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Public Transportation - Accessibility for All

Final Report Summary - PUBTRANS4ALL (Public Transportation - Accessibility for All)

Executive summary:

project Summary

the Research and Development (R&D)-project "Public Transportation – Accessibility for All" (PUBTRANS4All) is funded under the European Community's 7th Framework Programme and the aim of this project is to develop of a prototype vehicle-based boarding assistance system (BAS) that can be built into new rail wagons or retrofitted into existing rail wagons to improve accessibility for all persons. Accessibility for rail wagons is particularly problematic since rail wagons have a long service life (30 to 40 years or longer) and so many currently inaccessible wagons will remain in service well into the future. Therefore PUBTRANS4All will help make existing public transport systems more accessible, improving service for everyone – not only for handicapped people but also for people with huge luggage, parents with baby carriages or elderly.

the PUBTRANS4All project's objective is to develop a prototype of a standard boarding assistance system that can be used for, in Europe very frequently occurring UIC wagons. As one part of the project, the consortium surveyed state of the art accessibility devices and made recommendations for best practices of use and operation of these existing devices.

project Context and Objectives:

project objectives for the period

PUBTRANS4All developed a prototype vehicle-based boarding assistance system that can be built into new rail vehicles or retrofitted into existing UIC wagons to improve accessibility for all persons. Accessibility for rail vehicles is particularly problematic since rail vehicles have a long service life and so many currently inaccessible vehicles will remain in service well into the future. The project PUBTRANS4All will help make existing public transport systems more accessible, improving service for everyone.

the PUBTRANS4All project's objective was to develop a standard boarding assistance system that can be used on many different types of rolling stock and infrastructures. The boarding assistance system should not simply be a device, but rather include contributing elements that make it possible to effectively use the device to access rail vehicles. The prototype was developed by a multi-disciplinary consortium including users, public transport operators, academic researchers and manufacturers.

as part of the process of developing the prototype boarding assistance system, the project surveyed state of the art accessibility devices and made recommendations for best practices in the use and operation of these existing devices. The project has included an extensive dissemination program designed to communicate study results widely, but also to help inform the general public and decision-makers about the importance and challenges in providing accessibility for all.

the PUBTRANS4All project is completed by a well balanced and geographically diverse consortium. Especially beneficial is the participation of several Eastern European partners – since accessibility is not sufficiently recognized as a problem in many of these countries.

accessibility for all is critical to creating an equitable, effective and efficient transport system.

the project PUBTRANS4All will help build a fully accessible rail network
the PUBTRANS4All project focuses on the process of boarding and alighting rail vehicles because boarding and alighting pose a significant burden for people with reduced mobility whether they are handicapped, elderly, travelling with a baby carriage or many other situations. Currently many people with reduced mobility (PRM) cannot or choose not to use public transport because of boarding/alighting difficulties. By improving rail vehicle accessibility, the PUBTRANS4All project should help increase the use of public transport, thereby contributing to the development of a more sustainable and energy efficient transport system.

hereafter the project objectives are listed like they where formulated at project beginning:

1. Survey existing practices for the use of vehicle and platform based boarding assistance systems (BAS) and develop best practice recommendations for their design and use.
2. Develop a prototype for a standard BAS that can be retrofitted into all types of existing rail vehicles or installed on all types of platforms. Note that current research supports development of a standardized vehicle-based BAS; however the consortium has assessed the potential for a platform–based BAS as well.
3. Disseminate information about the project findings and recommendations widely.

the following summarizes how success will be measured and verified:

project Objective 1:
survey existing BAS practices and develop best practices
measures of Completion: Submission of project deliverables D2.1 (BAS Evaluation Criteria), D2.2 (BAS Evaluation Matrix), and D3.1 (Recommendations for Improved BAS) to EC
expected Completion: Month 16

project Objective 2:
develop prototype BAS and perform field test
measures of Completion: Submission of deliverables D4.1 (Conceptual Design Recommendations), D4.2 (Prototype Design Report), D4.3 (Prototype Building and Installation Report), D4.4 (BAS Design and Evaluation Report) to EC.
expected Completion: Month 32

project Objective 3:
disseminate information about project findings and recommendations widely
measures of Completion: Website on-line and usable; Project newsletters (3) prepared and distributed; Submission of project deliverable D 1.4 (Final Report) to EC
expected Completion: Website: Month 5; Newsletters: Months: 5, 16, 34; Final Report: Month 39

project Results:

the Main Science and Technology (S&T) Results of PUBTRANS4All – Public Transportation – Accessibility for All

1. Existing conditions: boarding assistance systems in public transport

1.1. Evaluation criteria
the survey is clearly showing, that there is a demand for a BAS that needs to be useable by everybody. Wheelchair users for example need a BAS for facilitating their boarding process one hand, for other user groups amongst persons with reduced mobility it is crucial to handle a BAS that is easy and simple to use on the other hand in order to improving the accessibility situation in general.

for the great majority of "other users" there is a demand for a BAS in combination with luggage enabling level boarding, or only having one remaining stair to overcome. Also travellers with luggage would benefit from such a BAS in order to facilitating their boarding situation, as well operators would profit sustainably from it in terms of their service quality. Besides customer satisfaction, as well the dwell times at the station can be reduced if accessibility has been improved.

1.2. Description of boarding assistance systems
in order to provide a barrier-free scenario, technical aids are used in the railway sector as well as in all other areas of transportation, and also within in daily-life. Relevant aids for the PUBTRANS4All area all devices that are applied in the railway sector and all other areas if adaptable for railway appliance.

the large number of various systems amongst the train-sector shows the need for a standardised solution. Many specific solutions which need a high amount of development-efforts are very costly. A standardised solution offers secured planning for both manufacturer and operator.

