Seat belt usage in buses – An observation study of usage and travellers’ perspectives

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, planning - safety/accidents, planning - surveys, ridership - behaviour


Safety, Seat belt, Public transport, Bus, Misuse, Un-buckle


This study aims to evaluate seat belt usage in buses and to understand travellers’ incentives of seat belt usage. Methods used are observational studies (10 cities, with 328 bus observations), focus group discussion (7 groups with a total of 32 participants) and a web survey (n = 1737 respondents). The results show that the seat belt use among bus passengers can be improved especially in regional and commercial bus traffic. It is more common to buckle up on long trips than on short trips. However, even though observations show high usage during long trips, travellers report that they remove the seat belt after a while if they want to sleep or for comfort reasons. For the bus drivers it is not possible to control passengers’ usage. Dirty seat belts and technical malfunction might deter some passengers from using them and therefore systematic cleaning and control of seats and belts are recommended. On short trips one reason for not using the belt is related to worries about getting stuck and not being ready to get off in time. In general, it is most important to increase the usage on high-speed roads (>60 km/h), in lower speed it might be more important to provide a seat for each passenger. Based on the results a list of recommendations is presented.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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