RET: Universal Design of Distribution Center Workstation – VT08-RET

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RET: Universal Design of Distribution Center Workstation – VT08-RET


National Science Foundation

Research Team:

Kimberly Ellis

Universities Involved:

Virginia Tech

Start Date:


End Date:



CELDi researchers at Virginia Tech will collaborate with Special Education teachers in the Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) System to redesign a task in an existing distribution center so that it can be effectively completed by people with special needs. The research team will include Dr. Kimberly Ellis, Dr. Tonya Smith-Jackson, and two special education teachers from middle schools in MCPS.

The research team will visit the Walgreens Distribution Center in Anderson, SC, to learn more about their inclusive environment. The research team will then visit another distribution center (either the UPS distribution center in Roanoke, VA, or the Target Distribution Center in Stuarts Draft, VA) to select a task for redesign.

The team will employ the Systems Engineering Design Process (Blanchard and Fabrycky, 2007) to determine the requirements for the selected task from both the operational perspective as well as the operator perspective. Based on the requirements, the team will conduct preliminary system design and detailed design while incorporating accessibility and universal design guidelines. The team will then implement the design (either in the laboratory or at the facility) and assess the effectiveness and accessibility of the redesign.