Universal Design

Transportation Systems That Accommodate All Users, Including People With Disabilities and Other Special Needs


TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute


Updated 6 September 2019

This chapter discusses ways to design transportation systems to meet the widest possible range of needs, including those of people with disabilities.




Universal Design (also called Inclusive Design, Accessible Design or just Accessibility) refers to transport facilities and services designs that accommodate the widest range of potential users, including people with mobility and visual impairments (disabilities) and other special needs.


Although Universal Design standards address the needs of people with disabilities, it is a comprehensive concept that can benefit all users. For example, people who are unusually short or tall, carrying packages or pushing a cart are not disabled, but their needs should be considered in facility design. Increased walkway widths, low-floor buses and smooth walking surfaces improve convenience for all travelers, not just those with mobility impairments. Curb ramps are important for people using handcarts, scooters, baby strollers and bicycles, as well as wheelchair users. Automatic door openers are another example of Universal Design features that can benefit many types of users.


Universal design should be comprehensive, meaning that it results in seamless mobility options from origin to destination for the greatest possible range of potential users. It should consider all possible obstacles that may exist in buildings, transportation terminals, sidewalks, paths, roads and vehicles.


Universal Design planning includes:


·         Standards for pedestrian facilities, transit vehicles and other transportation services adopted by local, state/provincial or federal governments. For example, In the United States, the federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) includes standards for Accessible Design. Information on these standards is available from the Access Board (www.access-board.gov) and the USDOT Accessibility Website (www.dot.gov/accessibility). The City of New Delhi established Pedestrian Design Guidelines (UTTIPEC 2009) which require that sidewalks, crosswalks and other pedestrian facilities incorporate features such as curb cuts and adequate widths to accommodate wheelchairs and other special needs.


·         Programs to educate planners and designers on incorporating Universal Design into planning and transportation facility design.


·         Special projects and funding to reduce barriers and upgrade facilities to meet new accessibility standards.


·         Public transit vehicle and station design to accommodate wheelchair users, parents with strollers, hand carts, wheeled luggage, and other baggage (Nelson 2012).


·         Complete Streets policies which ensure that roads are designed to serve diverse users and uses, including people with disabilities and other special needs.


·         Pedestrian road safety audits to identify potential problems and barriers, and opportunities for improving pedestrian safety (Nabors, et al., 2007).


·         Multi-modal Level-of-Service Ratings which indicate the quality of convenience, comfort and security experienced by pedestrians, cyclists and transit users, including Universal Design factors.


·         Parking facility design standards that dedicate spaces for vehicles used by people with disabilities, and include extra large spaces for vans with lifts.


·         Development of Multi-Modal Access Guides, which include maps and other information on access by people with disabilities to a particular destination, including availability of transit and taxi services, and the quality of walking conditions.


·         Provide travel training, which help people with disabilities learn to use public transportation services (Wolf-Branigin and Wolf-Branigin, 2008).



Concepts and Terminology

A basic concept for Universal Design is that people’s Mobility and Accessibility are largely determined by the built environment, that is, the design of buildings, sidewalks, paths, roads and vehicles. Design standards and practices based on an “average” person fail to accommodate many potential users. Universal Design shifts more of the burden from the individual to the community; rather than assuming that people must accommodate to the built environment, it assumes that the built environment should accommodate all users as much as feasible.


Below are some terms used for Universal Design.


Impairment – a difference or constraint in the way a body functions.


Mobility Impairment – a limitation in somebody’s ability to walk, which may require use of a walker or wheelchair. 


Disability – a limitation in they way daily functions can be performed in a community as a result of an impairment.


Disabled – a person with a disability. Rather than simply using this term as a noun (“the disabled”), it is considered best to say “people with disabilities”, which emphasizes that they are people first.


Handicapped – is a limitation of function imposed by the beliefs of the community. Some people consider this term somewhat derogatory and its use is discouraged.


Wheelchair User, People With Impaired Mobility, People With Visual Impairments, etc. – is the preferred approach because it is more specific.


Accessibility (or just Access) can refer to facilities that accommodate people with disabilities. Accessibility also has broader meanings, referring to the general ability to reach desired goods, services and activities.



How It Is Implemented

Universal Design can be implemented as part of a facility design process, pedestrian planning, transportation planning, or as a special process. It can be implemented by professional organizations (to help educate designers and other decision-makers about Universal Design concepts and standards), facility designers and managers, and by various levels of governments, to establish Universal Design standards and projects. It should generally include user surveys to identify demands, needs and preferences.



