May 29, 2024
Telescopic Ramp

Telescopic Ramp: Solution for boarding public transport vehicles

Public transportation plays an important role in a country’s growth and development by providing mobility to citizens. However, access for persons with disabilities continues to be a major challenge especially when boarding and deboarding public transport vehicles like buses. Telescopic ramps have emerged as a solution to address this issue in a safe, affordable and dignified manner.

What is a Telescopic Ramp?

The Telescopic Ramp is a retractable mechanical platform used to provide accessibility for wheelchairs and other mobility devices to enter and exit public transportation vehicles at the same level as passengers without disabilities. These ramps fold compactly when not in use and can extend automatically or manually based on the design.

Key Features

Telescopic ramps have few essential features that make them suitable for public transportation –

– Retractability: They can fold and slide inside the vehicle when not in use to avoid obstruction. This compact storage allows normal vehicle operation.

Mobility Aid Access: The extended platform provides a stable, rolling surface sufficient for wheelchair maneuvering and transport of other mobility devices. Ramp widths start from 24 inches as the minimum ADA standard.

– Controls:
Ramps have controls to deploy and retract either automatically via switch or manually using handles or push buttons located near the doors. Automatic operation ensures ease of use.

– Material:
Lightweight yet sturdy materials like aluminum are commonly used for the sliding ramp structure and platform to support wheelchair weight up to 600 pounds as per ADA guidelines.

– Safety Features:
Integrated railings, slip-resistant surfaces, sensors prevent accidents during boarding and deboarding. Emergency stop buttons provide additional safeguard.

Benefits of using Telescopic Ramps

The key advantages that have made telescopic ramps a popular accessibility solution are:

– Independence:
They empower persons with mobility limitations to independently board and alight from vehicles without needing assistance. This preserves dignity.

– Convenience: Drivers do not have to manually carry or assist with folding ramps. The automatic or one-touch operation saves time during stops.

– Compliance: Meeting ADA and disability access standards, telescopic ramps help public transport remain compliant and inclusive for all.

– Cost Benefits: Although the upfront cost is higher than portable ramps, lifetime operational savings outweigh initial expenses due to reduced driver duties and compliance with regulations.

– Space Optimization:
Compact folding allows storage inside vehicle without compromising passenger capacity. Outdoor portable ramps consume extra parking space.

– Safety: Integrated safety features like railings and braking systems offer protection against falls and roll-offs compared to portable ramp handling.

Applications in Public Transport

Given these advantages, telescopic ramps have seen widespread adoption across public transportation modes:

Most city buses, intercity coaches and shuttle vans today are equipped with ramps at one of the entry/exit points, usually the front door near the driver. On-board ramp stowage leaves the wheelchair area obstruction-free.

Trains and Metros
For rapid transit systems like metros and light rails, ramps allow level boarding at stations and between platform and vehicle instead of multi-step portable solutions.

Ferries and Water Transports
Ferries, water taxis and boats deploy telescopic gangways that roll out from the vessel onto the boarding platform for smooth wheelchair access.

Challenges and Considerations

While telescopic ramps have enhanced accessibility, certain challenges remain:

– Maintenance needs since movable parts are prone to faults over time requiring servicing.

– Steep inclines may not be suitable for all wheelchair models depending on seat height and user factors.

– Inclement weather can affect operation due to moving mechanical parts exposed to elements.

– Space constraint in older vehicle models may not allow on-board storage. Retrofitting requires design changes.

– Alignment with platform edges during boarding/deboarding needs to be precise for safety.

Addressing these issues through improved designs, regular maintenance routines and disability sensitivity training for drivers can maximize the benefits of these ramps. Standardization also helps.

Telescopic Ramp have ushered in a paradigm shift in public transportation accessibility globally. By providing convenient, safe and independent mobility for all, they align with the principles of universal design and inclusion. With focused efforts to resolve existing challenges, telescopic ramps can become the accessible boarding solution of choice across public transport modes.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it