1.3. Boarding assistance systems evaluation
in order to provide a barrier-free scenario, technical aids are used in the railway sector as well as in all other areas of transportation, and also within in daily-life. Relevant aids for the PUBTRANS4All area all devices that are applied in the railway sector and all other areas if adaptable for railway appliance.

the large number of various systems amongst the train-sector shows the need for a standardised solution. Many specific solutions which need a high amount of development-efforts are very costly. A standardised solution offers secured planning for both manufacturer and operator.

in railway transportation there are two main-categories of devices that manage to overcome vertical barriers. Those solutions are ramps and lifts, both applied as platform- and vehicle-based solutions. Both systems are available in a variety of designs.

ramps operate automatically or are manually applied, depending on their length, and offer the advantage that they can be used by all passengers, and mean an improvement for the boarding and alighting process on trains for most passenger groups, in particular PRMs.

if the maximum tilt along the longitudinal axis is given, wheelchair-occupants, walking-impaired, people with luggage, and persons with prams can use a ramp. There is no logic hurdle that prevents passenger groups from its usage.

most countries use ramps to manage small differences in height and to bridge gaps between the train and platform. There are also versions available which manage higher vertical distances and are used accordingly. Due to their nature of a considerable length, difficulties in regards to space on the platform are being faced.

ramps are used for wheelchair-occupants only in many countries. The UK for example shows that it can be used by all groups of passengers and are quite welcome by the customers. Ramps are often applied for the use of all passengers - that includes people with luggage, prams and walking-disabilities.

lifting devices are either permanently integrated into the vehicle, or permanently integrated into the vehicle, otherwise they are platform based. Usually their design is more complicated, hence more expensive, and subject to a higher failure-quota as compared to ramps.

favoured systems in general are solutions that operate fully automatic, or are operated by the users themselves. Both operators and users are satisfied with lift-solutions. A potential hazard is vandalism and misuse of course, which is a fact that needs to be considered in this connection.

2. Recommendations for improving PT boarding assistance systems

2.1. Short term recommendations based on best practise evaluation
providing accessible rail transport to all passengers is nowadays a must. This is because of different national and European regulations but also because of ethical questions. That means every person must be able to use a public means of transportation. In light of this, the entrance to railway vehicles and the whole boarding process is a big challenge and causes huge difficulties. In order to be able to provide accessible boarding to all passengers, the consortium tried to define the biggest gaps that must be closed. For mid and long term thinking the results can be summarized as follows: Because level boarding is in the process of being or will be offered soon for all types of local, urban and suburban traffic; no systems are required. At this point, only horizontal gaps need to be bridged. Therefore, enough technical solutions already exist. In the rare case that level boarding is not possible, existing technical solutions can be used. For all high floor vehicles with an entrance door width of at least 90cm, enough technical solutions such as different lifts exist. A new development is neither meaningful nor necessary.

the intensive investigations of the consortium led to the result that for the huge number of UIC-wagons which are running and will be running within the next decades all over Europe no vehicle based BAS yet exists. There are too many design limitations. Due to the fact that UIC-wagons will still form the backbone in many European railway networks within the next decades; it is absolutely necessary to develop a BAS for this operation. Due to the different limitations resulting from the vehicle construction, it is also necessary to make several compromises. But the developed compromise allows about 99% of all actual wheel chair users to board a UIC-coach. In combination with a good personnel service at the entrance, which is also recommended in this project, the UIC wagons can also become accessible for nearly all passengers.

2.2. Prototype boarding system recommendations
this deliverable contains the results of the preliminary design process for a new boarding assistance system that should be used by nearly all people with reduced mobility. As shown all concepts presented in the beginning of the project were not applicable due to various reasons so that the only current solution for the BAS is based on the well-known swivel lift concept that has already been installed in railway vehicles. One of the main innovations of the new BAS prototype is the ability to retrofit based on the optimisation (see 4.7) of the dimensions and the weight of the whole system and to automate the operation of the system where it is reasonable.

furthermore all main requirements that are standard in the railway industry have been briefly explained (see 5.1 ff) to keep them in mind during the specification and development of the new boarding assistance system. They will be supplemented by the topics that derived from the deliverables 3.1 and 2.1.

in the next phase of the project the PDG will start with the specification of the BAS following intensive feasibility tests with BDZ to verify the mechanical and electrical interfaces of the lift. In month 28 (January 2012) MBB Palfinger will deliver the prototype to Bombardier Hennigsdorf where it will be installed in a mock-up or an UIC coach. The prototype after evaluation will be presented at the InnoTrans 2012 and other exhibitions.

this deliverable contains the results of the development for a new boarding assistance system prototype. The details of the BAS in respect to its operation and its components are explained. This project shows the importance of the information in respect to BAS solution which depends on the special requirements of the entrance area as "all trains have differing widths, heights or shapes depending on the vehicle type"2. Due to the new requirements and collisions further investigations have to be made in respect to the design as well as to the necessary material, which will influence the project. Furthermore, the mock-up, where the prototype will be installed for testing might have to be adapted accordingly. The challenge is that BAS prototype will fit in the UIC wagon we saw in Sofia and to find a final and mutual solution for the presentation at the InnoTrans 2012 and other exhibitions.

3. Improved PT vehicle-based boarding assistance system prototype

3.1. Evaluation of PT vehicle-based boarding assistance systems ideas
at the beginning of the project the consortium consciously set the bar very high in order to get the best possible results. The primary defined goal of the project was to find a technical solution to provide accessibility to all passengers in all boarding situations. To get innovative and complete new ideas also a student competition was initiated. The consortium believed that students don't have the detailed knowledge about railway vehicles and therefor they are more independent in their thoughts. Experts usually have a tunnel vision because they think too much about reasons why something cannot work.

after a long research and discussion process, also including the excellent ideas form the competition the consortium concluded that many restrictions are necessary and the all-in-one solution is not possible. At this point it must not be forgotten that the PUBTRANS4All project is a research project which also has the goal to demonstrate what is possible and what not!

