Accessibility and User Performance Modeling for Inclusive Transit Bus Design 2014-01-0463
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the impact of low- floor bus seating configuration, passenger load factor (PLF) and passenger characteristics on individual boarding and disembarking (B-D) times -a key component of vehicle dwell time and overall transit system performance. A laboratory study was conducted using a static full-scale mock-up of a low-floor bus. Users of wheeled mobility devices (n=48) and walking aids (n=22), and visually impaired (n=17) and able-bodied (n=17) users evaluated three bus layout configurations at two PLF levels yielding information on B-D performance.
Statistical regression models of B-D times helped quantify relative contributions of layout, PLF, and user characteristics viz., impairment type, power grip strength, and speed of ambulation or wheelchair propulsion. Wheeled mobility device users, and individuals with lower grip strength and slower speed were impacted greater by vehicle design resulting in increased dwell time.
To ensure safe, efficient and equitable access to the diverse spectrum of transit riders, transit system design needs approaches that transcend existing minimum federal accessibility design standards. This study improves our understanding of the relationship between vehicle design and the functional abilities of users. The need for research and design to achieve inclusive and space- and time-efficient transit systems is discussed.