Title: Safety assessment of wheelchair occupants in paratransit buses

Authors: Cezary Bojanowski, Leslaw Kwasniewski, Jerry Wekezer

Addresses: Florida A&M University, Florida State University College of Engineering, 2525 Pottsdamer Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32310-6046, USA. ' Institute of Structural Mechanics, Warsaw University of Technology, Armii Ludowej 16, 00-637 Warsaw, Poland. ' Florida A&M University, Florida State University College of Engineering, 2525 Pottsdamer Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32310-6046, USA

Abstract: Safety assessment of passengers with disabilities travelling in their wheelchairs in paratransit buses is presented. Computational mechanics and LS-DYNA non-linear finite element code were used as tools in this study. All finite element models were partially validated using data available from experimental sled tests. The validated dummy-wheelchair-bus system, which was developed, allowed for quantitative assessment of injury criteria in several accident scenarios. Although backward seating was found beneficial in reducing severity of injuries during accidents, the outcome is sensitive to imperfect initial conditions during accidents. Material presented allows for detailed assessment of benefits and shortcomings of each configuration considered.

Keywords: wheelchair occupants; occupant safety; safety assessment; paratransit buses; frontal impact; injury criteria; finite element analysis: FEA; disabilities; computational mechanics; disabled passengers; bus accidents; human factors.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFMS.2008.022475

International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation, 2008 Vol.1 No.2, pp.174 - 196

Available online: 08 Jan 2009 *

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