Travel Impacts

Universal Design usually involves improving transportation facilities and services to remove barriers to people with disabilities. It can increase use of pedestrian facilities and public transit services, and reduce the need for automobile chauffeuring trips and paratransit services. Travel surveys indicate that people with disabilities make significantly fewer trips than comparable non-disabled people, indicating latent demand for mobility (Brumbaugh 2018).


Table 1            Travel Impact Summary




Reduces total traffic.



Reduces peak period traffic.



Shifts peak to off-peak periods.



Shifts automobile travel to alternative modes.


Can reduce the need for chauffeuring and paratransit trips.

Improves land-use accessibility, reduces the need for automobile travel.


Makes destinations directly accessible by walking and wheelchair.

Increased ridesharing.



Increased public transit.


Universal Design often involves improving public transit.

Increased cycling.


Some Universal Design features improve cycling conditions.

Increased walking.


Universal Design can significantly improve pedestrian conditions.

Increased Telework.



Reduced freight traffic.



Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Benefits and Costs

Benefits include improved Transportation Options and Basic Mobility, particularly for people with mobility and visual impairments, and those who use strollers and handcarts. Universal Design standards help reduce pedestrian falls, and create a more convenient and safer pedestrian network for all users. It increases transportation system Resilience. Design allows people with disabilities to participate fully in society, including improved education and employment opportunities that increase economic productivity, and reduces the need for special services such as paratransit and chauffeured automobile trips. By improving mobility options it tends to increase Public Health.


Costs include the resource costs and design constraints associated with meeting Universal Design requirements. Casullo (2016) identifies various legal requirements and benefits of improving universal access to public transportation. Pratt (1999) discusses the incremental costs of special mobility services. If pedestrian and transit budgets are fixed, Universal Design requirements may reduce expenditures on other mobility services.


Table 2            Benefit Summary




Congestion Reduction



Road & Parking Savings


Increases costs for parking and pedestrian facilities.

Consumer Savings


Can provide savings and increase employment opportunities by improving mobility for people with disabilities.

Transport Choice



Road Safety


Reduce some risks.

Environmental Protection



Efficient Land Use



Community Livability



Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Equity Impacts

Universal Design can benefit all users. It gives people with physical impairments better mobility and Accessibility opportunities, making them less disadvantaged comparable with non-disabled. It often requires subsidies. It benefits many people with low-incomes, and so tends to be progressive. It is essential for Basic Mobility.


Table 3            Equity Summary




Treats everybody equally.


Allows people with disabilities mobility opportunities comparable to non-disabled.

Individuals bear the costs they impose.


May require subsidies.

Progressive with respect to income.


Often benefits lower-income people.

Benefits transportation disadvantaged.



Improves basic mobility.



Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.




Universal Design can be implemented in any geographic region, and by most organizations.


Table 4            Application Summary





Large urban region.


Federal government.


High-density, urban.


State/provincial government.


Medium-density, urban/suburban.


Regional government.




Municipal/local government.


Low-density, rural.


Business Associations/TMA.


Commercial center.


Individual business.


Residential neighborhood.




Resort/recreation area.


Neighborhood association.


College/university communities.




Ratings range from 0 (not appropriate) to 3 (very appropriate).




Improved Travel Choice



Relationships With Other TDM Strategies

Universal Design supports most other TDM strategies, particularly Pedestrian and Transit improvements. It improves Accessibility, provides Basic Mobility, and supports Livability objectives. It is supported by Traffic Calming, New Urbanism, Transit Oriented Development, Taxi Improvements, Shuttle Services, Access Management and Parking Management. Transportation Access Guides and Address Security Concerns can be an important part of improving Universal Design. Universal Design can be considered when Evaluating Nonmotorized Transportation.




Universal Design improvements are usually implemented by developers, businesses, local and regional governments, often based on federal, state/provincial standards and programs, and professional training.



Barriers To Implementation

Barriers include a lack of information and education for transportation professionals and facility designers, and limited resources. Any policies that undervalue transportation choice, pedestrian improvements or transportation equity tend to reduce implementation of Universal Design.


Wit and Humor

Are there seeing eye humans for blind dogs?



Best Practices

Various guides and standards listed below provide specific information on Universal Design designs. Best practices include:


·         Consider Universal Design objectives at all stages of transportation and land use planning, particularly with regard to pedestrian, transit, taxi and trail facilities and services.


·         Use the most current guidelines and standards when incorporating Universal Design into facility design.


·         Use a broad concept of Universal Design covering the needs of all potential users, not just people with a specific disability.


·         Provide adequate funding so that Universal Design can be implemented effectively and does not reduce funding for other transportation services.


