A design ergonomics approach to accessibility and user needs in transport

This paper describes research carried out into the area of accessibility and 'design for all'. The Accessibility and User Needs in Transport (AUNT-SUE) project was initiated to develop and test sustainable policies and practice that would deliver effective socially inclusive design and operation in transport and the public realm. Loughborough University's role in the project focuses on the provision of data on users that is accessible, valid, and applicable and a means of utilising the data to assess the accessibility of designs during the early stages of development. These needs have led to the development of the authors' inclusive design tool called HADRIAN. Data were collected on 100 people the majority of whom are older or have some form of impairment. These data include size, shape, capability, preferences and experiences with a range of daily activities and transport related tasks. These are partnered with a simple task analysis system. The system supports the construction of a task linked to a CAD model of a design to be evaluated. The task is then carried out by the virtual individuals in the database. Accessibility issues are reported by the system allowing excluded people to be investigated. Thus HADRIAN supports designers and ergonomists in attempting to 'design for all' by fostering empathy with the intended users, meeting their data needs through an accessible and applicable database and providing a means of gaining some of the feedback possible with a real user trial at a much earlier stage in the design process.