U.S. Access Board: Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee
Subcommittee on Boarding and Alighting Meeting #8
January 29, 2015
1:00 – 3:00 Eastern

1.0 Introductions

2.0 Approval of the Agenda

3.0 Develop rationale and benefits/costs for guidelines that are changing, and consider submitted concerns

4.0 Identify potential research needs.

5.0 Discuss recommendations to the DOT.

6.0 Identify subcommittee members to write the report to the full committee.

Next meeting – February 26-27, 2015 at the Access Board office in Washington, DC

 


Issues associated with requiring bridge plate car ramps to be automatically deployed and connected to the cars

Preliminary DRAFT for discussion purposes only. This is not an official position paper.


Currently most wheel chair ramps used in commuter applications are portable and in the case of LIRR and MNR they are manually deployed when necessary by the train crew. LIRR and MNR store ramps on the equipment near the wheelchair seating areas, as well as on certain station platforms to ensure that the ramps are readily available when needed. This manual effort allows the train crew to ensure the safety of boarding and alighting of passengers with wheelchairs and mobility devices to and from the train, while not interfering with rapid passenger flow on most cars at most stations.

If automated ramps are applied to the car they will reduce the safety of boarding and alighting for passengers with wheelchairs and more so for walking passengers on all cars at all stations. In addition, the complicated deployment system and associated safety interlocks required for their use will increase station dwell times, significantly increase procurement and maintenance costs, and car weight and reduce the overall reliability of the transportation system, while providing minimal benefits for passengers with mobility aide devices such as wheelchairs.

There are safety concerns associated with the use of automatically deploying bridge plates which are exacerbated by the requirement that all accessible doors of all cars use the device at every single station stop, even when there may not be a need for the devices at any stations on a particular train and even when only one station may need to have a bridge plate. Currently, the manually deployed bridge plates are used only on the car that they are needed and only at the stations that they are needed. The safest boarding and alighting for everyone is to have level boarding with minimum gaps, which for most authorities, can be achieved only at certain stations. Some of the safety concerns related to the use of automated car ramps are as follows:

1.The deployment of the bridge plate will pose a safety hazard to passengers on the car as well as passengers on the platform. In order for the ramp to fold out onto the platform it will likely be stored inside the car and likely inside the vestibule in a locker and deploy to the outside of the train onto the platform when the doors open.

A. Passengers in area for deployment on the car will need to be kept clear so that no one is injured during the deployment. Currently many rush hour trains are filled to capacity and people are standing in the vestibule. Keeping the vestibule clear of people is nearly impossible as passengers need to traverse the area during boarding and alighting. Additional audible and visual alarms will be necessary to warn passengers to move from the vestibule areas. However when the cars are filled to capacity, which is likely during peak periods , it will be impossible for them to clear out of vestibule areas, and thus it will not be possible to safely open the doors and deploy the bridge plates. Therefore under these conditions opening the door will create a safety concern at every accessible door with crowded vestibules on the train. Even when the train is not overly crowed, passengers generally congregate at the vestibules before their stop, so that they are ready to alight when the train comes to a stop.

If a fold out bridge plate is used, the doors will need to open before the bridge plate can fold out onto the platform. If will be difficult to prevent walking passengers from walking through the door if it is open, consequently it will be difficult to tie the bridge plate actuation to the door operation.

B. Passengers on the platform waiting for a train must clear the area when a train arrives so that they do not get hit by the deploying bridge plates. Keeping the platform area clear of passengers will be very difficult. Typically passengers stand near the door openings when the train arrives so that they can get on and get a seat. Often the passengers are so close to the door that they obstruct passengers getting off the train. In addition, identifying the areas of bridge plate deployment on the platforms will be difficult because the car doors do not always align with the same exact location on the platform. This misalignment can be due to differences in door spacing on different equipment and/or accuracy of train berthing at platforms. The deploying bridge plates will take up significant space on the platform depending on the length of the bridge plate which can be 12 inches to 18 inches for vertical gap between 3 inches and 6 inches and significantly longer for larger vertical gaps, and larger horizontal gaps. The bridge plate for all accessible doors on all cars will need to be designed to accommodate the largest vertical gap present on the system as well as the largest horizontal gap on the system, which could be quite large due to platforms on curves. Additionally for locations where the car threshold is lower than the platform an additional limited rotation hinge would need to be added to the bridge plate to allow it to conform to the height difference. A straight rigid plate would not work in these instances.