·         Include users with special needs in designing and evaluating Universal Design designs.


·         Insure that at least some neighborhoods in each community have a high degree of accessibility to public services (shops, recreational facilities, medical services, etc.), and housing that is affordable to people with disabilities.



“Wheel Life Column” Times Colonist, 2 December 2000

Don’t call people “cripples.” It is also out of fashion to describe people simply as “handicapped.” Most people prefer being described in positive terms. It is best to describe a person’s specific mobility constraints and abilities, such as “people with limited mobility,” or “wheelchair users.” The rest of us are “temporarily abled,” since we are likely to be physically disabled sometime during our life.


Those are some of the lessons we learned recently when our 11-year-old son Graham had his foot in a cast, due to a minor injury. Although he could walk with crutches, this was slow and difficult, so we rented a wheelchair for a weekend. It was an excellent learning experience for us all.


A preteen can have a lot of fun with a wheelchair, especially going down a steady incline (of course, our 8-year-old enjoyed riding it too). But it can also be hard work. Our wheelchair user appreciated getting a push, especially when going uphill or over rough surfaces, but only when HE asked. Lesson: no unsolicited help to people with disabilities.


Sitting in a wheelchair puts you at belly-button height to most other people. Lesson: sit down and maintain eye contact when conversing with somebody in a wheelchair.


We really appreciated the many public facilities that are accessible to wheelchairs, including sidewalks, shops, museums and especially the Elsie King Trail at Francis King Park, which allows wheelchair users to enjoy a forest stroll. Lesson: many destinations and experiences we take for granted, such as visiting wilderness, can be difficult for people with mobility constraints.


We also found many barriers, some of which we would not normally notice. Just one street crossing that lacks a suitable curbcut is a major barrier. A six-inch curb may as well be a six-foot cliff when you are pushing yourself in a wheelchair. The result is islands of accessibility. People with disabilities can travel within an area, but may have trouble getting from one area to another. Lesson: an accessible transport network is only as good as its weakest link.


We had relatively little problem getting around in town, since Graham could hobble short distances (including up-and-down stairs, and in-and-out of cars), and he had two parents and a brother to give a push when needed. But other wheelchair users are less lucky.


There is a huge range of personal mobility constraints and needs, ranging from mild to severe. Modern designers try to provide “universal access,” meaning that facilities accommodate the widest range of possible users. A facility designed to handle wheelchair users is also suitable for people who have trouble with stairs, pushing a stroller, or pulling a handcart.


People with disabilities and cyclists share many concerns. We want streets and paths that are well maintained, without cracks that can catch a wheel. We value having curb cuts and ramps, and wide, smooth surface recreational paths separated from motor vehicle traffic.


Wheelchair design has evolved considerably in the last few years by incorporating components similar to those used on high-quality bicycles, including frames built of exotic metals, and lightweight wheels. A state-of-the-art wheelchair deserves as much admiration as you would give the latest racing bike.



Examples and Case Studies

Cities for All (www.nsh.se/elektroniska_publikationer/Cities_for_All.htm)

The Nordic Council on Disability Policy sponsored a competition among Scandinavian cities and town to create the most accessible and inclusive community. Ten cities were selected for their outstanding programs. These include:


The jury found that political acceptance and support as the most important prerequisite for success. Other prerequisites are smooth collaboration across administrative boundaries and effective arrangements for consulting users. Among the difficulties and problems included a lack of co-ordination and the dynamics within the municipal administrations, lack of knowledge and interest on the part of building contractors, and accessibility solutions with poor aesthetics. Another experience, many times hard-earned, is that small mistakes in planning and implementation often have big consequences. An important common experience is that understanding of accessibility demands and knowledge of well functioning and aesthetic solutions must be spread in wider circles, within municipal administrations and in the building trade. When people start to see accessibility for all as a competitive tool, much ground has been won.


Different communities provided different lessons. Aarhus emphasizes the importance of persistence and continuity in this work, Helsinki the need of continuous follow-up. Reykjavik highlights consensus among disability organisations, politicians, and civil servants. Kristiansand stresses dialogue with organisations of disabled persons, and Lillehammer the integration of accessibility issues into regular planning processes.


Stockholm identified many tangible improvements in the districts and growing awareness within the administrative departments. Many of Stockholm’s solutions have been received by the users with overwhelming approval. The more critical observations, also stated in an audit report, are related to a perceived ambiguity about objectives on the part of the political leadership and the lack of a master plan with explicit goals in the area of accessibility. They also felt the lack of a political authority who could co-ordinate work on accessibility.


