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System-Wide Accessibility Improvements

On the Green Line, an operator stands by the doors, as the bridge plate allows a rider in a wheeled mobility device to board

The MBTA is more accessible than ever.

Over the past decade, we’ve:

  • Constructed more than 50 new station elevators, with another 70 in the pipeline
  • Added 1,000 accessible buses to our fleet featuring ramps at every front door, a reconfigured seating layout providing riders with more space, and clear, reliable stop announcements
  • Started rolling out brand new subway cars on multiple lines that are our most accessible yet
  • Launched initiatives to improve operator trainings, rider resources, community outreach, and design and policy standards

But we’re not slowing down. The MBTA is committed to building a fully accessible system. And we’ve been hard at work developing our Plan for Accessible Transit Infrastructure (PATI)—a roadmap for the improvements that will help us get there.

Identifying Accessibility Barriers

It’s easy to identify our biggest barriers, like inaccessible stations and stops. But to achieve full accessibility, we need to identify the other meaningful barriers that can make using the MBTA a challenge. One of the primary objectives of PATI is to survey our entire network of stations and bus stops to catalog barriers like missing curb ramps, heavy station doors, and obstructions in the path of travel.

The effort has yielded a mass of data about the types and locations of access barriers throughout the system. We can’t fix everything at once, so we worked with outside groups who helped prioritize all of the improvements we want to make.

How We Set Priorities

Many factors go into setting priorities for what, where, and when accessibility improvements should be made across the system. For example, we consider the “readiness” of an improvement—that is, how quickly and easily it could be implemented, either on its own or as part of another ongoing infrastructure project.
 
Some other factors include:

  • The overall ridership at a given station or stop
  • The number of seniors and people with disabilities living in the area
  • The severity of existing barriers  

Different needs may emerge over time, and some of the priorities we’ve set through PATI may change—but our commitment to a fully accessible system will not.

Mode-Specific Plans

At a bus stop, a rider in a wheeleed mobility device boards the bus via a ramp, as two other riders wait in line behind.
While 100% of MBTA buses are accessible, not all of our bus stops are. We’re working to change that.

The current state of accessibility varies from mode to mode, and so do our plans to achieve 100% accessibility on each.

bus Bus Stops

There are 7,690 MBTA bus stops, and 12% have two or more significant barriers to access.

green line Green Line

There are 66 Green Line stops—underground, elevated, and at street level. 75% of underground/elevated stations are accessible, while only 45% of street-level stops are.

orange line Orange Line

  • There are 20 Orange Line stations, and all of them are accessible.

red line Red Line

There are 22 Red Line stations, and all of them are accessible.

blue line Blue Line

    There are 12 Blue Line stations, and 11 of them are accessible.

    mattapan line Mattapan Line

    There are 8 Mattapan Line stations, and 7 of them are accessible.

    commuter rail Commuter Rail

    • There are 142 Commuter Rail stations, and 110 of them are accessible.

    System-Wide Improvements

    customer exiting elevator at government center
    Installing accessible elevators, like this one at Government Center, is one of many smaller-scale projects we’re working on across the system

    Often, we want to make one or more smaller-scale accessibility improvements in multiple locations across the system. To do that as efficiently as possible, we may create dedicated programs for these improvements, or incorporate them into other T programs that are addressing related improvements and upgrades system-wide.

    Examples of improvements that fall under this category include:

    • Installing automatic door openers
    • Installing detectable warnings
    • Improving accessible parking spaces
    • Repairing defects on sidewalks, ramps, stairways, and other paths of travel
    • Adding or updating wayfinding signs or technology

    Elevator and Escalator Replacements

    We’re developing a plan to help us target inaccessible elevators and escalators throughout the system for replacement. Construction is already underway (and even complete) at some of our busiest stations, while other elevator projects are in various stages of design and/or funding approval.

    Building a Better T

    As part of our $8 billion, 5-year capital investment plan, we're renovating stations, modernizing fare collection systems, upgrading services for our buses, subways, and ferries, and improving the accessibility of the entire system.

    Learn more

    Recent Updates

    View all project updates

    Related Projects

    A rider uses an app that provides audio-equivalency for digital signs as part of a technology we’re developing for blind and low-vision riders

    Accessible Technology

    We are looking for ways that technology can help us make it easier for riders with disabilities to use the T.

    Better Bus Project: Making transit better together

    Better Bus Project

    The experience of taking an MBTA bus fails to live up to our own standards in too many ways. Through the Better Bus Project, we're changing that.

    Stay Informed

    Get accessibility news, updates, and advance notice of events delivered to your inbox.

    Building a Better T

    As part of our $8 billion, 5-year capital investment plan, we're renovating stations, modernizing fare collection systems, upgrading services for our buses, subways, and ferries, and improving the accessibility of the entire system.

    Learn more

    Recent Updates

    View all project updates

    Related Projects

    A rider uses an app that provides audio-equivalency for digital signs as part of a technology we’re developing for blind and low-vision riders

    Accessible Technology

    We are looking for ways that technology can help us make it easier for riders with disabilities to use the T.

    Better Bus Project: Making transit better together

    Better Bus Project

    The experience of taking an MBTA bus fails to live up to our own standards in too many ways. Through the Better Bus Project, we're changing that.