Subpart E -- Commuter Rail Cars and Systems
Section 1192.91 General.
(a) New, used and remanufactured commuter rail cars, to be considered
accessible by regulations issued by the Department of Transportation in 49 CFR
part 37, shall comply with this subpart.
(b) If portions of the car are modified in such a way that it affects or
could affect accessibility, each such portion shall comply, to the extent
practicable, with the applicable provisions of this subpart. This provision
does not require that inaccessible cars be retrofitted with lifts, ramps or
other boarding devices.
(c)(1) Commuter rail cars shall comply with Sections 1192.93(d) and
1192.109 for level boarding wherever structurally and operationally
(2) Where level boarding is not structurally or operationally
practicable, commuter rail cars shall comply with Section 1192.95.
(d) Existing vehicles retrofitted to comply with the "one-car- per-train
rule" at 49 CFR 37.93 shall comply with Sections 1192.93(e), 1192.95(a) and
1192.107 and shall have, in new and key stations, at least one door on each
side from which passengers board which complies with Section 1192.93(d).
Vehicles previously designed and manufactured in accordance with the program
accessibility requirements of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,
or implementing regulations issued by the Department of Transportation that
were in effect before October 7, 1991 and which can be entered and used from
stations in which they are to be operated, may be used to satisfy the
requirements of 49 CFR 37.93.
Section 1192.93 Doorways.
(a) Clear width. (1) At least one door on each side of the car from
which passengers board opening onto station platforms and at least one
adjacent doorway into the passenger coach compartment, if provided, shall have
a minimum clear opening of 32 inches.
(2) If doorways connecting adjoining cars in a multi-car train are
provided, and if such doorway is connected by an aisle with a minimum clear
width of 30 inches to one or more spaces where wheelchair or mobility aid
users can be accommodated, then such doorway shall have, to the maximum extent
practicable in accordance with the regulations issued under the Federal
Railroad Safety Act of 1970 (49 CFR parts 229 and 231), a clear opening of 30
(b) Passageways. A route at least 32 inches wide shall be provided from
doors required to be accessible by paragraph (a)(1) of this section to seating
locations complying with Section 1192.95(d). In cars where such doorways
require passage through a vestibule, such vestibule shall have a minimum width
of 42 inches. (See Fig. 3)
(c) Signals. If doors to the platform close automatically or from a
remote location, auditory and visual warning signals shall be provided to
alert passengers of closing doors.
(d) Coordination with boarding platform. - (1) Requirements. Cars
operating in stations with high platforms, or mini-high platforms, shall be
coordinated with the boarding platform design such that the horizontal gap
between a car at rest and the platform shall be no greater than 3 inches and
the height of the car floor shall be within plus or minus 5/8 inch of the
platform height. Vertical alignment may be accomplished by car air suspension,
platform lifts or other devices, or any combination.
(2) Exception. New vehicles operating in existing stations may have a
floor height within plus or minus 1-1/2 inches of the platform height. At key
stations, the horizontal gap between at least one accessible door of each such
vehicle and the platform shall be no greater than 3 inches.
(3) Exception. Where platform set-backs do not allow the horizontal gap
or vertical alignment specified in paragraph (d)(1) or (2) of this section,
car, platform or portable lifts complying with Section 1192.95(b), or car or
platform ramps or bridge plates, complying with Section 1192.95(c), shall be
(4) Exception. Retrofitted vehicles shall be coordinated with the
platform in new and key stations such that the horizontal gap shall be no
greater than 4 inches and the height of the vehicle floor, under 50% passenger
load, shall be within plus or minus 2 inches of the platform height.
(e) Signage. The International Symbol of Accessibility shall be
displayed on the exterior of all doors complying with this section unless all
cars are accessible and are not marked by the access symbol. (See Fig. 6)
Appropriate signage shall also indicate which accessible doors are adjacent to
an accessible restroom, if applicable.
Section 1192.95 Mobility aid accessibility.
