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Chapter 8 Traffic and Transportation

Part 3 Expansion of Wheelchair Accessibility

1. Low Floor Buses

In response to an aging society and to help persons with disabilities, pregnant women, elderly people, and those with reduced mobility to easily and safely use public transportation, Taipei City Government has been introducing low floor buses since 2001. To provide an even better bus-riding environment, the City Government continuously makes improvements in terms of driving services and physical properties and equipment of vehicles.

All low floor buses should have at least one wheelchair space on the inside, route information display boards both in front of and at the back of the vehicle, and an automated speech announcement system on the exterior to assist visually- or hearing-impaired persons and tourists who are unfamiliar with Taipei City roads and environment to understand bus routes and arrival and departure information.

Moreover, to reduce the risk of injury to passengers caused by movement of the bus doors and avoid standing passengers blocking the drivers' view, the Taipei City Public Transportation Office invited Taipei City bus industry associates to discuss the plan to designate No Standing Zones on buses by the front and rear doors. Designation principles vary according to vehicle models. Drivers are asked to use the announcement system to enforce the rules and remind children and elderly passengers to avoid standing in No Standing Zones to promote the concept of safety.

Low floor buses
Low floor buses

2. Small Rehabilitation Buses and Wheelchair-Accessible Taxis

To meet the transportation needs of persons with disabilities, Taipei City actively pursues the provision of rehabilitation buses to help them move about and make up for the inadequacy of the public transportation system. In 2014, the Taipei City Public Transportation Office added 65 small rehabilitation buses, bringing the total number of such buses to 325.

To compensate for the limitations and inadequacy of wheelchair-accessible transportation services such as low floor buses and rehabilitation buses, Taipei City led the nation in introducing wheelchair-accessible taxis and launched ten such vehicles into service in February 2013. By the end of 2014 the number of vehicles in service rose to 80 and had cumulatively provided 56,828 rides, including 23,711 rides for the disabled, or about 49.8% of all rides (excluding those secured by hailing). The service was highly praised by people with reduced mobility.

Assisting the people board a wheelchair-accessible taxi
Assisting the people board a wheelchair-accessible taxi

3. Clearing Verandas of Motorcycles and Straightening of Sidewalks

The lack of parking spaces for motorcycles has led to motorcyclists routinely using verandas and sidewalks as parking spaces, greatly reducing the space available to pedestrians. In support of the governance philosophy of "Peopleoriented Transportation", the Taipei City Parking Management and Development Office aspires to create pedestrian-friendly environments. In 1999, Taipei City began to successively implement measures to clear verandas of motorcycles and straighten up sidewalks to move motorcycles to legal parking spaces.

By the end of 2014, the Taipei City Parking Management and Development Office had finished the implementation in 957 road sections, or 581.59 kilometers, and on 513.021 kilometers of sidewalks. This project has earned more and more support from the public. Also, more and more communities or buildings have reached an internal consensus to petition for community parking management to return the verandas and sidewalks in the community to their original purpose – for pedestrians to pass through – and beauty.

Exit No. 5 of MRT Dongmen Station AFTER straightening up of verandas
Exit No. 5 of MRT Dongmen Station AFTER straightening up of verandas

4. Parking Garage Construction Projects

(1) Disability-Friendly Elevators

To comply with regulations on accessibility of equipment and facilities of the current Rights of Persons with Disabilities Protection Act and Rules of Construction Technology and ensure the comfort and safety of those with reduced mobility, elderly people and pregnant women when entering and exiting parking garages, the Taipei City Parking Management and Development Office completed installation of disability-friendly elevators in ten locations, namely Fuzhong Park, Jinhua Park, Tacheng Park, Wufenpu Park, Daan Forest Park, Minquan Park, Dafeng Park, Qingnian Park Golf Course, Jinghua Park and Qiangang Park. The project effectively upgraded the quality of mobility for the public and persons with disabilities. The surroundings of the elevators are beautified with bright colors, which make the public space more lively and pleasant.

Wheelchair-accessible elevator in Jinghua Park parking garage
Wheelchair-accessible elevator in Jinghua Park parking garage

(2) Straightening of Surrounding Roadways

To achieve "off-the-sidewalk" on-street parking, improvement of pedestrian environment and orderliness of parking in certain areas, the Taipei City Parking Management and Development Office conducted projects to straighten up surrounding roadways in 2014 alongside the opening of three new parking garages – Taipei School for the Hearing Impaired Underground Parking Garage, Jiaxing Park Underground Parking Garage and Juguang Multilevel Parking Garage. With the neighborhoods in which the parking garages are located as the centers and the surrounding neighborhoods as secondary, the Taipei City Parking Management and Development Office assessed and adjusted the allocation of parking spaces prior to the opening of the parking garages, added pedestrian walkways (including marking sidewalks), and implemented measures to clear motorcycles from sidewalks. After integrating the opinions of the responsible authorities and obtaining community participation, all the measures were executed together upon the opening of the parking garages.

5. Miniaturization of Traffic Signal Control and the Marking Sidewalks

(1) Miniaturization of Traffic Signal Controls

There are a total of 2,486 traffic signal units at Taipei City intersections, including 2,412 intersections already equipped with controls. In the past, the traffic signal controls were usually installed on the roadside or sidewalks. Road users are quite accustomed to this. However, some intersections have rather narrow sidewalks and installing traffic signal controls will cause inconvenience and obstruction to pedestrians. As the awareness of the concept of people-oriented transportation has risen in recent years, Taipei City proceeded to miniaturize traffic signal controls so as to improve pedestrian spaces. The miniaturized traffic signal controls had been installed at 28 intersections by the end of 2014.

(2) Marking Sidewalks

Due to oversights in urban planning, land expropriation, narrow roads, bad road elevation, drainage and other factors, some of the roads in Taipei City lack real sidewalks, imposing safety concerns for pedestrians passing through such roads. Therefore, to improve environmental safety for pedestrians, the Taipei City Traffic Engineering Office adopted the concept of "woonerf" in planning for Taipei City roads and lay out marking sidewalks on high pedestrian or student traffic road sections and roadways and in the surroundings of MRT stations.

The green paint and "Sidewalk" labeling of the marking sidewalks are conspicuous to both the pedestrians and drivers. Besides improving pedestrian safety in roadways, the marking sidewalks also lower the negative impact that onstreet parking has on the community environment. By the end of 2014, the City Government had laid out marking sidewalks with a total length of 28.3 kilometers in 310 locations.

Marking sidewalks
Marking sidewalks