Effects of transit bus interior configuration on performance of wheeled mobility users during simulated boarding and disembarking

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, mode - bus, operations - crowding, operations - frequency, planning - safety/accidents, planning - service improvement, planning - service quality, policy - disability, ridership - disadvantage


Wheelchairs, Accessibility, Usability, Low-floor bus, Public transportation


The emergence of low-floor bus designs and related regulatory standards in the U.S. have resulted in substantial improvements in public transit accessibility. However, passengers using wheeled mobility devices still experience safety concerns and inefficiencies in boarding, disembarking, and interior circulation on low-floor buses. This study investigates effects of low-floor bus interior configuration and passenger crowding on boarding and disembarking efficiency and safety. Users of manual wheelchairs (n = 18), powered wheelchairs (n = 21) and electric scooters (n = 9) simulated boarding and disembarking in three interior layout configurations at low and high passenger crowding conditions on a full-scale laboratory mock-up of a low-floor bus. Dependent measures comprised task times and critical incidents during access ramp use, fare payment, and movement to and from the doorway and wheeled mobility securement area. Individual times for unassisted boarding ranged from 15.2 to 245.3 s and for disembarking ranged from 9.1 to 164.6 s across layout and passenger crowding conditions. Nonparametric analysis of variance showed significant differences and interactions across vehicle design conditions, passenger load and mobility device type on user performance. The configuration having electronic on-board fare payment, rear-bus entrance doorways and adjacent device securement areas demonstrated greatest efficiency and safety. High passenger load adversely impacted efficiency and frequency of critical incidents during on-board circulation across all three layouts. Findings have broader implications for improving transit system efficiency and quality of service across the spectrum of transit users.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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