Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Station ramps vs lifts

ponderings from TransWA's wi-fi equipped MerredinLink train

Lifts Pros:

- Can be installed in confined horizontal space
- Lessen walking for the less mobile
- Due to their small footprint they are sheltered

Lifts Cons:

- Expensive to install
- Use power
- Can break down
- High repair costs/require specialised labour
- Limited capacity (ie low passengers moved per minute)
- Require a wait to use
- Confine users with strangers (which may make some uncomfortable)
- Not suitable for unstaffed stations

Ramps Pros:

- Cheap to install
- Don't use power
- 100% reliable
- Low maintenance costs
- High capacity
- No waiting to use
- Do not require confinement with strangers
- Suitable for unstaffed stations

Ramps Cons:

- Take up a lot of space if meet 1:14 DDA gradient standard
- Increase walking distance for able-bodied passengers (but can be mitigated if stairs also provided)
- If badly designed may reduce visibility/passive surveillance
- May not be sheltered

I think the ramps have it!

But it's not one size fits all. Where space issues preclude ramps (eg CBD stations), a combination of stairs (and/or escalators)and lifts looks to be the best of both worlds. But at stations where ramps are practical their low gradient does not adequately provide for able-bodied passengers, and either a steeper ramp or stairs is needed also.


Markk said...

Ramps, if they are too long, become difficult to use for some categories of disabled people ie. those who can walk, but not for long distances. Such people also often have problems with stairs. I remember a protest against a proposed set of ramps at Morisset, NSW a number of years ago - it was said that to go from one platform to another, the ramps would have been 400m long!

That protest won the day and lifts were installed instead.

Riccardo said...

Peter again a very Melbourne view of things.

If you live in Sydney you get used to the idea of mega stations, not your pathetic little stations like Clayton sitting in the middle of a built up area and essentially imprisoned by it - unable to be expanded without destroying the very thing it serves.

ISTR from 1988 that East Hills rebuild destroyed 33 shops - but in Sydney they don't even blink at the prospect. In Melbourne destroying one shop would cause heart palpatations in the Minister.