Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Design of an accessible sleeper compartment for next generation passenger rail : investigation of user needs and application of human factors through digital human modeling

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  • As the trend of increasing age, weight, size, and disability within the population continues to increase, the demand for accessible transportation is expected to increase as well. Accessible and inclusive transportation is key in providing independent, barrier-free mobility for persons with accessibility needs. This thesis describes work completed in partial fulfillment of the Transportation Research Board Safety IDEA Project-31 to extend the design process for accessible sleeper compartments in next generation passenger rail. An online survey was administered to determine target population needs and preferences and to determine whether a more specific definition of the target population is needed to ensure inclusivity while generating user requirements. Computer-aided design and digital human modeling tools were used to model data collected from human subjects who visited a constructed full-scale soft mock-up of a proposed design to evaluate the applicability of current, commercially available digital human modeling tools to the accessible design process. Results suggest that there are significant differences in accessibility preferences between persons with reduced mobility and persons without reduced mobility within the target population. Results also suggest that while currently available digital human modeling tools may approximate certain aspects of accessible design, there are limitations of how they represent accessibility needs.
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  • The work reported in this document was funded in part by the National Academies Rail Safety IDEA Project -31, “Modeling and validation of standards for a sleeper compartment on accessible passenger rail vehicles”.



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