(a)(1) General. All new commuter rail cars, other than level entry
cars, covered by this subpart shall provide a level-change mechanism or
boarding device (e.g., lift, ramp or bridge plate) complying with either
paragraph (b) or (c) of this section; sufficient clearances to permit a
wheelchair or mobility aid user to reach a seating location; and at least two
wheelchair or mobility aid seating locations complying with paragraph (d) of
(2) Exception. If portable or platform lifts, ramps or bridge plates
meeting the applicable requirements of this section are provided on station
platforms or other stops, or mini-high platforms complying with Section
1192.93(d) are provided, at stations or stops required to be accessible by 49
CFR part 37, the car is not required to be equipped with a car-borne device.
Where each new car is compatible with a single platform-mounted access system
or device, additional systems or devices are not required for each car
provided that the single device could be used to provide access to each new
car if passengers using wheelchairs or mobility aids could not be accommodated
on a single car.
(b) Car Lift. - (1) Design load. The design load of the lift shall be at
least 600 pounds. Working parts, such as cables, pulleys, and shafts, which
can be expected to wear, and upon which the lift depends for support of the
load, shall have a safety factor of at least six, based on the ultimate
strength of the material. Nonworking parts, such as platform, frame, and
attachment hardware which would not be expected to wear, shall have a safety
factor of at least three, based on the ultimate strength of the material.
(2) Controls. (i) Requirements. The controls shall be interlocked with
the car brakes, propulsion system, or door, or shall provide other appropriate
mechanisms or systems, to ensure that the car cannot be moved when the lift is
not stowed and so the lift cannot be deployed unless the interlocks or systems
are engaged. The lift shall deploy to all platform levels normally encountered
in the operating environment. Where provided, each control for deploying,
lowering, raising, and stowing the lift and lowering the roll-off barrier
shall be of a momentary contact type requiring continuous manual pressure by
the operator and shall not allow improper lift sequencing when the lift
platform is occupied. The controls shall allow reversal of the lift operation
sequence, such as raising or lowering a platform that is part way down,
without allowing an occupied platform to fold or retract into the stowed
(ii) Exception. Where physical or safety constraints prevent the
deployment at some stops of a lift having its long dimension perpendicular to
the car axis, the transportation entity may specify a lift which is designed
to deploy with its long dimension parallel to the car axis and which pivots
into or out of the car while occupied (i.e., "rotary lift"). The requirements
of paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section prohibiting the lift from being stowed
while occupied shall not apply to a lift design of this type if the stowed
position is within the passenger compartment and the lift is intended to be
stowed while occupied.
(iii) Exception. The brake or propulsion system interlock requirement
does not apply to a platform mounted or portable lift provided that a
mechanical, electrical or other system operates to ensure that cars do not
move when the lift is in use.
(3) Emergency operation. The lift shall incorporate an emergency method
of deploying, lowering to ground or platform level with a lift occupant, and
raising and stowing the empty lift if the power to the lift fails. No
emergency method, manual or otherwise, shall be capable of being operated in a
manner that could be hazardous to the lift occupant or to the operator when
operated according to manufacturer's instructions, and shall not permit the
platform to be stowed or folded when occupied, unless the lift is a rotary
lift intended to be stowed while occupied.
(4) Power or equipment failure. Platforms stowed in a vertical
position, and deployed platforms when occupied, shall have provisions to
prevent their deploying, falling, or folding any faster than 12 inches/second
or their dropping of an occupant in the event of a single failure of any load
(5) Platform barriers. The lift platform shall be equipped with barriers
to prevent any of the wheels of a wheelchair or mobility aid from rolling off
the lift during its operation. A movable barrier or inherent design feature
shall prevent a wheelchair or mobility aid from rolling off the edge closest
to the car until the lift is in its fully raised position. Each side of the
lift platform which, in its raised position, extends beyond the car shall have
a barrier a minimum 1-1/2 inches high. Such barriers shall not interfere with
maneuvering into or out of the car. The loading-edge barrier (outer barrier)
which functions as a loading ramp when the lift is at ground or station
platform level, shall be sufficient when raised or closed, or a supplementary
system shall be provided, to prevent a power wheelchair or mobility aid from
riding over or defeating it. The outer barrier of the lift shall automatically
rise or close, or a supplementary system shall automatically engage, and
remain raised, closed, or engaged at all times that the lift platform is more
than 3 inches above the station platform and the lift is occupied.
