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16 CHAPTER THREE WHEELCHAIRS LITERATURE REVIEW ON WHEELCHAIRS AND sion docking and vehicle guidance--could render BRT trips WHEELCHAIR ACCOMMODATION POLICIES smoother and more secure for wheelchair users. The authors of a TCRP Synthesis examine rear-facing securements and note Of the large items that buses and trains carry in the United that "[t]he benefits associated with this approach make it par- States, wheelchairs have the clearest and most universal ticularly attractive for [BRT] systems, given the short dwell guidelines for accommodation on vehicles. The U.S. govern- times and other needs of high capacity services" (Rutenberg ment has codified specific measurements for all components and Hemily 2003). The World Bank has also produced a report of various public transport vehicles in conjunction with on this topic citing practices worldwide for accessible BRT requirements resulting from passage of the Americans with systems, and recommends that a "cutout of a plan view of a Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (Code of Federal Regulations reference wheelchair, to scale with a plan of the bus interior 2007). In Canada, policies are established in some cases by and adjacent stop, should be used to assure an accessible travel provincial governments or in transit system bylaws. path into the bus and then into the securement area." The report suggests that "securement areas must be longer than the refer- Transit agencies continue to struggle with many issues ence wheelchair to allow for turning motions as the wheelchair related to wheelchair sizes and securements. A comprehen- is positioned in the securement area" (Rickert 2006). sive overview of these issues is found in the 2008 document prepared for Easter Seals Project ACTION, Status Report on Compounding the securement and maneuverability issues the Use of Wheelchairs and Other Mobility Devices on Pub- is the issue that Americans are becoming bigger and so are lic and Private Transportation. Table 4 from the Executive their wheelchairs. The U.S.DOT defines the "common wheel- Summary gives a snapshot of the issues (Nelson\Nygaard chair" as any class of mobility aid "of three or four-wheeled Consulting Associates 2008). devices" that does not "exceed 30 inches in width and 48 inches in length measured two inches above the ground" The difficulty of nonstandard securements is echoed in and does not "weigh more than 600 pounds when occupied" the report "A Universal Securement/Restraint System for (Questions and Answers Concerning Common Wheelchairs Wheeled Mobility Aids on Public Transportation Vehi- and Public Transit 2010). However, more overweight Amer- cles--The Oregon State University Securement System." icans will lead to an increased use of larger mobility aids, This report documents the steps taken to develop a standard which will challenge existing ADA specifications and regula- "mobility aid securement system" that met a lengthy set of tions. The report Oversized/Overweight Mobility Aids: Status design objectives. The standard requires a mobility aid in of the Issue notes that some transit agencies have begun to the "forward-facing position" and "is made up of two major install larger-capacity lifts, and raises questions over intrave- parts: a capture mechanism which is mounted to the floor hicle maneuverability (Pass and Thompson 2004). of the transit vehicle and an interface unit (trailer hitch) attached to the back of the mobility aid." The 2003 update Typically, rail cars feature smoother rides than buses, have notes that the Oregon State University standard is not being easy access and egress, and do not have wheelchair secure- manufactured, but is still in use in Anchorage, Alaska. Of ments. Instead, the issues with rail include maneuverability importance is the acknowledgment that "a major challenge in the cars and level boarding access. Rail Transit Capac- in using this system is that the product requires a standard ity provides a comprehensive overview, noting calculation interface and manufacturers aren't producing mobility aids methods and synthesizing standards and practices across a with this standard interface" (Hunter-Zaworski 2003). variety of transit agencies. The report states, However, it is not the size of the chair that is a concern as Another document, Discussion Paper: Characteristics of much as the maneuvering and stowage space. Typically a Accessible Bus Rapid Transit, addresses accessibility issues chair occupies the space of a double seat whose seat squab from physical, operational, and system performance perspec- folds up. Restraints and seat belts may be provided but the tives specifically related to BRT (2010). A focus on intelligent smoothness of the ride allows most rail transit systems to omit these. In certain vehicle layouts additional seats transportation systems (ITS) applications in BRT notes that have to be removed to allow access to the designated vehicle assist and automation technologies (VAA)--preci- wheelchair location.

