Wheelchair Passengers and Local Public Transport Vehicles: Perceptions of Safety and Comfort

Detta är en avhandling från Dept. of Technology and Society, Box 118, SE-221 00 LUND, Sweden

Sammanfattning: Eliciting wheelchair-seated passengers’ perspective of safety and comfort is both useful and mandatory, particularly for researchers, clinicians, transit authorities, and for operators during purchase and use of vehicle technologies in existing and planned future transport systems. Therefore, the overarching objective of this thesis was to delineate the question of safety and comfort as perceived by wheelchair-seated passengers using public transport road vehicles. That objective was achieved by rendering an integrated perspective from four different studies (Papers I-IV). The passengers studied have partaken in local trips in urban and semi-rural areas, while using special transport services (STS) and bus transit. Regional/interregional transports with coaches have not been studied. The nature of the research aimed to be descriptive, explorative, and explanatory, and the research approaches could be classified as quantitative, qualitative or a blend - characterized as triangulation - of the two. The results showed that from the inside, subjective perspective, safety and comfort as perceived by wheelchair-seated passengers in STS could be said to be satisfactory. However, it was also shown that incidents can occur and injuries can be sustained during normal STS driving and handling. Thus, from an outside, objective perspective, there is a strong need for improvements, both regarding better vehicle/ equipment/wheelchair technology and service procedures. Compared to STS, bus transit safety and comfort issues show both similarities and differences. Through the categorization into boarding/alighting, the ride as such, system effects discussions and introduction of theoretical concepts (from risk and ergonomic research), it was shown that perceived safety and comfort address a multitude of issues. These were labeled technology (assessed analytically by the participants), social relations (assessed experientially), as well as through use of public discourses of transport and disability policy.

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