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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Increasing Access to Rail Stations for Travelers with Disabilities

Friday, July 15, 2022
A new sidewalk with accessibility features in Rocklin, CA
Updated accessible walkway at Rocklin, CA. (U.S. DOT Volpe Center)

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that stations in the intercity rail transportation system be made readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Amtrak’s network of over 500 stations in 46 states—in addition to the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces—plays an important role in the national transportation network by providing travelers with a safe, efficient, and reliable alternative to highway and airline travel.

In 2009, Amtrak initiated the ADA Stations Program to make its stations ADA compliant and accessible. In coordination with FRA, Amtrak developed a list of ADA priorities and work required to bring stations with accessibility deficiencies into compliance. The overall strategy is to advance station accommodations through survey, assessment, design, and construction phases. Where Amtrak has responsibility, they perform an assessment to identify the specific ADA deficiencies, then design and implement appropriate remediation measures

From 2009 to the end of April 2022, Amtrak has installed 192 station based mobile lifts, constructed new low level platforms with compliant detectable warnings at 81 stations, constructed new level boarding platforms with compliant detectable warnings at three stations, installed new detectable warnings on existing platforms at an additional 38 stations, made accessible parking improvements at 164 stations, made accessible restroom improvements at 79 stations, installed accessible station signage at 239 stations, installed Passenger Information Display Systems (PIDS) at 54 stations, and made numerous other ADA improvements at stations across the country. Stations where Amtrak has legal responsibility will be ADA compliant upon program completion.

Through the end of April 2022, 90 stations have been made fully compliant for all the elements under Amtrak’s responsibility, with another 72 stations complete for all elements except the platform.

The U.S. DOT Volpe Center has supported FRA’s ADA Stations Program by conducting design reviews of the completed construction plans and conducting site assessments at completed Amtrak stations. These assessments provide FRA with a valuable resource to certify that all the work completed at Amtrak stations will meet ADA requirements.

By progressing toward the removal of ADA barriers and making each station accessible, FRA and Amtrak are ensuring everyone will be able to access these public resources.

About the U.S. DOT Volpe Center

Celebrating more than 50 years of federal service to the nation, the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s mission is to transform transportation for all.

We’re Hiring: Learn more about our our open job opportunities, our commitment to equity, and what it’s like to work at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center.