Private Vehicle Seating and Access Options for Riders with Mobility Impairments 2005-01-1892
People with mobility impairments face a host of physical challenges while gaining access to and sitting within private vehicles. In 2000, the US Census Bureau reported that there were approximately 21.2 million individuals 15 years or older in the USA with ambulatory disabilities. Disability was defined as having difficulty walking up a flight of 10 stairs, walking ¼ mile, or requiring the use of an ambulatory aid such as a walker, cane, wheelchair or other device.
A large percentage of people with ambulatory disabilities are dependant on private vehicles for their main mode of transportation. Being able to gain access to the vehicle greatly impacts their quality of life.
Currently there are numerous seating and access systems on the market that assist people with their need for private vehicle independence. These systems replace or augment the manufacturer's original vehicle seating. This paper explores the more popular seating and access systems, the category of vehicles addressed, the types of users able to utilize them and some of the challenges these systems have with the current and evolving FMVSS requirements.