Since 2011, Amtrak has seen $770 million invested in its Advance Accessibility Projects in a bid to upgrade and improve its network, supporting greater connectivity and travel experience for passengers with disabilities. The projects have seen:
- Repair work completed
- Upgrades to platforms
- Ramps and sidewalks added
- Entrances altered
- Toilets renovated
At stations, the projects have seen improvements made, including parking, inside station buildings and also on platforms in order to bring them up to standard as part of the significant long-term multi-billion dollar design and construction programme.
So far, 117 stations have seen work completed making them compliant whilst a further 67 stations have now become accessible featuring assistive boarding equipment which supports those with reduced mobility to board and alight.
Amtrak is also introducing new Acela and Amtrak Airo trains, which will provide real-time information systems for passengers including train location, train speed, and announcements in both audio and visual formats. The new trains also benefit customers with spacious and accessible toilets, vestibules and Cafe Cars alongside integrated boarding equipment.
The corporation’s existing fleet has also undergone accessibility improvements, including the addition of handrails in Superliners accessible bedrooms, stair handrails, folding tray tables and accessible seating areas.
The trains also feature slip-resistant vestibule flooring, and compliant service counters in its Cafe Cars, which support the Amtrack Americans with Disabilities Act Stations Programme which aims to bring full access for passengers with disabilities to the rail network.
This financial year will see 39 further stations take part in the project with an investment of $140 million with the vast programme of accessibility improvements set to be fully completed by 2029.
Amtrak President Roger Harris said: “These investments benefit all of our customers by improving the travel experience at every aspect of the journey from trip planning, to purchasing tickets, to using our stations, trains and services,”
“The execution of work depends on the strong collaboration and shared commitment from the community, the Department of Transportation, local governments, freight railroads and other partners.”
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said: “As author of the All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) Act, a historic bill that was included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I’m proud that Amtrak is showing its commitment to making passenger rail accessible for everyone, all while creating jobs and bringing investment to Illinois,”
“Today’s announcement gets us closer to a nation where Americans of all ability statuses can safely and confidently enjoy public transit.”
Source : Railadvent