Welcome to

Beneficial Designs

We are located in Minden, Nevada just east of the Sierras. We believe all individuals should have access to the physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life. Please earn more about us!


We have many different services available to meet your needs. Beneficial Designs provides highly efficient assessment and transition plan services to identify hazards and access issues in the sidewalk and outdoor recreation environments.

Wheelchair Testing

We can insure that your manual and powered wheelchair products will be tested to meet the requirements necessary for Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding (PDAC), 510k submission to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and/or United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) submission.

Sidewalk Assessment

Sidewalk assessment services are available; our sidewalk assessors are assessing college campuses and cities all across the country using the Public Rights-of-Way Assessment Process—PROWAP—electronics and software. Call today to see how our services can help you identify tripping and ADA liabilities.

Outdoor Recreation Assessment Equipment

Our trail assessment products and software have been developed to enable you to locate liabilities and access issues. We are constantly developing the right tools to efficiently assess all outdoor environments for the safety and enjoyment of people of all abilities.

Surface Measurement Tools

The Rotational Penetrometer is a precision instrumented surface indenter for measuring the firmness and stability of ground and floor surfaces, such as trails, playgrounds, and carpets. The Rotational Penetrometer is the only device of its kind—a reliable, objective, portable instrument for testing surface firmness and stability.

Mapping and Signage

The Architectural Barriers Act—ABA—requires that trail signage contain Trail Access Information, which is created from data collected during trail assessments using the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) and the High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP). All trail users find grade, cross slope, tread width, surface, and obstruction information useful for the enjoyment of trails.

Trail Training

Onsite training is available to become a certified Trail Assessment Coordinator using the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) and to become proficient in the use of the High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) hardware and software.

Pax Press Publications

Published books include The Manual Wheelchair Training Guide, The Powered Wheelchair Training Guide, and A Guide to Wheelchair Selection. These guides provide new and experienced users and rehabilitation professionals with valuable reference materials.

Research and Development

We are working on new technologies that will make your access issues disappear. We are currently developing an application for mobile devices that will enable the efficient assessment of all outdoor recreation environments, including picnic and camping areas, outdoor recreation trails, and access routes.

Expert Witness Services

Peter Axelson can assist as an expert witness for powered and manual mobility devices. He has knowledge and experience related to the training of mobility device users and the design, manufacturing, prescription, fitting, and usage of mobility devices. He also has the expertise to assess the environment in which the accident may have occurred.

Sidewalk Assessment

More than 400 miles of sidewalk and a dozen college campuses in 5 states have been  assessed. Allow us to help your city with all your assessment needs.

Expert Witness Services

If you or somone you know needs an expert witness for forensic testing of mobility devices, contact us today!

Press Releases

Our team has worked hard on releasing the newest versions of the trail assessment equipment and software as well as the rotational penetrometer an instrumented surface indentor. 

Wheelchair Testing

We are always performing wheelchair testing requested by manufacturers. Check out what options you have when choosing Beneficial Designs.


High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) Software 3.0
Wheeled Instrumentation Sensor Package for Data Collection

WISP Specs (PDF)


Order Form (PDF)

WISP Components Order Form  (PDF)

Technical Bulletins  

Owner's Area (Password required)

Lakeshore Universal Trail Access Project (Video)

Hetap Cart 2 

Key HETAP and UTAP Differences

HETAP follows the same general principles as its predecessor, UTAP (the Universal Trail Assessment Process). Both collect objective trail measurements, produce detailed trail data for land managers, and provide summary trail reports for trail users. The main advantage to using HETAP is the ability to collect data and produce trail reports more quickly and accurately with only one person. This creates more opportunity to assess multiple trails while saving time and reducing personnel costs. Following are some key differences using HETAP:

Computerized System

This program provides easy screen flow and simple data entry. Trail data is automatically stored and sorted, thus eliminating the need to manually enter data using Trailware software. Detailed trail data and summary reports can be analyzed and printed directly from the program. 

