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Center Identification Number: 416-07

Project Title: Synthesis of Securement Device Options and Strategies & Preliminary Assessment of Paratransit Accident Incidence & Accident Tracking Processes

Principal Investigator:

Jennifer Hardin, Research Associate
813-974-1092
E-mail: hardin@cutr.eng.usf.edu

Institution:

Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

External Project Contact:

Mike Johnson FDOT, Operations Administrator

I. Project Objective

To develop a synthesis of the types and costs of various securement device options available, as well as strategies developed to accommodate mobility aids that do not fit the definition and specifications of a "common wheelchair." To analyze the prevalence of paratransit accidents and the approaches being used to monitor, evaluate, and analyze paratransit accidents in Florida. To determine the most common types of paratransit accidents reported and the type, level and degree of severity associated with reported paratransit accidents.

II. Project Abstract

This project will examine two critical paratransit operational areas: mobility aid securement devices and paratransit accident incidence and tracking processes. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that public transit vehicles be equipped with securement location(s) and device(s) that are able to secure "common wheelchairs," as defined in the ADA regulations. The definition and size specifications related to a "common wheelchair" cover many types of mobility devices, from the traditional wheelchair to three- and four-wheeled motorized "scooters." However, many vehicle operators do not have experience securing non-traditional mobility devices and some very popular types of mobility devices, such as motorized scooters, cannot be secured using common types of securement devices. The research proposed is to develop a synthesis of the types and costs of various securement device options available, as well as strategies developed to accommodate mobility devices that do not fit the definition and specifications of a "common wheelchair."

Annually collected data from paratransit providers indicates that paratransit incidents and accidents are prevalent throughout Florida. In addition, anecdotal evidence suggests that paratransit incidents and accidents are likely to involve individual passenger injuries resulting from faulty accessibility equipment and/or insufficient driver training. This preliminary research will examine the occurrence and types of paratransit accidents, as well as the approaches being used by transit agencies in Florida and throughout the United States to monitor and analyze paratransit accidents. Based on the results of this examination, preliminary conclusions will be developed regarding the degree to which paratransit accidents are a problem for transit agencies and paratransit properties, common causal factors contributing to paratransit accidents, as well as potential hazards. Recommendations will also be offered regarding accident tracking methods.

III. Task Descriptions

This project will focus on two significant operational areas in the paratransit industry: securement device options and strategies and paratransit accident incidence and tracking processes. Each operational area will be addressed concurrently under separate tasks and sub-tasks, as described below.

Task 1: Synthesis of Securement Device Options and Strategies

Sub-Task 1A: Survey of Transit and Paratransit Properties

In this task, transit and paratransit properties will be surveyed regarding the types of securement devices used on transit vehicles and paratransit vehicles. Information will be sought regarding the use and operation of the securement devices and any difficulties encountered in the use of securement devices, such as operation and maintenance issues. Additionally, the properties will be queried about strategies employed to secure mobility devices that do not fit the ADA definition of a "common wheelchair." All transit and paratransit properties in Florida will be surveyed, as well as a sample of agencies outside of Florida.

Deliverable: Technical Memorandum 1A - Survey Results and Issues Identification

Sub-Task 1B: Identification and Investigation of Available Securement Devices

The purpose of this task is to develop an inventory of securement devices available for transit and paratransit vehicles. Information on securement devices will be sought from vendors, including types of devices available, types of mobility devices secured, costs, and vehicle specifications. Vendors will be asked to supply information regarding transit or paratransit agencies using specific securement devices. CUTR will also request demonstrations be given of the actual use of available securement devices, either by vendors or by transportation agencies using the securement devices.

Deliverable: Technical Memorandum 1B - Inventory of Available Securement Devices

Task 1C: Synthesis of Securement Device Options and Strategies

This task will compile and synthesize the results from Tasks 1A and 1B. A final report will be developed that provides detailed information on the issues identified related to the securement of mobility devices and the options and strategies available to transportation agencies. The synthesis will include detailed cost information pertaining to each securement device available, the types of mobility devices able to be secured, and complete vendor information.

Deliverable: Final Report - Synthesis of Securement Device Options and Strategies

Task 2: Preliminary Assessment of Paratransit Accident Incidence & Accident Tracking Processes

Sub-Task 2A: Develop and Administer Survey of Paratransit Properties within and Outside of Florida

This task will include the development and administration of a survey instrument targeting paratransit operations in Florida and a sample of paratransit providers outside of Florida. The survey will gather information related to the number of paratransit incidents and accidents occurring, type of incidents and accidents, reporting/investigating procedures employed, tracking system utilized (if any), causal factors, identified trends, reporting requirements, and follow-up procedures.

Sub-Task 2B: Survey Findings and Recommendations

This task includes the compilation of the results of the survey conducted in Task 2A. Based on the results from the survey, preliminary conclusions will be developed regarding the degree to which paratransit accidents are a problem for transit and paratransit agencies, common causal factors identified as contributing to paratransit accidents and incidents, as well as potential hazards encountered by paratransit operators and passengers. Preliminary recommendations will also be offered regarding paratransit accident tracking needs and methods.

Deliverable: Final Report - Preliminary Assessment of Paratransit Accident Incidence and Accident Tracking Processes 

IV. Student Involvement

Graduate students will be used to assist in the preparation and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data collection steps, conduct of the surveys of transit agencies, paratransit properties, and equipment vendors, and preparation of materials for the final report.

V. Relationship to Other Research Projects

This project will draw on the experience and knowledge gained through the Enhancing Safety in Florida Transit Systems project that was recently completed. In addition, a number of safety-related research projects are currently underway at CUTR as part of the NCTR research program.

VI. Technology Transfer Activities

The results of this analysis will be provided to the FDOT through a series of technical memoranda and a final report for each of the two primary tasks, as outlined above. Copies of the final report will be provided to the Research Office, the State Public Transportation Administrator, the Manager of the Transit Office and the transit systems that participated in the analyses. Information will also be made available thought the CUTR website and through presentations at local and national conferences.

VII. Potential Benefits of the Project

The benefits of the project include the development and implementation of operational improvements to both improve safety for transit and paratransit users and enhance quality and effectiveness of public transportation services in Florida.

VIII. TRB Keywords

Public transit, paratransit, safety, accidents, mobility devices, ADA

 

National Center for Transit Research at the Center For Urban Transportation Research University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 Tampa, FL 33620-5375 (813) 974-3120 (813) 974-5168 www.nctr.usf.edu Comments: webmaster@cutr.eng.usf.edu