Public transportation options for people with disabilities has evolved tremendously thanks to the advent of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. And yet, times are changing as our communities grow their understanding of accessibility. In fact, the United States Access Board is in the process of updating vehicle guidelines under the Accessibility Specifications for Transportation Vehicles.
If you’re the owner or operator of a passenger vessel, or you’re in the process of adding to your fleet, you’ll want to keep your pulse on these potential changes.
The REV Bus Group takes ADA compliance to the extreme with wheelchair accessible bus innovations because safety and comfort are one of our top priorities. While monitoring this news, we came across an interesting study from the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Louisville. The 2013 study assessed the slope of fixed-route, public-transport, bus-deployed ramps and compared the field measurement to the proposed guidelines. A ramp-embedded inclinometer documented 221 wheelchair and scooter boardings throughout a large metropolitan service region.
The results? The study found that nearly half of those metro buses exceeded the proposed guidelines of a 1:6 maximum slope when deployed to street level, and 2.5 percent of the boardings exceeded the same guideline when deployed to a sidewalk curb.
Unlike conventional fixed-panel ramps, the REV Bus Group offers a single-slope ramp that adjusts to a seamless slope no matter if it’s deployed to the street or sidewalk. REV leads the industry in ADA compliant ramps with innovations like the Equalizer Ramp® from Champion. This technology automatically senses the height of the ramp deployment surface and adjusts all sections of the ramp to create a straight slope and the flattest plane possible, based on the height of the curb. Select models also feature air suspension and kneeling technology that create a level floor to improve the angle of the ramp and to prevent passengers from having to navigate a sloped floor.
And like REV’s bus brands, sister brand ElDorado Mobility applies its own innovations to wheelchair accessible minivans. Built for both commercial and consumer markets, the ElDorado Amerivan features the widest ramp in the industry, made from aircraft-grade aluminum with a 1,000-lb. rating. The door, ramp and kneeling can be actuated with the simple touch of a button, offering unparalleled ease of access for wheelchair users.
It’s these kind of details that matter, especially when it comes to passenger safety. In fact, a follow-up study analyzed six years of public transportation incident reports and found that nearly half of the metro transit agency’s wheelchair access problems occurred when using a bus ramp, and 43.6% of those ramp-related incidents resulted in injury. The study also noted that steep ramp slopes were associated with 27.5% of the incidents.
With REV, though, you can rest assured we take all of these factors into consideration, and then we innovate to deliver results that not only surpass requirements but anticipate the guidelines that don’t even exist yet.