C. Since only newer cars would be equipped with the new devices not all trains will need to clear the vestibules and platform areas at station stop as outlined above. This would require that the customers know the difference between new cars and older cars so they are prepared for the device to deploy. There will be a learning curve for regular commuters, but it will always be difficult to teach transient customers.

A manually deployed bridge plate operation allows the train crew to clear the area on the platform and in the car vestibule before deployment of the bridge plate. Since the bridge plate operation is not tied to the doors, train crew personnel can open the doors and then wait for crowds to disperse before deploying the bridge plate. This deployment process mitigates the hazards to passengers with and without mobility devices associated with automatic deployment outlined above.

2.Once folded out the bridge plate will be a tripping hazard to persons on the station platform walking on to or off the train. The bridge plate will extend into the platform area 12 inches to 16 inches or more. This will require that every walking passenger at every single door opening at every single station will need to use the entire ramp. On crowded platforms it may be difficult to see the ramp. For persons with visual impairments it may also be difficult to sense the ramp. People exiting the train may attempt to walk off the sides of the ramp instead of proceeding down the entire length, which will create a tripping hazard. Similarly people entering the train may attempt to step onto the side of the ramp near the door, instead of walking the entire ramp, which will create a tripping hazard.

3.Once folded out the bridge plate will be a tripping hazard to persons on the train attempting to board or alight. The platform will need to fold out and sit on top of the finished floor, which will create a tripping hazard as people generally expect a flat floor without steps once they walk onto a train and are typically not looking down as they walk.

4.In order to ensure that the plates are only deployed when stopped at a station and the doors are open, safety interlocks will need to be provided between the bridge plates and the side door and/or car propulsion system. The interlocks will prevent the car from moving when the plates are extended and prevent the plates from extending when the car is moving or the doors are purposely kept closed. Should any of the interlocks fail an unsafe condition would exist, therefore the sensors would need to be redundant to reduce the likelihood of a false indication. Consequently the high number of sensors increases the likelihood that a train will be prevented from moving due to a failed sensor or failed actuating device. To address these concerns by pass devices would need to be provided to allow train movement in case of an emergency due to sensor and or device failure.

5.Inclement weather conditions will create additional safety concerns. Built up snow and ice on the platform, vestibule and bridge plate will inhibit deployment and retraction of bridge plate. This may result in the bridge plate being prevented from fully deploying or retracting or properly interfacing with the platform which will cause unsafe conditions for the passengers attempting to board and or exit the train. This will also result in train delays since operation will be tied to train movement.

In addition to the safety concerns outlined above there are additional concerns with the automatically deploying bridge plates which include complexity of the device, storage space, increased station dwell times, infrastructure restrictions, significantly increased procurement and maintenance costs, car weight and reduced overall reliability of the transportation system. These concerns are explained in more detail below:

1.In order to meet the slope, stowage and range of vertical and horizontal gaps required by the regulation and automatically deploy and retract safely the design of the device may be more complicated than it may appear. If stored on the vestibule wall, the device would need at least two hydraulic or electrical motion devices or a single motion device and a mechanical actuating device, so that it can fold onto the vestibule floor then fold onto the platform. If space is a constraint, additional levels of folding may be required to fit in the available space. In order to allow for deployment or retraction due to device failure, mechanical back systems would need to be provided to deploy and retract the device, further complicating the system design. Due to concerns of snow and ice build-up under freezing conditions, heating provisions or other methods will be necessary to clear the bridge plate, and platform and bridge plate of built up snow and ice.

