CHAMPION BUS: EQUAL ACCESS FOR ALL
TABLE OF CONTENTS 2
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About Champion Bus
The benefits of single-slope ramps
By Ryan Lamb
Technology drives accessibility By Ryan Lamb
Accessibility ramps up
By Ryan Lamb
About Champion Bus Industry pioneers Champion Bus, Inc., a subsidiary of Allied Specialty Vehicles (ASV), manufactures small and medium sized commercial buses for public transit, paratransit, parking, airport, hotel/ resort, assisted living, group tour, church and university markets. Champion Bus was founded in 1953 and located on 73 acres just outside Imlay City, Michigan. Champion is one of the pioneers of the mid-size commercial bus industry and began producing these buses in 1981. In 2012, Champion Bus acquired Federal Coach, and began producing a luxury line of buses. In October 2013, Champion was acquired by and joined the ASV Bus Division. Dedication to safety Champion was one of the first manufacturers to send a cutaway bus to undergo durability testing at the Federal Transit Authorityâ€™s Altoona, Pennsylvania testing facility. All products are in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), and more than 26 buses have been tested. Champion also tests all buses on a simulated Altoona test track at the manufacturing facility. All Champion Bus models are in compliance with the rigorous requirements of FMVSS No. 220 and ECE r.66 rollover safety tests. In the strict FMVSS test protocol, the steel cage structure of a Champion Bus shuttle model was evaluated without a skin or laminate and met a roof crush safety standard that ensured emergency exits remained operational during and after a rollover crash. In the ECE r.66, a Champion Bus shuttle model placed on a raised platform and tilted to simulate a rollover crash met a similar safety standard that ensured emergency exits remained operational during this type of crash. Champion was the first bus manufacturer to become QVM certified by Ford Motor Company. Champion has been ISO certified since 1999 and is currently registered as ISO 9001:2008. We highly emphasize safety in our organization, and often exceed best practices for our industry. Champion is one of the largest custom commercial bus manufacturers of small- to mid-size buses in the industry. In our state-of-theart facility, 300 dedicated employees utilize more than 194,000 square feet of manufacturing space to produce more than 1,500 mid-size buses per year. Visit Champion Bus online at www.championbus.com. busride.com busride.com | BUSRIDE | BUSRIDE 3 3
Single-slope ramps allow accessibility not only for wheelchair occupants, but for all passengers at every stop.
The benefits of single-slope ramps By Ryan Lamb A rough estimate of adults in the U.S. using some sort of wheeled mobility device — assorted wheelchairs and scooters — stands at more than 2.7 million; a number surely to increase as the population ages. Individuals moving about with mobility issues will always rely heavily on public transit within their communities to access work, medical care, school, shopping and social activities. For those reasons, the federal government enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities, mandating public transit agencies to provide appropriate accommodations that allow persons to remain seated in their devices when onboard public vehicles. Numerous studies cite inadequate transportation as the primary reason so many people with disabilities cannot leave their homes to see to their needs on their own. A 2013 study from Department of Bioengineering at the University of Louisville assessed ramp slopes of fixed-route public transit bus deployed ramps at the time and compared field measurements to the proposed new ADA Accessibility Specifications for Transportation Vehicles. The study found that 45 percent of cases exceed the proposed ADA guideline of 1:6 maximum slope when the ramp was deployed to street level and 2.5 percent of cases when the ramp was deployed to sidewalk level; suggesting that the difficulties mobility passenger have with bus ramps can deter as much as encourage transit usage. A six-year retrospective observational review found that wheelchair passengers experienced a greater percentage of incidents when using 4
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Unlike conventional fixed panel ramps, single-slope ramps adjust to a straight, flat slope despite varying deployment surfaces.
the bus ramp (42.6 percent) than during transit (33.9 percent), and 43.6 percent of ramp-related incidents resulted in injury. The existing ADA Accessibility Specifications for Transportation Vehicles state that ramps shall have the least slope practicable. A proposed allowable ramp slope is 9.5° regardless of deployment location. Combatting these issues means a need for new technology, like the Equalizer Ramp® from Champion Bus, which incorporates automatic sensing technology that provides a uniform single-grade slope based on the height of the deployment surface to create a flat entrance bridge into the passenger area. It automatically senses the height of the ramp deployment surface and equates all sections of the ramp to the easiest possible single-grade slope accessibility; as close as possible to a flat plane based on the height of the curb. Single slope ramps aren’t just safer – they offer improved accessibility not only for wheelchair occupants but for all passengers, including people who use a walker or scooter, parents with strollers and persons who are elderly, visually impaired or pregnant. John Resnik serves as president for Champion Bus, Imlay City, MI. Champion Bus is one of the pioneers of the mid-size commercial bus industry and has been producing buses since 1981.
