4 Trams, subways and suburban railways

4.1.  Introduction

In the field of transport by rail also applies to rail transport in the cities, and requirements for universal design of means of transport and infrastructure.

4.2.  On universal design of trams, subways and suburban lines

The following discusses the requirements of the Law and Regulations for universal design of trams and subways, guidance on universal design for these means of transport in manuals and standards, an overview of user needs and our recommendations.

4.2.1.     Legislation

Universal design of trams and subways is covered by several laws and regulations.

Act relating to the construction and operation of railways, including tramways, metro and suburban rail etc. (Jernbaneloven)

The Act relating to the construction and operation of railways was implemented in 1993 and includes, besides railways, tramways and metro, as well as suburban rail.

The following sections are relevant:

  1. 7 c.(Passenger Rights): The Ministry may by regulations on the implementation of rules on passenger rights included in the EEA Agreement. The Regulations may stipulate rules on the implementation and fulfilment of passenger rights rules and determine who shall supervise compliance with the rules.

The Ministry may by regulations establish a complaints body for resolving disputes between passengers and railway undertakings and decide that the person engaged in road traffic, and the person engaged in traffic in, to or from Norway, shall be covered by the scheme. The Ministry may also provide regulations that other service providers, who have obligations to passengers in connection with transport, shall be subject to the scheme. The decisions of the appeals body shall not be legally binding.

Comment: The EU Directive on Passenger Rights on Rail Transport also applies to national transport and will be relevant here.

  • 11 c.(Supervision of passengers’ rights): When supervision of compliance with passenger rights regulations, the supervision authority has the competence:
  1. to require information, carry out local control and seizures or carry out test purchases pursuant to Section 34 of the Marketing Act,
  2. to issue an order for rectification or termination of conditions in violation of the provisions of section 7 c first paragraph. The supervisory authority may make decisions with temporary effect in order to comply with the provisions of Section 39 of the Marketing Act,
  3. to obtain written confirmation that an unlawful relationship shall cease and to obtain written confirmation from a trader that it shall offer remedial measures to affected passengers;
  4. to stipulate enforcement fines as mentioned in Section 13. Enforcement fines can be used to ensure compliance with all decisions and confirmations as mentioned in subparagraphs a to c,
  5. to request the removal of digital web content in order to comply with the provisions of sections 43 to 43 (c) of the Marketing Act.


Regulations relating to requirements for track roads, metros, suburban railways etc.m. (Requirements Regulations)

Regulations FOR-2014-12-10-1572 The Requirements Regulations entered into force on 01.01.2015 and apply to requirements for safety on such tracks as well as universal design. The following provisions are relevant:

  • 1-1.Purpose

The purpose of these regulations is to establish minimum requirements to ensure that enterprises work systematically and proactively so that the established safety level is maintained and to the extent necessary to improve, as well as avoiding rail accidents, serious rail incidents and railway incidents.

In addition, the purpose is to establish minimum requirements for universal design.

  • 1-3.Definitions
  1. y) universal design: design or adaptation of the main solution in the physical conditions so that the ordinary function of the enterprise can be used by as many people as possible.

Section 12-1a. Universal design

New or significantly upgraded vehicles intended for passenger transport shall be universally designed. As a minimum requirement,

  1. a) Entrances shall, as far as possible, be step-free and adapted to the platform so that boarding and disembarking can take place without assistance. Doors to be operated by passengers shall be automatic or should be able to be operated easily.
  2. b) Handles and retaining rods must be positioned so that both sitting, standing and walking persons in all places can have the necessary support.
  3. c) Vehicles shall have an appropriate number of priority seats for persons with disabilities. Such seats should be located near the door suitable for boarding and disembarking.
  4. d) Vehicles shall have an appropriate number of wheelchair spaces.
  5. e) Where passengers are to move, there shall, as far as possible, be no obstacles. It should be possible to move unhindered by wheelchair between entrance and wheelchair space.
  6. f) Door opener/shutter, stop signal button, obstacles, including stair steps and bevel planes, and other important functions shall be visually and tactilely marked.
  7. g) Vehicles shall be equipped with a communication system for announcements. If the system is automatic or pre-programmed, it should be able to be overridden manually. Visual information should be read in all lighting conditions and should be in satisfactory contrast to the background.
  8. h) Vehicles shall be equipped with an emergency call device that shall be visually and tactilely marked and provide a visible and audible sign that the facility is in use.
  9. i) Surfaces on floors and stairs should be non-slip.
  10. j) Lighting and contrasts shall be such that key elements, such as passages, doors, seats, retaining rods, operating elements, information, obstacles and markings, appear clearly.