Alternatively, a barrier or system may be raised, lowered, opened, closed,
engaged or disengaged by the lift operator provided an interlock or inherent
design feature prevents the lift from rising unless the barrier is raised or
closed or the supplementary system is engaged.
(6) Platform surface. The lift platform surface shall be free of any
protrusions over 1/4 inch high and shall be slip resistant. The lift platform
shall have a minimum clear width of 28-1/2 inches at the platform, a minimum
clear width of 30 inches measured from 2 inches above the lift platform
surface to 30 inches above the surface, and a minimum clear length of 48
inches measured from 2 inches above the surface of the platform to 30 inches
above the surface. (See Fig. 1)
(7) Platform gaps. Any openings between the lift platform surface and
the raised barriers shall not exceed 5/8 inch wide. When the lift is at car
floor height with the inner barrier down (if applicable) or retracted, gaps
between the forward lift platform edge and car floor shall not exceed 1/2 inch
horizontally and 5/8 inch vertically. Platforms on semi-automatic lifts may
have a hand hold not exceeding 1-1/2 inches by 4-1/2 inches located between
the edge barriers.
(8) Platform entrance ramp. The entrance ramp, or loading-edge barrier
used as a ramp, shall not exceed a slope of 1:8, when measured on level
ground, for a maximum rise of 3 inches, and the transition from station
platform to ramp may be vertical without edge treatment up to 1/4 inch.
Thresholds between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch high shall be beveled with a slope no
greater than 1:2.
(9) Platform deflection. The lift platform (not including the entrance
ramp) shall not deflect more than 3 degrees (exclusive of vehicle roll) in any
direction between its unloaded position and its position when loaded with 600
pounds applied through a 26 inch by 26 inch test pallet at the centroid of the
(10) Platform movement. No part of the platform shall move at a rate
exceeding 6 inches/second during lowering and lifting an occupant, and shall
not exceed 12 inches/second during deploying or stowing. This requirement does
not apply to the deployment or stowage cycles of lifts that are manually
deployed or stowed. The maximum platform horizontal and vertical acceleration
when occupied shall be 0.3g.
(11) Boarding direction. The lift shall permit both inboard and
outboard facing of wheelchairs and mobility aids.
(12) Use by standees. Lifts shall accommodate persons using walkers,
crutches, canes or braces or who otherwise have difficulty using steps. The
lift may be marked to indicate a preferred standing position.
(13) Handrails. Platforms on lifts shall be equipped with handrails, on
two sides, which move in tandem with the lift which shall be graspable and
provide support to standees throughout the entire lift operation. Handrails
shall have a usable component at least 8 inches long with the lowest portion a
minimum 30 inches above the platform and the highest portion a maximum 38
inches above the platform. The handrails shall be capable of withstanding a
force of 100 pounds concentrated at any point on the handrail without
permanent deformation of the rail or its supporting structure. The handrail
shall have a cross-sectional diameter between 1-1/4 inches and 1-1/2 inches or
shall provide an equivalent grasping surface, and have eased edges with corner
radii of not less than 1/8 inch. Handrails shall be placed to provide a
minimum 1-1/2 inches knuckle clearance from the nearest adjacent surface.
Handrails shall not interfere with wheelchair or mobility aid maneuverability
when entering or leaving the car.
(c) Car ramp or bridge plate. - (1) Design load. Ramps or bridge plates
30 inches or longer shall support a load of 600 pounds, placed at the centroid
of the ramp or bridge plate distributed over an area of 26 inches by 26
inches, with a safety factor of at least 3 based on the ultimate strength of
the material. Ramps or bridge plates shorter than 30 inches shall support a
load of 300 pounds.
(2) Ramp surface. The ramp or bridge plate surface shall be continuous
and slip resistant, shall not have protrusions from the surface greater than
1/4 inch high, shall have a clear width of 30 inches and shall accommodate
both four-wheel and three-wheel mobility aids.
