Policies & Guidelines

Transit Bus Stop Accessibility Criteria & Guidelines

The Transit Bus Stop Accessibility Criteria & Guidelines (PDF,  1.1 MB) were developed to verify if a transit bus stop is accessible or not. The criteria and guidelines should be used as a reference when designing:

  • New roads
  • Bus stops
  • Reconstruction of roads
  • New developments

Considerations in the development of the guidelines

The following were considered in the development of the guidelines:

  • The requirements for persons with disabilities
  • Dimensional and operational features of the current HSR fleet of buses

The criteria may be considered as the minimum requirements for the Bus Stop Landing Pad. They do not include areas or facilities beyond the bus stop landing pad. Since the features and elements of a bus stop have to be designed to suit individual locations with several other considerations and standards, this criteria may not be complete in all respects. Under such situations the user should refer to other requirements, existing conditions and limitations. Exercise your best judgement in preparing a final design for a specific location.

Bus Stop Accessibility Guidelines

For a bus stops to be accessible, it must have a raised landing pad connected to the sidewalk. Without a raised landing pad, the slope of the bus ramp would be too high for mobility device users. Because curbs and sidewalks are generally provided in urban settings only, most rural bus stops are not accessible.

The types of transit buses currently in use in the City were considered to determine the minimum length and depth of the landing pad. The longest bus ramp extends to a length of 1.5 metres onto the landing pad when deployed. In order for a mobility device user to comfortably manoeuvre onto and off of the ramp, the landing pad must be at least 2.5 metres deep, as measured from the face of the curb. Where the landing pad abuts a sidewalk, the sidewalk width can be included to achieve a 2.5 metre landing pad depth. Ramps are located at the front and middle doors of buses. In order to span both sets of doors, the landing pad must be at least 9 metres long. For stops on routes using articulated buses, a 15 metre long landing pad is desirable, in order to provide a hard even surface for passengers alighting from the rear door. Within the landing pad a clear space of one and a half metre 1.5 metre wide by two and a half metre 2.5 metre deep area is required for ramp deployment and loading/unloading purpose (refer to the layout drawings).

To allow a mobility device user to travel between the loading area and the sidewalk, a hard even-surface pathway with a 1.5 metre clearway is required. The sidewalk itself should also be accessible, as defined in Ontario Reg. 191/11.

There should not be any obstructions for any user on the paths between the deployment/loading area, shelter, sidewalk and other passenger amenities.

Where appropriate, curb cuts should be provided to enable mobility device users to cross the road. In order for curb cuts to be useable for a mobility device, they must have a width of at least 80 centimetres and be provided on both sides of the roadway.

Cross slope, also known as crossfall, is the slope perpendicular to the direction of travel. For any paved surface the design practice is to provide a slope for drainage purposes. For a mobility device user to negotiate the path, the slope for the landing pad should not exceed 2%. City of Hamilton site plan guidelines also specify a maximum 2% cross slope for
sidewalks and boulevards.

Where a steep slope, ditch or any other hazardous condition abuts the landing pad or sidewalk, a physical barrier such as a hand rail, fence or barrier wall should be constructed to protect all users.

Where bus shelters are located away from the landing pad, they must be connected to it by a hard, even-surface pathway with a minimum clearway width of 1.5 metres. Standard practice is to provide a paved concrete pathway.

To ensure the safety of all users, vertical obstructions should be avoided below an elevation of 2.1 metres. Where obstructions cannot be removed or adjusted, they should be clearly marked (for example, a yellow sheath on a utility guy wire). Common vertical obstructions include guy wires, tree limbs, advertisement boards and utility wires.

To ensure that the transit stop is entirely accessible, service contracts entered into for the operation, maintenance and retrofitting works should require AODA-compliant design and construction. This would include the design, installation, location, and maintenance of the pathways and amenities within the bus stop area.