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Center Identification Number: 416-13

Project Title: National Transit Bus Accident Data Collection and Analyses

Co-Principal Investigators: 

Christopher DeAnnuntis, Research Associate

Dennis Hinebaugh, Transit Program Director

Institution: Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

External Project Contact: 

Mike Johnson, Transit Operations Administrator

I. Project Objective

The Florida Department of Transportation; in cooperation with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Public Transportation (SCOPT) and the Multi-State Technical Assistance Program (MTAP); is seeking information about the availability of data documenting public transit bus collisions and incidents impacting public transit bus safety in the United States.

II. Project Abstract

Increasing publicity in recent years about bus collisions has raised public awareness about the safety of travel on buses. FDOT, the SCOPT and MTAP are interested in the extent to which existing data sources can document the nature and scope of the problem across the industry and provide focus to the development of national and local bus safety programs. Of particular interest is the comparison of public transit collisions and private carrier collisions, and collisions in the Section 5311 Rural Transportation Sector and Section 5310 Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Sector of the industry.

III. Task Descriptions

Task 1 Identification and Collection of Transit Accident Data

In this task, working with the project steering committee, the investigators will identify data sources and collect transit and private bus carrier accident data at both the federal and state level. Potential source databases include, at a minimum, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), FTA National Transit Database (NTD), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, National Safety Council, National Highway Transportation Safety Administration - Fatal Accident Reporting Systems (FARS), Association of Governmental Risk Pools, Risk and Insurance Management Society, and State Department of Transportations or other State level agencies. At the state level, the investigators will identify reporting requirements, usefulness of data, and success in acquiring the data from providers.

Task 2 Cataloging and Analysis of Accident Data

In this task CUTR will catalogue available accident data by source, carrier type (public transit agency, contracted transit carrier, private OTR carrier, charter), and state of origin. Data will be analyzed and compared between carrier types, and analyzed at a micro-level for services operated under Section 5311 (rural transportation) and Section 5310 (elderly and persons with disabilities) funding.

Task 3 Report of Findings

In this task, the investigators will report findings derived from the analyses performed in Task 2. Specific comparisons will be made between carriers and Section 5311 and 5310 providers. Problem areas will be identified, where data is lacking, or where data shows significant variations between service providers. Recommendations will be made to correct/enhance deficiencies in data collection, best practices for procedural collection of State level accident data will be presented, and based on industry knowledge, recommend improvements to system operations to reduce bus accidents.

Study Management Team:

A study management team will be formed prior to the initiation of Task 1 work efforts. This team will consist of Mike Johnson - Florida DOT, Bill Sapper - Arizona DOT, and Janet Weaver - Idaho DOT, John Fabian - New York DOT. The investigators will meet periodically with the Study Management Team to present findings and receive direction.

IV. Student Involvement

Graduate students will be used to compile and enter data and assist in the data analysis.

V. Relationship to Other Research Projects

An analysis of accident data and system safety plans was conducted as part of a FY 1997 Florida Department of Transportation Research Idea project entitled System Safety Program and Accident Tracking Analysis". Through the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) program CUTR investigators are currently analyzing accident data from two Florida transit properties related to the impact of safety training programs and rear high density lights on reducing accidents.

VI. Technology Transfer Activities

The results of this analysis will be provided to the FDOT through a series of technical memoranda and a final report. Copies of the final report will be provided to the Research Office, the State Public Transportation Administrator, the Manager of the Transit Office, Transit Operations Administrator, the FTA, Study Management Team members, and other involved Federal agencies, states and transit systems which participated in the analyses, and an HTML version of the report will be housed on the NCTR website.

VII. Potential Benefits of the Project

The benefits of the project include the development of a standardized methodology for accident data collection, and a comparison of accident statistics between transit providers. The data and analyses can be used to aid in developing programs to reduce transit accidents at a national level.

VIII. TRB Keywords

Public Transit, safety, accidents.



National Center for Transit Research at the Center For Urban Transportation Research University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 Tampa, FL 33620-5375 (813) 974-3120 (813) 974-5168 Comments: