Inter-American

    Development Bank. Conscious of their role in promoting “transport for all” around the world,

    institutions such as the World Bank are working with the national Ministry of Transport and

    municipal stakeholders to promote the accessible design and operation of BRT systems in

    Colombia and beyond. The Bank has learned much from the pioneering accessibility

    features of TransMilenio and from Medellín’s Metro and Metrocable systems, as well as from

    existing and planned BRT systems throughout Latin America. This experience, combined

    with what has been learned from other regions, has resulted in the publication of these BRT

    Accessibility Guidelines.

    The guidelines focus on the BRT environment and assume that interested parties can take

    advantage of existing guidelines to clarify general issues of access to public space, buildings,

    and pedestrian infrastructure. The guidelines generally follow the travel path of a passenger

    using a full-featured Bus Rapid Transit system. The accessible travel chain begins with

    sidewalks and pedestrian crossings and continues into a typical mid-island station served by

    buses with left-side doors (in countries where traffic drives on the right side). Buses pull up to

    an enclosed station with a ramped platform the height of the bus floor. The guidelines then

    Construction of BRT line in

    Cali, Colombia

    BRT Accessibility Guidelines


    focus on station features, crossing the gap into the bus, and bus features. Due to the

    integrated nature of BRT, the guidelines focus equally on both trunk line and feeder line

    issues while acknowledging that a long-term planning process may be needed to identify

    funding for improved feeder line infrastructure and vehicles. Costs and benefits are

    discussed in a separate document, but most of the features

    discussed in this guide are low cost or even without cost in

    new features. The accessibility features are usually

    examples of universal design which not only assist disabled

    passengers but also make BRT more attractive to other

    categories of passengers. The guidelines put special

    emphasis on BRT features which have proven to be

    problematic according to findings by planners and

    passengers. Special “alert” notices are placed to further

    emphasize these sections. References are provided with

    further information on the topics in the guide. Information on

    the references is found in the Resources section at the rear

    of this report. A Check List to assist task manages to apply the guidelines is added as an

    appendix. The CD version of this guide provides additional resource materials. Photos not

    credited are by the author.

    Appreciation is expressed to those who have commented on the draft version of these

    guidelines, including but not limited to the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Colombia;

    representatives of agencies in all seven of the Colombian cities operating or phasing in BRT

    systems; and persons with disabilities and their NGOs in Bogotá, Cartagena, Cali,

    Bucaramanga, and Medellín. Special thanks to other individual reviewers, including Arq.

    Claudia Sánchez (Colombia), Dr. CGB (Kit) Mitchell (United Kingdom), Dr. Christoffel Venter

    (South Africa), Arq. Silvia Coriat (Argentina), Ing. Gerhard Menckhoff (World Bank), and Lic.

    María Eugenia Antúnez and Arq. Andrés Balcázar (México).

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