Type: Research Essays
Sample donated: Charlie Watkins
Last updated: August 17, 2019
IntroductionBackgroundThroughouthistory, people developed devices to help people with disabilities. Thesedevices have become a benefit to us all. Today’s assistive devices are asvaried as the people who use them.Wheelchair access ramps are a form of assistive device. They enable wheelchair usersto access vehicles. Thereport below is a description of how to design, fabrication and testing of anautomated ramp for wheelchair access to public service vehicles. Theidea came from observation on the operations of public service vehicles inNairobi. A majority of Kenyans use public passenger service vehicles to commuteto and from their respective workplaces and for intra-city or inter-towntravel.
There is no way for wheel chairsand other mobility vehicles to access them. Our main focus will be onfourteen-passenger vehicles due to simplicity in integration. Indeed MatatuWelfare Association (2010) provides an estimate of over 80,000 PSV vehicles inKenya and 85% of these are 14-seater PSVs operating in the urban and ruralareas.
The Matatu Welfare Association further estimates that there are 15,000matatus on about 50 routes in Nairobi, and about 80 per cent of them – 12,000 –are the 14-seaters (Kenya Confidential, 2010). Accordingto the 2009 Kenya demographic and health survey, about ten percent of thepopulation is disabled. Among these 26.
2% have mobility disability thereforerequiring wheelchairs or other mobility devices.Fromthe above data it is clear that a huge segment of the Kenyan populace iswithout a mean of transport available to the rest of the people. Lack oftransport facilities is among one of the reasons why People with disabilities remain a marginalized population inKenya. People with disabilities tend to be poorer; less educated, and havefewer employment opportunities than those without disabilities. The Kenyan constitution isprogressive and provides for the rights of the disabled. It is one of salientfeatures of the constitution of Kenya is the bill of rights. Part 3- specific application on rights clause 54(c) and (e) state that a person with any disability is entitled to reasonableaccess to all places, public transport and information and access material anddevice to overcome constraints arising from the person’s disability. Other than the constitution the personswith disability act is among other policies that comprehensively lay out therights of persons with disability.
This Act interprets the usual day- to- dayactivities as the activities of daily living which an ordinary person wouldreasonably be expected to carry out. Section 21 and 23 places emphasis onaccessibility and mobility and public service vehicles respectively. Inverbatim it states;23. Publicservice vehicles(1) An operator of a publicservice vehicle shall adapt it to suit persons with disabilities in such manneras may be specified by the Council.(2) All operators of publicservice vehicles shall comply with subsection (1) within two years after thissection comes into operation.21.Accessibility and mobilityPersons with disabilities areentitled to a barrier-free and disability-friendly environment to enable themto have access to buildings, roads and other social amenities, and assistivedevices and other equipment to promote their mobility.In summary, the automated electric rampfor disabled access is timely and important because, it is a constitutionalright for disabled people to have access to public transport.
The proposedproduct will fill a huge gap in the market in case the above mentioned sectionsof the law are implemented.ProblemstatementThe main research areas to beaddressed are as follows. How to design and fabricate theaccess ramp in a cost effective way. Compliance with safety regulations.
Awareness of local fabrication andassembly issues. Providing access to the vehicle in asimple and dignified way. The different types of wheelchairsshould be able to access the vehicle. Conditions of operation e.g. itshould accommodate users of various weight classes.
When is the ramp needed or not? Where is it needed? Where is theaccess issue occurring? Why is it important for us to solvethe problem?ResearchobjectivesGeneral research objectiveThe main objective of the researchis; to investigate a way to implement access to public service for disabledpeople in wheelchairs, design parts and what materials they would be fabricatedfrom, develop a budget to gauge the cost of the entire project, and come upwith a work plan.Specific objectivesThe specific objectives of theresearch are as follows I. Develop a design that is light weightto minimize vehicle weight.The matatu industry is very competitive. More weight on thevehicle means higher fuel consumption. Additional vehicle features should thusbe of minimal weight to prevent excessive fuel consumption. II.
Develop a design that is strongenough to support the weight of a human being plus the wheelchair. III. The design should be stow able toprevent interference with other intra-vehicular activity. IV. The design should tolerate the harshoperating conditions of a public service vehicle. V. Costs should be kept to a minimum asthe target vehicles are in the business of generating profits. VI.
