Tag Archives: Public transportation flaws

Bus Stop Announcement System

Buses that run through a city can benefit everyone.  Not only is the bus system beneficial for those who don’t have car, but also for those who are new to the city, for those who don’t want to deal with parking at a large event, and for those with a disability.  However, all of these people may not know exactly where their stop is.  Someone who is new to the city, or just visiting, won’t always know what the landmarks around their stop are or even what the street names are.  Someone who parked a distance from the event they’re going to may not know exactly where the stop is, and someone with a disability may not need a  trigger to help them orient where they are.

There is a way that all passengers can tell when their stop is coming up soon.  Some buses and train systems announce every stop when approaching and then once they are at the stop.  According to ADA, there are requirements for bus stop announcements.  The ADA says, “on fixed route systems, the entity [bus system] shall announce stops as follows: The entity shall announce at least transfer points with other fixed routes, other major intersections and destination points, and intervals along a route sufficient to permit individuals with visual disabilities to be oriented to their location. Also, the entity shall announce any stop on request of an individual with a disability.”While this is only required if a person with a disability is on the bus, it would help others as well.  Not every person‘s disability is noticeable so there is no way that a bus driver would be able to tell which person on the bus has a disability and which person doesn’t.

While bus drivers want to help their passengers know where they are going, there are a lot of reasons why announcing the stops are troublesome for bus drivers. They could say that it gets too hectic and that they need to focus on the road, they could say that they aren’t trained to do it, or they could say people can already tell where their stop is.  They can also say that the passengers won’t be able to hear what they are saying when the bus is crowded or when they are in a busy section of town.

To help passengers, and allow bus drivers to focus on driving, there are companies that make automated systems.  Clever Devices, a company based out of New York, has a bus stop announcement system that can be installed in buses.  The “Automatic Voice Annunciation (AVA) system automates on-board passenger announcements, which not only keeps your passengers up to date automatically, but also helps create more accessible buses for visually impaired and hearing challenged riders. [There are] automated voice announcements alerting passengers to upcoming stops are [and these announcements are] coordinated with LED signage on board the bus to help all riders travel with more convenience and independence. The system is fully automated so that bus operators are free to concentrate on driving and other tasks requiring their attention.” This system complies with ADA requirements, has volume control, and allows riders to request a stop.  Even if there is someone on the bus that does not have a disability, this system can help them so that they know exactly where they are and when they need to get off.  It is extremely helpful for someone with a disability because it gives them the chance to read and hear where they are and where they will be going next.

Clear Device AVA Key features

  • ADA compliant
  • Automatic voice announcements
  • Automatic stop announcements
  • On-board passenger information
  • Automatic volume control
  • Works with GPS
  • AVA Increases Ridership and Customer Satisfaction

Picture of where the Clever Device system is set up in the bus

This type of system is already integrated into buses and trains in Canada and buses in London.  It is also integrated into the bus system in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Denver, Colorado and the subway system throughout New York.

This system, or any system like this, can make riders’ trip, no matter what their reason for being on the bus, easier.  With the announcement system, the LED sign, and the option to request a stop, every rider has the opportunity to get where they need to be when they need to be there without worrying.

The city of Reno just released electric buses.  While they were developing these buses they could have installed this system to make the ride that much better.  The current buses should install this system in the current buses.  It would make the ride easier for the passengers and less stressful for the driver.

Resources:

Clever Devices website

ADA Requirements

 

 

Rider Demographics and Transportation Difficulties

It is hard to imagine a life where you can’t simply leave whenever you want or go wherever you please, but many people face that challenge every day.  The amount of days people with disabilities leave their home a week is significantly lower than the amount of days the non disabled leave home.

**Please click on graphs to enlarge them**

Graph of the number of days left home during the week by those with disabilities and those without disabilitiesAlong with staying home more than those without disabilities, people with disabilities have a more difficult time getting the transportation they need when they need it.

A graph showing the type of transportation used by those with disabilities and those without disabilities per week. A graph describing the percentage of people with and without disabilities who have difficulties getting transportation each week.

There are hundreds of thousands of Paratransit users in the United States, but the system is still flawed.  The estimated wait time can be longer than they say, and customer send complaints to RTC regarding drivers and their experiences while using Paratransit.

A graph describing Paratransit timer performance. The amount of people registered for paratransit A graph describing the amount of customer complaints received by RTC Access

 

 

 

 

A program as large as RTC Access and Paratransit should be more user friendly, reliable, and enjoyable.  Because of the procedures adopted by RTC, I believe newer companies will be the next generation of transportation for those with disabilities.

I hope these simple statistics help illustrate how inefficient (and unfair) our current transportation system is for those with disabilities.

 

** all information is from:

Paratransit Peer Report – January 2011

RTC Access Paratransit Operating Statistics

Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Freedom to Travel