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Are You Sitting Comfortably? Van Ergonomics from the US by Laura Jeeves





Are You Sitting Comfortably? Van Ergonomics from the US by
Article Posted: 08/08/2017
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Are You Sitting Comfortably? Van Ergonomics from the US


 
Travel & Tourism
When your workforce travels frequently, it is important to ensure their comfort so that you optimise their productivity. I am sure courier drivers have complained to you about a cramped transit van, wishing that the steering wheel adjusted to the right height or that the controls menu was less complicated. Don’t worry though, these headaches and frustrations may soon be a distant memory. In partnership with US Ford, Transit has implemented a new savvy ergonomic design that optimises comfort in its most popular UK van. You are probably wondering what makes the new model so great – let me explain a few of its features.

The Steering Wheel

For a smooth driving experience, the Ford Interaction and Ergonomic engineering teams, along with the Transit development team, have studied the shape and feel of the Ford F-150 steering wheel to improve Transit’s van. For maximum ease, they found that smaller palm swells are more practical and aesthetically pleasing, while the cross-section of the wheel should not be a perfect circle nor should it have rough edges.

Gloved Driving

As you well know, courier drivers sometimes wear gloves throughout the winter months or when they are packing up their trailers. Taking this into consideration, the new Transit van can easily be operated while wearing gloves, so your workers will not have to take them on and off. The smooth-finish door handles are wide enough to fit a gloved-hand through and its underside is made from non-slip plastic chrome. It also has chunky switches and knobs to control the volume, the radio and the air conditioning or heating that is easy to adjust with gloved fingers.

Armrests

Have you ever sat in a van and wished it was as comfortable as your sofa back home? Well, this Transit van looks to recreate the comfort of an armchair. Its doors have been structured to provide a well-positioned armrest that gives drivers the option to turn, twist and change positions. This way, your back is less likely to ache when driving. As a bonus, the beltline armrest on the door trim is also usable (a feature which few vans have).

Screens

In our digital day and age, most commercial vehicles favour touch screen control panels. Researchers have found, however that this screen craze is not actually benefiting courier companies or forwarders, as they have to train their drivers to use them. That’s why the Transit van still has all major controls assigned to buttons which are easily accessible.

Electric Power Steering and Pro Trailer Backup Assist

All courier drivers know how challenging it can be to reverse with a trailer attached to your van. To ease the process, Ford switched its F-150 to an electric power steering which allowed them to add Pro Trailer Backup Assist. This system makes reversing easier. While backing up usually involves opposites (steering the vehicle to the right to turn the trailer left, and vice-versa), this Assist gets rid of that opposite. Thanks to Ford and Transit’s partnership, this latest feature is finding its way into UK vehicles too.

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Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Courier Exchange provides a valuable service, updating members with the latest information on issues affecting road safety, fuel costs, technology, new transit van models and other news from the industry. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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