Innovative Design for Safe and Accessible Light Rail or Tram Stops Suitable for Streetcar-Style Conditions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - stop, planning - safety/accidents, planning - safety/accidents, policy - disability, mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - pedestrian


Trolley cars, Transportation safety, Trams, Streetcars, Stops, Stopping, Stop (Public transportation), Speed control humps, Speed bumps, Road humps (Artificial), Platforms (Light rail transit), Physically handicapped persons, Performance, People with disabilities, Pedestrian safety, Pedestrian accidents, Melbourne (Australia), Light rail transit, Kerbs, Innovation, Highway traffic, Handicapped persons, Disabled persons, Design, Curbs, Cost effectiveness, Bus stops, Barrier-free design, Barrier free design, Architecture and the physically handicapped, Accessibility, Access for the physically handicapped, Access


Tram stops in streetcar environments present safety, accessibility, and transport efficiency challenges. With 245 km (152 mi) of track, Melbourne, Australia, has one of the world’s largest tram systems. Some 68% is operated in streetcar conditions, and 1,200 of Melbourne’s tram stops are curbside stops, where passengers wait at the curb. Road traffic stops when trams arrive so that passengers can get to and from trams operating in the center of mostly two-by-two-lane roads. Some 25 road accidents per year result because no pedestrian protection from traffic is provided. These stops have no platforms or lifts and thus act as a barrier to access by persons with disabilities. Providing platforms would be expensive and is not feasible in most cases. Passenger access also temporarily closes streets and causes traffic queues. Tram and road traffic speeds are reduced by 8% to12% as a result. An alternative to tram stop design is clearly required. This paper describes a new tram stop design termed “the easy access stop.” The design incorporates a speed hump or cushion that serves as a platform to enable level boarding access to low-floor trams and that also slows passing traffic. The design has proved a cost-effective means of enabling safe tram stop access in streetcar-style conditions. The paper reviews international experience with streetcar-style stops and identifies the context for tram stop design. It describes the new design and outlines its effect and performance.