Subpart D -- Light Rail Vehicles and Systems
Section 1192.71 General.
(a) New, used and remanufactured light rail vehicles, to be considered
accessible by regulations issued by the Department of Transportation in 49 CFR
part 37, shall comply with this subpart.
(b)(1) Vehicles intended to be operated solely in light rail systems
confined entirely to a dedicated right-of-way, and for which all stations or
stops are designed and constructed for revenue service after the effective
date of standards for design and construction issued pursuant to subpart C of
49 CFR part 37, shall provide level boarding and shall comply with Section
1192.73(d)(1) and 1192.85.
(2) Vehicles designed for, and operated on, pedestrian malls, city
streets, or other areas where level boarding is not practicable shall provide
wayside or car-borne lifts, mini-high platforms, or other means of access in
compliance with Section 1192.83(b) or (c).
(c) If portions of the vehicle are modified in a way that 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 vehicles be retrofitted with lifts, ramps
or other boarding devices.
(d) Existing vehicles retrofitted to comply with the "one-car- per-train
rule" at 49 CFR 37.93 shall comply with Sections 1192.75, 1192.77(c),
1192.79(a) and 1192.83(a) and shall have, in new and key stations, at least
one door which complies with Section 1192.73(a)(1), (b) and (d). Vehicles
previously designed and manufactured in accordance with the accessibility
requirements of 49 CFR part 609 or Department of Transportation regulations
implementing section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 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
Section 1192.73 Doorways.
(a) Clear width. (1) All passenger doorways on vehicle sides shall have
minimum clear openings of 32 inches when open.
(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 a minimum clear
opening of 30 inches to permit wheelchair and mobility aid users to be
evacuated to an adjoining vehicle in an emergency.
(b) Signage. The International Symbol of Accessibility shall be
displayed on the exterior of each vehicle operating on an accessible light
rail system unless all vehicles are accessible and are not marked by the
access symbol. (See Fig. 6)
(c) Signals. Auditory and visual warning signals shall be provided to
alert passengers of closing doors.
(d) Coordination with boarding platform. - (1) Requirements. The design
of level-entry vehicles shall be coordinated with the boarding platform or
mini-high platform design so that the horizontal gap between a vehicle at rest
and the platform shall be no greater than 3 inches and the height of the
vehicle floor shall be within plus or minus 5/8 inch of the platform height.
Vertical alignment may be accomplished by vehicle air suspension, automatic
ramps or lifts, 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 door of each such vehicle
and the platform shall be no greater than 3 inches.
(3) 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.
(4) Exception. Where it is not operationally or structurally
practicable to meet the horizontal or vertical requirements of paragraphs
(d)(1), (2) or (3) of this section, platform or vehicle devices complying with
Section 1192.83(b) or platform or vehicle mounted ramps or bridge plates
complying with Section 1192.83(c) shall be provided.
Section 1192.75 Priority seating signs.
(a) Each vehicle 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) Where designated wheelchair or mobility aid seating locations are
provided, signs shall indicate the location and advise other passengers of the
need to permit wheelchair and mobility aid users to occupy them.
(c) Characters on signs required by paragraphs (a) or (b) of this
section 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 1192.77 Interior circulation, handrails and stanchions.
(a) Handrails and stanchions shall be sufficient to permit safe
boarding, on-board circulation, seating and standing assistance, and alighting
by persons with disabilities.
(b) At entrances equipped with steps, handrails and stanchions shall be
provided in the entrance to the vehicle in a configuration which allows
passengers to grasp such assists from outside the vehicle while starting to
board, and to continue using such handrails or stanchions throughout the
boarding process. Handrails 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. Where on-board fare collection devices are used, a
horizontal passenger assist shall be located between boarding passengers and
the fare collection device and shall prevent passengers from sustaining
injuries on the fare collection device or windshield in the event of a sudden
deceleration. Without restricting the vestibule space, the assist shall
provide support for a boarding passenger from the door through the boarding
procedure. Passengers shall be able to lean against the assist for security
while paying fares.