An encouraging element in Halmstad is co-operation with disability organisations and private businesspeople. Lund points to increasingly effective collaboration between different administrative areas and has also developed a method for its work on easily remedied obstacles, from surveys to corrective action. Uppsala calls attention to the need for perseverance, and from Örebro comes encouraging news that individual building contractors have made accessibility a facet of their brand.



WithinReach Planning Program (www.within-reach.org.uk)

WithinReach is a planning program by the UK Department for Transport to support local governments in accessibility planning. The WithinReach programme provides training and advice for all stages of accessibility planning, from accessibility audit through to implementation and impact measurement of accessibility solutions identified in the accessibility strategy. The WithinReach website provides an extensive array of resources for accessibility planning.



Transport The Most Important Concern Of Disabled People (www.dptac.gov.uk)

For nearly half of disabled people (48%) transport is the most important local concern but only a fifth (21%) believe those responsible for transport planning and development give about the right amount of attention to disabled people, according to a report published today by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC).


Jane Wilmot OBE, Chair of DPTAC said:

“There is a clear message to Government from this research, confirming that disabled people experience significant difficulties with transport, but that they expect these issues to be addressed at the earliest possible opportunity. DPTAC will use the findings of this survey to inform its advice to Government on ensuring access issues arising from the more commonly recognised forms of disability are mainstreamed in transport provision.”


Although the report identifies that disabled people currently travel a third less often than the general public, around half say improvements to public transport would have a positive impact on their quality of life (47%). Taxis and minicabs are used much more frequently by disabled people (67% more), as well as buses (around 20% more) than non-disabled people.


Disabled people have high expectations for the future public transport system and will use improved services. Two thirds of disabled people (65%) were dissatisfied with pavement maintenance, of which half were very dissatisfied. However, around half say they would go out more if improvements were made to walking conditions (48%).



Use Of "Segways" On Transportation Vehicles: U.S. Department Of Transportation Disability Law Guidance (September 01, 2005) (www.fta.dot.gov/14531_17515_ENG_HTML.htm)


This guidance document concerns the question of whether transportation entities (e.g., transit authorities, Amtrak) should permit the "Segway" personal transportation device to be used on transportation vehicles when used as a mobility device by people with disabilities.


The Segway is a two-wheeled, gyroscopically stabilized, battery-powered personal transportation device. The Segway is not designed primarily for use by individuals with disabilities, nor is it used primarily by such individuals. However, some individuals with disabilities may use a Segway as a personal mobility aid, in lieu of more traditional devices like a wheelchair or scooter.


The Department's ADA rule (49 CFR Part 37, §37.3) defines a "wheelchair" as "a mobility aid belonging to any class of three or four-wheeled vehicles, designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments..." (emphasis added). By this definition, a Segway is not a wheelchair. However, a Segway, when used by a person with a disability as a mobility device, is part of the broad class of mobility aids that Part 37 intends will be accommodated (see for instance §§37.5 and 37.165). In this way, a Segway occupies a legal position analogous to canes, walkers, etc.


Because a Segway is not a wheelchair, the ADA regulation's provisions for lift and securement use specific to wheelchairs (§37.165(a) - (e) do not apply to Segways and their users. However, §37.165(g) requires transit providers to "permit individuals with disabilities who do not use wheelchairs" to use a vehicle's lift or ramp to enter the vehicle. Individuals who do not use wheelchairs commonly use the lift together with their non-wheelchair mobility devices, such as canes, crutches or walkers. Under this provision, an individual with a disability who uses a Segway as a mobility device must be permitted to use the lift.


This is not to say that transportation providers are required to allow all Segway users to bring their devices on board a bus or train. Transportation providers may establish their own general policies regarding Segways and other devices, just as they do with respect to pets or bicycles. However, when a device is being used as a mobility device by a person with a mobility-related disability, then the transportation provider must permit the person and his or her device onto the vehicle. This is analogous to the situation in which a transportation provider that has a general policy that does not permit pets to enter, but must permit a person with a disability to bring a service animal into a vehicle.


Also, a transportation provider is not required to permit anyone -- including a person with a disability -- to bring a device onto a vehicle that is too big or that is determined to pose a direct threat to the safety of others. With respect to size. a non-wheelchair mobility device that exceeds the size and weight standards for a "common wheelchair" (Le., 30 x 48 inches, measured two inches above the ground, and not exceeding 600 pounds, including the user) can reasonably be considered too large. The direct threat standard is intentionally stringent (Le., requiring a determination that there is a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by modification of policies, procedures, practices, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services). A transportation provider seeking to exclude a mobility device on direct threat grounds should first consult with the appropriate DOT operating administration for guidance.


