Multiple field studies provide qualitative accounts of usability barriers experienced by users of wheeled mobility devices on public transit. This study aimed to examine these usability barriers from the theoretical perspective of Environmental Docility by quantifying the relationship between functional capabilities of wheeled mobility device users and ingress–egress performance on accessible fixed-route transit vehicles in an urban setting. Twenty-eight wheeled mobility users each completed three trips on a predetermined route through the local public transit system. Ingress and egress times, user-reported usability ratings and open-ended comments were analyzed. Regression analyses indicated significant interactions between age and minimum parallel-park length on ingress and egress times. Specifically, lower functional capability reflected in older age and less maneuvering ability predicted decreased performance (longer ingress–egress times), indicating less adaptability to environmental demands and agreement with the Environmental Docility Hypothesis. Usability ratings and comments revealed difficulty with negotiating access ramps and turning maneuvers in the vehicle interior and in proximity to other passengers. Despite compliance with accessibility standards, current design of transit vehicles present substantial usability barriers for wheeled mobility users. Environmental Docility provides a theoretical basis to identifying modifiable factors related to person and environment for improving usability of public transit for people aging and/or with mobility impairments.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited