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Vol. 40 No. 4, July/August 2003

Appropriate protection for wheelchair riders on public transit buses

Greg Shaw, PhD; Timothy Gillispie, BA
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Center for Applied Biomechanics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Abstract — Securement of wheelchairs and occupant restraint for wheelchair riders on buses is one of the most difficult problems facing transit providers. The primary findings of this literature review show that (1) very little information has been published regarding transit bus safety and crash environment; (2) the focus of most reported wheelchair incidents involved noncollision events, in which inappropriate wheelchair securement or rider restraint resulted in minor injuries; and (3) studies spanning 30 years indicate that the large transit bus is an exceedingly safe form of transportation, so that wheelchair riders do not face undo risk of injury in this transportation environment. Further study is required to characterize the rare-occurring severe transit bus crashes. The resulting information is needed to establish an appropriate level of crash protection so that the next generation of U.S. wheelchair securement and occupant restraint systems not only are reasonably safe but also are easy to use and acceptable to wheelchair riders and transit bus operators.
Key words: transit bus, transport safety, wheelchair rider, wheelchair tie-downs.

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