2.In order to meet the slope, stowage and range of vertical and horizontal gaps required by the regulation and automatically deploy and retract, the size of the device will be quite large. The size will vary depending upon the infrastructure present at each operating authority. Since the bridge plate for all accessible doors on all cars will need to be designed to accommodate the largest vertical gap present on the system as well as the largest horizontal gap on the system, it may be much larger than necessary at most stations. The length of the bridge plate will need to be at least 20 inches long to provide some overlap on the car floor and meet the slope requirements for typical 3 inch to 6 inch vertical gap. Secondly the device will need to span the entire door width so as not to create a tripping hazard and provide the necessary passenger flow rates required. Many authorities including LIRR and MNR typically have 50 inch wide door openings. In order to accommodate both positive and negative vertical gaps, the ramp will either need to have a curved arch or have a flexible hinge, both of which will take up additional space for storage of the ramp alone. Add to that operating mechanism and the size of the storage space for the ramp will be on the order of 50 inches by 20 inches by about 8 inches of depth. For a typical commuter rail car with 4 doors this would be equivalent to a box of 50 inches by 20 inches by 32 inches, which is significant for a commuter car where every inch of space counts. When considering that some subway cars have more then 4 openings per car, the amount of space occupied by the devices is even greater.

3.Deployment and retraction of the devices will increase dwell time at each and every station stop. It is estimated to take approximately 20 seconds or more to safely deploy the bridge plate and another 20 seconds or more to retract the bridge plate. In addition there will need to be an additional waiting period of at least 20 seconds to allow for the vestibules to clear, before the bridge plate can be deployed. Considering there is only 3-5 minutes to load and unload a train during rush-hour conditions, the additional time required on top of the current time required for opening and closing doors will require that additional time be spent at the station reducing the capacity of the transportation system to more people, which will lead to more crowded trains.

4.Deployment of the device may not be possible at all station locations due to existing infrastructure. The existing infrastructure at stations including columns and other obstructions would prevent the deployment of the devices. Considering the size of the devices is approximately 15 inches long and 50 inches wide, there simply is not always enough space at every door opening to accommodate the fold out bridge plates.

5.Due to the complexity of the system as outlined above the cost of purchase and maintenance of the devices would be significant. Maintenance costs would include the added expenses associated with maintaining a significant new pool of spare parts from a single source of supply and addressing obsolescence issues associated with complicated controls systems available only from the OEM.

6.Additional weight associated with the implementation of bridge plates is not insignificant. Heavier cars use more energy to move. Federal carbody safety regulations require significant structure which adds weight to rail cars. Many operating agencies are at the limits for weight for their vehicles. Consequently the authorities and the car builders are always looking for ways to reduce the weight of the rail cars. A rough order of magnitude estimate of the weigh associated with one device is 200 pounds. Considering that there are typically 4 doors on each car, the increase in weight per car would be 800 pounds.

7.Due to the complexity of the system as outlined above and the required interlocks associated with safe operation, the overall reliability of the rail car will decrease. As outlined above, the bridge plate system will require several new components, which if failed would prevent the car from continuing in service carrying passengers. Every new component added to a rail car that can fail, and prevent the rail car from continuing in service reduces the reliability of the car and the transportation system.

Near level boarding is generally considered the best boarding and alighting condition for everyone, and most authorities expend money and resources to reduce the gap to the extent practical but cannot achieve compliant small gaps at all stations. Considering the difficulty associated with bridge plates, would it be better to have more stations with small gaps, especially high transfer stations, and use bridge plates only when necessary than to require everyone use a bridge plate at every station, even those with very small gaps? By requiring bridge plates be used at all stations by requiring automatic deployment, you are providing an incentive to increase the gaps at the stations with small gaps since bridge plates will be required at these stations due to possibly a few problem stations on the infrastructure. The one size fits all approach, dictated by an interpretation of the proposed requirement is not in the best interest of all

 

 


January 2015 

Boarding and Alighting Subcommittee

PROPOSAL

Full length level boarding should be the highest priority and most preferred method of boarding on all rail modes, whether light rail, rapid rail, intercity rail, and/or commuter rail.

When full length level boarding is not required or possible, boarding should be, as often as possible, by ramp or bridge-plate as the primary 100% reliable and quick means for boarding. Mechanical lifts should be a back-up alternative when necessary. Where mechanical lifts are needed, they should be car-borne, not station-based.

NOTES: The colored red text below which is underlined indicates sections that include new material that differs from the current Access Board Guidelines.
Text in brackets [shown in yellow] indicates references to specifications for elements that need to be filled in. Access Board staff assistance is requested to calculate accurate metric specifications that correspond to inches/pounds.

Bulleted Text in Italics and all capitols is the Rationale.

