Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Wheelchair Transportation Safety


Motor vehicle transportation, whether in private, public, or school-bus vehicles, is vital in today’s society. Ready access to transportation is not only essential for most occupations and education, but also for accessing healthcare providers, religious services, recreation and leisure activities, shopping, voting, and many other community activities and services. As reported by the National Council on Disability, the need for transportation is even greater for individuals who use wheelchairs, including those who are unable to transfer out of their wheelchair when traveling (Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2002; National Council on Disability, 2005).

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.