Passenger Train Emergency Systems: Single-Level Commuter Rail Car Egress Experiments

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is investigating how to improve rule provisions addressing the safe, timely, and effective evacuation of intercity and commuter rail passengers in various emergency scenarios. A variety of evacuation concepts, strategies, and techniques for applicability to passenger rail cars operating in the United States are being investigated. Under the sponsorship of the FRA, three experimental series of egress trials were conducted to obtain human factors data related to the amount of time necessary for individuals to exit from a passenger rail car. Controlled variables included exiting from the car using one or two side doors to a high platform or an end door to an adjacent car outside the rail car, and lighting conditions. This interim report describes the results of all three series of egress experiment trials. To FRA knowledge, the main commuter rail car experiment was the first time that U.S. passenger rail car egress time trials were conducted with regular commuter rail passengers as test participants. Evacuation times varied significantly by number of passenger rail car exits used and the exit route taken. The collected exit-time data are intended for use in establishing passenger rail car egress time estimates/norms and evaluating various aspects of car design that may promote or impede prompt occupant egress. The experimental data will also be used as input to the development of a passenger rail car emergency egress simulation computer model to predict emergency evacuation time for a variety of passenger rail car configurations.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142

    Federal Railroad Administration

    Office of Railroad Policy and Development, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Markos, Stephanie H
    • Pollard, John K
  • Publication Date: 2010-11


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Interim Technical Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 126p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01684999
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT/FRA/ORD-10/11
  • Contract Numbers: RR 28 DB036; RR 93 HB049
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 17 2018 11:55AM