Accessibility for Inter-City Busses

Since the beginning of this year German inter-city bus companies are allowed to compete with one another and with railway transportation. In order to make inclusion and social equality available for all passenger groups, their busses will have to provide two wheelchair positions by 2020 (by 2016 for first-time vehicle licenses), unimpeded access with a specific amount of free space, and devices for easy boarding for wheelchair users. However, the details of design prerequisites for such accessibility features have yet to be officially specified.

BASt BaBu _1HFC has been researching this topic on behalf of the Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen (BASt, German Federal Highway Research Institute) as part of the project “Barrierefreiheit bei Fernlinienbussen” (accessibility for inter-city busses) since December 2013. The core objective of the project is to derive recommendations for inter-city bus accessibility, which support the development of European guidelines.

Our approach is divided into two main research tiers. In the first part we examined the accessibility conditions and requirements for relevant user groups (people with visual, aural and/or mobility impairments, the elderly, children and pregnant women etc.). Research into current definitions of accessibility, standards and guidelines for accessibility design of transportation and the respective infrastructures were also necessary to derive a comprehensive analysis and definition of inter-city bus accessibility.

In the second part of the project, the scientific level of knowledge is reflected against the need for practical applicability. Recommendations are derived from the collected data and discussed with stakeholders.

In the project we are cooperating closely with the Steuerungsgruppe Lastenheft (Steering Group Requirements Specification). Prof. Jürgen Siegmann (Head of the Department of Railway Routes and Operations at the Technical University of Berlin) supports the project with a depiction of implementation strategies for accessibility in the railway sector. A corresponding examination of the transferability of these solutions to inter-city busses is also provided.



  • Requirements Definition
  • Interviews
  • Focusgroups
  • Evaluation