in the first step the different railway systems whole over Europe - now and future plans – have been analyzed in order to identify the biggest gaps. For all local systems (including busses, tramways, metros, urban and suburban railway traffic) a new developed BAS is neither necessary nor meaningful. All these systems can be seen as so called "closed systems". Here the operators provide vehicles that correspondent with the existing platform height which means level boarding is provided. If level boarding is not provided yet then operators plan to adapt the platforms and/or their vehicles. Local traffic operators in general don't want to use technical devices (BAS) because of operational time reasons.

level boarding is in general the best solution for travelers and for operators. It is the only situation which really offers accessibility to all passengers. Furthermore the passenger flow in the station can be speed up which means a shorter dwell time and therefor advantages for operators.

to offer level boarding it is necessary that the platform and the vehicle floor height go in common and the remaining horizontal gap between vehicle and platform is bridged. For that many technical solutions already exist.

for all situations where level boarding is not possible already different approved technical solutions like ramps or lifts exist.

compared to the local traffic systems high speed, long distance and international railway traffic will not be able to offer level boarding. This is in consequence of following two main reasons: Because of static reasons high speed trains need a higher floor. The lowest floor height in high speed trains is offered in Talgo-trains (760mm). All other vehicles have got higher floor height.

the second reason is that in the TSI two different platform heights are defined as European standard (550mm and 760mm). That means also for the next decades all international trains need to stop at both levels!

furthermore the investigation has shown that actually and also within the next decades a huge number of high floor vehicles will run in European countries in long distance traffic. Due to the long life cycle of railway vehicles they can't be changed in a short or medium term.

so the decision was to develop a BAS for all types of high floor vehicles. In general there are four possibilities – ramps or lifts, platform or vehicle based.

the operators' surveys clearly show that operators either plan to provide level boarding in the future or – everywhere they cannot – they strongly wish to have vehicle based systems. Two reasons can be identified for that wish: Firstly operators want to be independent from the infrastructure and what to offer the possibility of accessible boarding everywhere. Secondly it is very difficult to provide a platform based device at all (!) platforms in a railway network.

in order to provide accessibility to all passengers ramps seem to be the only possibility because lifts cause a big bottle neck if every passenger at one door should use it. But here the big problem is that it was not possible to find a technical solution for installing a ramp system into existing vehicles. Furthermore ramps must be very long when they will be used for high floor vehicles.

because of the impossibility to find any technical solution for rams in existing high floor vehicles the decision was to focus on lift systems for existing high floor vehicles. For the next steps of development two decisions have been necessary: Who will be the user and which vehicles are relevant.

the investigations show that for all types of high floor trains with an entrance door with of at least 90cm already different lift systems exist. It is not meaningful to develop another system because the existing systems work well enough, what the passenger and operator surveys have shown.

but there is one very big group of high floor railway vehicles in Europe, the so called UIC-wagons. This is a unique type of vehicles running in many European countries also for some more decades. In many countries the UIC-wagons form the backbone of the long distance railway traffic, especially in eastern European countries. But due to many construction limitations described in previous deliverables no technical solution has yet been developed. Therefor the consortium came to the decision that the most important step to offer accessibility to all is to focus on UIC-coaches!

A lift system under very limited frame condition means many restrictions and compromises. By regarding the user requirements wheelchair user are the only passengers for whom a technical solution is an absolute must. For many other groups it would be very nice to have some technical devices, but if there is no chance than other solutions are acceptable. As other solutions special services at the entrance door are recommended within this project. There already exist good examples in different European countries which can be advanced.

at the end of the decision process it came out, that the most important case is to develop a vehicle based BAS for UIC-coaches. Since there are many restrictions because of the vehicle design, also for this situation it has been necessary to define some "compromise solutions" regarding to the construction. All recommendations for a vehicle based BAS for UIC-coaches are shown in the previews chapter "Detailed technical requirements for a BAS for UIC wagons".

3.1. Design of PT vehicle-based boarding assistance system
the consortium decided to focus on a BAS that can be implemented into UIC wagons. Therefor at this point all technical requirements that have been identified especially for the implementation into UIC wagons will be described in detail. This information is based on the work in Deliverable 3.1.

3.2. Evaluation of PT vehicle-based boarding assistance system prototype
the following chapters are showing all relevant parameters discussed in deliverable 2.1 the „must haves" and the „nice to haves". Three main criteria had been identified (features rated as not important, are not shown here in). The evaluation criteria catalogue is a summary of all relevant parameters, criteria and frames that must be considered by the prototype of the new BAS and how far these requirements are met.

the assessment for the importance of the different criteria was performed by the following scheme:
1 Very important („must have")
2+ important („nice to have" – high customer and operator value)
2 Important („nice to have"– high customer value, BAS not necessarily needed, but a BAS is very welcome!
3 Merely important („nice to have" – customer and operator´s value, but not necessarily needed)
score 2+ is a special evaluation of user groups, it means a BAS is not a must, but would mean a large improvement on the current situation.

the useabilities for each criteria of the new device are listed bellow, based on the criteria as described in Deliverable 2.2. In addition the feasibility of installation is assessed. Detailed information in regards to their adaptability for railways and feasible installations is described in deliverable 3.1.

the assessment for the useability of the prototype was performed by the following scheme:

1 ……. Very good usability
2 ……. Good useability
3 ……. Merely usable
4 ……. Not useable
1!, 2! …used in real life for applicable user-group

in theory the BAS prototype is usable for all passenger groups, in real-life it will be mainly used by wheelchair-occupants only though. The exact evaluation and rating of which groups can use the BAS or not will be done after the prototype test.

the following criteria summarize the requirements a BAS must fulfil from the operators' point of view.

