Lift retrofit cost comparison in US & Europe (MetroReport)

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Most metro stations around the world rely on stairs for access to platforms. These are easy to build, especially for stations not far below the surface. However, this arrangement offers no accessibility for many people with disabilities — not only people who are permanently wheelchair-bound, but also passengers who have chronic pain, who rely on walking aids or who are temporarily injured. Furthermore, passengers carrying heavy luggage, such as those bound for airports, might prefer to avoid steps if possible…

New metros are generally designed to be friendly to disabled people. Typical features include step-free access to stations via lifts or ramps, tactile platforms, clear audio and visual announcements, and at least one fare gate at each access point wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. In Singapore every station is accessible; in Delhi, most stations are. The same is true of new lines on old systems: in Paris, metro line 14, which opened in 1998-2007, is accessible. Across the English Channel, every Crossrail station in Greater London will have step-free access…

Cost comparisons

The cost of the step-free access programme in London appears to be lower per station than that in Boston. The planned £200m investment over the next five years covers 19 Underground stations. Two of these are new: Nine Elms and Battersea on the Northern Line extension, which is due to open in 2020. The rest are existing stations, and four more are to be made partly accessible. The programme also covers some stations on the London Overground suburban network.

The cost works out to be about £10m per Underground station, which is around two-thirds the cost in Boston, taking into account the different purchasing power parities. In Paris the costs are vaguer, but disability advocates claim that making the 300-station metro fully accessible would cost €4bn to €6bn.

The costs in New York are also vague, but the New York Times reports that a $1bn programme is making 25 stations accessible. These are predominantly large interchanges. The entire network, with around 350 stations outstanding, would need $10bn, or about the same cost per station as Boston.

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Written by Long Branch Mike