Spatial Analysis of Accessible Seating Area on the Next Generation Passenger Rail Cars using 3-D Modeling and Digital Human Modeling
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This project extended research that was conducted for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in collaboration with the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act Next Generation Equipment Committee on the development of specifications for the next generation of passenger rail cars. The FRA research project conducted a preliminary spatial analysis to determine whether two or more wheeled mobility devices (WhMD) could be accommodated in the seating compartment of next generation passenger rail cars. The original project showed that it is possible to accommodate two WhMDs with the loss of one or two revenue seats. However, there was significant concern that occupant protection and containment of WhMDs could be compromised. This research project used 3-D modeling tools and anthropometric digital human models to design and evaluate passenger rail interior layouts for inclusivity and safety while also considering design constraints for vehicle builders and operators. By itself, 3-D modeling provided a means of digitally evaluating the design feasibility of potential accommodations. Including anthropometric human models into the early phases of design then accounted for human and ergonomic factors. The use of digital evaluation permitted the inclusion of analysis for many different types of WhMDs, design scenarios and anthropometric users within the same space. The significant findings illustrated the challenge of both providing space for maneuvering WhMDs and controlling for the loss of revenue seating. The project examined a number of different scenarios for accommodating one or two WhMDs. This project recommends the use of rear-facing seating to provide containment for WhMDs and the use of personal restraint devices such as seat belts to control the amount of free flight associated with severe braking conditions and limit secondary impacts. This project also used a framework for 3-D modeling to evaluate and test spatial consumption, feasibility, human factors, and human-environment interaction, and this framework could be used on other modes of passenger rail travel and transit.