National Center for Accessible Transportation

About the Center

Travel is an important part of the American way of life. We travel for business, for pleasure, and to be with family. Although great strides have been made in the last twenty years to improve access for people with disabilities, travel by public transportation is still difficult. At Oregon State University, the National Center for Accessible Transportation (NCAT) is conducting basic research on accessibility issues and developing practical, cost-effective improvements in transportation technologies, with the goal of making transportation more accessible for everyone.

The center is supported by research and development funds. The most recent success was its selection in the fall of 2003 to host a five year, $4.975 million rehabilitation engineering research center on accessible public transportation.

NCAT research and development projects include all primary modes of public transportation:

  • Ground Transport including buses and trains
  • Commercial Aircraft

There are common features to all modes and an important element of the center's activities is the goal of identifying means to bring consistency to the accessibility features of all modes of transportation.


To make public transportation safer, seamless and dignified for all.

Research Activities

  • Boarding and travel in confined spaces such as aircraft.
  • The psychology of existing and proposed accessibility solutions
  • Rear Facing Securement for Bus Rapid Transit Vehicles

Development Activities

  • Vehicle boarding technologies
  • Open-caption communications systems
  • Single-aisle-vehicle accessible lavatories
  • Passenger assistance training tools and techniques.

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