We note that this analysis would apply to other situations. For example, a Federal Highway Administration-assisted recreational trail that normally cannot permit use by motorized vehicles should accommodate Segways when used as a mobility device by someone with a mobility-related disability.


This guidance has been approved through the Department of Transportation's Disability Law Coordinating Council as representing the official views of the Department on this matter.


Definition Of A Wheelchair

Wheelchairs – The Federal Transit Administration Section 37.3 defines a  wheelchair as: "a mobility aid belonging to any class of three or four-wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered. A ‘common wheelchair’ is such a device which does not exceed 30 inches in width and 48 inches in length measured two inches above the ground, and does not weigh more than 600 pounds when occupied."


ISEMOA Accessibility Guidelines (www.isemoa.eu)

The IEE funded ISEMOA project is developing standardised Quality Management schemes to support municipalities, cities and regions in their efforts to improve the accessibility of public spaces and public transport. In doing so it has compiled a comprehensive database of existing information, guidance-materials, handbooks, and recommendations for the improvement of the accessibility of public spaces and public transport.. For each guideline/document the database includes some key information and a fact-sheet, that can be viewed online or downloaded. The database can also be sorted according to your own topics of interest (e.g. Country, Language, or Type of Person with Reduced Mobility (PRM) affected).


Los Angeles METRO Policy for Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) on Transit (www.metro.net)  

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a bulletin in September 2005  that requires public transit operators to allow Segways on buses and trains when a person with a disability uses the “Segway” as a mobility device. This policy directs how Segways and other Personal Mobility Devices (Attachment 2 and 3) are to be accommodated on Metro Bus and Metro Rail vehicles.


Requirements For METRO Bus:


1.0               Operators shall permit “Personal Mobility Devices” (PMD) to board Metro Buses by means of a ramp or lift for a person with a disability who is using the PMD as a mobility device. 


2.0               When determining eligibility of the customer using an PMD (for reduced fare, the Operator shall refer to Metro’s fare policy), Operators shall accept any form of identification that indicates the individual has a disability including, but not limited to, the LACTOA card, Medicare Card, identification from a non-profit agency such as Braille Institute, vehicle placard identification issued by a State Governmental Agency indicating the person has a disability, or the customer.


3.0               Operators may not ask the customer if they have a disability, but may ask what the mobility device permits the customer to do.


4.0               The footprint of a PMD shall not exceed 30 inches by 48 inches and does not exceed 60 inches in height when measured without the passenger.


5.0               When boarding a customer with an PMD, the following shall be observed:

5.1               When boarding a Metro bus using a lift:

5.1.1          The customer must, without assistance from the Bus Operator, maneuver the PMD onto the lift.

5.1.2          The customer shall accompany the PMD on the lift, but may not ride the PMD while the lift is moving. 

5.1.3          While the lift is moving, the PMD shall be in the “off” position.

5.1.4          When reaching the bus floor, the customer must maneuver, without assistance from the Bus Operator, the PMD to the wheelchair securement area.  The PMD may be in the “on” position if the customer requires assistance from the PMD to maneuver the PMD into position.


5.2               When Boarding a low floor Metro bus with a self balancing or two wheeled PMD:

5.2.1          The customer must pull or push the PMD up the ramp onto the bus.

5.2.2          The PMD must be turned off once the customer has reached the securement area and remain off until the PMD is ready to disembark the vehicle.


5.3               Securement – PMDs weighting more than 25 pounds shall be secured as follows:

5.3.1          The customer shall secure the PMD only in the wheelchair securement area.

5.3.2          The straps available for the securement of a wheelchair are to be used to secure the PMD. 

5.3.3          A minimum of two straps shall be used to secure the PMD. 

5.3.4          The straps shall be placed around the best securement location for the PMD as determined by the customer so that, when secured, the PMD will not move more than two inches in any direction.

5.3.5          Bus Operator shall ensure that the PMD is secured so that the PMD does not move more than two inches.   

5.3.6          Bus Operator may provide assistance if requested by the customer for securement of the PMD only.

5.3.7          The customer may not ride the PMD while on the bus.

5.3.8          The PMD must be in the “off” position when it is in the securement area.

5.3.9          The customer shall sit in the closest available seat to the PMD.  If no seats are available, the customer shall stand as close to the PMD as available.


5.4               Disembarking

5.4.1          The customer shall remove the securement strap(s) from the PMD after the bus has stopped at the bus stop.

5.4.2          Bus Operators shall provide assistance, if needed or requested, for the removal of the securement straps.

5.4.3          The customer shall be responsible for moving the PMD to the lift or ramp area and for handling the PMD on the ramp or lift.

