The RailRamp: Automated bridgeplate for commuter trains 2

Passengers traveling by rail encounter a variable “gap” upon entering the train. Gaps can cause accidents among travelers and make it difficult to enter rail cars for people with mobility limitations using wheelchairs and those using strollers, walkers or wheeled luggage. LINC Design conducted ethnographic research at rail stations and held focus groups with stakeholders prior to conceiving an innovative motorized solution to bridge the gap quickly and effortlessly for all passengers on board commuter rail systems.


LINC Design conducted focus groups with visually/mobility impaired individuals, transit authorities, rail car manufacturers, ADA coordinators, railcar personnel and rail car maintenance. LINC Design conceptualized a motorized solution to the commuter rail gap problem and demonstrated this concept at New Jersey Transit in New Jersey, NY and at Go-Transit in Toronto, Canada. FEA analysis was conducted to optimize structural components.

The RailRamp is easily retrofit to existing railcars. An automated bridgeplate slides out from underneath the RailRamp which is mounted ON TOP of the vestibule area.  The design does not alter the floor to ceiling height at the threshold and the motor can be placed anywhere in the vestibule area. The design has audio feedback and is equipped with pressure switch-type controls for easy and safe operation. Upon power failure the ramp can be operated (deployed and/or stowed) manually.

The RailRamp was designed to:

  • Retrofit easily onto existing rail car vestibule floors
  • Bridge 12" horizontal and over 6" vertical gaps
  • Maintains a low profile of 1.75 inches (45mm) when stowed inside the vestibule area
  • NOT affect the overhead door clearance when stowed
  • Reduce overhead door clearance by only 1.25 inches (32 mm) during use
  • Has a clear accessible width of the ramp sections are 30+ inches (762mm)
  • Be adjustable to fit specific railcar dimensions
  • Operate with a 110V/AC, 2Amp, 60Hz motor
  • Weight less than 850 lbs.
  • Measures approximately 101.5 inches (1830mm) when stowed


This project was funded by the National Institutes on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Department of Education as a Small Business Innovative Research Grant.

© LINC Design 2018