Scoping

  • General.
    • Rapid rail (e.g., subway) and High-speed rail cars purchased after the effective date of these requirements (to be determined by DOT) shall be designed for full-length platform level boarding [using the same definition of level-entry boarding as in the DOT ADA regulation issued in 2011] and meet the provisions of this section. In stations constructed on or after January 26, 1992, all car doors through which passengers board and alight shall meet the gap requirements set forth below. In stations constructed prior to January 26, 1992, at least one door serving each on board seating area for wheelchairs and mobility aids shall meet these requirements.
    • RATIONALE: THIS WAS ESSENTIALLY REQUIRED UNDER THE CURRENT REGULATIONS BUT IS BEING RESTATED TO SHOW THE SOMEWHAT DIFFERING REQUIREMENTS FOR DIFFERENT MODES. RAPID RAIL AND HIGH SPEED RAIL HAVE THE MOST STRINGENT REQUIREMENTS FOR BOARDING ALL CARS FOR THE FULL LENGTH OF THE PLATFORM WITH MINIMAL HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL GAPS. 
    • All doors on light rail cars and commuter rail cars operating exclusively at level boarding station platforms shall comply with the gap requirements. At least one door through which passengers board and alight on each side serving each on-board seating area for wheelchairs and mobility aids of intercity rail cars, and commuter rail cars operating at mixed high and low platforms, shall meet these requirements. 
    • RATIONALE: THIS REQUIRES ALL NEW LIGHT RAIL CARS AND COMMUTER CARS TO BE DESIGNED TO MEET GAP REQUIREMENTS AND HAVE AT LEAST ON ACCESSIBLE DOOR WHICH PROVIDES ACCESS TO THE ON-BOARD SEATING AREA FOR WHEELCHAIR AND MOBILITY AID USERS. THE REQUIREMENT RECOGNIZES THAT PLATFORMS ON MANY EXISTING LIGHT RAIL AND COMMUTER RAIL LINES WILL HAVE A MIX OF HIGH AND LOW PLATFORMS AND MINI-HIGHS 
    • All doors on AGT (people mover) cars operating at speeds of 20 mph or slower shall meet the requirements for “people movers” set forth below.
  • Boarding and Alighting. All new rail and fixed guideway vehicles shall be compatible with level boarding. All steps shall incorporate a trap to cover the steps and bring the car floor level to the doorway. Doorways shall have a minimum vertical clearance of 74 inches from the closed trap to the lintel.
  • Gaps. Wherever either or both of the conditions in (i) and (ii) are met, a car-borne ramp or bridgeplate or a car-borne lift shall be employed:
    • (i) the horizontal gap between the boarding platform and the vehicle floor exceeds 2 inches
    • (ii) the vertical difference between the boarding platform height and the vehicle floor exceeds plus or minus 5/8 inches.
    • RATIONALE: THIS RECOGNIZES THE REALITY THAT THE GAPS IN THE ORIGINAL ACCESSIBILITY REGULATIONS WERE DIFFICULT TO ACHIEVE IN INTERCITY, COMMUTER RAIL AND SOME LIGHT RAIL SYSTEMS AND REQUIRES INTERCITY, COMMUTER AND LIGHT RAIL CARS TO PROVIDE A CAR BORNE RAMP OR BRIDGEPLATE TO MITIGATE THE GAP.
  • People Movers. The horizontal gap between platform and car floor shall not exceed 1 inch (25 mm). The vertical difference between platform and car floor shall not exceed plus or minus 5/8 inch.
    • RATIONALE: BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF PEOPLE MOVERS WHICH OPERATE ON EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS OF WAYS AND TRAVEL AT LOWER SPEEDS, THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED TO MEET THESE TOLERANCES
  • Operation. Where car doors open automatically at platforms designed for level boarding, ramps and bridgeplates shall deploy automatically. Deployment shall be integrated with door opening and closing. Manually deployed ramps and bridgeplates shall be permitted where doors are opened by train personnel and where the horizontal gap exceeds 12 inches (300 mm).
  • Advisory Operation, The Committee recognizes that any gap between a rail vehicle and a platform can be a safety hazard for all travelers. The Committee recommends that the Board require all entries on new vehicles to have automated bridgeplates or ramps where gaps exist at platforms by the year 2020.