5.4.4          The customer may not ride the PMD to the lift or ramp area while on the bus.

5.4.5          The PMD shall be in the “off” position until the PMD has disembarked the vehicle.

5.4.6          Operators shall deploy the lift or ramp for the PMD to exit.


5.5               General Information

5.5.1          No PMDs shall be permitted aboard Metro buses if the customer with a disability is under the influence of intoxicating substances including alcohol and drugs. 

5.5.2          PMDs shall only be transported aboard a Metro bus if it is secured in the wheelchair securement area.   

5.5.3          The wheelchair securement area is open to individuals in wheelchairs and those individuals with disabilities who require the use of an PMD on a first come, first served basis only.


5.6               Recording


5.6.1          Operators are required to report PMDs in the same manner as they report wheelchair boardings and alightings.


5.7               Illustrations of Securement On a Metro Bus


The following picture indicates the accepted location and method for the securement of a Segway on a Metro bus:



Requirements For METRO Rail:


  1. Rail Operators shall permit “Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices” (PMD) to board Metro Trains regardless if the individual is disabled or does not have a disability. 


  1. The footprint of an PMD shall not exceed 30 inches by 48 inches and does not exceed 72 inches in height when measured without the passenger.


  1. All PMDs shall be turned-off at the entrance to a Metro Rail station.


  1. No riding of any PMD is permitted on any rail station level.  A customer who rides their PMD in a rail station will be removed from the rail station.


  1. PMDs may use the elevator, stairs, or the escalators to get to the platform level.


  1. PMDs are to be in the constant control of the customer. 


  1. When boarding a Metro train, the customer shall store the PMD in the area reserved for wheelchairs. 


  1. It is recommended that the customer secure the PMD to a handrail or stanchion using a strap with either a buckle or Velcro.



References And Resources For More Information


AARP (2009), Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America, American Association for Retired Persons Public Policy Institute (www.aarp.org/ppi); at www.aarp.org/research/housing-mobility/transportation/2009_02_streets.html.


The Access Board (www.access-board.gov) is a U.S. federal agency that develops guidelines and standards for accessible design. Publications include Accessible Rights of Way: A Design Manual, ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities, Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access and Checklist For Accessible Sidewalks And Street Crossings.


Access Exchange International (www.globalride-sf.org) is a non-profit organization that promotes cost-effective access to public transportation for disabled persons in developing countries.


Accessibility Planning Website (www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/ltp/accessibility), by the UK Department for Transport, provides extensive information on planning strategies to improve social inclusion.


Accessibility Program (www.housing.gov.bc.ca/housing/access/bibliography/list4.html) provides practical information on universal design, including the Building Access Handbooks, Bibliography for Universal Design and a Building Access Checklist.


Adoptive Environments Center (www.adaptenv.org) provides resources for universal design.


AEI (2012), Paratransit for Mobility Impaired Persons in Developing Regions: Starting Up And Scaling Up, Access Exchange International (www.globalride-sf.org); at www.globalride-sf.org/paratransit/Guide.pdf.


Anjlee Agarwal (2009), Guidelines for Inclusive Pedestrian Facilities and Training Manual to Promote Universal Design, Samarthyam (www.samarthyam.org); www.samarthyam.org/publications.html.


Mahdi Aghaabbasi, et al. (2018), “The Equitable Use Concept in Sidewalk Design,” Cities, (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2018.10.010); at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275117310302.


Stephen Brumbaugh (2018), Travel Patterns of American Adults with Disabilities, US Department of Transportation (www.bts.gov); at https://bit.ly/2SQhTC3.


Beneficial Designs, Inc. et al. (1999 and 2001), Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access; Part 1, Review of Existing Guidelines and Practices, Publication No. FHWA-HEP-99-006; Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access; Part 2, Best Practice Design Guide, Publication No. FHWA-EP-01-027, Federal Highway Administration, USDOT (www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped).


Lorenzo Casullo (2016), The Economic Benefits of Improved Accessibility to Transport Systems, Discussion Paper No.2016-20, prepared for the Roundtable on The Economic Benefits of Improved Accessibility to Transport Systems, International Transport Forum (www.itf-oecd.org); at www.itf-oecd.org/sites/default/files/docs/economic-benefits-improved-accessibility_0.pdf


Center for Universal Design (www.design.ncsu.edu/cud) is a national research, information, and technical assistance center that evaluates, develops, and promotes universal design in housing, public and commercial facilities, and related products.


Complete Streets (www.completestreets.org) is a campaign to promote roadway designs that effectively accommodate multiple modes and support local planning objectives.