- Reliability of BAS
the BAS must work reliably, and in case of malfunction it must not influence the passenger-flow. In case of failure it must be ready to be operated manually. Since the BAS shall be a standardized solution for whole Europe it needs to be assured that the BAS is working under all (extreme) weather conditions such as snow, ice, gravel, heat, dust, water, and rain only to mention a few
- Operational quality
the BAS should be operable independently and automatically. But the customer also except operating through train personnel due to legal reasons (putting somebody at risk!)
- Costs
the BAS needs to be almost 100% reliable, and work as well in case of a malfunction not leading to a failure of the train, and to operate and use the BAS successfully. Low life-cycle cost and a long life cycle are also required. All costs for the required personnel and general costs (material etc.) for manufacturing, implementation and operation is valuated as "very important". Only the effort for special personnel and special tools for maintenance is valuated as "important".
- Manufacturing cost / installation
to produce at low cost the system must be standardized which means it needs to fit in all the different vehicle and it needs to be able to be re-equipped and refurbished. Interference with static need and conversion work on the vehicle shall be reduced to a minimum in order to keep the stability around this vehicle area, transfer pressure, loads and pulling-forces to a minimum, and to keep the stiffness of the shell in order to keep comfort and crashworthiness.
- Safety risk and warning devices
the BAS has an influence on the homologation process of the vehicle. In order not to endanger passengers, only trained personnel shall operate the BAS to provide a safe operation for the customer. The BAS must fulfill all relevant safety criteria, especially if the system should work automatically. E.g. fall protections, emergency stop, optical and acoustical safety features are "must haves". A surveillance system shall contribute to the safe operation, using an integrated, advanced sensor system. Sonic and visual alarms need to avoid complications.
- Environmental – friendly
- Design / aesthetics

in general aesthetic is rated merely important, based on the customers' request there should be more focus on this subject though. The visibility of the BAS is scoring high though.

3.3. Evaluation of tests on Mock-Up
due to the technical constraints given by a standard UIC wagons the BAS will be installed into, these restrictive constraints do have a major impact on the lift-design. A number of challenges had been discovered regarding the installation process, therefore a number of constructional solutions needed to be developed.

the proceedings had been made as follows:

- Checking potential collision scenarios of the BAS and the wagon interior (Virtual Reality Room, Siemens AG Austria, Vienna)
- development and building of a test mock-up
- testing of the BAS I practice on the test mock-up

during the fourth Prototype Development Group (PDG) meeting the findings of the study regarding the installation process have been tested within the Virtual Reality simulation at Siemens Vienna. General technical questions such as constructional constraint and potential collisions of the BAS and the wagon-interior of these could be analysed in detail that way.

originally the BAS prototype should have been installed into the EUPAX-Model according to the Description of Work (DoW). The installation would have meant that the Eupax model would have been destroyed in the course of the conversions that would have been required. Therefor the consortia decided to design and build a new mock-up. This task was performed by Bombardier and further project-partners.

the mock-up's primary function is to proof the of the BAS' ability to perform all requires functions, including the loading capacities. The turning circle for wheelchairs according to the current requiremnts of the TSI PRM, also in revised TSI PRM, to be released 2014, was anticipated in the mock-up design, which was based on the entrance area of the Bulgarian UIC wagon. The door width and walls are flexible In order to make the mock-up useable for other applications.

the wish of a performable evacuation of a walking impaired person outside train stations in case of an emergency was originally anticipated. Due to engineering limits performing a successful alighting operation of the BAS on open track without platforms, and space limits in a tunnel, the idea had been withdrawn.

A cylinder performing a maximum lifting capacity of 1150mm enables a floor-to-ground operation of 1100mm, and applying the BAS at station platforms starting 160mm above track surface, which makes an emergency evacuation in between stations easier and more realistic.

A compact design in stored position is crucial in order to enable the wheelchair occupant to access the inside area of these , and deliver the required minimum width wall-to-wall width, (which is 800mm according to the current TSI PRM).

also it was considered that the BAS should be able to be used by standing persons (assistants) on floor level when entering or alighting from the platform, requiring sufficient clear height at the door-entrance.

3.4. Installation Requirements Evaluation
A number of adaptions of existing UIC wagons are inevitable when re-fitting a coach with a BAS as mentioned in D 3.1. Each wagon requires its own specific installation plan, as UIC wagons are designed differently in general.

the following key items need to be taken into consideration
- Accurate analysis of the available space next to the door entrance, left or right depending on the side of entrance to the wagon, clear width of the passage (wall-to-wall) for wheelchair-occupants when the lift is in store-position, as well as the clear area required for the swivel-operation of the BAS, and the required adaptions of the construction.
- Replacement of the mechanic connection between the door-opener and folding-step performed by pneumatic, electric or hydraulic power, including the anti-trap protection required by law
- Connecting Door-operator and the power-on function of the BAS
- Defining the lift anchorage/mounting positions, including the assessment of the local strength and stability
- Influence on the wagons breaking system (prevention of train movements while operating the BAS)
- Required homologation of the BAS installation (re-fitting the vehicle with a technical appliance) and re-certification of the vehicle

first the front-wall of the BDZ wagon was moved by 45mm in order to prevent a collision of the BAS during operation (swiveling-out movement). The existing double-wall between the corridor and toilet was removed in order to provide sufficient space for the wheelchair-occupant when passing through.

in order to provide sufficient space for the BAS operation, the mechanical drive-shaft was replaced by a pneumatic drive. The function of the long, regular anti-trap spring integrated into the shaft, was replaced by a torsion spring within the folding-step. A valve is controlling the pneumatic cylinder, which is operated by a door-switch.

according to the manufacturers installation guidelines, the mounting brackets for the BAS have been welded to the wagons structure. A local re-enforcement has been made and validated by a mechanical strength calculation.

the experiences regarding the installation procedure showed that the required work-hours were acceptable. Time and cost for installation incl. hardware needs to be calculated for 2 lifts (mirror version of the BAS at the opposite entrance). The installation should be performed by a well equipped workshop for trains, in order to execute the installation within the required installation tolerances.

this chapter covers the challenges which occurred during the installation and tests, providing potential proposals for improvement.

during lift installation the spare part of the slewing column got into contact with the door-lock mechanism. As the door-lock was not anticipated during the mock-up installation, this problem reminded undiscovered until the actual installation of the BAS. Luckily a part of the locking mechanism could be removed. In order to avoid that problem, the round end of the slewing column needs to be 100mm shorter, as marked in red colour.