(3) Ramp threshold. The transition from station platform to the ramp or
bridge plate and the transition from car floor to the ramp or bridge plate may
be vertical without edge treatment up to 1/4 inch. Changes in level between
1/4 inch and 1/2 inch shall be beveled with a slope no greater than 1:2.
(4) Ramp barriers. Each side of the ramp or bridge plate shall have
barriers at least 2 inches high to prevent mobility aid wheels from slipping
(5) Slope. Ramps or bridge plates shall have the least slope
practicable. If the height of the vehicle floor, under 50% passenger load,
from which the ramp is deployed is 3 inches or less above the station platform
a maximum slope of 1:4 is permitted; if the height of the vehicle floor, under
50% passenger load, from which the ramp is deployed is 6 inches or less, but
more than 3 inches, above the station platform a maximum slope of 1:6 is
permitted; if the height of the vehicle floor, under 50% passenger load, from
which the ramp is deployed is 9 inches or less, but more than 6 inches, above
the station platform a maximum slope of 1:8 is permitted; if the height of the
vehicle floor, under 50% passenger load, from which the ramp is deployed is
greater than 9 inches above the station platform a slope of 1:12 shall be
achieved. Folding or telescoping ramps are permitted provided they meet all
structural requirements of this section.
(6) Attachment. - (i) Requirement. When in use for boarding or
alighting, the ramp or bridge plate shall be attached to the vehicle, or
otherwise prevented from moving such that it is not subject to displacement
when loading or unloading a heavy power mobility aid and that any gaps between
vehicle and ramp or bridge plate, and station platform and ramp or bridge
plate, shall not exceed 5/8 inch.
(ii) Exception. Ramps or bridge plates which are attached to, and
deployed from, station platforms are permitted in lieu of car devices provided
they meet the displacement requirements of paragraph (c)(6)(i) of this
(7) Stowage. A compartment, securement system, or other appropriate
method shall be provided to ensure that stowed ramps or bridge plates,
including portable ramps or bridge plates stowed in the passenger area, do not
impinge on a passenger's wheelchair or mobility aid or pose any hazard to
passengers in the event of a sudden stop.
(8) Handrails. If provided, handrails shall allow persons with
disabilities to grasp them from outside the car while starting to board, and
to continue to use them throughout the boarding process, and shall have the
top between 30 inches and 38 inches above the ramp surface. The handrails
shall be capable of withstanding a force of 100 pounds concentrated at any
point on the handrail without permanent deformation of the rail or its
supporting structure. The handrail shall have a cross-sectional diameter
between 1-1/4 inches and 1-1/2 inches or shall provide an equivalent grasping
surface, and have eased edges with corner radii of not less than 1/8 inch.
Handrails shall not interfere with wheelchair or mobility aid maneuverability
when entering or leaving the car.
(d) Mobility aid seating location. Spaces for persons who wish to
remain in their wheelchairs or mobility aids shall have a minimum clear floor
space 48 inches by 30 inches. Such spaces shall adjoin, and may overlap, an
accessible path. Not more than 6 inches of the required clear floor space may
be accommodated for footrests under another seat provided there is a minimum
of 9 inches from the floor to the lowest part of the seat overhanging the
space. Seating spaces may have fold-down or removable seats to accommodate
other passengers when a wheelchair or mobility aid user is not occupying the
area, provided the seats, when folded up, do not obstruct the clear floor
space required. (See Fig. 2)
Section 1192.97 Interior circulation, handrails and stanchions.
(a) Where provided, handrails or stanchions within the passenger
compartment shall be placed to permit sufficient turning and maneuvering space
for wheelchairs and other mobility aids to reach a seating location, complying
with Section 1192.95(d), from an accessible entrance. The diameter or width of
the gripping surface of interior handrails and stanchions shall be 1-1/4
inches to 1-1/2 inches or shall provide an equivalent gripping surface.
Handrails shall be placed to provide a minimum 1-1/2 inches knuckle clearance
from the nearest adjacent surface.
(b) Where provided, handrails or stanchions shall be sufficient to
permit safe boarding, on-board circulation, seating and standing assistance,
and alighting by persons with disabilities.
