Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access Universal Design Bathroom, Universal Design Identity, UD Interactive Model and Home Modifications projects
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Research Projects

R1: Improving Home Modifications for Aging in Place

measuring a handrail

Project Co-Directors: James Lenker, PhD, Danise Levine, RA, AIA

This research project will advance the science and practice of home modifications to enhance the lives of people with disabilities and older adults. It will establish a knowledge base for home modification service delivery. Research activities will include a survey of current practices in service delivery and post occupancy evaluations of home modifications. Results will identify the need for standards in this field and critical knowledge gaps.


  • Assess the state of service delivery in the field of home modifications
  • Develop and test a new measurement tool needed to conduct outcomes research on home modification interventions within the context of everyday service delivery settings.

R2: Improving Universal Design Standards for Public Buildings

People walking up the ramps of the Reichstag in Berlin

Project Co-Directors: Edward Steinfeld, ArchD, Gary Scott Danford, PhD, Geoff Fernie, PhD, PEng

This research project will implement a process to integrate research with UD Standards development. It will improve UD Standards for Public Buildings by taking a cross-disability approach to study the effectiveness of current UD Standards, surveying current practices in architectural design, and conducting targeted human performance studies on stairway design in an advanced laboratory simulation facility. Results will be used to improve the UD Standards and develop an improved evidence base for the standards.


  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the UD Standards from the end user perspective
  • Identify KT needs of the design community through a scan of current practices
  • Conduct an in-depth human factors study to develop UD guidelines

R3: Improving Rights-of-Way Using Universal Design

street intersection

Project Co-Directors: James Lenker, PhD, Jordana Maisel, MUP, Geoff Fernie, PhD, PEng

This project will develop a comprehensive evidence base on the usability of public rights-of-way (ROW), and complete research to address key policy and design issues. Research activities will include a targeted systematic review, human factors studies on the usability of exterior ramps, and a survey of current policies. Results will be used to produce evidence-based Design Resources for GUDC standards, improve accessibility standards, and develop references designs for public rights-of way (DV2).


  • Conduct a systematic review to identify critical research gaps
  • Conduct usability studies that address critical research gaps related to the design of ROW
  • Assess practices associated with implementation and evaluation of Complete Streets initiatives
  • Provide knowledge and tools to inform standards that will improve the usability of public ROW