To develop a portable, on-board lift for intercity buses and to assess its operational feasibility. The lift would be used for boarding and disembarking passengers in wheelchairs.
This project involved the development of a lightweight, low-cost lift that can be carried in the baggage compartment of an intercity bus and readily deployed, operated, and stowed by the driver alone.
Users will be required to transfer from their own wheelchairs outside the bus and to regular seats once inside, but the process will be far more convenient and dignified than manual lifting. The lift will also make it possible for passengers in wheelchairs to board or disembark at any stop along a bus route.
A dozen concepts were considered and three approaches using different configurations of guide rail and transfer chair were tested in prototype form. One design, with a curved monorail in the stairwell and a standard aircraft-type boarding chair, was developed to the level of operational pre-production prototype.
This device was demonstrated to industry and consumer representatives in February 1999 and successfully met all preset requirements.