the release handle was positioned to far up, and was covered within the slewing column and the door-lock. The handle was re-welded in a position 100mm further down, and the release wire was shortened accordingly.

releasing the BAS in swivel-out position has only been possible by applying maximum physical strength, the problem became worse in the course of operating the BAS over and over again.

it seems that he axis for the fixation-hole of the axis of the slewing columns' pin were not parallel. A conical form of the pin is advisable.

also the detention-whole turned out not to be covered, being subject to dust and dirt which can potentially lead to an increased coefficient of kinetic friction. This problem can be overcome by welding on a cover.

the locking knob for locking the BAS in stow-position unscrewed itself during operation during tests carried out in Bulgaria and at the Innotrans show in Berlin 2012 - a protection avoiding this scenario is inevitable.

the swivel-in operation requires a manual handle, leaving limited space for fort he hand at the wagon, as on the first day of the mock-up test, the door had not been built into it, hence the problem was not visible.

it is advisable to use a bent handle facing to the wagon-end which is not deeply positioned between the collapsed platform and the actual door.

based on the limited space for a manual lever restricting actual net-deflection the manual pumping operation of the hydraulic cylinder, it is advisable to use a long, cranked handle, to limit the time required for a full ground-to-floor manual operation to a minimum, by making use of the full available deflection.

the shoes of the manual release levers for the mechanical roll-stop are too low, they need to be positioned higher up, and/or longer shoes are advisable in order to manually release the roll-stop, as they need to touch the ground (platform) as first part of the platform and so that the roll-stop, which is also a boarding and alighting aid for the wheelchair, is positioned 20mm above ground.

more often than not the roll-stop remained in open position after leaving ground-level during demonstration at the InnoTrans show 2012. That specific safety-feature is crucial. The malfunction might have several reasons.

specifically the correct type of (a durable) spring and the load applied is a classic source for a malfunction as described above amongst passenger lift-manufacturers.

when boarding or alighting the platform sideways, the collapsible outboard-barrier serves as a short ramp, which is indeed too short to fulfil this function correctly and safely in longitudinal and lateral direction. This problem is evident on irregular platform surfaces. The outboard barriers' height should be doubled in order to perform as required. Also the roll-stop height should be lengthened, also to dampen the boarding and alighting process for wheelchair occupants.

retention plates of sufficient strength (and thickness) need to be applied, as well as effectively mounted screws in order to guarantee a trouble free operation (and maintenance).

the BAS covers consists of two parts, left and right. First the right side is to be released und unlocked with a key by unfolding the cover, then the left hand cover is opened by pulling on the handle. If the operation is performed incorrectly, the covers are subject to deformation and prevents the covers to fully close again.

proposals:
both covers should lock automatically by pushing against them, which is now only the case for one of the covers. The release function should be applied from one point only and activate both covers (e.g. via a cable).
if needed, the back-side of the bridge plate could be used as a gap-bridging for comfort providing facilitated access for all, equipped with a slip-resistant surface, as proposed by Siemens Austria (Mr. Wieder).

4. Evaluation of PT during the tests in Bulgaria

in August 2012 a test ride and operation of the BAS prototype was conducted in Bulgaria in order to test the BAS extensively under real-life conditions.

A number of various platform types and different infrastructures were available along the train-stations of the test ride. This included different platform-heights, platforms positioned in a curve radius including and excluding super-elevation, platforms inside and outside the curve radius, and a variety of platform gradients and surfaces.

10 stations and 20 different boarding and alighting situations had been tested as described below:
- Curve radient 275 m
- super elevation of tracks max. 145 mm
- platform heights 110 mm-800 mm
- platform width mind. 1,12 m
- platform gradient 1-7 %

the test train consisted of a locomotion and one UIC wagon only with the re-fitted BAS prototype, the interior had not been adapted then so the wagon was not usable for regular passenger transport.

both wheelchair users testing the BAS are used to travel throughout Europe by train and do therefore have specific experience and know-how. The BAS could be assessed by the experienced users' point of view.

the BAS was operated by BDZ personnel that had been present during the first tests in Bremen in May 2012 and therefore used to the operation of the BAS. During the course of the test ride a learning by doing effect was apparent, as the required time for a full operation decreased continuously.

A full boarding and alighting process for a wheelchair occupant while using the BAS takes approx. 3mins each when performed at a platform height of 110mm. After getting used to the operation, a full circle took 2mins30s only. The full operation-cycle includes the complete manipulation of the BAS from stow-to-stow position. The lower the platform, the shorter the operation cycle.

the tests which had been carried out have clearly shown that it is applicable for re-fitting UIC wagons. The BAS was designed for this type of application, which could be applied within other types of high-floor wagons as well.

the limits of the application of the BAS had been evaluated in specific detail in the course of the test ride that had been carried out. Straight platforms enable the application of the BAS without limits down to a platform height of 110mm. Lowering the platform to track-surface level is possible in general, has not been tested though in practice.

the BAS was tested to a platform width of 1,12m, which represents the absolute minimum. Otherwise it conflicts with the opposite clearance gauge which asks for operational measures. The BAS was boarded and alighted sideways due to the collapsible outboard-barriers.

