Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, planning - safety/accidents, land use - planning, economics - appraisal/evaluation, organisation - management, mode - rail


Trauma, Train-to-train collisions, Traffic fatalities, Strategies, Strategic planning, Speed, Railway carriages, Railroad grade crossing collisions, Priorities, Passenger trains, Passenger cars, Occupant dynamics, Objectives, Injury, Injuries, Goals, Fatalities, Fatal accidents, Design, Deceleration, Death, Crushing, Crush zones, Crashworthiness, Crashes, Crash energy management, Collisions


Comparisons are made of the effectiveness of competing crashworthiness strategies--crash energy management (CEM) and conventional passenger train design. CEM is a strategy for providing rail equipment crashworthiness that uses crush zones at the ends of cars. These zones are designed to collapse in a controlled way during a collision, distributing the crush among the train cars. This technique preserves the occupied spaces in the train and limits the decelerations of the occupant volumes. Two scenarios are used to evaluate the effectiveness of the crashworthiness strategies--(a) a train-to-train collision of a cab-car-led passenger train with a standing locomotive-led passenger train and (b) a grade-crossing collision of a cab-car-led passenger train with a standing highway vehicle. The maximum speed for which all the occupants are expected to survive and the predicted increase in fatalities and injuries with increasing collision speed are determined for both train designs. CEM is shown to significantly increase the maximum speed at which all the occupants could survive for both grade crossing and train-to-train collisions for cab-car-led trains, at the expense of modestly increasing the speeds at which occupants impact the interior in train-to-train collisions.