The National Academies

TCRP A-18 [Completed]

Effective Practices and Programs to Reduce Bus Accidents

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Research Agency: Technology & Management Systems, Inc.
Principal Investigator: H. Norman Ketola
Effective Date: 10/15/1996
Completion Date: 5/30/2000

Accident prevention is a top priority of every bus operation. Generally, practices used to prevent accidents and promote driving safety fall into three categories: (1) Human Resources--e.g., training, incentives to reward good performance, progressive discipline for adverse performance, operator selection, operator work rules and procedures, labor practices, safety awareness programs, and interventions for employees at risk; (2) Management--e.g., accident data tracking and analysis, accident investigation, public and passenger education, hazard identification and resolution, safety inspections, safety committees, and supervision; and (3) Operations--e.g., bus stop location and design, snow and ice removal, traffic and parking enforcement, route selection and scheduling, use of undercover checkers on buses, and technology applications such as cameras on buses, "black box" recorders, daytime running lights, and dual mirrors.

Specific practices used to prevent accidents and promote safe driving vary widely among transit systems, although most systems use all three types noted above to some extent. There is no comprehensive inventory of such practices for operators to readily reference, nor have best practices been evaluated in a systematic manner. For example, what defensive driving courses have proven most effective in preventing accidents? What progressive discipline for poor safety performance (or conversely, what incentives or rewards for safe driving) actually prevents accidents? What innovative practices have transit systems devised to correct safety problems and motivate improved performance by individual operators? What is the industry experience with employee involvement in accident-prevention programs (e.g., safety committees)? What technologies are useful in preventing accidents?

This research produced a directory of effective practices used to prevent bus accidents. The directory includes an inventory and assessment of accident-prevention practices used by small, medium, and large transit systems. Effective practices used by fleet operators outside the transit industry that have potential for reducing bus accidents are described. Particular emphasis is given to practices that have been evaluated previously in terms of their cost and effectiveness in reducing accident rates.

This product is principally written for use by transit managers, transit operations and safety personnel, and risk management staff of large, medium, and small transit systems.

Status: The final report has been published as TCRP Report 66, "Effective Practices to Reduce Bus Accidents."

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