Technical and operational challenges to inclusive Bus rapid Transit: A guide for practitioners


Tom Rickert

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus rapid transit, policy - disability, policy - disability, policy - equity, ridership - old people


disabled, access, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)


The purpose of this guide is to bring recent international experience to bear on accessibility issues that challenge the ability of Bus Rapid Transit systems in less-wealthy countries to serve persons with disabilities, seniors, and others who especially benefit from inclusive design. The rapid spread of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems presents an historic opportunity to create models of accessible transport for passengers with disabilities and for older passengers, often in cities with little previous experience in this field. BRT trunk line corridors and their feeder lines can enable new categories of passengers, including more women and children, to benefit from an improved level of safe, accessible, and reliable public transport. Such systems can also serve as models of good practice to encourage transit and pedestrian improvements far from BRT lines. Bus Rapid Transit systems, as well as rail, metro and other forms of public transit, can thus help incorporate new groups of passengers into the larger movement toward sustainable and livable cities. However, emerging international guidelines for inclusive design are not being consistently followed. On the one hand, many bus Rapid Transit systems, for example in Latin America where BRT concepts were first invented and implements, are rapidly learning from regional experience and from their customers with disabilities. But some BRT systems in every region have fallen short, often due to a failure to incorporate feedback from older persons and passengers with disabilities into the learning process. Even though in theory their systems lend themselves to accessible design, they can be inaccessible to a wide range of passengers who cannot reach the stations or, once there, are unable to board the buses due to a variety of technical and operational issues. This concern takes on special relevance as most people in the world live in countries that have already ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with its policy guidance on accessibility issues. This publication is not a general guide, but rather is aimed at those concerns that have especially caused many BRT systems to fall short of their potential to serve all categories of passengers. In 2007, the World Bank commissioned the Bus Rapid Transit Accessibility Guidelines, a compilation of international resources available at:


This guide to international experience has been compiled by Tom Rickert for the World Bank, thanks to funding provided by the Norwegian and Finnish governments through the TFESSD - Disability Window. Copyright belongs to World Bank.