A platform within a curve radius causes problems when using the BAS. Due to super elevation of the tracks, measured up to 145mm during the test ride, the whole train vehicle is inclined up to 10% . In Europe a super elevation of 11% (160mm) is possible. Super elevation is mainly common in within national local railway-traffic at stations along the train line, and seldom in actual train stations.

these problems influence the trouble-free operation of the BAS on one hand, and the feeling of safety of the BAS-user.

platforms positions at the outside of super elevated curves, as shown in the left picture, prevent the BAS from releasing the roll-stop. Due to the super elevation the BAS cannot be lowered to the maximum position, as the BAS-platform touches the station-platform before being lowered to the required position.

platforms positioned at the inside of super elevated track curves do not face that problem.

during the tests carried out the BAS has been applied at platforms with a super-elevation of up to 10%, without BAS users though due to safety reasons. Users explained their fear of falling off the BAS platform due to the steep angles.

the different platforms surfaces tested in Bulgaria, which in general do play an important part when applying the BAS, did show no negative effect on the performance of the BAS. There is the risk of tip-over for wheelchair (and walking aid) users though when it comes to wholes and tears on the platform, causing entrampment of reels and tip-over of the wheelchair and walking aid.

from an operators' point of view the BAS is easy to operate and handle without failures or malfunctions once having been successfully trained, which is a crucial safety-factor. The operator of the BAS needs to be aware of the general requirements, potential problems and safety hazards, and potential individual needs of wheelchair occupants (WO).

operators explained the wish to use pictograms on the lift parts that need to be operated in chronological order in order to facilitate the correct manipulation of the BAS.

the BAS operational cable unit needs to be stored in a lower position on the BAS, enabling also personnel of smaller stature on low platforms to grab hold of the operational unit with ease.

both WO rated the performance of the BAS very highly. It is regarded as large steps towards a more accessible railway system in Europe.

users explained the wish for a safety bar they could hold on to when alighting from a position high-up above ground, which makes the WO feel uncomfortable. This bar would also operate as a visual barrier for the WO, and prevent rolling off the platform in case of an unforeseen event.

5. Evaluation of PT during the presentations in Berlin

the BAS has been tested for several days on Europe's leading trade show within the railway industry, InnoTrans Berlin, in September 2012. On the public days, a number of WO tested the BAS on a free-will basis.
various WO of different age-groups using various types of wheelchairs with different needs made use of the BAS prototype. In general the feedback and wish for such type of a boarding aid on a large scale has been great.

the wheelchair occupants (Wos) testing the BAS had made various experiences with BAS. They have had made experiences with platform based boarding aids (lifts, ramps), vehicle-based lifts had been new to most of them.

the active wheelchair occupants using propelled (manual) and powered wheelchairs independently, had no difficulties whatsoever to use the BAS.

from the users' point of view, it makes sense to provide the option to use the BAS together with the wheelchair occupant, as persons with severe disabilities (physical or psychological) cannot operate the BAS independently themselves, nor can they board or alight the train on their own without assistance. Children with mental disabilities had tested the BAS as well. Due to safety- reasons, assisting personnel had not been allowed to board the BAS. They needed to await the boarding procedure and could only board the train afterwards.

users explained the wish to operate the BAS themselves independently, as commonly done in private Minivans and Minibuses (passenger cars). This is impossible due to safety reasons and liability reasons for the operators.

6. Conclusions

in order to provide a barrier-free scenario, technical aids are used in the railway sector as well as in all other areas of transportation, and also within in daily-life. The main accessibility problem for railway operators are the significant vertical differences, between one and very often three or four steps between the vehicle and the platform. Because of the very long service life of the current rolling and their using for many more years, there must be found temporary solutions until the fleet will be replaced with modern fully accessible rolling stock. For heavy rail it is difficult to develop a standard "one-fits-all" boarding assistance system as a universal accessibility solution due to the huge variety of differences within rolling stock and platform heights. The findings of the survey clearly shows, that in cases with higher vertical differences, electro-hydraulic lifts are the typical occasion.

the evaluation of the comprehensive test of the initial aid operations in the Bulgarian railway network has shown that existing UIC coaches can be retrofitted with the appropriate adaptations to the accessibility requirements. The prototype of the BAS is stated all requirements and also allows to perform in adverse situations such as low platform heights or platforms in sheets with elevation.

from the perspective of the operator and the users the operation of the BAS is easy to handle and user friendly. Due to the different limitations resulting from the vehicle construction, it was necessary to make several compromises but the developed compromise allows about 99% of all actual wheel chair users to board. In combination with a good personnel service at the entrance the wagons can also become accessible for nearly all passengers.

potential Impact:

1. Potential Impact

accessibility for rail wagons is particularly problematic since rail wagons have a long service life (30 to 40 years or longer) and so many currently inaccessible wagons will remain in service well into the future. Therefore PUBTRANS4All will help make existing public transport systems more accessible, improving service for everyone – not only for handicapped people but also for people with huge luggage, parents with baby carriages or elderly.

especially beneficial is the participation of several Eastern European partners in the project PUBTRANS4All – since accessibility is not sufficiently recognized as a problem in many of these countries.

PUBTRANS4All developed a prototype vehicle-based boarding assistance system that can be built into new rail vehicles or retrofitted into existing UIC wagons to improve accessibility for all persons. The project PUBTRANS4All will help make existing public transport systems more accessible, improving service for everyone.

the project PUBTRANS4All will help build a fully accessible rail network
the PUBTRANS4All project focuses on the process of boarding and alighting rail vehicles because boarding and alighting pose a significant burden for people with reduced mobility whether they are handicapped, elderly, travelling with a baby carriage or many other situations. Currently many people with reduced mobility (PRM) cannot or choose not to use public transport because of boarding/alighting difficulties. By improving rail vehicle accessibility, the PUBTRANS4All project should help increase the use of public transport, thereby contributing to the development of a more sustainable and energy efficient transport system.

the project partners believe that a serious problem limiting development and implementation of accessibility improvements is that many operators of public transports do not understand the importance of providing accessibility for all. Therefore, the project proposes a dissemination program that targets not only expert audience but also the general public to help raise awareness about accessibility.

