Bus passenger injury prevention: Learning from onboard incidents

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, planning - personal safety/crime, ridership - behaviour, ridership - drivers


Buses, passengers, injury, prevention, CCTV analysis, incident reports



Bus travel is relatively safe: however there remains a lack of understanding of passenger injury incidents onboard buses. The objective of this study was to understand more about onboard passenger incidents to help inform injury mitigation.


The UK national STATS19 data and Transport for London bus incident data (IRIS) were used to determine the size of the problem in Greater London. Other data including onboard incident reports from two bus operators and CCTV footage of 70 incidents were used to understand passenger injury in more depth and identify common themes and challenges.


The STATS19 and IRIS analysis showed that there was a difference between nationally reported bus incidents compared to locally reported bus incidents. Non-collision incidents are prevalent in the data suggesting there is a large problem to tackle. The CCTV and bus incident data identified braking to be the single largest problem in onboard bus passenger injury incidents. Inconsistent reporting of passenger incidents and injury descriptions make it difficult to identify injury patterns and trends. Areas on the bus appear to contribute to higher injury incidents namely those seats facing and closest to the wheelchair area. Other challenges relating to expected passenger and driver behaviors were noted where blame for the incident and outcome can be attributed to both parties.


This combined analysis of incident reports and CCTV footage has enabled a better understanding of the events leading to on-board passenger injury incidents. Preventing harsh braking would appear to be the most effective way of reducing passenger injuries. Additionally improved data collection would assist both transport authorities and bus operators to identify and monitor the effect of bus safety improvements.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.