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.

Pax Press

Appendix A:

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was adopted as law in 1990 to ensure equal access to all individuals without regard to needs related to disability. This comprehensive law focuses on a number of areas, including accessibility to and within public buildings and services.

If you encounter problems with a building's accessibility, you should first speak with the building owner or manager and explain your problem. They may have been unaware of any accessibility difficulties, and could make immediate changes for you. If the building manager or owner is unwilling to help, the next step is to get other people in the building to talk to the management. Local advocacy groups, such as Centers for Independent Living, may offer intermediary services or provide alternative resources for addressing problems. If you cannot achieve a resolution of the problem using these methods, you can file a complaint with the Department of Justice. For information about filing a complaint, call the ADA information line at 800-514-0301.

A problem might be as simple as a plant that was placed in front of the elevator buttons or within the clear passage of a hallway. It may be as complex as a multi-level building not serviced by an elevator or doorways that are too narrow for you to pass through.

Access Board

The U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) provides technical assistance on the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. The Access Board can be reached at the following numbers:

U.S. Department of Transportation

The ADA also addresses accessibility to transportation services. The United States Department of Transportation oversees this aspect of the ADA. They can be reached at the following numbers:

  • Documents and questions
    • voice 202-366-1656
    • TDD 202-366-4567
  • Legal questions
    • voice 202-366-1936
    • TDD use relay system
  • Complaints and enforcement

General ADA Information

You can reach the ADA Information Line to obtain ADA documents, ask questions, and obtain referrals at the following numbers:


Special Seating: An Illustrated Guide – Revised Edition

New Edition – just published!

...join Jean Anne Zollars and seating experts worldwide in the step-by-step process of evaluation and design of seating/mobility systems for people with disabilities...

Click here (http://www.seatingzollars.com/) to visit the author’s website and order your book.

This book includes:

  • Easy-to-read text

  • 550 illustrations

  • Specific directions in hands-on evaluation

  • Emphasis on hand simulation

  • More ideas using simulation with materials

  • Review of current best practices and research from seating experts worldwide

  • New design ideas, guidelines and fitting tips

  • A new chapter on seating and mobility considerations for people with specific conditions.

  • Updated assessment forms

  • Innovative ideas for less-resourced settings

Pax Press

PAX Press is a division of Beneficial Designs, Inc. that publishes information sheets, information packets, reports, books and videos related to Recreation Technologies, Seating and Mobility, and Environmental Accessibility.

For further information, contact PAX Press at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Order Forms

Click here for a printable version of the PAX Press Order Form. 

Fax the completed order form to 775.783.0813.

Wheelchair Training Guides

For more specific information see our pages related to these specific books: 

Need for Training Guides
Many wheelchair users unnecessarily limit their activities to familiar environments because they have not learned the skills to access other areas independently. Many wheelchair accidents occur due to a lack of training. Instructional resources would help wheelchair users, their assistants, and clinicians learn safe and efficient wheelchair skills, as well as increase overall wheelchair user independence. Proper training can potentially decrease the frequency of wheelchair accidents and reduce instances of improper mobility assistance.

Project Goal
This project will create comprehensive wheelchair training guides that teach manual and powered wheelchair users how to access diverse environments safely. The two guides (one for powered and the other for manual wheelchairs) will provide new and experienced users and rehabilitation professionals with valuable reference materials.

Focus Group Input
In November 1994, Beneficial Designs began convening focus groups of manual wheelchair users, powered wheelchair users, and rehabilitation professionals. Each group was asked which topics and skills they felt the guides should include and how to accomplish or teach these techniques.

Training Guide Format
A format to present the information was developed from focus group comments. For each skill, the guides list a goal, the prerequisite skills, and describes step-by-step instructions. Lessons include how to accomplish the skill with a spotter, how to accomplish the skill alone, and how to instruct an assistant to help. Numerous illustrations were created to help demonstrate each skill.

Written in a friendly, easy-to-understand style, the guides cover wheelchair components and functions, basic maneuvering skills, navigating indoor and outdoor terrain, and special skills required for powered wheelchairs. In addition to specific techniques, the guides show wheelchair users how to judge the accessibility of specific environments, ask for help, and handle emergency situations.

Wheelchair Training Guides
The Manual Wheelchair Training Guide and The Powered Wheelchair Training Guide, written by Peter Axelson, Jean Minkel, Anita Perr and Denise Yamada, are available through PAX Press, a division of Beneficial Designs, Inc.

This project was funded by the Paralyzed Veterans of America Spinal Cord Injury Education and Training Foundation (contract #EFT 238-94), and Beneficial Designs, Inc.