Jill Bradshaw

Mind the Gap: A Reference Guide for People with Physical Disabilities Riding Trains

While working on the AUCD-ESPA project, Jill Bradshaw was a graduate assistant at the University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Research and Service (UCEDD). She was entering her second year of course work as a doctoral student in School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut.

photo: Jill Bradshaw
For her AUCD-ESPA sponsored project, Jill examined "the gap", the space between a station platform and a train, and the relevant safety issues for people with disabilities. Her goal was to produce a report that identifies the barriers that people with physical disabilities face when riding trains and to create a fact sheet to assist people to overcome those barriers. The project was designed to emphasize three primary areas of concern: (1) the gap between the transit train and platform and how the gap affects both boarding and deboarding; (2) the accessibility issues both on the train and in the immediate pedestrian environment of the train station; and (3) how customer to customer assistance occurs and its importance in the boarding and deboarding process.

Jill's project includes a literature review to develop a list of key barriers to train travel for people with disabilities and a focus group with current train riders who have disabilities. Jill travelled on different regional rail systems gathering information and observing gap safety procedures, and travelled via train with a self-advocate with a physical disability to evaluate issues related to accessibility and safety during their trip. Jill's final product includes a report compiling her findings and comparing the formalized policy-driven solutions in the literature with the actual practice and informal solutions to train ridership identified in the focus group and field observations. It also includes a fact sheet for people with disabilities who are potential train riders in an effort to increase ridership and thereby increase community access and integration. Jill's product is available to the general public as well as to the AUCD network.

Download Jill's final report here. [pdf, 108kb]