Usability of access ramps on public transit buses for adults using mobility devices
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This study systematically evaluated four access ramp slopes (1:4, 1:6, 1:8, and 1:12) with five mobility device user groups. The psychometric properties of several usability measures were also evaluated. The laboratory apparatus consisted of a ramp and height-adjustable platform. Two-way ANOVA showed significant main effects for group and slope for four dependent variables: ascent time, RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion), DRS (Difficulty Rating Scale), and ARS (Acceptability Rating Scale). Significant interactions between group and slope were identified for DRS and ARS. The data suggest that 1:4 and 1:6 slopes are not viable for short distance access ramps. For wheeled mobility user groups, observer ratings using the MLES achieved very good inter-rater reliability and statistically significant associations with the RPE, DRS, and ARS. The data suggest that these observer- and self-reported usability measures are promising for future research. Additional research of ramp slope usability is recommended under inclement weather conditions.