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Powered mobility aid access on public transport: A validation study of compliance with disability standards
journal contributionposted on 2021-10-20, 21:57 authored by Carolyn UnsworthCarolyn Unsworth, Julian Chua, Prasad GudimetlaPrasad Gudimetla, Anjum NaweedAnjum Naweed
Introduction: Public transport accessibility is vital for people using powered mobility aids, particularly on buses which have the greatest travel reach into the community. In Australia, a new standard has been developed against which the fit of mobility aids can be determined prior to travel. However, the standard is documented in 2D and real-world tests have not been conducted. The aim of this study was to examine powered mobility aid access on test rigs specified in the standard to determine public transport conformance thus contributing to real-world validation of the standard, and identify the measurements of mobility aids most likely to access public transport. Methods: Life-size rigs were built according to the specifications within the standard to simulate and facilitate five types of test including the:180° turn; Pavement gap; Swept path; Allocated space; and Narrow access path. Thirty-five powered mobility aids were measured and driven through these test rigs and successful completion or collision points were recorded. Results: Nine of the 35 mobility aids were found to be noncompliant with the new standard. The Allocated space test, which represented manoeuvring into a designated travel space was most difficult, followed by completion of the 180° turn test. The measurements of powered mobility aids that are likely to comply with the standard for public transport access were found to be those with diagonal length (D) less than 1280 mm, overall length (L) less than 1110 mm, and a measured turn radius less than 760 mm. Conclusions: This research provides an empirical validation of the new 2D standard using real-world experimental testing standard by building the associated test rigs and driving a sample of powered mobility aids through them. Future research using field-based validation in bus light rail and trains is warranted.