Vehicle and Station Design
Below is a summary of the accessibility issues and suggestions for improvement raised by customers at the 2016 Public Forum regarding Vehicle and Station Design. These suggestions were submitted during the meeting, on comment forms, and in comments to TTC Customer Service. Customer comments are accompanied by a summary of the current status of each issue.
Conventional bus design
“It is difficult to board a bus using a mobility scooter. I strongly urge the creation of a "practice zone". This would be a stress-less environment where those in scooters can practice boarding and de-boarding vehicles safely.”
The space allocation for wheelchairs and scooters in the design of TTC buses is a result of Provincial and Federal legislation related to accessibility. All TTC buses are compliant with this legislation. It should be noted that these regulations are based on wheelchair dimensions and maneuverability, not scooters that vary in dimensions, shape and turn radius. Mobility device securement hardware is designed and positioned in our buses to maximize the use of available space for onboard parking. TTC does showcase its newest accessible bus each year at the annual People in Motion show, where customers can practice boarding and de-boarding. We are also looking into new travel training options as part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy.
Conventional stop design
“At many bus stops, the magazine and newspaper boxes block the access for the bus ramp.”
“Can islands be constructed at key intersections along the streetcar network? This way, people can know which locations are accessible and can be travelled to and used.”
Magazine and newspaper boxes blocking bus stops is best handled by Public Realm of the City of Toronto. In practice, we commonly ask for the City to install railings specifically designed for these newspaper boxes and situated away from areas on the sidewalk/platform that would block bus door access. At locations where these newspaper boxes are blocking the ramp, please inform TTC customer service and 311 to address this issue.
TTC will review whether islands can be constructed at additional locations as opportunities arise through street redesign projects (e.g. Roncesvalles Avenue). However, due to narrow streets, it is unlikely that many new islands can be created. However, please note that all on-street streetcar stops will be made accessible through the implementation of curb ramps at these stops, even if there is no island.
“Streetcar ramp is too steep.”
“I had the chance to use Spadina streetcar. The driver had to get out and use the key to access the ramp. This was necessary, the driver said.”
“I'm blind and I also use a wheelchair. What's in place for somebody who can't see to know where the accessible door is, so that they can get to the ramp? And what's in place to help somebody who can't see and who also uses a wheelchair to be able to get to that door and get the ramp down themselves?”
The slope of the ramp on the new low-floor streetcars is the best possible under the circumstances and is within accessibility standards for ramps on transit vehicles. Operator assistance up and down the ramp is available for manual wheelchair users. The ramp is a two-stage design, meaning it can deploy both to platforms and down to street level. At some stops, including all street level stops, the Operator will need to exit the vehicle to deploy the ramp to ensure safety for customers.
The streetcar Operator is responsible for ensuring that all customers boarding or alighting have safely done so. The low-floor streetcar is equipped with several cameras on the outside of the vehicle which the Operator can use to identify any customers intending to use the ramp or board the vehicle, even if the ramp or door buttons have not been pressed.
Subway train design
“Designated handicapped seats are not as easily identifiable on Line 2 cars compared to the Line 1 cars where the signs are on the exterior of the trains.”
All subway trains have an Access symbol located on the exterior of the train at the door where the accessible seating area is located. Inside the train, the accessible seating area is shown by Priority Seating decals and blue seats.
Subway station elevator design/maintenance
“There is poor lighting at exterior elevator locations.”
An assessment will be performed of the lighting levels at all street level exterior elevator locations. Remedial action to upgrade the lighting will be performed at any locations where it is deemed insufficient.
Subway station design
“The bumpy area before people get on to the subway should be blue or a different colour where the door is going to be opening to.”
“In subway stations, I don't always know where the wheelchair door on the train will be, because there is no marking on the platform itself.”
“Has any thought been made for those persons with canes, walkers, hip, back injuries that would like to use the integrated services but the walk is troublesome. Realize moving sidewalks are in airports are expensive, but useful?”
“Designated Waiting Area (DWA) – there should be a light to push to indicate to the driver that someone with a disability needs additional time to get on.”
The yellow color and textured surface of the platform edge warning tiles were designed in consultation with the CNIB and carefully chosen to warn visually impaired customers of the presence of the platform edge. The use of any other colour could potentially be a safety hazard.
The accuracy of stopping trains on the platform currently prohibits adding any kind of marker on the floor, however once Automatic Train Control is implemented, the stopping accuracy will be much improved and we will be in a position to consider implementing ways to improve wayfinding to subway doors, to ease platform congestion and improve boarding and alighting.
Installing moving sidewalks would not be feasible in the vast majority of TTC stations, due to a number of structural and other technical issues. In the few locations where feasible, they would be very expensive and often cover only short distances, which would limit their benefits. Moving sidewalks in airports are installed to cover long walking distances. No plans are currently in place to install moving sidewalks in any of our subway stations. Note that a moving sidewalk used to service the long corridor in Spadina Station (between Line 1 and Line 2), but had to be removed due to serviceability and maintainability issues.
It is the responsibility of the subway operator/guard to observe the platform and ensure that sufficient time is given for customers to board the train. Having the train crew provide assistance to customers to board would cause significant impacts to train service. However, with the on-going implementation of PRESTO and the upcoming transition of Collectors to customer service agents, in the future a customer would be able to communicate from the DWA to an agent to ask for assistance.
Boarding subway trains
“Regarding the gap issues, what you did at one end in Eglinton station should be done at both ends in all stations.”
In 2015, TTC staff working with ACAT members to designed, tested, and implemented an improved platform edge at Eglinton Station in the vicinity of the elevator to reduce the “vertical gap” space at this station and improve safety for all customers. Staff are now reviewing to see which other stations can benefit from similar improvements to reduce vertical gap heights. Staff are also reviewing means to ease boarding for customers using mobility devices across the “horizontal gap”, or the space between trains and platforms; however, this is challenging given that a minimum of 3 inches of clear space must remain between trains and subway platforms to accommodate the side-to-side sway of trains as they pass through stations. Not all subway stations have gap issues, and for those stations that have issues, they can be either horizontal or vertical or both and cannot be treated the same way. The TTC is currently looking into gap issues with a view of prioritizing the most problematic locations and is investigating various material/options on how to deal with this matter.
Wheel-Trans vehicle design
“Put WT signs in back windows of vehicles to inform cyclists about people getting in/out of vehicles.”
“When you are on a Wheel-Trans bus, I think it might cut down on frustration to have a display that tells you who is getting off next, which is the route, and that might solve a lot of questions as, why is he passing my street? When is the next stop? When am I getting off? Why are they getting off first?”
Thank you for your comments. We are redesigning the Wheel-Trans vehicle appearance and working with the City to find a holistic solution to co-exist with bicycle lanes.
We appreciate your suggestions and this will be reviewed with future processes and vehicle designs.
TTC Handbook for Accessible Travel
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Support Person Assistance Card
Learn about the support person assistance card.
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