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Title: Improving accessibility of public transport systems : the influence of double-decker bus acceleration on passenger movement
Author: Karekla, X.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 9750
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis is exploring the movement of bus passengers in the dynamic environment of a London double-decker bus and aims at defining an acceptable level of acceleration that would provide an accessible bus service to users of all age groups. In addition, it is investigating whether passengers start their journeys with an inherent balance disadvantage due to the interior layout of the vehicle. Twenty-nine healthy, regular bus users, between 20 and 80 years old, undertook three tasks (walking on a flat surface, ascending and descending a staircase) in five environments (static, stationary bus, bus in motion at low, medium and high accelerations) whilst their gait was recorded. During the process they were also asked to assess the experimental tasks and environments, and to report any incidences of balance loss. Innovative experimental methods of gait analysis were employed and statistical analysis revealed that even when the bus is stationary, passengers alter their natural gait whilst moving inside the bus, especially on the bus staircase. Increasing accelerations impel passengers to walk in a less natural way in order to maintain their balance. Moreover, as acceleration is increasing, they adopt additional balancing mechanisms by choosing step types that increase contact with the negotiated surface and provide more stability. Middle-aged participants presented reduced ability to control balance in all examined tasks, whereas older and male participants used the stabilising step types more than the other age groups and gender. To conclude, accelerations of 2.5 m/s² and decelerations of 2.0 m/s² should be avoided, as they are intolerable for most participants. For a truly inclusive and accessible bus system, the acceleration limit should be set to 1.0 m/s², while at accelerations of 1.5 m/s², only the majority of young passengers will sustain their natural gait.
Supervisor: Tyler, N. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available