Evaluation Method for Sidewalk Unevenness Based on Wheelchair Traveling Resistance

Source: Transportation Research Board

"A difference in level, transverse and longitudinal gradients on sidewalks can seriously hinder the mobility of wheelchair users. On sidewalks where such difference and gradients are minor, there can be serious mobility hindrance to wheelchair users from surface unevenness in case of rough sidewalk. This paper analyzes the longitudinal profile of sidewalks in service and torque data on traveling wheelchairs toward proposing a method for evaluating the surface unevenness of sidewalks based on the travel resistance imposed on wheelchairs. A test track with variable gradient and unevenness was traveled by panel members who were then asked to rate its subjective discomfort. The study revealed a strong correlation between surface unevenness values calculated by our proposed method and discomfort rating by panel members."

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