2. Main Dissemination Activities

in the project PUBTRANS4All the dissemination work was completed using an own work package (WP5):

2.1 Work Package Objectives:

the major objectives in Work Package 5 are:
- Disseminate the project´s scientific results and recommendations as widely as possible.
- Raise awareness of the importance of public transport accessibility at the local, national and international levels.
- Provide information that enables key actors to implement project recommendations.

the realization of these objectives was planned through the fulfillment of six tasks:
task 5.0 Scientific management and risk management
task 5.1 Finalize dissemination plan
task 5.2 Identify and analyze target audiences
task 5.3 Create and maintain project website
task 5.4 Create and distribute dissemination media and
task 5.5 Prepare final report

2.2 Summary of progress in the work package:

given the importance of dissemination, Work Package 5 takes place throughout the full project duration (Month 1 to month 39).

task 5.0 Scientific Management and Risk Management is part of Project Management and is described under this section.

task 5.1 consisted of finalizing the project´s dissemination plan due to month 5. An important part of this task was to delegate specific responsibilities to specific consortium team members (e. g. team member A will produce a technical journal article for the March edition of a particular journal). The finalized dissemination plan was included in the Project Management Plan (Deliverable 1.1) and is updated on a regularly basis by the consortium members.

task 5.2 Identify and analyze target audiences is another major target of Work Package 5. First, dissemination markets had to be identified and analyzed according to their needs. Second, the best methods for communicating with these audiences were identified. This work was accomplished parallel to task 5.1 and accurately harmonized from month 3 to month 5.

task 5.3 An important part of the dissemination process is the project website that provides up-to-date information on the project activities and results. The website http://www.rabcon.eu/PUBTRANS4All first went online in month 5 was updated on a regularly basis and included the following information:
- General project information (aims of the project, project partners, etc.)
- Project partner area (including a password-protected area of the website for the exclusively use by project partners to post draft documents and transfer information)
it became obvious that the needs of the consortium as well as the aim to inform the interested public on the highest possible standard made a relaunch of the project website necessary. As the project consortium preferred to directly communicate via telephone or e-mail the project partner area on the website became obsolete. Furthermore some other adoptions became necessary. The coordinator wanted to have the deliverables ready for download on the new website and project meetings should also be announced on the project-homepage. After three month of construction and adaption work, the new website http://www.PUBTRANS4All.eu was presented to the project partners on the 3rd full consortia meeting in Belgrade and replaced the old one in December 2010 (month 16).

the whole website is compliant to the requirements of WAI-AAA (Internet Standard for barrier-free web access) and is accessible in German and English. The coordinator maintains and updates the project website on a regularly basis. The deliverables already submitted to the European Commission (and with dissemination level "Public") are shortly described and can be downloaded in pdf. Format. Furthermore the conference proceeding is available on the project-website and can be downloaded by the interested public.

task 5.4 consists of creating and distributing dissemination materials. The task includes three parts:
1. Corporate design – development of standard templates/information
2. Preparation of actual dissemination materials
3. Quality control – technical editing and review

the first part – project corporate design – consists of developing standard templates and information to create a uniform format for project publications and media (like newsletter, press releases, etc.). These templates include the project logo and offer standard graphics for use in all types of media. Standard text describing the project and objectives for various audiences were prepared. This text was written and edited in November 2009 (month 3) and is completed and adapted by the coordinator on a regularly basis according to the project results and latest developments.

the second part – preparation of actual dissemination materials – consists of the actual development of materials for dissemination. This includes the internet, general circulation media, disabled person media, project newsletter, video media, scientific publications and conferences and the final report on project results as well as technical reports.

the internet appearance as a key dissemination resource has already been described earlier. But not only the project website seeks to disseminate information about PUBTRANS4All also the consortium members disseminate the project on their websites, providing information to search engines and add technical information to appropriate sites.

concerning print media, a few articles have been published by the coordinator for example in "The Parliament Magazine´s Research Review - European Research and Innovation". One article was published in issue 12 (March 2010) and a second article in issue 13 (June 2010). Both gave a short description of the project funded under the 7th framework programme of the EC and its major aims and stressed the importance of accessibility for rail vehicles for all persons. Furthermore the conference held in May 2010 was announced to the interested public. For further information about the project the address project homepage was mentioned. Other project partners have also published articles in scientific media, company magazines and the press.

at a minimum 3 project newsletters (Deliverables 5.1 Deliverable 5.2 and Deliverable 5.3) were published during the whole project. The first newsletter (Deliverable 5.1 – Project Goals and Schedule) was due to January 2010 (month 5) and disseminated the projects goals and schedule. The second newsletter – Boarding Assistance Device Evaluation and Recommendations – summed up the major results of Work Package 2 and Work Package 3 and was due to December 2010 (month 16). The third Newsletter (Deliverable 5.3 – Project Results Summary) was due to June 2012 (month 34). It contains the project results that were reached up to this point. All newsletters were written by the coordinator, proofread and approved by the whole consortium, sent to the EC, distributed to the consortium´s contact database and can be downloaded on the project website.

the third part of this task – Quality control – technical editing and proofreading – consists of reviewing deliverables and dissemination materials produced by the consortium members. This ensures that the deliverables always meet the highest possible editorial standards and is accurately performed. This was done on a regularly basis in case of need over the full project duration.

the following deliverables were edited by the WP leaders, reviewed by the consortium members and released and sent to the EC by the coordinator:

deliverable 1.4 - Final Management Report is the underlying document. It is due to month 39 at the ending of the project and will be transmitted to the EC in time.

task 5.5 Prepare final report: This is the underlying document which will be submitted to the EU commission 60 days after the ending of the project the latest. It will consist the project objective of the period as much as the description of work progress and achievements of the work packages during the project and the explanation on the use of resources of each beneficiary.

there was also a so-called Dissemination Tour organized by the project coordinator. At the Dissemination Tour the coordinator and the WP-Leaders from WP2 (TUV) and WP3 (UB) presented the project and its results to an interested audience in several cities in Europe but especially in Eastern Europe cities.

the Dissemination Tour had four destinations:
- Brussels, Belgium – 28th March 2012
- Budapest, Hungary – 9th May 2012
- Zagreb, Croatia – 30th May 2012
- Belgrade, Serbia – 13th June 2012
information and pictures about the Dissemination Tour can be seen also on the project's website.

