The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) was created by the Department ofTransportation Act of 1966. It is one of ten agencies within the U.S. Department ofTransportation concerned with intermodal transportation. FRA promotes safe,environmentally sound, successful railroad transportation to meet the needs of all customers today and tomorrow.
FRA's Office of Railroad Safety promotes and regulates safety throughout the Nation's railroad industry. The office executes its regulatory and inspection responsibilities through a diverse staff of railroad safety experts.
The Federal Railroad Administration is responsible for working with stakeholders to develop cohesive goals and policies for maintaining and improving the U.S. freight and passenger rail networks. This section covers various efforts across America and the world in helping to deliver safe, reliable, and efficient rail transportation.
FRA Research & Development (R&D) projects contribute to the FRA's safety regulatory processes, to railroad suppliers, to railroads involved in the transportation of freight, intercity passengers, commuters, and to railroad employees and their labor organizations.
In this section, we provide descriptions and comprehensive, official sources for FRA's regulations (also called rules), selected legislation, as well as policy and guidance documents. Additionally, you will find current topics of high interest or significant impact to Congress, railroads, employees, labor, public interest groups and other stakeholders.
FRA supports passenger and freight railroading through a variety of competitive grant, dedicated grant, and loan programs to develop safety improvements, relieve congestion, and encourage the expansion and upgrade of passenger and freight rail infrastructure and services. FRA also provides training and technical assistance to grantees and stakeholders.
Crashworthiness of Passenger Trains Safety of High-Speed Ground Transportation Systems
AUTHOR: David Tyrell, Kristine Severson, Brian Marquis OFFICE: RPD REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-97/10 KEYWORDS: Crashworthiness of Passenger Trains Safety of High-Speed Ground Transportation Systems ABSTRACT: The results of analyses conducted to determine the effectiveness of structural and interior train
design strategies in protecting occupants during collisions are presented. Structural design
approaches considered include the conventional design approach of requiring a uniform minimum
longitudinal strength, and the crash-energy management design approach which provides for sacrificial
crush zones in the unoccupied areas of the train. Interior protection strategies considered include
occupant restraint and compartmentalization.
The analyses show that for typical train-to-train collisions at closing speeds above 70 mph, the
crash-energy management design is more effective than the conventional design in preserving the
occupant volume. For closing speeds below 70 mph, both strategies are equally effective in preserving
occupant volume. The crash-energy management design results in gentler secondary impacts for trainto-
train collisions than the conventional design for occupants in cars behind the first coach car, at
all speeds analyzed.
Estimates of the probability of fatality resulting from secondary impacts are presented for each of
the interior configurations and restraint systems modeled. These estimates are based upon the Head
Injury Criteria (HIC), chest deceleration and axial neck load criteria that are used in assessments of
automotive vehicle crashworthiness. The analysis results indicate that compartmentalization is as
effective as a lap belt in minimizing probability of fatality for the 50th percentile male simulated
when the seats are arranged in forward-facing rows.