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Containment for Occupied Wheeled Mobility Devices on Passenger Rail Trains

[+] Author Affiliations
Katharine Hunter-Zaworski

Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Kristine Severson

Volpe National Transportation Center, Cambridge, MA

Melissa Shurland

Federal Railroad Administration, Washington, DC

Paper No. JRC2018-6119, pp. V001T08A002; 6 pages
  • 2018 Joint Rail Conference
  • 2018 Joint Rail Conference
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, April 18–20, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Rail Transportation Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5097-8
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


The paper addresses the need to examine the trade-offs between passenger safety and independence in travel by people who use wheeled mobility devices on passengers trains. It has been the practice in Asia, North America and Europe to not require passengers in wheeled mobility devices (WhMDs) such as wheelchairs to secure their wheeled devices when traveling by rail. There are several motivations for examining the need for containment of WhMDs on passenger trains. In general the population is aging and getting larger, and this is reflected in the types of WhMDs that passengers are trying to bring on board trains. The US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and members of the Rail Vehicle Access Advisory Committee (RVAAC) requested a feasibility study on the economic impacts of accommodating two or more wheeled mobility devices in the accessible seating area [1]. The feasibility study indicated that there is space to accommodate two WhMDs without significant impact on revenue seat loss, however safety issues have emerged, and are the basis of this paper. The three research questions that are addressed include:

I. What is the appropriate interior space that accounts for WhMD maneuvering?

II. What are the appropriate levels of deceleration and jerk to be considered in the vehicle interior for passenger rail vehicles under severe braking?

III. What is the appropriate level of containment for occupied wheeled mobility devices on passenger rail vehicles?

The paper examines research literature and other findings from both North America and Europe that address in part the research questions.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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