Feasibility evaluation of a forward facing wheelchair passenger safety station for use in large accessible transit vehicles

Award Information
Agency: Department of Education
Branch: N/A
Contract: H133S120005
Agency Tracking Number: H133S120005
Amount: $74,950.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solitcitation Year: 2012
Solitcitation Topic Code: 84.133S-1
Solitcitation Number: 1
Small Business Information
139 Shannon Heights Drive, Verona, PA, 15147-
Duns: 042499851
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Linda  vanRoosmalen
 (412) 401-8194
Business Contact
Research Institution
This Phase 1 project enhances safety and independence for wheelchair and scooter passengers riding in fixed route transit and increases quality of life and community participation through improved accessibility to vehicle safety systems for individuals with mobility disabilities. The goal is to create and demonstrate the feasibility of a novel forward facing wheelchair passenger station (FF-WPS) by investigating its safety, ergonomic fit, and general usability. Phase 1 results in new and improved FFWPS that meets wheelchair and occupant safety requirements. The key advantages of the FF-WPS concept over existing wheelchair securement and occupant restraint systems are: (1) providing enhanced independence to wheelchair and scooter users riding fixed route transit, (2) requiring no involvement by bus operators, (3) minimizing wheelchair and scooter tipping into the aisle, and (4) minimizing the risk of passenger falls from wheelchairs and scooters during bus travel. Project objectives demonstrating system feasibility in the areas of safety, ergonomics, and usability are achieved through three tasks areas. Task 1: Establish the dimensional requirements of the FF-WPS concept to optimize safety, ergonomics, and fit by conducting dynamic (spimulator) testing of occupied wheelchairs and scooters that are exposed to vehicle braking, turning, and accelerating-type conditions. Task 2: Design improvements to meet (dynamic) safety, ergonomic, and user requirements. Task 3: Create and test an improved FF-WPS prototype with optimized safety features, (ergonomic) dimensions and features that enhance usability by wheelchair and scooter users. The enhanced features of the FF-WPS prototype allow independent use of the transportation system by all passengers.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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