Metro Barriers in D.C. Metropolitan Area


At the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s latest annual meeting in Las Vegas, a case was presented that found that the Washington, D.C. Metro system, although a work in progress, still has many barriers for handicapped riders. This is contrary to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel, who claimed that after pouring a significant amount of investments into the Metro system, it is now ADA-compliant.

Two ergonomics consultants from California assessed both the Takoma Park and Dupont Stations, and found quite a bit of features that weren’t accessible, including entrances, vending machines, gaps between the trains and the platforms, fast-closing doors, and more. These inaccessible features would either make travel more tedious for, or totally eliminate a person with mobility hindrances from using the service all together.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.