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17 In optimum designs wheelchair space occupancy should be assigned as the space of a double seat--0.8 m 2 (8.6 sq An example of retrofitting existing vehicles to create ft) with a 50% increase considered as an upper limit-- level boarding for wheelchairs is the Dallas Area Rapid 1.2 m 2 (13 sq ft). No further allowance is necessary for Transit (DART) car refurbishment and rebuilding project, maneuvering space as this will be occupied by standing designed to coincide with the progressive opening of the passengers when circumstances dictate. In several rail transit vehicle designs, capacity has actually increased new Green Line from late 2009 to late 2010. Super Light with the removal of seats to provide a designated space Rail Vehicles are being created by inserting new low-floor for wheelchairs, or, selectively, bicycles. Where the center sections at the articulation joints of the 115 existing designated space does not involve a fold-up seat the Light Rail Vehicles. These new spaces will be level with empty space is frequently used by standing passengers or to store baggage, baby strollers etc. Providing locations newly-raised platforms (DART 2010). to store such potential obstacles away from doorways and circulation areas can assist in reducing dwell times Unlike the United States, many other countries do not (Parkinson and Fisher 1996). have legislated requirements to accommodate wheelchairs TABLE 4 FINDINGS FROM STATUS REPORT ON THE USE OF WHEELCHAIRS AND OTHER MOBILITY DEVICES ON PUBLIC AND PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION Issue area Issues Recommendations Transit Vehicle and Equip- Space and maneuvering on board For manufacturers and mobility-related industries: ment Design vehicles--constrained spaces Develop industry standards or guidelines for wheelchair space layouts, aisle clearances, placement of securement equipment, etc.; to be used by both Lift and ramp boarding--steep angles vehicle purchasers and manufacturers/designers and reliability Increase development and "real-world" (in transit service environment) demonstration of new technologies For transit providers: Encourage standardized wheelchair securement equipment by retrofitting older vehicles with updated equipment, and increase or improve maintenance programs for older wheelchair lifts Routinely involve advisory committee members and drivers in the selection of new and replacement vehicles Wheelchair Design, Pur- Oversized wheelchairs--increasing For wheelchair users: chasing, Usage, and number of chairs that do not fit into Learn about the dimensions established for wheelchair space aboard transit Prescription minimum ADA vehicle standards vehicles For vendors and prescribers: Non-wheelchair mobility aids--Seg- Be cognizant of the dimensions established for wheelchair space aboard transit ways, strollers vehicles, clearly including this aspect in dealings with wheelchair users For wheelchair manufacturers: Other items carried with mobility Develop guidelines for manufacturers to use in making information about devices-- oxygen, large backpacks "transit friendliness" of mobility devices accessible and available to prospective purchasers Transit Operations and Securement issues-- customer pref- For the industry: Training erences, variety of devices, secure- Development of a "template" type of document that can be used by transit ment policies, ergonomics, time systems to educate customers of accessibility features and more Development and dissemination of model training program elements Transit personnel proficiency and Development of "best-practice" policies and guidelines for accommodating awareness--sensitivity, securement Segways and other nontraditional mobility devices skills Development of guidelines on how to implement wheelchair marking and tether strap programs Training standards and monitoring of Dissemination of best practices or guidelines for monitoring transit system service performance-- inconsistent, performance regarding mobility aid accommodations little direct monitoring Regulation and Policy Progress in making WC19-compliant For the industry: wheelchairs available--limited out- Additional research: reach to users Education and dissemi- nation of available resources--lim- Examination of barriers to making WC19-compliant mobility devices available ited and inconsistent to transit users Activities: Development of guidelines for transit providers on how/why to choose "mandatory" vs. "optional" rider choice policy for securement Increased coordination of various regulations that affect mobility device accessibility and design