Analysis of passenger safety for those on side-facing seats in Light Rail Vehicles
Gomez Valbuena, Luis Manuel
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Major metropolitan areas throughout the United States provide Light Rail Transit (LRT) services. What distinguishes the light rail system is that it operates on city streets with grade crossings within city limits. Consequently, the injury rates of the light rail systems are higher than for example the heavy rail systems. Light rail vehicles have different types of seats arrangements as: forward-facing seats, aft-facing seats, side-facing seats, and so forth. Although, side-facing seats are not the most common type of seats, they represent more than 17% of total number of current LRV seats. Different side-facing seats configurations are analyzed in this thesis and the current level of safety is evaluated for different occupant sizes, as well as different crash scenarios. To evaluate the current level of safety, a multi-body model of a current LRV interior is built. The injuries are quantified by comparing the simulations results with the current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) limits. Overall, the level of safety for a typical head-on crash scenario, where one LRV is stationary and the other is traveling at 20 mph, is acceptable when barrier or aft-facing seats are placed at the end of the side-facing seats. The remaining configurations analyzed do not provide the sufficient level of protection, in particular when there is head to head contact between occupants.
Thesis (M.S.)--Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.