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Center Identification Number:  527-11


Project Title:  Analysis of Florida Transit Bus Accidents


Principal Investigators:        


Dennis Hinebaugh, Transit Program Director




Holly Carapella, Research Associate





Center for Urban Transportation Research

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida


External Project Contact:     


Mike Johnson, Transit Operations Administrator



I.  Project Objective                              


To undertake a continued sampled review of bus transit accidents at Florida public transit systems.  This project will analyze the change in accident data over time, and where available compare data sets to capital and operational safety improvements to identify program effectiveness. To create a simple spreadsheet-based tool for smaller transit systems to use to more easily track accident data.    The goal of the project is to show transit systems, through demonstration, the simplicity by which accident data can be analyzed, how to use the data to identify the success of safety campaigns, and how a small investment in analyses might have a great impact on reducing transit accidents thereby lowering operating costs and insurance premiums.  It is hoped that through this research exercise transit systems in Florida will be more likely to analyze their data and reduce transit accidents at their property.


II.  Project Abstract


The safe operation of public transit vehicles is of utmost importance to the transit agency, its’ employees and passengers.  Most transit agencies have hundreds of accidents per year.  While each accident may be reviewed carefully as an individual incident, at many Florida transit systems there has been very little formal analysis of all accidents on an aggregate basis, and as a tool to identify the effectiveness of capital and operational safety campaigns. The FDOT Research Ideas project on System Safety Plans and Accident Tracking Analysis completed in 1999, recommended that all Florida transit systems begin collecting a core set of accident characteristics to be monitored and analyzed on a statewide basis.  This project would propose to use this data to track and analyze accident occurrences and causal factors for many of the small to medium-size transit systems in Florida.


In addition, CUTR will develop a spreadsheet-based tool for smaller transit systems to easily track and analyze their accident data in aggregate over time.  This will allow the agency to be able to identify trends in occurrences and the effectiveness of safety campaigns.  This information and analytical tool(s) will be shared statewide on a continuing basis. 


III.  Task Descriptions


Task 1:  Accident Data Collection


In this task, the investigators will collect bus accident data from Florida fixed-route public transit systems with readily available data who volunteer to take part in the research activity.  It is understood that a limited number of systems will be analyzed due to budgetary constraints.  An attempt will be made to collect only the core set of data required from the previous report.  


Task 2:  Safety Training Program and Capital Improvements Data Collection


In this task CUTR will request information from the transit systems related to their most recent training programs and safety related capital improvements.  This will allow for possible identification of safety program effectiveness when compared to the available accident data sets.


Task 3:  Accident Data Entry


In this task, the investigators will enter the Florida systems bus accident data into a data-base for analysis.


Task 4:  Analysis of the Data


Frequency distributions will be run on all of the data fields in the accident database.  In those cases when the frequency analysis does not provide enough insight into or cannot alone pinpoint the causal factors of the problem, CUTR will perform additional cross-tabulation analyses.  On a limited basis where time and budget will allow, a geographic analysis will be performed.  Accidents will be geocoded, and for locations where frequent accidents have occurred, further analyses may be performed.


Task 5:  Data Interpretation   


The results of the data analyzed in the previous tasks will be summarized, and will be compared against the known safety campaigns conducted/implemented within the transit system.  The accident data will be used to assess the effectiveness of specific training programs and capital improvement actions at each surveyed property.   As possible, cost savings will be identified where campaigns have had a positive impact on the reduction of accidents.


Task 6:  Development of Analytical Tool(s) for Accident Tracking


CUTR will further refine the spreadsheet-based analytical tool(s) used for tracking and analyzing the accident data so as to create a user-friendly process for smaller transit systems to readily and easily track their accident data.  This tool and process will be shared with the Florida transit properties.


Task 7:  Final Report


The results of tasks 1-6 will be summarized in a final report.  A power-point presentation will also be developed to share the analyses and procedures with the Florida transit systems.  An instructional manual will also be developed to guide the use of the spreadsheet-based analysis tool.


IV.  Project Schedule, Milestones


Project Start Date: 


















Task 1
















Task 2
















Task 3
















Task 4
















Task 5
















Task 6
















Final Report

















V.        Project Budget


Analysis of Florida Transit Bus Accidents

Budget Categories

State Share

   Institute Director Salary


   Faculty Salaries


   Administrative Staff Salaries


   Other Staff Salaries


   Graduate Student Salaries


   Undergraduate Salaries


   Staff Benefits


Total Salaries and Benefits


   Permanent Equipment


   Expendable Equipment and Supplies


   Domestic Travel


   Foreign Travel


   Computer Costs


   Other Costs


Total Direct Costs


   Indirect Costs





Notes:  This budget does not reflect any federal participation.  The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above.


VI.  Student Involvement


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


VII.  Relationship to Other Research Projects


A similar analysis on one selected system was conducted as part of a FY 1997 Florida Department of Transportation Research Idea project entitled System Safety Program and Accident Tracking Analysis” as well as the NCTR Accident Tracking project completed in FY 2001.  This project follows-up on the recommendations of those reports.


VIII.  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 and the transit systems that participated in the analyses.


IX.  Potential Benefits of the Project


The benefits of the project include the continued development and use of a standardized set of accident data to be collected by Florida transit properties for the purpose of reducing transit bus accidents.  This information can then be used to compare trends and the effectiveness of training, capital improvement programs, and driver operating conditions between Florida transit systems.  Transit systems statewide can than use this information to change operating procedures, capital improvement programs, and training programs at their systems to aid in reducing transit bus accidents statewide.


X.  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: