travel better

adaptive travel technologies

travel better

adaptive travel technologies

assistive technologies for air travel

The Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Research Foundation provided BD with funding to conduct a research project to study and explore a variety of issues related to commercial air travel for non-ambulatory passengers. This was done by surveying 695 wheelchair-dependent air travelers, conducting laboratory testing of existing aircraft boarding devices, and through volunteer human subject testing of 56 people who use wheelchairs for their mobility.

air travel issues

the following issues were documented and explored

the following issues were documented and explored

steep jetway slopes

The jetways to the aircraft are often steep with no level landings at the bottom resulting in boarding devices tipping over laterally when turned to enter the aircraft.

proposed solution

Develop technologies to level the surface in the bubble area of jetways.

boarding device issues

Non-ambulatory passengers have issues with current boarding devices.

proposed solution

Develop design specifications for improved boarding chairs for boarding aircraft and on-board aisle wheelchairs to get to the bathroom on aircraft.

dangerous transfer methods

Non-ambulatory passengers who cannot transfer from a boarding device to the aircraft seat must be physically lifted in tight quarters by untrained personnel.

proposed solution

Develop and promote technologies, such as mechanical lift systems, that can limit the need for physical lifting and transferring of persons without the ability to independently transfer to the aircraft seat. Create standards for the training that must be provided to airport service contractors who assist passengers with mobility impairments.

hazardous sitting pressures

Sitting on boarding devices and aircraft seating presents a hazard for persons without sensation.

proposed solution

Educate consumers and health care professionals who serve  persons without sensation to use appropriate seating accessories.

lacking accessible bathrooms

Medium and large single aisle aircraft have no bathroom large enough to accommodate larger and taller passengers, passengers who require a personal care giver, and non-ambulatory passengers using an on-board wheelchair to access the bathroom.

proposed solution

Provide one larger bathroom at the rear of the aircraft to accommodate passengers with different needs.

narrow aircraft aisles

Lack of specifications for the minimum width of an aircraft aisle leaves boarding device manufacturers unable to optimize the stability of their products.

proposed solution

Develop minimum aisle width requirements for aircraft to allow boarding devices to be designed for greater lateral stability.

wheelchair damage

Manual and powered wheelchairs and scooters are typically stored underneath aircraft with the baggage, where they are often damaged.

proposed solution

A RESNA Assistive Technology for Air Travel standards committee will develop standards for the design of powered wheelchairs that are suitable for air travel and standard procedures for the handling of powered wheelchairs.