This is the repository for studies performed by the Human Engineering Research Laboratories that have been funded by the United States Access Board. HERL is very proud to have partnered with the Access Board for these important projects: The Impact of Transfer Setup on the Performance of Independent Transfers, Rollability Standards, and Wheelchair Propulsion on Cross-Slopes.
To work, go to school, visit with friends, go to the movies and engage in other meaningful societal and community activities depends on the ability of the wheeled mobility device (WMD) user to perform essential mobility skills in the community independently (e.g. without human assistance). The ability to perform successful independent transfers hinges on several environmental factors. Some of these factors are addressed in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) which include requirements for the vertical height for elements where transfers are expected, clear space adjacent to the element, and grab bars (in certain cases). Over the last decade as accessibility standards have expanded, the number of elements designed for transfer has also increased. Recent additions of provisions for recreation facilities added criteria for transfer systems in play areas, transfer systems and transfer walls in swimming pools, and amusement ride seats designed for transfer. Criteria for medical diagnostic equipment is also under development at this time.
In order to gather data that would support updates and expansions to the guidelines in these and other areas, a two phase study has been completed. The first phase evaluated the state of the science concerning independent wheelchair transfers and in particular how various aspects of the built environment affect the transfer process. This phase also included an experimental study to examine the design standards for amusement park rides and transfers to other similar kinds of elements. One-hundred and twenty adult WMD users were tested and the primary outcome measures collected were the maximum and minimum attainable vertical heights of the transfer surface, maximum gap distance between the WMD and transfer surface, grab bar use, and WMD space needs (see Phase I Final Report below for detailed results on this study).
With the procurement of additional funding, a second phase of research was conducted. This phase included conducting a web-based live workshop to act as a forum for exchanging ideas and information related to the first phase of research and to identify research priorities related to independent transfers in the built environment (see below Proceedings of the Web-Based Workshop on Independent Wheelchair Transfers for detailed results on this study).
Using the feedback collected during the workshop combined with the need for additional information on platform transfers and transfer steps, a follow up study was performed. Seventy-three adult WMD users were tested and the primary outcome measures collected were maximum and minimum attainable vertical heights of a transfer surface with and without grab bars and with and without a backrest on the surface, maximum and minimum attainable vertical heights for a two-step transfer with and without an integrated ramp, preferred seat widths for transfers, and floor space needs (see Phase II Final Report below for detailed results on this study).
These studies were conducted by the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) from the University of Pittsburgh and VA Pittsburgh Health Care System with support from the Access Board and the Department of Education. They do not necessarily represent the views of the Access Board and readers should not assume any endorsement by the federal government.
Detailed results of each study can be found by clicking on the links to the final research project reports below.
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|Read Phase II Final Report in HTML format||Read Phase II Final Report in PDF format||Read Phase II Final Report in Word format|
|Read proceedings in HTML format||Read proceedings in PDF format||Read proceedings in Word format|
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Page last updated November 23, 2015.