RATIONALE: BASED ON EXAMPLES OF AUTOMATED RAMPS OR BRIDGEPLATES BEING USED IN SOME EUROPEAN RAIL SYSTEMS, THE MAJORITY OF THE COMMITTEE FELT THAT AUTOMATED RAMPS OR BRIDGEPLATES FOR NEW RAIL CARS BEGINNING IN THE THIRD DECADE OF THE 21ST CENTURY WAS NOT BEYOND REACH. THE MAJORITY OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS FELT THAT BASED ON VIDEOS THEY HAD SEEM OF AUTOMATED RAMPS OR BRIDGEPLATES ON EUROPEAN EQUIPMENT, PROVISION OF AUTOMATED RAMPS OR BRIDGEPLATE WOULD INCREASE SAFETY FOR ALL PASSENGERS (BY MITIGATING THE VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL GAPS) AND WOULD SPEED BOARDING AND ALIGHTING AND THEREFORE REDUCE DWELL TIME.
You Tube Videos of automated gap fillers from some European Trains. Gap fillers in use are visible at beginning of each of these videos:
Liepzig - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSwPYrkzUyc#t=4m51s
Stuttgart - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv_Dp6i8ev0
Vienna - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yjbnkraBCQ#t=0m30s

 

OBJECTION/CONCERN REGARDING AUTOMATED RAMPS OR BRIDGEPLATES

RATIONALE: AT LEAST ONE LARGE TRANSIT AUTHORITY THAT OPERATES BOTH COMMUTER RAIL AND RAPID RAIL RAISED STRONG CONCERNS THAT AUTOMATED RAMPS OR BRIDGEPLATED WOULD POSE SAFETY HAZARDS TO BOTH PASSENGERS ON THE PLATFORMS AND PASSENGERS ON THE RAIL CARS. THE CONCERNS INVOLVED KEEPING PASSENGERS ON THE PLATFORMS AWAY FROM THE DEPLOYING RAMP OR BRIDGEPLATES. THE AGENCY ALSO RAISED TECHNICAL CONCERNS THAT AN AUTOMATED RAMP OR BRIDGEPLATE WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO DESIGN TO MEET THE LARGEST VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL GAPS IN THE SYSTEM. THE AGENCY RAISED CONCERNS THAT ELEMENTS OF AN AUTOMATED RAMP OR BRIDGEPLATE WITHIN THE CAR COULD PRESENT A TRIPPING HAZARD IN THE CAR. THE AGENCY ALSO RAISED TECHNICAL CONCERNS ABOUT THE COMPLEXITY, COST, WEIGHT, RELIABILITY (PARTICULARLY IN ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS), AND SAFETY INTERLOCKINGS OF WHAT IT ENVISIONED TO BE A COMPLICATED MECHANISM PROVIDED TO EVERY DOOR OF A COMMUTER RAIL OR RAPID RAIL CAR,

Ramps and Bridgeplates

  • General. Ramps and bridgeplates shall comply with this section. Ramps and bridgeplates shall be permitted to fold or telescope if all the technical requirements are met.
  • Design Load. The design load of ramps and bridgeplates 30 inches (760 mm) or more in length shall be 800 pounds (364 kg) minimum. The design load of ramps and bridgeplates less than 30 inches (760 mm) in length shall be 400 pounds (182 kg) minimum. Ramps and bridgeplates shall have a design safety factor of at least 3, based on the ultimate strength of the material.
    • Advisory Design Load. The design load is the weight the ramp or bridgeplate is designed to support without damage or permanent deformation. Some deflection may occur under maximum load. 

RATIONALE: THE INCREASE IN DESIGN LOAD REFLECTS THE RESEARCH THAT THE COMBINED WEIGHT OF POWER WHEELCHAIRS AND USERS IS INCREASING AND THE INDUSTRY IS PROVIDING HIGHER CAPACITY LIFTS AND HIGHER CAPACITY LIFTS WILL LIKELY BE PROVIDED IN THE NEW ACCESS BOARD’S NON-RAIL VEHICLE ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES

  • Handrails. Handrails complying with [fill in latest version of specifications for Handrails, Stanchions, and Handholds] shall be provided on ramps and bridgeplates where the horizontal gap between platform and car floor exceeds 12 inches (300 mm).