(c) At entrances equipped with steps, handrails or stanchions shall be
provided in the entrance to the car in a configuration which allows passengers
to grasp such assists from outside the car while starting to board, and to
continue using such assists throughout the boarding process, to the extent
permitted by 49 CFR part 231.
Section 1192.99 Floors, steps and thresholds.
(a) Floor surfaces on aisles, step treads, places for standees, and
areas where wheelchair and mobility aid users are to be accommodated shall be
(b) All thresholds and step edges shall have a band of color(s) running
the full width of the step or threshold which contrasts from the step tread
and riser or adjacent floor, either light-on-dark or dark-on-light.
Section 1192.101 Lighting.
(a) Any stepwell or doorway with a lift, ramp or bridge plate shall
have, when the door is open, at least 2 footcandles of illumination measured
on the step tread, ramp, bridge plate, or lift platform.
(b) The doorways of cars not operating at lighted station platforms
shall have outside lights which, when the door is open, provide at least 1
footcandle of illumination on the station platform surface for a distance of 3
feet perpendicular to all points on the bottom step tread edge. Such lights
shall be shielded to protect the eyes of entering and exiting passengers.
Section 1192.103 Public information system.
(a) Each car shall be equipped with an interior public address system
permitting transportation system personnel, or recorded or digitized human
speech messages, to announce stations and provide other passenger information.
Alternative systems or devices which provide equivalent access are also
Section 1192.105 Priority seating signs.
(a) Each car shall contain sign(s) which indicate that certain seats are
priority seats for persons with disabilities and that other passengers should
make such seats available to those who wish to use them.
(b) Characters on signs required by paragraph (a) shall have a
width-to-height ratio between 3:5 and 1:1 and a stroke width-to-height ratio
between 1:5 and 1:10, with a minimum character height (using an upper case
"X") of 5/8 inch, with "wide" spacing (generally, the space between letters
shall be 1/16 the height of upper case letters), and shall contrast with the
background either light-on-dark or dark-on- light.
Section 1192.107 Restrooms.
(a) If a restroom is provided for the general public, it shall be
designed so as to allow a person using a wheelchair or mobility aid to enter
and use such restroom as specified in paragraphs (a)(1) through (5) of this
(1) The minimum clear floor area shall be 35 inches by 60 inches.
Permanently installed fixtures may overlap this area a maximum of 6 inches, if
the lowest portion of the fixture is a minimum of 9 inches above the floor,
and may overlap a maximum of 19 inches, if the lowest portion of the fixture
is a minimum of 29 inches above the floor, provided such fixtures do not
interfere with access to the water closet. Fold-down or retractable seats or
shelves may overlap the clear floor space at a lower height provided they can
be easily folded up or moved out of the way.
(2) The height of the water closet shall be 17 inches to 19 inches
measured to the top of the toilet seat. Seats shall not be sprung to return to
a lifted position.
(3) A grab bar at least 24 inches long shall be mounted behind the water
closet, and a horizontal grab bar at least 40 inches long shall be mounted on
at least one side wall, with one end not more than 12 inches from the back
wall, at a height between 33 inches and 36 inches above the floor.
(4) Faucets and flush controls shall be operable with one hand and shall
not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The force
required to activate controls shall be no greater than 5 lbf (22.2 N).
Controls for flush valves shall be mounted no more than 44 inches above the
(5) Doorways on the end of the enclosure, opposite the water closet,
shall have a minimum clear opening width of 32 inches. Doorways on the side
wall shall have a minimum clear opening width of 39 inches. Door latches and
hardware shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping,
pinching, or twisting of the wrist.
(b) Restrooms required to be accessible shall be in close proximity to
at least one seating location for persons using mobility aids and shall be
connected to such a space by an unobstructed path having a minimum width of 32
Section 1192.109 Between-car barriers.
Where vehicles operate in a high-platform, level-boarding mode, and
where between-car bellows are not provided, devices or systems shall be
provided to prevent, deter or warn individuals from inadvertently stepping off
the platform between cars. Appropriate devices include, but are not limited
to, pantograph gates, chains, motion detectors or other suitable devices.