FlexBus in Low-Floor Usability Study
Champion Bus to Provide its Next Generation FlexBus™ for Usability Study of Low-Floor Transit Shuttle Buses for People with Special Physical Needs
Only Industry Model Equipped with Electronic Air-ride Suspension System and Self-leveling Feature
Imlay City, Mich. (Wednesday, March 26, 2014)– Champion Bus, Inc., a leading manufacturer of mid-size and custom commercial buses, today announced that its next generation FlexBus™ transit shuttle will be provided for use as a test vehicle in a usability research study to evaluate the performance of low floor buses for people with special physical needs. The study, organized and conducted by the Dallas Smith Corporation and the Center forInclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA) at the University of Buffalo, is part of a five-year project to evaluate current bus models and recommend improvements for future designs.
In the first phase of the study, groups who use manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, scooters, ambulation aids and strollers will analyze new and existing ramp technologies. The usability of boarding a next generation transit shuttle bus equipped with an electronically adjustable access ramp will be compared to the usability of boarding a conventional transit shuttle bus equipped with entry steps and a lift. The usability of uniform-slope access ramps will also be compared to ramps with grade breaks.
“We are very pleased to participate in this study which will compare the performance of our proprietary electronic ramp technologies on the FlexBus™ to conventional lift equipped vehicles,” said John Resnik, president of Champion Bus. “Our innovative air-ride suspension system has automatic sensing and self-leveling features that provide an even ramp slope for improved accessibility, making it the only one of its kind in the industry.”
Ed Steinfeld, professor of architecture at the University of Buffalo and founder of the IDeA Center, added, “We are very excited about the initiative taken by transit industry manufacturers such as Champion Bus to join our efforts in developing uniform, practical and affordable transit solutions that will benefit everyone.”
The FlexBus™ is equipped with an electronic air-ride suspension system that includes an innovative self-leveling feature. The Equalizer™ ramp system comes with automatic sensing technologies that provide an even ramp slope for improved accessibility. This system makes passenger entry and exit much safer and improves route efficiency by decreasing boarding and exit times.