TIAX to Develop Safer Seat and Worktable for U.S. Trains

Improving passenger safety in the event of a crash.

TIAX has begun work on two projects to design a safer seat and worktable for trains. The awards total $850,000.

The projects are part of a five-year contract that TIAX received last year from the Volpe National Systems Transportation Center to investigate ways to improve the crashworthiness of rail equipment. The Volpe Center is a federal, fee-for-service organization within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The first project involves the design and test of a workstation table that will absorb the impact of seated passengers who collide with it during a crash. In addition to reducing head, chest, abdomen, and leg injuries, the table will be designed to allow a way out from behind the table after a crash.

The second project calls for TIAX to develop and test a three-person commuter seat capable of absorbing the impact of passengers who collide with it from behind during a crash. The seat will be designed to reduce injuries to the head, chest, and legs of occupants, keep the occupants compartmentalized, and remain attached to the railcar.

“With more than 24 million railroad passengers each year, it is critical that our train equipment is as safe as possible, while still functional and comfortable,” said Kenan Sahin, President and Founder of TIAX. “TIAX has a long history of working with the Volpe Center to improve rail safety, and we are pleased to be part of this effort to protect passengers from potentially debilitating and life-threatening injuries.”

TIAX experts, led by Robert Rancatore, have worked with the Volpe Center for more than a decade on a variety of projects concerning rail crashworthiness. These projects include:

  • The design, fabrication and installation of an improved cab car crush zone in alreadyexisting rail equipment
  • The repair of previously designed coach car crush zones that have been successfully crash tested
  • The design and testing of improved coach car crush zones
  • The evaluation of the crashworthiness of alternative equipment, such as articulated trainsets
  • The investigation of anticlimbing designs for colliding rail equipment
  • The analysis of the single car, two-car, train-to-train, and end frame passenger equipment tests conducted by the Volpe Center
  • The development and improvement of tools and techniques to assist with analyzing the crashworthiness of rail equipment