Regulations relating to the training of personnel with tasks of importance for road safety, including track, metro and suburban rail etc. (opplæringsforskriften)

Regulation FOR-2002-12-18-1679 entered into force in 2003 and include requirements for training personnel, no special mention of courses in customer care towards passengers with disabilities. The following provision applies to training:

2.Requirements for training: The person engaged in railway activities shall ensure that tasks as mentioned in Section 1 are carried out only by personnel who have undergone the training required by the enterprise. Completed training shall ensure that the tasks are carried out in such a way that it does not entail a danger to road safety.

3.Requirements for a plan for training: The person engaged in railway activities shall draw up a plan for training personnel with tasks as mentioned in Section 1. At a minimum, the plan should include:

  1. a) designation of the training,
  2. b) requirements for prior knowledge,
  3. c) learning objectives, as well as content with a curriculum overview,
  4. d) duration divided by theory and practice,
  5. e) working method,
  6. f) maximum number of participants,
  7. g) competence requirements for training personnel,
  8. h) principles of testing,
  9. i) requirements for any practice after completing training.

4.2.2. Guidelines and standards

Norwegian Standard NS 11032 Universal design – Passenger transport – Requirements for carriers for safeguarding passenger rights take up passenger rights and cover, among other things, transport by tram and metro. This standard specifies requirements for facilitation of passenger rights across the various transport sectors. The Standard specifies requirements for requesters and carriers within the passenger transport area, including rights related to information, ticketing, assistance and rights before, during and after transport by road, rail, sea and air.

Norwegian Standard NS 11033 Universal design – Passenger transport – Services in the transport area provide requirements for the exercise of service for personnel on means of transport, and also apply to passenger transport by tram and metro. This standard specifies requirements for how services in the transport area are to be designed and exercised to ensure universally designed solutions. The transport area includes in the standard passenger transport by rail, air, sea and road. The standard covers crowd-oriented service practices where universally designed solutions are required for the physical framework around the performance of the transport services, processes and routines with requirements for development, planning, exercise and quality management of passenger transport services and requirements for safeguarding quality, definition of actors, assistance and training of service personnel. The areas of action do not include personal aids, except for the interface against these, as well as aids that form part of the service, such as a telecoil, a wheelchair at the airport, personal assistance and more.

Norwegian Standard NS 11001-1 Universal design of buildings – Part 1: Work and public buildings are relevant for infrastructure around trams and metros, such as larger stations, etc. This standard deals with universal design of all types of work and public buildings and adjacent common outdoor areas. Adjacent communal outdoor areas mean a made-up setting for parking and walking access. This document specifies the basis for meeting the requirements for universal design and equal use. This is specified by specifying design requirements, which will provide increased reliability and quality of use for everyone.

Norwegian Standard NS 8174-1 Acoustics – Measurement of sound pressure level from road traffic – Technical method takes up measurement of sound pressure level in connection with road traffic. NS 8174-1:2007 This standard establishes methods for determining A-weighted and/or 1/1 or 1/3 octave tapes for − day-evening-night sound level; − statistical maximum value of sound pressure level; − equivalent sound pressure level; and − maximum sound pressure level, outdoors and in rooms in buildings, from road traffic under specified traffic and environmental conditions, as well as the number of noise incidents. The goal is to determine sound pressure levels as they occur under specified meteorological conditions. The standard also stipulates the determination of the annual sound pressure level in the event of sound distribution characterized by weak winds in all directions, that is, without taking into account the actual meteorological variation at the site. The method specifies how the sound pressure level at a given point is measured, and how the sound pressure levels in those points can be determined by measuring in several measuring points at once. This standard does not apply to unattended automated measurements. 2 Normative references the specified edition. For undated references, the latest version applies.

Norwegian Standard NS 8174-2 Acoustics – Measurement of sound pressure level from road traffic – Part 2: Simplified method addresses simplified method when measuring sound pressure level from road traffic.

4.2.3. User needs

There are several reports that deals with the needs of passengers with various disabilities. Experiences from travelling by public transport are different for the individual.

  • Visually impaired people will normally want safety and control in order to be self-reliant in connection with travel, when vision cannot give such a feeling. In an unfamiliar situation, one often has to ask for help from others and this feels too many unpleasant and does not always give the desired result. (See, among other things, the report Accessibility Information from a user perspective, made by Opinion in 2019: https://www.vegvesen.no/_attachment/2857771/binary/1351547?fast_title=Tilgjengelighetsinformasjon+fra+et+brukerperspektiv.pdf). On trams and subways, sound-based information next to visuals will be important. In order to access information in connection with travel, websites and increasingly mobile apps are an important tool alongside “traditional” aids such as white cane and guide dog. Such applications include voiceover that provides reading of images and text and buttons on a phone; text to speech function; loupes that can magnify or increase the contrast of symbols, text and images; camera function to enlarge e.g. images in the form of text for tables of contents, as well as orientation tools and GPS.


