Evaluation of School Bus Emergency Evacuation Systems With Regard to Physical Capabilities of Young Children
Type of DegreeDissertation
Industrial and Systems Engineering
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Motorized school buses have been used to transport children for over a century and are known to be the safest mode of transportation for students traveling to and from school. Between 2001 and 2008, only 1% of student fatalities during normal school travel hours were occupants of a school bus while 23% were occupants of a vehicle with an adult driver, and 58% were occupants of a vehicle with a teen driver. Despite the small chance of encountering a school bus fatality, there are approximately 26,000 school bus accidents in the United States in a system that transports more than 23.5 million children annually. While Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards mandate the specifications for school bus emergency evacuation systems, they fail to represent the capabilities of children who are the primary occupants of school buses. Furthermore, the literature clearly addresses concerns with easily opening and keeping open the emergency exits on motorcoaches/buses, which are also regulated by FMVSS No. 217, particularly when the motorcoach/bus is not in the upright position. Thus, the objective of this research is to bridge the gap between current school bus emergency exit standards and the physical strength capabilities of children. By identifying potential improvements in the school bus evacuation system through the measurement of strength and stature of children, their ability to evacuate a school bus without adult intervention, and generating preliminary school bus egress times could help improve the overall safety of school bus transportation.