(c) At all doors on level-entry vehicles, and at each entrance
accessible by lift, ramp, bridge plate or other suitable means, handrails,
stanchions, passenger seats, vehicle driver seat platforms, and fare boxes, if
applicable, shall be located so as to allow a route at least 32 inches wide so
that at least two wheelchair or mobility aid users can enter the vehicle and
position the wheelchairs or mobility aids in areas, each having a minimum
clear space of 48 inches by 30 inches, which do not unduly restrict movement
of other passengers. Space to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility aids may be
provided within the normal area used by standees and designation of specific
spaces is not required. Particular attention shall be given to ensuring
maximum maneuverability immediately inside doors. Ample vertical stanchions
from ceiling to seat-back rails shall be provided. Vertical stanchions from
ceiling to floor shall not interfere with wheelchair or mobility aid
circulation and shall be kept to a minimum in the vicinity of accessible
Section 1192.79 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 1192.81 Lighting.
(a) Any stepwell or doorway with a lift, ramp or bridge plate
immediately adjacent to the driver shall have, when the door is open, at least
2 footcandles of illumination measured on the step tread or lift platform.
(b) Other stepwells, and doorways with lifts, ramps or bridge plates,
shall have, at all times, at least 2 footcandles of illumination measured on
the step tread or lift or ramp, when deployed at the vehicle floor level.
(c) The doorways of vehicles not operating at lighted station platforms
shall have outside lights which provide at least 1 footcandle of illumination
on the station platform or street surface for a distance of 3 feet
perpendicular to all points on the bottom step tread. Such lights shall be
located below window level and shielded to protect the eyes of entering and
Section 1192.83 Mobility aid accessibility.
(a)(1) General. All new light rail vehicles, other than level entry
vehicles, 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 and sufficient clearances to permit at
least two wheelchair or mobility aid users to reach areas, each with a minimum
clear floor space of 48 inches by 30 inches, which do not unduly restrict
passenger flow. Space to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility aids may be
provided within the normal area used by standees and designation of specific
spaces is not required.
(2) Exception. If lifts, ramps or bridge plates meeting the
requirements of this section are provided on station platforms or other stops,
or mini-high platforms complying with Section 1192.73(d) are provided, at
stations or stops required to be accessible by 49 CFR part 37, the vehicle is
not required to be equipped with a car-borne device. Where each new vehicle is
compatible with a single platform- mounted access system or device, additional
systems or devices are not required for each vehicle provided that the single
device could be used to provide access to each new vehicle if passengers using
wheelchairs or mobility aids could not be accommodated on a single vehicle.
(b) Vehicle 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 vehicle brakes, propulsion system, or door, or shall provide other
appropriate mechanisms or systems, to ensure that the vehicle 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 levels (i.e.,
ground, curb, and intermediate positions) 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 position.
(ii) Exception. Where physical or safety constraints prevent the
deployment at some stops of a lift having its long dimension perpendicular to
the vehicle axis, the transportation entity may specify a lift which is
designed to deploy with its long dimension parallel to the vehicle axis and
which pivots into or out of the vehicle 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 interlocks requirement
does not apply to a station platform mounted lift provided that a mechanical,
electrical or other system operates to ensure that vehicles do not move when
the lift is in use.
(3) Emergency operation. The lift shall incorporate an emergency method
of deploying, lowering to ground 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. Lift 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 vehicle until the lift is in its fully raised position.
Each side of the lift platform which extends beyond the vehicle in its raised
position shall have a barrier a minimum 1-1/2 inches high. Such barriers shall
not interfere with maneuvering into or out of the aisle. The loading-edge
barrier (outer barrier) which functions as a loading ramp when the lift is at
ground 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 is more than 3
inches above the station platform or roadway 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
vehicle floor height with the inner barrier (if applicable) down or retracted,
gaps between the forward lift platform edge and vehicle 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 measured on level ground, for
a maximum rise of 3 inches, and the transition from the station platform or
roadway 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. Handrails 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 vehicle.
(c) Vehicle 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, 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 roadway or station platform and
the transition from vehicle 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 vehicle devices
provided they meet the displacement requirements of paragraph (c)(6)(i) of
(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 vehicle 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 vehicle.
Section 1192.85 Between-car barriers
Where vehicles operate in a high-platform, level-boarding mode, 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.
Section 1192.87 Public information system.
(a) Each vehicle 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 permitted.