49 CFR § 37.42 - Service in an Integrated Setting to Passengers at Intercity, Commuter, and High-Speed Rail Station Platforms Constructed or Altered After February 1, 2012.
(a) In addition to meeting the requirements of sections 37.9 and 37.41, an operator of a commuter, intercity, or high-speed rail system must ensure, at stations that are approved for entry into final design or that begin construction or alteration of platforms on or after February 1, 2012, that the following performance standard is met: individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, must have access to all accessible cars available to passengers without disabilities in each train using the station.
(b) For new or altered stations serving commuter, intercity, or high-speed rail lines or systems, in which no track passing through the station and adjacent to platforms is shared with existing freight rail operations, the performance standard of paragraph (a) of this section must be met by providing level-entry boarding to all accessible cars in each train that serves the station.
(c) For new or altered stations serving commuter, intercity, or high-speed rail lines or systems, in which track passing through the station and adjacent to platforms is shared with existing freight rail operations, the railroad operator may comply with the performance standard of paragraph (a) by use of one or more of the following means:
(1) Level-entry boarding;
(2) Car-borne lifts;
(3) Bridge plates, ramps or other appropriate devices;
(5) Station-based lifts;
(d) Before constructing or altering a platform at a station covered by paragraph (c) of this section, at which a railroad proposes to use a means other than level-entry boarding, the railroad must meet the following requirements:
(1) If the railroad operator not using level-entry boarding chooses a means of meeting the performance standard other than using car-borne lifts, it must perform a comparison of the costs (capital, operating, and life-cycle costs) of car-borne lifts and the means chosen by the railroad operator, as well as a comparison of the relative ability of each of these alternatives to provide service to individuals with disabilities in an integrated, safe, timely, and reliable manner. The railroad operator must submit a copy of this analysis to FTA or FRA at the time it submits the plan required by paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
(2) The railroad operator must submit a plan to FRA and/or FTA, describing its proposed means to meet the performance standard of paragraph (a) of this section at that station. The plan must demonstrate how boarding equipment or platforms would be deployed, maintained, and operated; and how personnel would be trained and deployed to ensure that service to individuals with disabilities is provided in an integrated, safe, timely, and reliable manner.
(3) Before proceeding with constructing or modifying a station platform covered by paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, the railroad must obtain approval from the FTA (for commuter rail systems) or the FRA (for intercity rail systems). The agencies will evaluate the proposed plan and may approve, disapprove, or modify it. The FTA and the FRA may make this determination jointly in any situation in which both a commuter rail system and an intercity or high-speed rail system use the tracks serving the platform. FTA and FRA will respond to the railroad's plan in a timely manner, in accordance with the timetable set forth in paragraphs (d)(3)(i) through (d)(3)(iii) of this paragraph.
(i) FTA/FRA will provide an initial written response within 30 days of receiving a railroad's written proposal. This response will say either that the submission is complete or that additional information is needed.
(ii) Once a complete package, including any requested additional information, is received, as acknowledged by FRA/FTA in writing, FRA/FTA will provide a substantive response accepting, rejecting, or modifying the proposal within 120 days.
(iii) If FTA/FRA needs additional time to consider the railroad's proposal, FRA/FTA will provide a written communication to the railroad setting forth the reasons for the delay and an estimate of the additional time (not to exceed an additional 60 days) that FRA/FTA expect to take to finalize a substantive response to the proposal.
(iv) In reviewing the plan, FRA and FTA will consider factors including, but not limited to, how the proposal maximizes accessibility to individuals with disabilities, any obstacles to the use of a method that could provide better service to individuals with disabilities, the safety and reliability of the approach and related technology proposed to be used, the suitability of the means proposed to the station and line and/or system on which it would be used, and the adequacy of equipment and maintenance and staff training and deployment.
(e) In any situation using a combination of high and low platforms, a commuter or intercity rail operator shall not employ a solution that has the effect of channeling passengers into a narrow space between the face of the higher-level platform and the edge of the lower platform.
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this paragraph, any obstructions on a platform (mini-high platforms, stairwells, elevator shafts, seats etc.) shall be set at least six feet back from the edge of a platform.
(2) If the six-foot clearance is not feasible (e.g., where such a clearance would create an insurmountable gap on a mini-high platform or where the physical structure of an existing station does not allow such clearance), barriers must be used to prevent the flow of pedestrian traffic through these narrower areas.
(f) For purposes of this part, level-entry boarding means a boarding platform design in which the horizontal gap between a car at rest and the platform is no more than 10 inches on tangent track and 13 inches on curves and the vertical height of the car floor is no more than 5.5 inches above the boarding platform. Where the horizontal gap is more than 3 inches and/or the vertical gap is more than 5/8 inch, measured when the vehicle is at rest, the horizontal and vertical gaps between the car floor and the boarding platform must be mitigated by a bridge plate, ramp, or other appropriate device consistent with 49 CFR 38.95(c) and 38.125(c).