Under the Transportation Standard of the AODA, conventional public transit services must have accessible announcements on all their vehicles. Vehicles that must have accessible announcements are:
- Motor coaches
- Light rail
- Commuter rail
- Inter-city rail
Conventional Public Transit Features
Audible and visual announcements
Announcements displaying information that all passengers need to know should be both audible and visual. In other words, conventional public transit vehicles should always use both verbal announcements and visual signs. Passengers who are blind or visually impaired will rely on verbal announcements, while passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing will use visual signage. Both these announcement methods must be working at all times unless there is no one in a vehicle. However, if a vehicle is empty, drivers should still ensure that pre-boarding announcements are audibly and visually displayed. Announcements allow anyone wishing to board the vehicle to have the information they need.
At every stop, announcements should tell potential passengers about the vehicle’s route, the direction it is going, and its destination or next major stop. Announcements should be loud enough so that people waiting for a vehicle can hear which one has arrived. Signage should be visible at the entrances where passengers board.
While the vehicle is moving, announcements should tell passengers about each potential stop. Announcements for each stop should sound and display when the vehicle approaches the stop so that passengers can request to deboard. In addition, an announcement should also sound and display when the vehicle has reached a stop.
Verbal announcements must be spoken clearly so that passengers can understand them.
Visual signs must be legible and use good colour contrast so that passengers can read them. Signs on the same vehicles should be consistently located, coloured, shaped, and sized. For example, signs on every city bus should appear in the same place, and be the same colour, shape and size. In this way, passengers who take busses regularly will know where to look for a sign and what it should look like. Similarly, passengers who often take the subway should also know what kind of sign to look for and where it should be located.
Additionally, people arranging where signs should be located should always place them so that they avoid glare or shadowed areas. Sign surfaces should also be glare-free. Furthermore, signs should have solid characters instead of hollow ones. Finally, signs may include pictograms or symbols.
Why We Need Accessible Announcements
Accessible announcements ensure that all passengers who use conventional public transit will know where every vehicle is going. Moreover, accessible announcements also inform passengers when they have reached their stop, and about every stage of a trip.