Better bus stops

The roadway is marked with the words "bus stop" in yellow lettering. Let's have better bus stops.How difficult can designing a bus stop be? Turns out there are lots of elements to consider. Bus stops are one element of an accessible and inclusive travel chain. Each country has their own format or standards for bus stops. But this doesn’t help visitors who are unfamiliar with the design and how it works. 

Accessible bus stops are more than a stop sign and perhaps a seat with a shelter. It has to fit within an accessible urban environment. Footpath materials, information and communication and street furniture all have a part to play. A bus stop outside an airport in Portugal is the subject of a case study. The researchers looked specifically at older travellers. They were able to compare bus stops back home with the one at the airport and give useful feedback and share ideas. Portugal is a favourite destination within Europe so there were many comparisons.

The results were generally consistent across the responses regardless whether the respondent had a disability. Many of the responses were fairly obvious, such as barrier-free footpaths and no obstacles around the bus stop. Shelters with seats at a suitable height and easy to read timetables rated as important. Of course, a bus stop is useless if you can’t use the bus, so low floor buses were important. 

The paper is titled, An Evaluation of the Universal Accessibility of Bus Stop Environments by Senior Tourists. It was published in the International Information and Engineering Technology Association. It is open access.

See also:

Contributions of tourism to social inclusion of persons with disability for more about inclusive tourism in Portugal. 

Tactile paving surfaces at bus stops. The need of homogeneous technical solutions for accessible tourism.

From the abstract

Sustainable mobility demands an integrated approach covering all modes of transport in a built environment designed for everyone. Social inclusion strategies requires the improvement of transportation for people with reduced mobility. Accessibility is incorporated into urban renovation processes, settlement, housing and transportation.

Assessments measured the performance of spatial indicators and considered technical parameters and/or user perception. In the context of accessible tourism, infrastructures and services were adapted to be inclusive for all.

Accessible built environments are required hence urban spaces, buildings, transport vehicles, information technology & communication, and services must bear in mind the approach of Age Sensitive Design.

The research project Accessibility for All in Tourism focuses on bus stops designed to be age-friendly and inclusive. A questionnaire was developed for tourist aged 60+ about their perceptions of bus stop environments in their countries.

Findings indicate that older tourists with disabilities are more critical of the existing accessibility conditions, and have a greater perception of the inclusive characteristics of bus stops. Although older people take barrier-free spaces into account, there is some criticism around pedestrian crossings, bench design and the lack of room for wheelchair users.

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