RATIONALE: THIS RECOGNIZED THAT IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES LONGER RAMPS AND BRIDGEPLATES ARE NECESSARY AND THUS HANDRAILS ARE NEEDED IN THESE SITUATIONS. (i.e. Amtrak set-back platforms in Maine have a considerable horizontal gap to provide clearance for freight trains using the same track)

  • Clear Width. The ramp and bridgeplate clear width shall be 32 inches (800 mm) minimum.
    • Advisory Clear Width. A wider ramp or bridgeplate is recommended because it is more usable by passengers who use wheelchairs, and accommodates a broader range of passengers with disabilities. The ramp or bridgeplate can be nearly as wide as the door.
  • Attachment. When used for boarding and alighting, ramps and bridgeplates shall be firmly attached to the vehicle, shall not be subject to displacement from the vehicle, and shall overlap the platform. Ramps and bridgeplates shall engage to the vehicle in such a manner that they may not be dislodged by horizontal or vertical movement until actively disengaged by a member of the crew.

RATIONALE: THIS WAS ADDED BASED ON SOME EXPERIENCE OF WHEELED MOBILITY DEVICE USERS WHO REPORTED SITUATIONS WHEN RAMPS AND BRIDGEPLATES WERE NOT SECURELY CONNECTED TO THE RAIL CAR.

  • Manual Operation. Power operated ramps and bridgeplates shall be capable of being operated manually and in a manner that is safe for the occupant and operator if the power fails.
  • Surfaces. Ramp and bridgeplate surfaces shall comply with [fill in latest version of specifications for Surfaces], and shall be uninterrupted from edge to edge.
    • Advisory Surfaces. Ramp and bridgeplate surfaces must be uninterrupted from edge to edge to accommodate three-wheel scooters. Expanded metal or perforated materials are permitted, as long as the openings comply with [fill in latest version of specifications for Openings].
  • Edge Barriers. The edges of ramps and bridgeplates shall have barriers 2 inches (51 mm) high minimum extending from the vehicle doorway to 6 inches from the outer end, and shall taper down smoothly.
  • Slope. Ramps and bridgeplates shall have slopes not steeper than 1:8 (12.5 percent) when deployed to station platforms, measured at 50 percent passenger load.
    • Advisory Slope. The Department of Transportation regulations at 49 CFR 37.165(f) require vehicle operators to assist passengers with disabilities with the use of boarding devices, even if the vehicle operators must leave their seats. Providing ramps and bridgeplates with the least possible slope accommodates a broader range of passengers with disabilities and minimizes the need for assistance.
  • Transitions. Surface discontinuities at transitions from boarding and alighting areas to ramps and bridgeplates shall comply with [fill in latest version of specifications for Surface Discontinuities].
  • Visual Contrast. The perimeter of the ramp and bridgeplate surface shall be outlined. The outline shall be 1 inch (25 mm) wide minimum and shall contrast visually with the rest of the ramp and bridgeplate surface either light-on-dark or dark-on-light.
  • Gaps. When deployed for boarding and alighting, gaps between the ramp or bridgeplate surface and vehicle floor, and the ramp or bridgeplate surface and the station platform, shall not permit passage of a sphere more than 5/8 inch (16 mm) in diameter.
  • Stowage. Where portable ramps or bridgeplates are permitted, a compartment, securement system, or other method shall be provided within the vehicle to stow the ramps and bridgeplates when not in use. When stowed in passenger areas, portable ramps and bridgeplates shall not pose a hazard to passengers, and shall not interfere with the maneuvering of wheelchairs.

Lifts

General.

  • Design Load. The lift design load shall be 800 pounds (364 kg) minimum. Load carrying components that are subject to wear shall have a design safety factor of at least six, based on the ultimate strength of the material. Other components that are not subject to wear shall have a design safety factor of at least three, based on the ultimate strength of the material.

RATIONALE: SAME AS ABOVE FOR RAMPS, CONSISTENCY WITH PROPOSED REGULATIONS FOR NON-RAIL VEHICLES.

Controls.

