Modeling and Validation of Standards for a Sleeper Compartment on Accessible Passenger Rail Vehicles

The US Access Board's Rail Vehicle Access Advisory Committee and the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) Accessible Working Group representing the rail industry indicated the need to develop fully accessible intercity passenger rail cars. Representatives from Amtrak, VIA Rail, Talgo, PVA and the US Access Board were involved throughout the project and served on the project technical advisory committee. The Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) project developed new designs that improved the accessibility of the accessible sleeper compartments on bi-level and single level intercity passenger trains. A key innovation of the recommended design includes two lower level sleeping berths to accommodate two older or people with reduced mobility traveling together and increased the overall capacity of the accessible compartment to four passengers. Both of the recommended designs for the bi-level and single level train include an accessible restroom as part of the accessible sleeping compartment. The challenge was to provide improved access to people with reduced mobility and at the same time manage spatial consumption which was achieved in part by increasing the compartment occupancy from two to four passengers. The project incorporated an earlier design of an accessible train restroom and used 2-D and 3-D computer aided and digital human modeling design tools to produce an accessible sleeping/sitting compartment that accommodates up to four passengers and includes two lower level berths in both single and bi-level trains. To validate the designs, a full-scale soft mock-up of the bi-level sleeper compartment that contained a restroom with a shower for was built for evaluation by people with disabilities. The soft mock up was evaluated by 27 people, of which 13 were in manual wheelchairs and 3 were in power base wheelchairs. An online survey was disseminated to advocacy groups in the US and UK and used to gather feedback from people who are unable to visit the soft mock up. There were 173 responses of which 44 self identified as people with reduced mobility. This project demonstrated that an accessible sleeping compartments with two lower level berths and an accessible restroom that includes a shower is only possible for bi-level trains. For the single level train, additional study of the turning radius needs by people with reduced mobility in the sitting/sleeping area as well as the design and evaluation of a separate accessible restroom/shower compartment are needed. To extend the IDEA Project it is recommended that the soft mock up designs be installed on bi-level and single level trains that can travel across the US to gather input from people with reduced mobility across the US. The key value of the project is the design of new accessible sleeping compartments that provides occupancy for four passengers including two with reduced mobility and increase accessibility of the restrooms. The new designs that include two lower berths will improve the rail travel experience for groups that may include two people with reduced mobility.


  • English


  • Funding: $99435
  • Contract Numbers:

    IDEA Project 31

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Safety Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA)

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Gause, Jo

  • Performing Organizations:

    Oregon State University

  • Principal Investigators:

    Hunter-Zaworski, Katharine

  • Start Date: 20161004
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180929
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41484

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01628072
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: IDEA Project 31
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Mar 3 2017 1:00AM