Make public transit easier to use

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Q: We can’t figure out the proper way to connect bus stop and shelter pads with sidewalks that may be several blocks away. Help!

A: First, visit The site covers all aspects of public transportation, including paratransit, transit facilities, and training drivers.

Most of the information is downloadable, including the following free publications:

Pictured right: When it comes to connecting bus stops with sidewalks, use Michele’s KISS method: Keep it Simple and Straightforward. If a sidewalk is blocks away, add or move a stop instead of building new sidewalks, curb ramps, and pads. Photo: Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Follow a few basic steps

Next, here’s the approach you should take when you consider how to connect bus stops to existing sidewalks:

  • Keep barrier-free design front-of-mind.
  • Look for the simple approach. Often, adding or moving a bus stop is all that’s needed to avoid building new sidewalks, curb ramps, and pads.
  • Remember the hearing- and vision-impaired when formulating wayfinding information and guidance.
  • Always make safety and warning systems integral components of facilities, stops, and shelters.
  • Remember, the ADA guidelines (10.2.1 New Construction & 10.2.2 Bus Stop Siting and Alterations) are minimum guidelines.

Partner whenever possible

When I was with the City of Kansas City, Mo., I networked with the project managers for our area transportation authority — which set up bus stops and designed and built shelters — to redesign bus shelters to be wheelchair-accessible. We also reviewed bus stops for accessible pathways and approaches.

As a team, we moved some of the stops or added more to specifically address the needs of those with disabilities.

One example was a complex for residents with disabilities who had to walk across a very busy boulevard and another two blocks to reach a bus stop. The authority added a stop, with shelters and pads, right in front of the complex on both sides of the street.

Another example was a street with a detour due to bridge construction. A wheelchair user couldn’t get to the bus stop without going five extra blocks. When we found out about this, authority managers added a temporary stop close to the wheelchair user’s location until construction was completed.

Perhaps I was just lucky to work with such quality and caring people, but I don’t think my experience is rare. Instead, I believe that most people do care — especially public employees.

Section 10.2 of the 1991 ADA Accessibility Guidelines addresses bus stops, shelters, and stations (10.2.1: New Construction and 10.2.2: Bus Stop Siting and Alterations).


Both the 2003 ADA – ABA (Architectural Barriers Act) and 2010 ADA guidelines include transportation facilities and bus stops in sections 206.2.1 Site Arrival Points and 209 Passenger Loading Zones & Bus Stops. Section 810 covers transportation facilities including bus shelters.

Post Comments (2 Total) Comment on this article

Report this as offensive
May 30, 2012

If your city has an effective bus, trolley or subway system, get a route map and schedule right away if you’re serious about living without a car. Learn the schedule and see how it fits with your work, school and errand schedule. Then consider the savings of buying a monthly commuter or student pass. For less than the cost of filling a car’s gas tank, you can buy unlimited use of public transportation for an entire month.

Posted By: jenniferB | Time: 6:11:56.913 AM

Report this as offensive
May 30, 2012

Living without a car may seem like a pipe dream, but it is attainable. It can save you a great deal of cash and time that used to be claimed by automotive upkeep, repair and waiting for tow trucks. Walking, bicycling and using public transit are all ways to spend less. <a href="">Save money by living without a car</a> is effective. For example, riding a bike is an even cheaper option than public transportation, and it is better for your health and the health of the environment. If your city has an effective bus, trolley or subway system, get a route map and schedule right away if you’re serious about living without a car. it is a great advantage you can enjoy other than saving money.

Posted By: jenniferB | Time: 6:19:34.403 AM



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About the Blogger

Michele Ohmes

thumbnail image Michele S. Ohmes is an Americans with Disabilities Act specialist and wheelchair user who works with public works departments, facility managers, and contractors. Her design manual — ADA and Accessibility: Let's Get Practical — is available on CD-ROM through the American Public Works Association's Web site. Author's note: Michele & Associates does not render legal advice and has no enforcement authority regarding the ADA or other federal disability-rights legislation.