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On September 13, 2011, the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) announced that it will award a grant to Dr. Karen Frost Bertocci for a research project entitled "In-depth Assessment of Wheelchair Ramp Activities and Incidents on Public Transit Buses." The term of the award is two years beginning fall 2011, and the funding total is $200,000. This research will be conducted in collaboration with a public transit partner, TARC.

The study consists of two interrelated tasks designed to yield an improved understanding of factors influencing wheelchair passenger boarding and alighting incidents on public transit buses. Prospective monitoring and assessment of wheelchair passenger ramp usage on public transit buses will be conducted utilizing onboard video surveillance cameras combined with synchronized ramp characterization. Additionally, a nationwide survey of wheelchair users will be conducted to quantify and characterize ramp-related incidents and injuries. These findings will be used to develop ramp design guidelines and recommendations for operational best practices. Findings are also expected to advance the long-term goals of increasing wheelchair user safety, accessibility, and usability when traveling on public transit buses.

Dr. Karen Frost Bertocci is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the Injury Risk Assessment and Prevention (iRAP) Laboratory located in the Instructional Building on the Health Sciences Campus.

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