Welcome to

Beneficial Designs

We are located in Minden, Nevada just east of the Sierras. We believe all individuals should have access to the physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life. Please earn more about us!


We have many different services available to meet your needs. Beneficial Designs provides highly efficient assessment and transition plan services to identify hazards and access issues in the sidewalk and outdoor recreation environments.

Wheelchair Testing

We can insure that your manual and powered wheelchair products will be tested to meet the requirements necessary for Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding (PDAC), 510k submission to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and/or United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) submission.

Sidewalk Assessment

Sidewalk assessment services are available; our sidewalk assessors are assessing college campuses and cities all across the country using the Public Rights-of-Way Assessment Process—PROWAP—electronics and software. Call today to see how our services can help you identify tripping and ADA liabilities.

Outdoor Recreation Assessment Equipment

Our trail assessment products and software have been developed to enable you to locate liabilities and access issues. We are constantly developing the right tools to efficiently assess all outdoor environments for the safety and enjoyment of people of all abilities.

Surface Measurement Tools

The Rotational Penetrometer is a precision instrumented surface indenter for measuring the firmness and stability of ground and floor surfaces, such as trails, playgrounds, and carpets. The Rotational Penetrometer is the only device of its kind—a reliable, objective, portable instrument for testing surface firmness and stability.

Mapping and Signage

The Architectural Barriers Act—ABA—requires that trail signage contain Trail Access Information, which is created from data collected during trail assessments using the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) and the High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP). All trail users find grade, cross slope, tread width, surface, and obstruction information useful for the enjoyment of trails.

Trail Training

Onsite training is available to become a certified Trail Assessment Coordinator using the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) and to become proficient in the use of the High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) hardware and software.

Pax Press Publications

Published books include The Manual Wheelchair Training Guide, The Powered Wheelchair Training Guide, and A Guide to Wheelchair Selection. These guides provide new and experienced users and rehabilitation professionals with valuable reference materials.

Research and Development

We are working on new technologies that will make your access issues disappear. We are currently developing an application for mobile devices that will enable the efficient assessment of all outdoor recreation environments, including picnic and camping areas, outdoor recreation trails, and access routes.

Expert Witness Services

Peter Axelson can assist as an expert witness for powered and manual mobility devices. He has knowledge and experience related to the training of mobility device users and the design, manufacturing, prescription, fitting, and usage of mobility devices. He also has the expertise to assess the environment in which the accident may have occurred.

Sidewalk Assessment

More than 400 miles of sidewalk and a dozen college campuses in 5 states have been  assessed. Allow us to help your city with all your assessment needs.

Expert Witness Services

If you or somone you know needs an expert witness for forensic testing of mobility devices, contact us today!

Press Releases

Our team has worked hard on releasing the newest versions of the trail assessment equipment and software as well as the rotational penetrometer an instrumented surface indentor. 

Wheelchair Testing

We are always performing wheelchair testing requested by manufacturers. Check out what options you have when choosing Beneficial Designs.

Wheelchair Standards

For further information on wheelchair standards, go to www.wheelchairstandards.pitt.edu

What are Wheelchair Standards?

Wheelchair standards are specific test procedures used to provide information about the performance, safety, and dimensions of wheelchairs.

Need for Wheelchair Standards

Trying to purchase the right wheelchair from the many models available can be bewildering. A manufacturer's seat width specification could mean a measurement taken from inside the seat rails, outside the seat rails, or between the armrest panels. This inconsistency, as well as a concern for user safety, inspired the development of standardized wheelchair measurements and test procedures.

Establishing Standards

Peter Axelson, Director of Research and Development, serves as Chair of the RESNA Standards Subcommittee on Wheelchairs and as a delegate to the International Organization on Standardization (ISO) for Wheelchair Standards. These committees have worked for over a decade to establish standards for testing and reporting the performance and features of manual and powered wheelchairs.

In 1982, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a nonprofit standards-setting group, adopted 18 standard procedures for testing and comparing wheelchairs. Seating and structural dimensions, dynamic performance, and safety information are among the testing data recommended for disclosure. The standards are administered through RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America), an interdisciplinary association for the advancement of rehabilitation and assistive technology. The procedures ensure minimum wheelchair performance and safety levels, and provide a basis for consumers and clinicians to compare products when selecting a wheelchair.

Participating In Standards Development

For information on when and where to participate in RESNA Assistive Technology Standards Committees.

Encouraging Standard Testing

Wheelchair manufacturers conduct standard wheelchair testing on a voluntary basis. Beneficial Designs encourages this testing by assisting PVA Publications in writing consumer product reviews based on testing information. These wheelchair comparison articles were published in Paraplegia News and Sports 'n Spokes magazines.

Consumer and Clinician Education

Beneficial Designs works to educate wheelchair users and clinicians about wheelchair standards. Peter Axelson gives regular presentations at the RESNA conference explaining how to use standard test results to prescribe or select appropriate wheelchairs.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America funded Beneficial Designs to write A Guide to Wheelchair Selection: How to Use the ANSI/RESNA Wheelchair Standards to Buy a Wheelchair. Written by Peter Axelson, Jean Minkel, and Denise Chesney, the guide explains the test procedures and how to use the testing results to select an appropriate wheelchair.


The Paralyzed Veterans of America supports Peter Axelson\'s work as Chair of the Wheelchair Standards Subcommittee through a contract with Beneficial Designs.

Wheelchair Seating Standards

For further information on wheelchair seating standards, go to www.wheelchairstandards.pitt.edu.

To learn more about participating in Standards Development, please view our page on RESNA Assistive Technology Standards.