As the deadline for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act draws closer, the commuter and passenger trains used in large swaths of the United States remain inaccessible to passengers in wheelchairs. Meanwhile, the elevated platforms many regional rail systems have erected to address this problem have created another, forcing bulky freight shipments off the rails and onto some of the busiest roadways in the nation.
Enter an engineering professor from the University of Pennsylvania who has designed a new train car thats fully accessible to disabled passengers, compatible with freight trains and spacious enough to carry nearly 40 percent more passengers. The university has filed for patent protection.
"Current methods for boarding mobility-impaired passengers on commuter and intercity railroad trains are unsatisfactory from almost every perspective," said Edward K. Morlok, a professor of transportation and systems engineering. "The methods are demeaning to those passengers, create problems through delays and staffing requirements and can seriously interfere with freight shipping."
Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
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