What is the RERC on WTS?
Answer: The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Wheelchair Transportation Safety was a ten-year project (November 2001 to October 2011) funded by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). It focused solely on the issues of transportation safety for occupants of motor vehicles who remain seated in their wheelchair. The RERC on WTS was a partnership between the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering, the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and the University of Colorado’s Assistive Technology Partners.
In addition to focusing on research and development activities concerned with occupant protection for wheelchair travelers in side and rear impacts, the RERC-WTS also addressed issues of improved restraint systems and wheelchair seating systems. In addition, however, the RERC-WTS expended considerable effort on the development and implementation of additional standards and on the dissemination of information related to these standards. Its goal was to focus its resources on the issues surrounding providing safer transportation and improved crash protection for wheelchair-seated travelers.