Platform Accessibility Study of 25 Stations

UIL led a multi-disciplinary team to address the challenge of providing accessible platforms to commuter rail trains at 25 stations in Massachusetts. The team included accessibility experts, railway engineers, construction and code experts, and historic preservation specialists.

These stations present significant design challenges due to track geometry, limited right-of-way and physical constraints. The approach developed a first-phase program of mini-high platforms that can be quickly implemented and provide accessible stations for the entire system and then a second-phase, long-term solution that provides parking, pick-up and drop-of areas, clear paths of travel, as well as full-length, high platforms.

UIL worked closely with the MBTA’s System-Wide Accessibility Department to expand the definition of accessibility beyond wheelchair users to include people with different mobility challenges for them to take advantage of the public transportation provided by the Commuter Rail system.

Ayer Station : Platform Accessibility Study

Ayer Station is located south of Main Street in downtown Ayer but is hidden from the street by a row of commercial buildings. Currently, passengers traveling to the inbound track have to cross a parking lot behind the buildings, a freight line, and an atgrade crossing of the outbound track.

Short-term recommendations include accessible parking spaces, a pick-up and drop-of area, passenger shelter, detectable warning edges at both platforms, and a mini-high platform on the inbound track. Long-term recommendations include track reconfiguration to place the freight line between the commuter rail tracks, and the construction of two high platforms connected by a pedestrian bridge with elevators and stairs. By creating an accessible station, the overhead bridge connecting the two platforms, will create a strong visual element among a disparate group of buildings in the town center.