DfT (2002), Inclusive Mobility - A Guide to Best Practice on Access to Pedestrian and Transport Infrastructure, UK Department for Transport (www.mobility-unit.dft.gov.uk/inclusive/index.htm).


Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (www.dptac.gov.uk) advises the UK Government on access for disabled people to transport and the built environment. Their website has extensive information on accessible design.


Disabled Peoples’ International (www.dpi.org) is an international advocacy organization.


Easter Seals Project Action (www.projectaction.org), is a research and demonstration project to improve access to public transportation for people with disabilities. It has extensive resources for planning and using accessible transportation.


Easter Seals (2009), Universal Design and Accessible Transit Systems: Facts to Consider When Updating or Expanding Your Transit System, Easter Seals Project Action (www.projectaction.easterseals.com); at http://bit.ly/2u7rjyJ.   


Federal Highway Administration’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Office (www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian) is responsible for promoting bicycle and pedestrian transportation accessibility, use, and safety.


FHWA (2001), Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access; Part 2, Best Practice Design Guide, Federal Highway Administration, USDOT (www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped), Publication No. FHWA-EP-01-027.


Go For Green, The Active Living & Environment Program (www.goforgree.ca) provides resources to promote nonmotorized transportation.


Innovative Mobility, Mobility for Special Populations Research (www.innovativemobility.org/population/index.shtml).


Institute on Independent Living (www.independentliving.org) serves self-help organisations of disabled people. Full-text online library including access and transport issues.


International Transport Forum Accessibility Resources (www.internationaltransportforum.org/IntOrg/ecmt/accessibility/accessibility.html)  provides information on practical ways to achieve more universal design.


Todd Litman (2003), “Economic Value of Walkability,” Transportation Research Record 1828, Transportation Research Board (www.trb.org), pp. 3-11; at www.vtpi.org/walkability.pdf.


Todd Litman (2005), Evaluating Transportation Equity, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at www.vtpi.org/equity.pdf.


Todd Litman (2006), You CAN Get There From Here: Evaluating Transportation Diversity, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at www.vtpi.org/choice.pdf.


Todd Litman (2006), “Managing Diverse Modes and Activities on Nonmotorized Facilities: Guidance for Practitioners,” ITE Journal, Vol. 76, No. 6 (www.ite.org), June 2006, pp. 20-27; based on Todd Litman and Robin Blair (2005), Managing Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) On Nonmotorized Facilities, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at www.vtpi.org/man_nmt_fac.pdf.


Todd Litman (2012), Affordable-Accessible Housing in a Dynamic City: Why and How to Support Development of More Affordable Housing In Accessible Locations, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at www.vtpi.org/aff_acc_hou.pdf.


Todd Litman (2013), Evaluating Active Transport Benefits and Costs: Guide to Valuing Walking and Cycling Improvements and Encouragement Programs, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at www.vtpi.org/nmt-tdm.pdf; originally published as “Bicycling and Transportation Demand Management,” Transportation Research Record 1441, 1994, pp. 134-140.


Todd Litman and Tom Rickert (2005), Evaluating Public Transit Accessibility: ‘Inclusive Design’ Performance Indicators For Public Transportation In Developing Countries, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at www.vtpi.org/tranacc.pdf.


Mobility International USA (www.miusa.org) is a non-profit organization that empowers people with disabilities through international exchange, information, technical assistance and training.


Dan Nabors, et al. (2007), Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists, Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (www.pedbikeinfo.org), Federal Highway Administration Office of Safety; at http://drusilla.hsrc.unc.edu/cms/downloads/PedRSA%20-%20FINAL%20-%20high-quality.pdf.


Alyse Nelson (2012), Your Wheels, on the Bus: Allowing Strollers on Transit—A Mom’s Report, Sightline Institute (www.sightline.org); at http://daily.sightline.org/2012/01/10/your-wheels-on-the-bus.


Nelson/Nygaard (2006), Toolkit for the Assessment of Bus Stop Accessibility and Safety, ESPA, Easter Seals Project Action Clearinghouse (www.projectaction.org); at http://projectaction.easterseals.com/site/PageServer?pagename=ESPA_BusStopToolkit.


Yvette O'Neill and Margaret O’Mahony (2005), “Travel Behavior and Transportation Needs for People With Disabilities: Case Studies of Some Categories of Disabilities in Dublin, Ireland,” Transportation Research Record 1924, Transportation Research Board (www.trb.org), pp. 1-8.


