Amtrak has invested USD 770 million since 2011 to implement its accessibility projects across the U.S. to ensure a safe, efficient, and comfortable travel experience for customers with disabilities.
More accessibility improvements projects are underway on existing and new fleets as well as on how customers book tickets and navigate digital channels.
“These investments benefit all of our customers by improving the travel experience at every aspect of the journey from trip planning, to purchasing tickets, to using our stations, trains and services,” Amtrak President Roger Harris said.
At stations, Amtrak is advancing projects which include the adaption to compliance regarding parking, station building and platforms through a comprehensive multi-year, multi-billion dollar design and construction program providing an accessible and compliant passenger experience. To date we have brought 117 stations into compliance and another 67 stations have been made accessible. The operator is also designing and deploying assistive boarding equipment, including bridge plates, to help customers with reduced mobility board and depart from the train. Another project Amtrak is implementing covers the introduction of new technologies at stations including displaying audio and visual train status and boarding information through passenger information display systems at stations.
Amtrak is also investing in its fleet. The new Acela and Amtrak Airo trains will offer a public address customer information system to provide real-time information such as train location, train speed, and conductor announcements in audio and visual formats. These new trains will feature spacious and accessible restrooms, vestibules, and Café Cars with integrated boarding equipment for customers with reduced mobility. Accessibility improvements across all fleets include adding handrails to Superliner accessible bedrooms, stair handrails, folding tray tables at accessible seating areas, slip-resistant vestibule flooring, and compliant service counters in Café Cars.
The Amtrak Americans with Disabilities Act Stations Program oversees accessibility-related station improvement projects to ensure customers with disabilities can successfully navigate the rail network. The programme has identified another 39 stations for completion this fiscal year at a forecasted investment of USD 140 million.
“As author of the All Stations Accessibility programme (ASAP) Act, a historic bill that was included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I’m proud that Amtrak is showing its commitment to making passenger rail accessible for everyone, all while creating jobs and bringing investment to Illinois,” U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth said.
With USD 1.2 billion in investments from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), Amtrak will continue advancing a comprehensive improvement program to ensure a safe, efficient and comfortable travel experience with a focus on accessibility and inclusion.
The accessibility projects include repairs and upgrades to platforms, ramps and sidewalks, renovations to entranceways and restrooms, and Amtrak is working toward 100% completion by 2029.