Floating Transit Stops and Passengers with Vision Disabilities

There are two major types of bus stops (hereinafter referred to as transit boarding islands) that separate the classic sidewalk-to-bus loading process: (1) floating bus islands for boarding (i.e., boarding islands separated from the sidewalk by cut-through bicycle lane(s)) and (2) extended sidewalks that connect the existing sidewalk to the transit stop, thus requiring bicyclists to cross the shared waiting area for bus/rail loading. These transit boarding islands enable people riding bicycles to bypass the conflict zone where transit vehicles would otherwise block access to bike lanes as transit vehicles pull curbside to board and alight passengers. While the transit boarding islands reduce conflicts between bicyclists and transit vehicles, they introduce conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians. These conflicts occur because the transit boarding islands usually require pedestrians to cross the bikeway when traveling to or from the platform where the transit stop is located. The majority of people with vision disabilities are pedestrians and transit riders. Making public rights-of-way, including bike facilities, safely accessible to people with vision disabilities is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and supported by special funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for transportation safety programs to reduce crashes and fatalities, with a particular focus on bicyclists and pedestrians. Bicycles affect the safety of pedestrians with vision disabilities in the vicinity of bike facilities because bicycles are largely inaudible, especially in the relatively noisy environments of public rights-of-way. Of particular concern is safe access to transit boarding islands. There are numerous sources for design guidelines for protected bicycle facilities across the United States, including guidelines for transit boarding islands. However, there is limited research on enhancing the safety of vision-disabled pedestrians. Planning and Designing Streets to be Safer and More Accessible for People with Vision Disabilities—A Toolkit for Montgomery County and the Metropolitan Washington Region (2021) contains several suggested treatments to improve safety and wayfinding for pedestrians with vision disabilities. Still, human factors research does not validate their effectiveness, and no treatments are suggested for improving the safety of pedestrians with vision disabilities when crossing bike lanes. Getting to the Curb: A Guide to Building Protected Bike Lanes That Work for Pedestrians (2019), San Francisco Vision Zero Coalition contains information about the challenges for people with disabilities at transit boarding islands with design considerations in the layout options. Its conclusion includes suggestions for practitioners to work closely “with seniors, people with disabilities, and disability organizations to codesign and pilot context-appropriate solutions.” Human factors research is needed to address several issues related to bicycle yielding and detection of drop-offs where there is grade separation between pedestrians and bicycles. The objective of this research is to produce guidelines for transportation planners and engineers to make transit boarding islands safe and accessible for pedestrians with vision disabilities and all other users.   


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $400000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project B-51

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Garcia-Colberg, Mariela

  • Start Date: 20240402
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01867092
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project B-51
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Dec 13 2022 10:45AM