2.3 Dissemination Tour

since the last periodic report Rodlauer Consulting organized a so called Disseminationtour. The intention of the Disseminationtour was to reach as much people as possible who are affected by the project and the projects' objecitves. The stations of the Disseminationtour were Brussels, Budapest, Zagreb and Belgrade. Please find the list of the several destinations below.

in every city Dr. Bernhard Rüger from the Technical University of Vienna, Prof. Goran Simic from the University Belgrade and Mag. Barbara Birkenmeyer from Rodlauer Consulting presented the intentions, goals and achievements of the project PUBTRANS4All.

the Disseminationtour was attendet by many interested parties. At the different stations of the Disseminationtour many interessted people, disability associations and disabled persons participated. We saw that it was necessary to go directly to the people to show them our work and to point out what this work could change in their quality of life. That is also why we choosed mainly cities in Eastern Europe, because there the accessibility is not as good as in other countries in Europe.

2.3.1 Disseminationtour Brussels (March, 28th 2012)
the first destination of our disseminationtour was the European capital Brussels. We welcomed guests from various industries at our presentation. Among other representatives from the European Disability Forum, from the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform and also from STIB-MIVB, the largest Belgian urban public transport company, were among the guests. Focuses of discussion at the first destination of our Disseminationtour were the possibility of installing the lift also in tramways. Generally, an installation into trams has been planned, but often there are already low floor vehicles purchased. Thus, the installation of the lift in a UIC wagon is more urgent. There was also a discussion about the possibility of operating the lift for persons in big electronic scooter/wheelchairs. The lift can carry up to 350 kg loading.

2.3.2 Disseminationtour Budapest (May, 9th 2012)
in May the PUBTRANS4All presentation as part of the Disseminationtour was held in Budapest. The event was well attended and we were glad about a full auditorium. Our project partner from the MÁV, the Hungarian railways, Mr. Gitta Ferenc was also our guest at this destination of the disseminationtour. Of course there were especially questions addressed to Mr. Gitta Ferenc at the discussion that followed our presentation.

2.3.3 Disseminationtour Zagreb (May, 30th 2012)
also at the Disseminationtour in Zagreb our project attracted great interest. Many Croatian disability organizations attended our event and they hat great interest in the course and the results of our project. Also we welcomed one representative from HZ, the Croatian railways. Many questions regarding the lack of accessibility at the trains and the train stations of the Croatian railways were addressed to the representative from the Croatian railways. Other questions from our guests were addressed to Prof. Simic from the University of Belgrade.

2.3.4 Disseminationtour Belgrade (June, 13th 2012)
the last destination of our Disseminationtour was finally Belgrade. In June the presentation of our project took place in the Serbian capital with many interested guests from different sectors. Among others we welcomed representatives from the Institute of Transportation – CIP. In addition to many other organizations from Belgrade and the surrounding environment, we could welcome the Accessibility Audit Association, which has as part of the European Concept for Accessibility already done a lot in the area of accessibility. Focuses of discussion in Belgrade were especially the bad condition of the Serbian railways. It was mentioned that the Serbian Railways have to make many more changes before they could deal with absolute accessibility at their trains and stations. In the current trains of the Serbian railways the entry and exit is difficult, even for a physically healthy person. Also the national and international railway connections need to be developed.

3. Exploitation of Results

based on the performed tests we obtained the following results which could be used for improvements for the possible installation of a second lift in the bulgarian wagon:

3.1 Modification works of UIC wagon:

development of the lift installation documentation and installation work comprising: Replacement of the existing mechanical coupling of the folding step with the door mechanism by means of a pneumatic actuator, shifting of the head wall in the entrance in order to avoid a collision with the lift during the lift swing out, removal of the outer double wall between the toilet and the side corridor to ensure the corridor width for a wheelchair and installation of the lift fixing plates. There were also shown the problems identified during the assembly and testing, and the recommendations for their possible correction, for example the independent unscrewing of the platform locking, the position of the feet of the roll-off-protection, the lack of access to the handle for swivel in the lift and so on. But this were all problems that are relatively easy to solve, that should contribute to the improvement of the prototype.

3.2 Design, construction and testing of the lift:

there was a problem at the installation tests made by MBB. There was a Overlap in the region of the handrail when swivelling the lift out, as much as a collision at the dashboard covering at the boarding area.

at the visit at BDZ in Sofia there occurred a collision with the door lock. MBB has resolved this problem by the appropriate adjustment for the lower lift support.

for testing the lift under laboratory conditions Bombardier Passenger, Siemens AG and MBB developed a Mock-up together to demonstrate the installation and functioning of the lift with the stated loads.

3.3 First evaluation results of prototype:

the evaluation from the tests in Bulgaria was made from the perspective of users and operators. A total of 10 stations were approached in Bulgaria were there where different problems. One problem, for example, was the use of the lift on to high platforms. The operation of the lift at the tests was about 3 minutes. Trained stuff will take up to 30 seconds less. The experience of the operators were very positive. One problem is only the danger of damage some parts of the lift because of improper operation. The operators wanted a manual for operating the lift.

also the users had much positive feedback for the lift. They only had a strong feeling of uncertainty when rolling out of the vehicle at low platform heights and sloping platforms. It is a problem to get off the lift on the side when there is a uneven platform. There was an accident with a wheelchair user at the test drives because his front-wheel got into a gap on the platform and he overturned together with the wheelchair. There was a short discussion about this accident and Mr. Rodlauer suggested to get out of the lift backwards.


in the last consortia meeting it was noted that the lift should stay in the wagon because it was much work to put the lift in the wagon. Anyway there was the suggestion that the lift should stay at BDZ.

this time the lift is in the wagon at the depot of BDZ because they have to wait for the certificates for the lift and the wagon.

maybe BDZ will buy a second lift to allow accessibility. Then it is possible to adapt the lift with the new impressions from the tests.

to visit the lift in Bulgaria you should register 2 weeks in advance, to get to know where the wagon with the lift is.

the prototype is built into the wagon and thus finished. In conclusion, the prototype represents a milestone in the accessibility, especially in the barrier-free design of already existing rolling stock. The decision to have the prototype at BDZ is also a milestone for the Bulgarian railways in terms represent barrier-free mobility for people with disabilities.

list of Websites:
http://www.pubtrans4all.eu

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