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Influence of Human Related Factors on Railway Vehicle Wheelchair Occupant Crash Safety

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Emmanuel Matsika


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n the past 25 years, laws related to accessibility in general have been enacted worldwide. In the United Kingdom, for example, with the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) of 1995 and 2005, a number of regulations and codes of practice have been put in place to provide wheelchair users with greater access and freedom of traveling by public transport, including railway vehicles. This paper aims at contributing to the knowledge gap that exists on how human related factors may influence the safety of a wheelchair occupant in a railway vehicle during deceleration, particularly crash conditions. To achieve this, a socio-technical study on railway vehicle safety was conducted through a disability association called BADGE, acting as the gatekeeper. The research methodology developed applied two data collection research tools. The first was a focus group discussion in which six wheelchair users participated. The second tool was observational, where wheelchair users undertook two baseline railway vehicle trips within the Greater Manchester. Here data was captured through video footage and still pictures. In addition, note taking was applied. The research found that personal preferences and medical conditions greatly influence the way a wheelchair occupant interacts with the wheelchair and the railway vehicle. This could potentially affect the safety of the wheelchair occupant, generally, and particularly during a crash. The paper ends by presenting a flow diagram that postulates how these human related factors identified could ultimately influence secondary collision characteristics during a crash. The findings could help railway vehicle engineers to better design wheelchair accessible environment with improved wheelchair occupant crash safety.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Matsika E, Chirwa CE, Peng Q

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 2013 Joint Rail Conference

Year of Conference: 2013

Publisher: ASME


DOI: 10.1115/JRC2013-2406

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: ASME Proceedings | Safety and Security

Sponsor(s): Rail Transportation Division

ISBN: 9780791855300