Richard H. Pratt (1999), “Demand Response/ADA,” Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes, Interim Handbook, TCRP Web Document 12 (www4.nationalacademies.org/trb/crp.nsf/all+projects/tcrp+b-12), DOT-FH-11-9579.


Project Sidewalk (https://sidewalk-sea.cs.washington.edu) is an online crowdsourcing game that allows users to virtually evaluate Universal Design factors (label curb ramps, missing or rough sidewalks, obstacles, etc.) with Google Street View.


Tom Rickert (1998 and 2002), Mobility for All; Accessible Transportation Around the World  and Making Access Happen: Promoting and Planning Transport For All, Access Exchange International (www.globalride-sf.org) and the Swedish Institute On Independent Living (www.independentliving.org). These excellent guides provide information on how to implement Universal Design in Developing as well as developed countries.


Tom Rickert (2003), Transport For All: What Should We Measure?, Access Exchange International (www.globalride-sf.org); at http://globalride-sf.org/pdf/what_should_we_measure.pdf.


Tom Rickert (2006), Bus Rapid Transit Accessibility Guidelines, World Bank (www.worldbank.org); at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DISABILITY/Resources/280658-1172672474385/BusRapidEngRickert.pdf.


Tom Rickert (2009), Transit Access Training Toolkit, Disability and Development Team, World Bank (www.worldbank.org/disability).


Tom Rickert (2010), Technical and Operational Challenges to Inclusive Bus Rapid Transit, World Bank (www.worldbank.org); at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DISABILITY/Resources/280658-1239044853210/5995073-1239044977199/5995074-1239045184837/5995121-1239046824546/BRT_Challenges9-10.pdf


Tom Rickert (2010), Universal Access to Bus Rapid Transit: Design, Operation, And Working With The Community, Access Exchange International (www.globalride-sf.org); at www.vtpi.org/AEI_BRT.pdf.


Samarthyam (www.samarthyam.org) is an Indian national information, technical assistance and research organization for accessible environments. It evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible & universal design in built & outdoor environments, transportation systems and products.


P.S. Sriraj, et al. (2019), Mobility Management: State of the States Report, National Center for Mobility Management, Urban Transportation Center (https://utc.uic.edu); at https://bit.ly/2urxOvs


Geetam Tiwari (2014), Planning And Designing Transport Systems To Ensure Safe Travel For Women, Paper 2014-04, International Transport Forum (www.internationaltransportforum.org); at www.internationaltransportforum.org/jtrc/DiscussionPapers/DP201404.pdf.


TRL (2004), Enhancing the Mobility of Disabled People: Guidelines for Practitioners, Overseas Road Note 21, Transportation Research Laboratory, Transport for International Development (www.transport-links.org); at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a08ccce5274a31e0001458/R8016.pdf.


Universal Design Newsletter (www.UniversalDesign.com) is a quarterly publication that provides up-to-date information on accessibility issues.


USDOT, Accessibility Website (www.dot.gov/accessibility) by the U.S. Department of Transportation.


U.S. Department of Justice ADA Homepage (www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm) provides information on implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act.


UTTIPEC (2009), Pedestrian Design Guidelines: Don’t Drive…Walk, Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi (www.uttipec.nic.in); at www.uttipec.nic.in/PedestrianGuidelines-30Nov09-UTTPEC-DDA.pdf.


Rania A. Wasfi, David Levinson, and Ahmed El-Geneidy (2017), “Measuring the Transportation Needs of People with Developmental Disability,” Disability and Health Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 356-360 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dhjo.2016.10.008); earlier version at  http://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/179821.


WithinReach Planning Program website (www.within-reach.org.uk) provides an extensive array of resources for accessibility planning.


Michael Wolf-Branigin and Karen Wolf-Branigin (2008), The Emerging Field of Travel Training Services: A Systems Perspective, Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 109-123; at www.nctr.usf.edu/jpt/pdf/JPT11-3Wolf-Branigin.pdf.


World Bank (2013), Improving Accessibility To Transport For People With Limited Mobility : A Practical Guidance Note, Sustainable Development Department, World Bank (www-wds.worldbank.org); at http://tinyurl.com/md9z7ab.


World Institute on Disability (www.wid.org) provides resources for people with disabilities.


This chapter was written with the valuable assistance of Tom Rickert of Access Exchange International, Barbara McMillen of the FHWA, and Lois Thibault.


Thanks to Jovana Milutinovich for translating this chapter into Serbo-Croatian.

This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.




Encyclopedia Homepage

Send Comments


Victoria Transport Policy Institute

www.vtpi.org       info@vtpi.org

1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA

Phone 250-360-1560

“Efficiency - Equity - Clarity”