Information published on 4 August 2015 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 460.

United States: Amtrak station in Ann Arbor expands accessible boarding

  • News from UIC members

The Ann Arbor Amtrak station will offer a prototype retractable setback-shuttle platform that will provide safer and faster boarding on and off trains for all passengers including those who use a wheeled mobility device, seniors, and those who need assistance with luggage and strollers.

The platform mechanically extends toward the train, bridging the gap created when a level-boarding platform is needed. This next generation of passenger-focused technology will allow America’s Railroad® to deliver a modern passenger railroad that is accessible to all.

"Amtrak making its platforms more accessible is a great step in our efforts to improve inclusiveness and accessibility for people with disabilities, ultimately helping all Michiganders” Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said. “It’s great to see a Michigan company taking the lead and partnering with Amtrak to improve transportation options for everyone.”

Amtrak and RLE International of Madison Heights, Mich., developed this setback shuttle platform from concept, through the design process, to a prototype for installation at the Ann Arbor station. This prototype will remain in use for a two-year test on performance and then Amtrak plans to deploy at other stations.

“Amtrak’s willingness to invest in the disabled will serve as a benefit to all,” said Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein.

Amtrak’s goal is to provide safe, efficient and comfortable service to all, including providing additional amenities to those passengers who have a disability.

“Amtrak is proud to serve as an important mode of travel for people with disabilities and recognizes that accessibility improvements benefit all passengers by eliminating barriers to travel,” said Joe McHugh, Amtrak’s Senior Vice President/Chief Government Affairs & Corporate Communications.

Ridership at the Ann Arbor station for Fiscal Year 2014 was 144,120. Amtrak serves Michigan with three daily Wolverine Service round-trips on the Pontiac-Detroit-Ann ArborChicago route. Amtrak also operates the daily Blue Water (daily Port Huron-East LansingChicago) and the Pere Marquette (daily Grand Rapids-Chicago) corridor services.

“Level boarding type solutions benefit all passengers, not just those with disabilities,” said Richard Devylder, a former senior advisor for Accessible Transportation at the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Creating an accessible and inclusive environment is more than the law, but the right thing to do. The state of Michigan, Norfolk Southern and Amtrak have developed a solution that meets everyone’s needs, which must be implemented across the country.”

(Source: Amtrak)