Stroller Friendly Transit

As a mother who enjoys using public transportation, I’ve been continuously observing how stroller-friendly various public transit modes, hubs and stations are. 

For the past several years, I’ve experienced what it’s like to board buses, trams, subways and trains with kids and a stroller in numerous cities.

I’ve experienced what it’s like to have to carry or drag your stroller down a staircase while holding a toddler’s hand and gingerly descending because the elevator is out of order. I’ve experienced how smooth onboarding can be when (like in these photos taken in Swedish cities) the bus pulls up flush to the curb and has a lowering mechanism to allow for safe onboarding for strollers and mobility impaired (in addition to a deployable wheelchair ramp). 

Photo: Bus interior in Örebro (Annika Lundkvist, 2021)

I have so many stories around this topic that I look forward to sharing as this is an essential dimension of inclusive transit as well as walkability- a concept for which public transportation plays a very important role. 

Stroller Friendly Transit is not only about space on board. It begins with how accessible the station and transit hub is as well as a safe onboarding experience.  

Photo: Bus in Malmö (Annika Lundkvist, 2021)

I snapped the above a few months ago of this Skånetrafiken bus in Malmö. The situation signals a great stroller boarding experience up ahead (and we know from experience that the city has well-developed accessibility on its public transit). The bus is flush up to the curb which means that people pushing strollers can easily roll on and this also provides a safer on-boarding experience for young children and mobility impaired individuals.  

Overall, it provides a safer onboarding experience for everyone. 

Safe, affordable and accessible public transit is an important dimension to walkability as it helps reduce traffic congestion as well as provides an alternative and increased connectivity. 

Skånetrafiken even has a note about social responsibility on its site:

(translated): “Our traffic also contributes to increased equality and reduced segregation in society. We make it possible to travel in Skåne – even for those who do not own a car. Public transport must be for everyone. That is why we are committed to a socially sustainable society.”

Stroller Friendly Transit is not just about having space onboard (though that is critical) but also the experience leading up to boarding. 

It’s in part about how the bus aligns with the curb, knowing that I will be able to have a safe onboarding experience with my young child (or children) and stroller, as opposed to a clumsy or even unsafe onboarding experience.

Being a satisfied transit user results from feeling accommodated and happy with the options. It is also a win for the transit system.

Photo: Bus in Stockholm (Annika Lundkvist, 2018)