Investigating Performance Indicators in Accessible and Inclusive Public Transportation

Project Collaborators: Clive D'Souza, Lidia Kostyniuk, Carolyn Grawi

Project dates: October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2018


Transportation barriers often restrict community participation for individuals with mobility impairments. Unfortunately, traditional methods and performance measures (e.g., travel time, wait time, cost per service hour, service miles) for evaluating the quality of public transportation do not reflect needs, priorities or travel experiences of individuals with disabilities, nor do they incorporate universal design perspectives.

The objective of this project is to determine factors in public transit vehicle design and operations that impact (i) users' performance and perceptions of accessibility, safety and usability, (ii) mode preference (fixed-route bus, complementary paratransit, demand response) and in turn affects (iii) transit system performance.

Image showing a sample inertial measurement unit, G-Sensor (BTS Engineering) used in our lab.

This project involves two research studies:

  • R1 - Human Factors Analysis of Fixed-Route Bus and Paratransit Systems: This study involves a quantitative analysis of data obtained from a local transit agency combining operations (fixed-route and paratransit vehicle systems) over a two year period within a defined geographical area to determine dependencies between transit system performance and the performance (accessibility, safety and usability) among mobility impaired users. The analysis will use datasets routinely gathered by transit agencies, including automated vehicle location, in-vehicle video surveillance records, archived demographic and trip information of paratransit service riders and passenger surveys.
    • Paratransit Services - One part of this study looks at how mobility impaired users utilize the paratransit vehicle systems. The study examines the most common destinations among this service's users and inspects the data for commonalities between these people including age, medical conditions, and mobility aids used.
    • Fixed-Route Services - The other part of this study looks at how mobility impaired users utilize the fixed-route bus systems. The study examines how different mobility aid users affect the dwell time at bus stops along certain routes.

  • R2 - Field-based Usability Evaluation of Public Transit Vehicles: This study will engage individuals with diverse mobility impairments (including users of wheeled mobility devices, ambulation aids, and individuals that blind or visually impaired) in a field study yielding kinematic, physiological and self-reported contextual data to model relationships between physical, psychosocial and environmental factors at the individual level.
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Image of group discussion on the research project.
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A student research assistant, Ms. Rebekah Menchak, examining data obtained from on-board video recordings of the bus interior.
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Individuals with mobility impairments, community partners and transportation service providers will play a key role in the project as consultants, Advisory Board members and study participants - contributing their expertise and first-person perspectives to this project.

This research project will help identify gaps in current practices and informed critical next steps in accessible and inclusive transportation design, policy, and practice benefiting individuals with disabilities as consumers, and transportation agencies that provide and administer these services.



The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR, grant number 90IF0094-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.