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MBTA Bus Stop Accessibility Improvement Project


Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Greater Boston


New England




  • Sandra Clarey

  • Transit

  • GIS & Technology

  • Bus stop planning & design

  • Bus stop accessibility auditing

  • Data collection

  • Database design for mobile devices

  • GIS integration

  • Asset management

  • Cost estimating

  • Curb extension design

  • Preliminary & final design

  • ADA curb ramp design

  • Construction phase services

McMahon was engaged by the MBTA to audit and design improvements to select bus stops across their system, with a focus on ADA and MBTA accessibility requirements.

A desktop assessment of priority bus stops (i.e. stops with high ridership, in proximity to special facilities and/or with known deficiencies or accessibility-related issues) was conducted to gather initial information on the each stop and select stops for a detailed accessibility field audit.

Field data, sketches and photos were collected on a tablet, and linked to each stop, using McMahon’s web- and GIS-based asset management software tool - TRAISR. Accessibility-related elements audited included the landing area, path of travel, curb ramps and amenities. Other general information about the bus stop and its surrounding environment was also gathered. Based on identified deficiencies and elements that required upgrading, McMahon developed provisional cost estimates to improve access to each stop.

A prioritization effort to select bus stops with the most critical barriers or egregious accessibility deficiencies was undertaken. McMahon prepared preliminary design plans for accessibility improvements at 50 priority bus stops in nine municipalities, and finalized design plans at 25 of these locations. Designs include upgraded sidewalks and an extensive number of new or reconstructed curb ramps. McMahon assisted in the preparation of bid documents and provision of construction phase services.

In parallel with this project the MBTA requested that McMahon develop preliminary design plans for bus stop accessibility improvement and elimination plans for 25 stops in South Boston, including curb extensions and shelters at 10 of these stops. We also performed detailed audits on an additional 70 bus stops, identified as “critical” stops during MBTA’s Plan for Accessible Transit Infrastructure (PATI) project, and we designed access improvements for about 40 of these severely deficient stops.

Additional services and design elements were incorporated to enhance these 40 stops, including: 

  • At new crosswalks, traffic analysis for the installation of pedestrian signals and warrant analysis to evaluate the potential to add HAWK signals was undertaken to support the traffic signal design. 

  • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) and Edge Lit Flashing LED signs were also proposed.

  • Environmental and historical reviews were undertaken and resulted in environmental permitting at a number of stops.

  • We coordinated with a number of property owners and developed license plans and language to support license agreements.

  • Both MassDOT and DCR access permitting and variances from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB) was also required. 

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