Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - surveys, mode - bus, mode - mass transit, literature review - literature review


Transit personnel, Transit, Training, Surveys, Site selection, Signs, Signing, Public transit, Placement (Location), Personnel training, Personal interaction, People with mental disabilities, Messages (Communications), Mentally handicapped persons, Mass transit, Location, Locating, Local transit, Literature surveys, Literature reviews, Lighting, Intracity bus transportation, Illumination, Contrast, Cognitive impairment, Cognition disorders, Bus transit, Americans with Disabilities Act, Accessibility


With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) it has become a civil rights violation to deny access to public transportation by people with disabilities. ADA requires transit agencies to provide accessible buses or equivalent services to people with mobility, sensory, or cognitive impairments. Issues concerning people with cognitive impairments, and their access to fixed-route transit services, are examined in this study. The literature concerning access to public transit by people with cognitive disabilities is summarized in this paper, along with exemplary training programs and technologies that have improved transit accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities. On review of the available literature, the authors noted that there was very little information concerning people with cognitive impairments. To fill in this knowledge gap, surveys and interviews were conducted with people with cognitive and other impairments, with people who trained people with sensory and cognitive impairments, and with people who provide special transportation services. A major conclusion of this study is that, for people with cognitive impairments, technological solutions are not the best solutions to increase bus accessibility. Personal interaction is needed to solve each individual situation with the transit user. Training for transit personnel, transit users, and travel trainers is needed to help people with cognitive impairment use the transit system with grace, speed, efficiency, and dignity. Another conclusion of the study is that to be effective all visual signage must be consistent--location, lighting, contrast, and content of visual signs.