Idea Center and Universal Design E-World
Welcome to the the Universal Design E-World: An interactive community for professionals, educators, and students interested in learning and contributing to the advancement of UD.
Print E-mail
Turning Space for Wheeled Mobility Users – the 360-deg Turn

Analysis of Seat Height for Wheeled Mobility Devices
Clive D’Souza and Edward Steinfeld
IDeA Center, University at Buffalo


small icon of wheelchair userAbstract: The following report provides a brief analysis of occupied seat heights for wheeled mobility device users in the U.S. The data are based on findings from the Anthropometry of Wheeled Mobility (AWM) Project, and comprises of detailed measurements collected from 495 users of manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs and scooters. Our analyses show that occupied seat height varies considerably across the three categories of mobility devices, as well as across gender. In general, seat heights among manual wheelchair users were lowest, followed by power wheelchairs, with scooter users having the tallest seat heights. Within each device group, seat heights for males were typically greater than females. Given the large diversity within the wheeled mobility population, a considerable range of adjustability is needed to design seating and transfer surfaces that provide equivalent heights for all users.  We recommend that this range be between 17 inches minimum to 25 inches maximum. A minimum height above 17 inches would exclude about 6% of the manual wheelchair users in our sample.


Download PDF PDF Version Download Word Word File



Steinfeld, E., Maisel, J., Feathers, D., and D'Souza, C. (2010). Anthropometry and standards for wheeled mobility: An international comparison. Assistive Technology 22(1): 51-67.

Steinfeld, E., Paquet, V., D’Souza, C., Joseph, C., and Maisel, J. (2010). Anthropometry of wheeled mobility: final report. Report prepared for the U.S. Access Board, Retrieved December 31, 2010, from