The Ranty Highwayman)
SUNDAY, 14 JANUARY 2018
Kerb Your Enthusiasm: Bus Stop Accessibility
I’m currently doing a lot of thinking about kerbs. This partly because I am obsessed with them (they are bread and butter for highway engineers) and partly because I am starting to write a guide on their use.
The guide will be published through City Infinity in the coming few months, but in the process of undertaking some research, I thought it would be nice to concentrate on how kerbs can be used at bus stops. This blog is a kind of follow up to my first kerb blog post which has also spawned one on stepped cycle tracks; plus it helps me get my mind back into writing about details rather than some of my ranting of late.
So, why are we interested in kerbs and bus stops first off? Well, modern buses are low floor and that means that the majority of the lower deck will be at a single level to enable people using wheelchairs and pushchairs to access services and the floor of the bus is also as low to the ground as possible. Actually, most people will zero in on wheelchairs and pushchairs, but as is always the case with accessibility, improvements for those who need them most will be of benefit to everyone, so low floor buses are good for visually impaired people, people who use sticks or other walking aids and people with balance or dexterity difficulties.
Having low floor buses is one thing, but in order for them to be accessible, the bus stop environment needs to be compatible with the vehicles. From a kerbnerd point of view, this means setting the kerb height correctly to be compatible with low floor buses. In practice this means the kerb in the passenger loading area is probably going to have to be set higher than is usual. The nominal kerb “face” we use generally will be between 100mm and 125mm; this is to say the amount of kerb sticking up above the surface of the carriageway. The aim is to have the threshold of the loading door(s) to be within 200mm of the kerb.