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Speed School researchers team with TARC

In a unique collaboration, UofL researchers from the Speed School of Engineering are working with the Transit Authority of River City, or TARC, Louisville's public transit service.

Karen Frost, Research Associate

"TARC has given us unlimited access to on-board camera systems so we can monitor how wheel chair users board and what their ride is like."

Karen Frost is a Research Associate at UofL. This study is one dimenstion of the overall project funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Gina Bertocci leads the group. She says the project also includes investigating accidents involving people with disabilities in any means of transportation, not just public buses.

Dr. Gina Bertocci

"This will allow us to understand the injury mechanisms that led to injury and how the wheelchair performed and how the restraint system performed."

Bertocci says wheelchairs aren't designed as vehicle seats. Researchrs are looking at ways to improve the design of the wheelchairs.

Bertocci continues

"We're looking to design a caster or front wheel in such a way if it is in a crash and the occupant is seated, that caster will deform in a controlled manner to absorb the energy."

Bertocci hopes the research leads to establishing standardt that manufacturers must use when building the wheelchairs. The project is a joint venture with the Universities of Michigan, Colorado and Pittsburgh.

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