Combined effect of platform edge doors and level access on boarding and alighting process in London Underground
© 2017, SAGE Publications Ltd. All rights reserved. Platform edge doors (PEDs) are used in metro stations to improve passenger safety and comfort, while step-free access with a minimum gap between the train and the platform is desirable on the grounds of accessibility. There is little research on the effect of PEDs on boarding and alighting time (BAT) and passenger behavior patterns. Many authors, however, have examined the impact of vertical and horizontal gaps in passengers' boarding and alighting. On the London Underground, there is always step-free access between the train and the platform when there are PEDs; but even at some platforms without PEDs, level access may be provided by platform humps. This study examined the combined effect of PEDs and level access on the boarding and alighting process. Two London Underground platforms, both with level access, one with PEDs and one without PEDs, were compared by analyzing bespoke video footage. The results showed that PEDs on their own had no overall negative impact on BAT and that, in most situations, they encouraged passengers to wait beside the doors. It was also found that demand (number of boarders, alighters, and passengers on the train) was a more important influence on BAT and passenger behaviors than was the presence of PEDs.