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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires bus stops to be accessible for individuals with disabilities. At a minimum, bus stops must have firm, stable, slip-resistant loading pads with connected sidewalks and curb ramps. Consequently, the typical approach of transit agencies has been to install permanent concrete loading pads at bus stops. This study explored alternatives to conventional concrete pads with movable pads that could be installed quickly, resulting in savings in construction and labor costs and minimizing both disruptions to traffic and impacts to abutting businesses. Potential design alternatives in terms of materials and structural support for these pads were evaluated. The review focused on existing and alternative design materials, especially in applications other than for transit purposes. Six materials were evaluated based on their structural performance, long-term durability, adaptability, life cycle cost, aesthetics, and safety and accessibility of transit riders with mobility devices. Of the six materials, plastic lumber and metal were found to have the highest potential to replace conventional designs. Two design alternatives that rely on the concept of bridge construction were introduced, both of which consist of four major components: foundation, slab, beam, and connections. These new design alternatives are anticipated to minimize maintenance of traffic and the need for heavy machinery to excavate, fill, and/or compact the soil.




Originally published in Journal of Public Transportation.

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