Technology drives accessibility By Ryan Lamb Since the advent of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990, accessibility for people with disabilities who rely bus transportation is evolving steadily toward a state of equal access for all passengers; those with mobility challenges using walkers, wheelchairs and scooters, to mothers with strollers, to the elderly. Equal access is in its infancy in terms of an industry segment. Passengers are still being loaded in and out paratransit buses on lifts in the back, and have no idea that technology exists for a more comfortable and dignified ride — until they actually experience this themselves. However, a number of bus builders have worked diligently to improve the bus experience for all passengers. Champion Bus and Dallas Smith Corporation are among them. The philosophy of equal access rests on sound engineering, innovative technology and precise mechanical function, with electronically controlled air-ride suspension as the foundation. An air suspension system, such as the Champion IntelliSync® Smart system featured in Champion Bus’ LF Transport™ model, essentially allows transit agencies and private providers to serve all passengers in a vehicle everyone can appreciate. The overall comfort and stability of a paratransit vehicle equipped with air ride suspension surpasses standard leaf spring or coil suspension. The benefit is a consistently even ride height regardless of capacity, with the capability to raise the 2 to 3 inches in certain situations such as a steep driveway entrance. Air-ride suspension is particularly robust in heavy-duty cycles, such as the rigorous schedule of an airport shuttle, which may go through 500 kneeling cycles picking up passengers curbside. It not only provides improved accessibility, but is also very dependable. An air-ride suspension system allows another feature critical to equal access: the benefit of a self-leveling floor, which adjusts for weight imbalances from the air tanks positioned on one side of the bus and varying passenger loads. Additionally, electronic sensors are able to detect variations in ground level beneath the bus and make appropriate adjustments to level the floor of the bus. This feature is extremely advantageous for passengers seated mobility devices, as it eliminates their concern for accidently rolling forward or backward, or having to negotiate a sloping floor. The components and tires wear evenly on a vehicle that is always stable and level, which also eases maintenance. A uniformly-sloped entry ramp on an accessible vehicle eliminates the need for hazardous interior steps and cumbersome lifts, and is perhaps one of the best features of a bus designed for equal access. To the passenger rolling up the ramp onto a level floor, it is the essence of accessible. An entryway that is accessible for everyone does not segregate passengers using mobility devices, and is a more
An air-ride suspension system allows for the benefit of a self-leveling floor.
A uniformly-sloped entry ramp on an accessible vehicle eliminates the need for hazardous interior steps and cumbersome lifts.
dignified way to enter and exit a transit vehicle than with a standard wheelchair lift. This integral combination of systems and components that improve safety and comfort hits the mark for accessibility. Ryan Lamb serves as product specialist of the LF Transport™ at Champion Bus, Imlay City, MI. Champion Bus, a subsidiary of Allied Specialty Vehicles, is one of the pioneers of the mid-size commercial bus industry and has been producing buses since 1981. Visit Champion Bus online at www.championbus.com.
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Accessibility ramps up By Ryan Lamb
Let’s talk about what accessibility means in terms of mobility and security on a moving bus. In the case of random wheelchair accessibility, this simply describes the capability of a passenger using a mobility device to board and leave the vehicle without disturbing another wheelchair passenger and others. For example, with five wheelchair passengers, any one of those five passengers should be able to maneuver and exit without the other four having to move. This gets tricky on a crowded vehicle. With more than a few shuttle bus floor plans, it is often necessary to remove three wheelchairs simply to accommodate that fourth passenger. Champion Bus LF Transport™ level floor design ensures level passenger securement. Often transit agencies and paratransit providers have to load and position their wheelchair and scooter passengers, then arrange the route in accordance with the order of their drop-offs. A vehicle that is 102-inches wide, such as the Champion Bus LF Transport™, incorporates random accessibility because of its width — the same width as a standard transit bus. For instance, with three wheelchairs, two can stow on either side, leaving the center aisle open for the third to move as needed. This style of paratransit vehicle features the best qualities of a larger intercity low-floor transit bus, compressed and repackaged into a smaller midsize configuration that still allows a comparable experience for the passenger. This type of low-floor bus design features a lower front Standard sloped-floor design seating section at the entrance with steps up toward the back to get up and over the rear axle. It is a dual-level floor Where this becomes possible in a smaller vehicle, Champion Bus has with two flat platforms at the front and rear of the bus. This no-slope designed and patented a beneficial feature it calls the Dynamic Ramp® theater seating is by design, developed in response to customer — a single stable mid-body step-up for seated aisle-facing passengers feedback as passengers expressed their preference for being secured or ambulatory passengers as they board, such as on a large low-floor to a flat surface. transit bus. With a flip of a switch by the driver, the step folds down to This flooring configuration offers safer ingress and egress throughout become the manageable 1:6 wheelchair access ramp. the bus for all passengers. Wheelchair passengers say they notice an This interior Dynamic Ramp® offers easier maneuverability for increase in comfort and stability when secured to a level surface, as customers using mobility devices, as well as the opportunity to access opposed to leaning forward on sloped floor construction. the rear of the bus. Champion Bus has achieved this accessible transition Customer response to earlier vehicles with a sloped floor design was over the rear axle assembly and drivetrain without modifying the OEM not favorable. Both secured and un-secured wheelchair passengers said component positioning, and ensuring the warranties are still in effect. they did not enjoy the feeling of rolling forward, and strongly advised This all adds up to a more comfortable, more accessible experience for against the full-sloped interior surface. all passengers, and certainly improves the opportunity for passengers The actual difference in height is so slight that Champion Bus is able with wheelchairs to maneuver and travel unassisted. to provide a transition ramp that exceeds ADA specifications. This is not possible on a larger heavy-duty transit bus, where two steps up is Ryan Lamb serves as product specialist of the LF Transport™ at Champion Bus, 12 to 15 inches high, and would require a six-foot long ramp to meet the Imlay City, MI. Champion Bus, a subsidiary of Allied Specialty Vehicles, is one of the pioneers of the mid-size commercial bus industry and has been producing required 1:4 to 1:6 slope ratios. buses since 1981. Visit Champion Bus online at www.championbus.com
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LF Transport Features
Champion Bus Production and Testing