The American with Disability Act requires public and specialized transportation systems to have rolling stock that will accommodate the loading, unloading and “in-vehicle securement” of a ”common wheelchair” and its occupant. The development in recent years of more sophisticated and heavier motorized wheelchairs and scooters, passengers with more advanced disabilities (including obesity) are now more mobile and requesting rides on public and specialized transportation systems. Since the vehicles are not designed to meet these increased size and weight requirements (but still in compliance with ADA), many of these providers are finding themselves denying more and more service requests. In addition, many of the new mobility aid devices are not designed to be safely “tied down” in a vehicle causing “risk management” issues for the passenger and service provider.
The report addressed the combined weight of the wheelchair and passenger, the size of the wheelchair, and the ease of securement of the wheelchair and passenger. The first two (weight and size) are covered by regulations and changes are being considered, as described below. Securement of the wheelchair and passenger may be difficult for devices that meet the size and weight limits, but is often more difficult for wheelchair/passenger combinations that exceed the limit. Weight of the wheelchair and passenger combination is not an eligibility issue, as a passenger may use many different mobility devices, but may be a consideration in deciding to transport a passenger. Difficulty of securement is also not an eligibility issue and passengers are not required to allow securement, but safety of the operator and all passengers including the implications of lack of securement may be a consideration in deciding to transport a passenger.
Disclaimer: This is an uncorrected draft as submitted by the Contractor. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied herein are those of the Contractor. They are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, or the program sponsors.