Safety should be paramount.Adherence to statutory laws and engineering norms is key.ResearchquestionsThe following research questionsneed to be answered in order for the specific research objectives to be met. i. What kind of materials should thevarious parts of the ramp be made of? ii. What is the maximum weight of ahuman being on a wheel chair? iii. What is the best design to make theramp stow able with minimal footprint? iv. What are the operating conditions ina PSV? v.
What laws govern the design of rampsin Kenya?Research justificationThe justifications for the proposalare many and varied. The key ones are listed below;Ø There’s a legal and ethical need to provide wheel chairusers to PSV’s.Ø There’s a huge market gap for ramps in Kenya.Researchscope Research item scope materials Limited to steel, aluminium or plastics laws Kenyan law design Folding design fabrication Welding, cutting, machining and use of fasteners Literature reviewGuidelinesfor ramps in Kenya are scarce. We will be forced to rely on other internationaljurisdictions to come up with guidelines for the design.
TheADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) provides accessibility guidelines for theconstruction of ramps in public places, such as a maximum slope of 1:12. Thismeans that for every inch of rise, you will need one foot of ramp. The accessibility of ramps for buildings was firstevaluated in the late 1970s (Steinfeld, Schroeder, and Bishop 1979), which ledto the 1:12 slope standard now required for accessible buildings and vehicles.According to research by the Urban Mass TransportationAdministration (UMTA, now the Federal Transit Administration, FTA) (RRCInternational 1977), For wheelchair users, slopes of 1:3 could not benegotiated without assistance; unassisted entry was possible for some withslopes between 1:4 and 1:6; and ramp slopes shallower than 1:6 weresubstantially easier to traverse independently. Ambulation aid users found itvery difficult to maintain standing balance at the 1:3 slope and thusnecessitated assistance, slopes of 1:4 and 1:6 could be independently traversedwith difficulty and often required assistance to exit the bus, and slopes of1:6 and shallower could be traversed unassisted and without difficulty.TheU.
K. based journal of rehabilitation research and development states thatmanufacturers of motorized wheelchairs recommend a maximum gradient of 1: 4when used with vehicles that have a floor height of 56 cm. The National Workshop on Bus-Wheelchair accessibilityprovides some guidelines on the design and materials of wheelchair ramps. Themost relevant for our research are listed below;§ Theramp should operate when the bus is on level ground andUp to roadgrades up to seven (7) percent or four (4)’Degrees§ Theramp should operate when the bus is on level ground andWhen the bus isat an angle of plus or minus 8.7 percent orFive (5) degreesdue to road crowns, depressions, or curbGeographies§ Pinchingmovements, shear areas, or places where clothingOr other objectscould be caught or damaged should beCovered or inother ways protected to prevent passengerInjury when liftis in operation.§ Forsmall transit and par transit vehicles, wheelchairRamps may bepowered by a heavy-duty alternator system or aDual batterysystem with batteries similar to that suppliedby themanufacturer of the vehicle.§ Ferrous surfacesshould be either plated with a protective§ Coating or becleaned and have a corrosion and abrasion resistant flat protective finish.
§ Nonferrous andnonmetallic surfaces should be coated using a durable finish.§ The mechanicalcomponent safety factor should be at leastsix (6) based onthe ultimate strength of the material.§ Interlocksmay (1) prevent vehicle movement or (2) providea driver warninglight; unless the ramp is up and folded.§ Interlocksmay prevent ramp activation and operation unlessthe vehicle isstopped and inhibited from moving and theappropriate dooris open.§ Aninterlock or inherent design feature should preventstowing of theramp when the platform is occupied.The guideline for the surface and sizewill be derived from the Guideline Specifications forPassive Lifts, Active Lifts, WheelchairRamps and Securement Devices provided by the U.S.
department of transport. Theyare as follows; The platform surface shall be free ofany protrusions over l/4 inch high andshall be slip resistant. The platformshall have a minimum clear width of 28-l/2inches at the platform, a minimum clearwidth of 30 inches measured from 2 inchesabove the platform surface to 30 inchesabove the platform, and a minimum clearlength of 48 inches measured from 2inches above the surface of the platform to 30inches above the surface of theplatform.
DesignThe ramp has afoldable design. Two platforms fold out from the base and enable a wheelchairuser to either roll up or down from the vehicle. The platforms are made fromaluminium. This enables them to be light but provide a sturdy base foroperations when fully folded out.Aluminium as amaterial has the following advantages