RETROFIT BUMPER FOR LIGHT RAIL VEHICLES
Most crashes involving light rail vehicles (LRVs) occur with motor vehicles and pedestrians in shared right-of-way environments. These frequent crashes demonstrate that the automobiles are disproportionately vulnerable, but many of the past design specifications for LRVs in the U.S. only included safety requirements for the LRV, its passengers, and its operators. While the inclusion of end enclosures, or bumpers, on new LRV designs is now becoming common practice in the U.S., existing LRVs will continue to operate for decades without these crash safety features.
ARA’s transportation experts are leading an effort to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians across the country who may be struck by an LRV. ARA was awarded a cooperative agreement from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to design, build and test a retrofit prototype bumper for an existing LRV without front end protection for autos and pedestrians. Using nonlinear dynamic finite element analysis, ARA designed the enclosure to significantly reduce injuries to automobile occupants while maintaining the safety features for LRV-LRV collisions. The front enclosure can be raised and lowered by powered operation or manually raised in case of loss of power. ARA crash tested the bumpers with several different vehicles and against a rigid wall to emulate LRV-LRV crashes.
ARA thanks the Federal Transit Authority (FTA), TriMet, Siemens, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Sacramento Regional Transit for supporting this project.
To see the Federal Transit Administration Report “LVR Bumper Safety Technology Deployment” click here.