Improving Cutaway Bus Safety for Aging Passengers

University  Florida State University (FSU)
Principal Investigators  Jerry Wekezer, Ph.D., P.E
PI Contact Information  Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Phone: 850.410.6542
Email: jwekezer@fsu.edu
Funding Source(s)and Amounts  Provided(by each agency or organization)  USDOT: $60,500
Florida State University: $30,300
Total Project Cost  $90,800
Agency ID or Contract Number  DTRT13-G-UTC42-03317-34715
Start and End Dates 1/9/2014 - 12/23/2014
Brief Description of Research Project 

There are safety issues with small shuttle and paratransit "cutaway" when used as transport for older adults - in terms of both crash safety and human factors. The proposed project aims to directly improve the rollover crash safety of cutaway buses while also examining the human factors and ergonomics (HF&E) safety issues specific to everyday use of this type of bus by seniors. Our first and major objective is to address a weakness in current cutaway bus construction that was identified in previous research carried out at the Crashworthiness and Impact Analysis Laboratory (CIAL) at FSU. CIAL's evaluation of five different manufacturers' designs using both FE simulations and physical testing has revealed that in order to pass the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards No. 220 School Bus Rollover Protection (FMVSS 220), every manufacturer is using an unbalanced design with strong roof bows but weak columns and connections. This research will design a reinforced frontal ring structure that we anticipate will greatly improve dynamic rollover crashworthiness at no added manufacturing cost. Our second objective is to begin to assess the human factors and ergonomics (HF&E) safety issues affecting current and future use of cutaway buses by older adults. Findings will be summarized in a "best practices" list with a distribution target of both: bus manufacturers and public transit agencies. Our third objective is to determine, given the greater fragility of older adult passengers, whether there are mechanisms or types of injury specific to older adults in a cutaway bus rollover.

Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented) Place Any Photos Here Pending project completion.
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated) Pending project completion.
Web Links
Download this project Abstract