Every year, there are approximately 6000 fatalities (6227 in the year 2018) and many more serious injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists from vehicles in the USA. More recent data1 show that these numbers have increased by 45% since 2009. These trends have varied over the years but injuries and fatalities to pedestrians and cyclists from automobiles remain a serious issue.
Event Data Recorders (EDRs) were first introduced by General Motors (GM) in 1974. That data was only available to GM; however, since 1994 more and more vehicle EDR’s have recorded data that can be gathered. The data captured can be imaged and is being used by vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement officers, and collision reconstructionists to better understand what is happening in a collision. In accident investigation, EDRs have the potential to provide independent measurements of crash data that would elsewise be estimated by reconstruction methodology.
Other than airport-to-parking lot shuttles, and an occasional tour or charter trip, all public transportation services pickup and discharge their passengers at the side of a roadway. When it is available, they pickup and discharge them from or onto a curb, sidewalk, platform or other raised surface.
For many passengers, the 14-inch drop from the bottom step of a high-floor transit bus or motorcoach is challenging. In transit service, drivers do not assist or even spot boarding or alighting passengers. While motorcoach drivers typically assist or spot boarding or alighting passengers at the front door, the drivers of motorcoaches deployed in commuter/express service (provided by transit agencies or companies under contract to them) do not. Nor do scheduled service drivers do so consistently, especially at intermediate stops.
In Part 1 of this three-installment series, I characterized the development of MCI's new ramp-equipped accessible motorcoach (the MCI D45 CRT LE) as a "paradigm shift." While I will expand on why this is so in the third and last installment next month, this installment will overview the most unique features of this remarkable vehicle -- a vehicle whose ultimate potential I feel has not yet been realized.
As an urban planner by background, there are certain clichés I have grown to loath. Among my least favorite is the phrase 'paradigm shift.' This is because few things in the transportation field ever comprise a paradigm shift. Among the true exceptions were the 45-foot-long coach, the proliferation of double-deckers, Megabus pricing, and the advances in super-clean diesel engines. Autonomous coaches seem decades away (even while exploding on the scene in Europe). Otherwise, nothing else close to a paradigm shift in this traditional industry comes to mind.
Speeding would seem like the most obvious safety compromise. Speeding would seem like the most natural remedy to a schedule too tight, and the most obvious way to pick up more passengers, increase system capacity and maximize revenue: Just drive faster.
Among all the safety compromises pandemic to the public transportation industry, wheelchair tipovers are, by far, the least common to the motorcoach sector compared to other services which deploy accessible vehicles. Of course, this is largely because so few wheelchair users travel by motorcoach.
In Part 1 of this series, I introduced the notion that roughly half of all public transportation-related incidents are the result of a deliberate trade-off of passenger safety for some system or owner's benefit. The most common benefit is the service provider's operating a schedule that is too tight.