  • In addition to this, people with hearing impairments and the deaf will face challenges in the form of background noise, and those who use hearing aids will also have challenges with magnetic fields, wind, for some ability to keep their balance (because the balance system is in the ear and may be damaged due to illness), in addition to the fact that many hours of use of hearing aids can be stressful due to these factors. You have to increase your concentration because you do not perceive, for example, sound-based warning signs. On means of transport such as trams, one will depend on good access to visual information about bus stops, etc. Hearing aids will reduce background noise, but the degree of success varies with the individual.


  • For passengers with reduced mobility, challenges on board and disembarkation apply, compliance in height between platform and entrance to tram and metro, and safety on board. A manual wheelchair is easier to operate and optionally for assistance in when overcoming an obstacle. Electric wheelchairs are easier to access at height differences, but are heavier and larger. There is a greater chance that the wheels could get stuck in the gap between perrong and means of transport. Passengers with walking aids such as crutches or canes and feel greater physical strain in connection with distance to stop and stop, steps and slopes and not least balance on board a moving means of transport, if one cannot sit down.


  • Passengers with intellectual disabilities have challenges in connection with travel to varying degrees. It is perhaps especially about cognition and it put information in context. This in turn has an impact on being able to function independently and to make one self understood. A particular challenge can be unforeseen impressions and events. With regard to travelling by tram and metro, for example, challenges will include communication (perhaps especially in relation to asking for assistance), taking in information about travel options, and information conveyed during the journey itself. Routines and regular travel will therefore be important.


  • Passengers with reading, writing and language challenges (such as dyslexia, dyscalculia or specific language challenges) will also be able to face different degrees of barriers in connection with travel. There may be problems expressing onesel9/ reading difficulties with a lot of text, where it comes to focusing on the most important thing; or lack of numerical understanding, such as understanding how long the journey or waiting time takes. Other challenges include a lack of direction or understanding a travel map, such as a map of metro stations.

4.2.4. Recommendations

In order to achieve the best possible transport scheme in cities with trams and metros, it is important to think about planning several elements when designing the transport system, procurement of materials and infrastructure. We divide recommendations according to the different elements of a travel chain: planning the journey; departure and boarding; purchase and validation of ticket, disembarkation and change of means of transport during the journey as well as find the final destination and design of good accessibility information.

  • Travel planning:
    • Availability of as much information as possible before making a journey is important, especially when travelling to a new or unfamiliar destination.
    • Information must be in the available format so that passengers can choose between the information format.
    • Information must be available both before and during a journey. See also Chapter 5 for information.


  • Departure and boarding:
    • Good access to information about accessibility and your own distance to the place of departure.
    • Information about barriers such as slopes and edges, stairs and other barriers en route to the departure point.
    • Time stamps for time from e.g. home to place of departure are most often intended for passengers without disabilities and there should be optional options.
    • It must be informed which carriages on a metro one should choose if using a wheelchair; this to prevent the gap between carriage and platform from being too large when disembarking at another station. This also applies to the visually impaired in order to reduce the need for walking over a longer distance on the platform at the place of arrival if one goes on at the wrong end of the track.
    • Good access to information must be provided in the available format about incidents and deviations during travel.
    • When moving the stop, this must be clearly marked.
    • If the ramp is installed, it must be informed of its type and dimensions.


  • Ticket purchase and validation:
    • It must be clear where to buy a ticket, validate cards, etc.
    • There must be information on whether you can buy a ticket for the entire route.
    • There should be alternative formats on ticket, many people prefer, for example, cards that can be validated at the vending machine.
    • Vending machines must be mounted at a operating height that can be reached by all passengers, including passengers with wheelchairs.
    • Information about ticket prices for companions must be available and in alternative formats.
    • It should be included in the training of the conductor to be able to contact passengers with hearing impairments, in order for them to be able to communicate information in a clear way.


  • Disembarkation and change of mode of transport during travel and find the final destination:
    • It is important to communicate clear information when there is a need for change of means of transport, including from which the next means of transport goes, when departure will be and distance to the next means of transport.
    • There should be the possibility of getting assistance, for example at a metro station, to get to the next means of transport.
    • The nearest pedestrian crossing should be clearly marked.
    • There should be a good possibility of safe crossing of street or road.


  • Designing good accessibility information:
    • Information must be clear and communicated both in auditory and visual format. See also Chapter 5 for information.
    • The information should be repeated so that it is easier to perceive.
    • Information on your own screen, e.g. mobile phone, and public display should be the same.
    • On mobile applications, there should be a reading function.
    • There should be simple language in the information conveyed.
    • It should be good visual recognition between information, for example between the image on our own screen (mobile), public screen and on the means of transport.
    • The information should be precise and accountable
    • It is recommended to use symbols and images to a large extent.