Quicker Data Collection

HETAP is designed to speed up the assessment process. On average, an individual can collect detailed trail information at one mile per hour when recording many features. It is also feasible to collect detailed trail data for a backcountry trail several miles long in only one day. As a result, longer trail lengths can be assessed with a greater amount of detail in a shorter amount of time.

One Person Assessment

HETAP is designed to enable one person to collect trail information. However, two or more individuals can still be used in the assessment process. Managers often require at least two individuals to work together for safety reasons. It is encouraged during training exercises that all available trail assessors work together as a team for review and consistency in measuring trail data. When two individuals are collecting trail data, the second person can measure trail width and features using a tape measure and a notepad or datasheet. The second data collector can periodically enter the features into HETAP or they can be entered later as long as feature locations (distance) are recorded with the feature notes. If compass readings are being recorded without a GPS, this person can also use the compass to record trail directions.

 MG 9958c 1 

Improved Data Accuracy

Stations can be recorded as often as desired along the trail. More frequent stations increases the accuracy of trail data.  The HETAP data collection cart is only required to advance a distance of0.1 foot/0.03 meters to record another station. The ability to record stations anywhere along the trail allow for a more accurate trail assessment. It is strongly encouraged to use this to your advantage by taking as many stations along the trail as possible whenever there is any noticeable change in trail conditions.

Automatic Data Recordings

All data in the HETAP software program is automatically stored after the [Record Station] or [Record Feature] button is pushed. Distances, grades and cross slopes are continuously displayed in the HETAP program and are automatically recorded wherever a station is recorded. You can also record stations and features that have the same data attributes without reentering the same data by copying the data from a previous station or feature.

No Hard Paper Copies

All necessary data fields are present in the HETAP program. There is no need to write data down on paper that can be miswritten, illegible or lost. Trail data can be easily backed up to any location on your computer or to an external thumb drive.

No Station Marking

Station marking isn’t necessary with the HETAP program. There is no lag time waiting for your partner to catch up and find your exact location. However, a mark should still be made when moving the data vehicle off the trail when horses need to pass by, or you will be returning the next day to finish the assessment. This location can be flagged, staked or marked in the same way. If you have to, you could also use the GPS coordinates to relocate the exact position you were at when you finished collecting data during a previous assessment.

Fewer Trail Tools Required

A tape measurer is the only piece of UTAP equipment still required for trail assessments. A clinometer or inclinometer is not required. The tilt sensor box measures grade and cross slope automatically for you. As with UTAP, compass readings are optional. A compass is not required when using the GPS. However, when GPS can’t record compass readings because of canopy coverage, mountainous terrain, or near building structures, a compass could be used to input the heading.

No Maximum Grades and Cross Slopes



The identification and recording of maximum grades and cross slopes are no longer necessary. Simply record a station any time there is any change in grade and cross slope. Stations should be recorded often to reflect changing trail conditions. This can be determined visually or by comparing the last and current grade/cross slope in the Stations screen. Set and use the alarms to tell you when the grade or cross slope has changed.  Keep in mind that a recorded station represents the distance you have already traveled. However it should also represent the typical grade and cross slope that is ahead of the location you are presently at.  For example, if you just traveled 50 feet with a grade of 5% and then the grade abruptly increases to 12%, stop the data vehicle on the trail at the beginning of the new grade or cross slope on the and record a station.

No More Ruts, Dips, Bumps or Mounds

There is no need to remember lots of rules when these features exist. Simply record another station whenever a change in grade occurs. HETAP can record a station every 0.1-foot. For example, when approaching a dip, a new station would be recorded as soon as the negative grade drop begins, (top part of grade), at the bottom of the dip (start of the flat section), at the start of the positive grade (bottom part of grade) and as soon as it flattens back out.

MCW’s Easier to Record

Any significant change in tread width requires a new station. Simply record a station at the beginning of any significant change in tread width. In addition, when the tread width is less than the specified design width, it should be recorded as a ‘Minimum Clearance Width’ feature. The feature should be recorded at the start of the minimum width.