Design Features of Portable Wheelchair Ramps and Their Implications for Curb and Vehicle AccessBy Storr, Tim; Spicer, Julie; Frost, Peggy; Attfield, Steve; Ward, Christopher D.; Pinnington, Lorraine L.; Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, Volume 41, Number 3B, pages 443-452
Publication Date: May/June 2004
Study evaluated a range of portable wheelchair ramps to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of different designs and to assess their impact on ease of use when accessing vehicles or climbing curbs. Predefined inclusion criteria for ramp selection included suitability of use with a motor vehicle, length of 2 to 3 meters, and a load carrying capacity of 250 kilograms. Twelve lamps were selected, categorized according to the following design features: (1) composed of a singlewide platform, (2) composed of two separate channels, (3) folding about a horizontal axis, (4) folding longitudinally, (5) reduced in length telescopically, (6) with fixed dimensions, and (7) with reverse profile flanges, turning the inner edge of the channel down. Standard user trials were performed with the selected ramps including 14 wheelchair users and 13 caregivers of wheelchair users, each of whom tested each ramp at least five times. No single ramp design was found to successfully meet the needs of all wheelchair users or their caregivers. The evaluation highlighted a number of specific problems and potential hazards. Some ramps were found to move during a maneuver, showed poor stability when used with some vehicles, or were too narrow to allow wheelchair castors to pass through the channel without jamming. Some features, such as handles and locking mechanisms, influenced the ease with which the caregivers could use the ramps. Wheelchair users preferred the wide platform ramps because they were able to drive up these with ease and little preparation. Caregivers preferred folding or telescopic channel ramps because these were easier to handle and store.
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