How automated bus stop enforcement can improve accessibility for disabled people

Automated bus stop enforcement is a powerful and equitable solutions to this enormous problem

Hayden AI

July 26th marks the 34th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law has profoundly enhanced the lives of people with disabilities. While this is a huge step forward, more must be done to ensure that disabled people have equal access to opportunity.

Improving access to transportation, for example, is crucial. Older adults and individuals with disabilities disproportionately rely on public transit, yet too often they face unnecessary obstacles and dangers when boarding or exiting transit buses.

The major culprit is illegally parked cars obstructing bus stops and curb cuts. These parking violations make it difficult — and sometimes impossible — for those in wheelchairs to board or exit buses, as the bus operator cannot safely deploy the ADA ramp.

Bus transit systems use kneeling bus mechanisms or other low-floor designs for an important reason – to provide safe access for riders with a minimal height difference between the curb and the bus entry or exit. Obstructed bus stops can negate these systems and make boarding and exiting unsafe. It is a serious problem that cannot be ignored.

But bus stops are frequently blocked by illegally parked cars. One recent survey of 2,900 bus stops in San Francisco found that approximately "one-third of all stops are obstructed by on-street parking, rendering them difficult to use and exposing riders to oncoming traffic."

Automated bus lane and bus stop enforcement are powerful and equitable solutions to this enormous problem. In a 2022 report, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) advocated for cameras as an equitable, sustainable, and effective method of enforcing dedicated bus lanes.

Fortunately, several regions across the U.S. are taking action to protect access to bus stops. Recently, the California legislature passed A.B. 917, allowing transit agencies to install cameras on buses to detect illegally parked vehicles at bus stops and in bus lanes. Following review by the local parking authority, these evidence packages of illegal parking can be used to issue tickets to violating drivers.

As other camera-enforcement programs across the country have proven, such programs are very successful at changing driver behavior. In fact, following its deployment of automated bus lane enforcement, the New York MTA has reported that only 14% of drivers receive more than one ticket for parking in bus lanes.

The United States has made significant strides in the 33 years since the enactment of the ADA, but much work remains. The technology now exists to help transit agencies ensure that older and disabled riders can safely and accessibly board and exit at all bus stops. As Hayden AI celebrates the anniversary of the ADA, we look forward to helping more transit agencies improve service for disabled people.

About Hayden AI

Hayden AI is a global leader in artificial intelligence and geospatial analytics. Led by a team of experts in AI, computer vision, data science, transportation, and government technology, Hayden is building the future of real world problem solving for governments and businesses.

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