  • Interlocks. Lift controls shall be interlocked with the vehicle brakes, transmission, propulsion system, or door, or shall provide other systems to prevent the vehicle from moving when the lift is not stowed. Lift controls shall not be operable unless the interlocks are engaged.
  • Sequence. Lift controls shall be of a momentary contact type requiring continuous manual pressure. Lift controls shall permit the operator to change the operation sequence. Lift controls shall not permit the lift platform to be folded, retracted, or stowed when occupied, unless the platform is designed to be occupied when stowed in the passenger area of the vehicle.
    • Advisory Sequence. A rotary lift is an example of a lift platform that is designed to be occupied when the platform is rotated into a stowed position in the passenger area of the vehicle.
  • Manual Operation. Lifts shall be capable of being operated manually if the power to the lift fails. The manual operation shall be safe for the occupant and operator when operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When operated manually, the lift platform shall deploy and lower to the boarding and alighting area or the roadway with an occupant; shall rise to the vehicle floor without an occupant; and shall stow. The lift platform shall not fold, retract, or stow when occupied, unless the platform is designed to be occupied when stowed in the passenger area of the vehicle. Doors that must be opened to allow the lift to operate shall have interior and exterior manual releases.

Lift Platforms.

  • Surfaces. Lift platform surfaces shall comply with general provisions for accessible routes [fill in latest version of specifications for Surfaces].
  • Size. The lift platform clear width shall be 32 inches (800 mm) minimum measured from the platform surface to 40 inches (1015 mm) minimum above the platform surface. The lift platform clear length shall be 54 inches (1372 mm) minimum measured from the platform surface to 40 inches (1015 mm) above the platform surface.

RATIONALE: SAME AS ABOVE FOR RAMPS, CONSISTENCY WITH PROPOSED REGULATIONS FOR NON-RAIL VEHICLES.

  • Edge Barriers. Lift platforms shall have edge barriers complying with [fill in latest version of specifications for Lift Edge Barriers] to prevent the wheels of wheelchairs from rolling off the platforms. Openings between lift platform surfaces and raised barriers shall not permit passage of a sphere 5/8 inch (16 mm) in diameter. Edge barriers shall not interfere with the maneuvering of wheelchairs.
  • Gaps. When the lift platform is at the vehicle floor level and any edge barrier is lowered, the gap between the platform surface and the vehicle floor shall not permit passage of a sphere 5/8 inch (16 mm) in diameter.
  • Threshold Ramps. Threshold ramps from boarding and alighting areas to lift platforms and edge barriers used as threshold ramps shall have slopes not steeper than 1:8 (12.5 percent) for a rise of 3 inches (75 mm) maximum. The slope shall be measured when the lift platform is level. Surface discontinuities at transitions from boarding and alighting areas to threshold ramps shall comply with [fill in latest version of specifications for Surface Discontinuities].
  • Visual Contrast. The perimeter of the lift platform surface shall be outlined. The outline shall be 1 inch (25 mm) wide minimum and shall contrast visually with the rest of the platform surface either light-on-dark or dark-on-light.
  • Deflection. When occupied, lift platforms shall be permitted to deflect 3 degrees maximum in any direction with respect to the platform’s unloaded position, exclusive of vehicle roll or pitch.
  • Movement. Lift platform movement shall comply with the following:
    • Normal Operating Conditions. When occupied, lift platforms shall move at a rate of 6 inches/second (150 mm/second) maximum, and the horizontal and vertical acceleration shall be 0.3g maximum under normal operating conditions. When folding, retracting, or stowing, lift platforms shall move at a rate of 12 inches/second (306 mm/second) maximum under normal operating conditions, unless the platform is folded and stowed manually.
    • Power or Equipment Failure. In the event of a power failure or single failure of any load carrying component, lift platforms that are occupied or are stowed in a vertical position shall move at rate of 12 inches/second (306 mm/second) maximum.
  • Boarding Direction. Lift platforms shall permit passengers who use wheelchairs to board the platforms facing either toward or away from the vehicle.
  • Standees. Lift platforms shall be usable by passengers who use walkers, crutches, canes, or braces or who otherwise have difficulty using steps. Lift platforms shall be permitted to be marked to indicate a preferred standing position.
  • Handrails. Lifts platforms shall have handrails complying with general provisions for handrails [refer to latest version of specifications for Handrails, Stanchions, and Handholds] on two sides of the platform that move in tandem with the platform to provide support for passengers in a standing position. Handrails shall have a usable gripping surface 8 inches (205 mm) long minimum. The gripping surface shall be 30 inches (760 mm) minimum and 38 inches (965 mm) maximum above the lift platform surface. Handrails shall not interfere with the maneuvering of wheelchairs.