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Criteria and Procedures for Assessing Occupied Volume Integrity
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  • Abstract:
    With the potential for tremendous growth in the passenger rail

    industry, providing for the safety of the train-riding public and

    the crews who transport them becomes an ever-greater priority.

    To provide for safety while making best use of its resources

    and to facilitate passenger rail industry growth, the Federal

    Railroad Administration (FRA), in consultation with the rail

    industry, has developed alternative Criteria and Procedures for

    assessing the crashworthiness and occupant protection

    measures of rail passenger equipment. These Criteria and

    Procedures are intended to be applicable to a wide range of

    equipment designs, particularly equipment designs not

    complying with current U.S. standards and regulations.

    Because the latest technology in rail equipment

    crashworthiness has been used to develop the Criteria and

    Procedures, aspects of the resulting Criteria and Procedures are

    fundamentally different from their corresponding regulations.

    While technical results from sophisticated analyses and tests

    have been necessary, judgment was also needed to develop the

    Criteria and Procedures. This judgment was provided by the

    Engineering Task Force (ETF), and ultimately accepted by

    FRA. The ETF is a government/industry working group,

    organized under the auspices of the Railroad Safety Advisory

    Committee (RSAC).

    The Criteria and Procedures are intended to provide an

    engineering-based methodology for comparing the

    crashworthiness of alternatively-designed equipment with that

    of compliant designs. One particularly important aspect of

    passenger car crashworthiness is occupied volume integrity

    (OVI). It is essential that all passenger vehicles meet some

    base minimum level of OVI. A primary goal of

    crashworthiness is to maintain a volume for occupants to ride

    out a collision. In the U.S., this base level has been

    demonstrated through a vehicle’s ability to react a quasi-static

    load of 800,000 pounds along its line of draft without

    experiencing permanent deformation. This car-level

    requirement has existed, in some form, since the early 20th

    century. However, alternatively-designed vehicles may not be

    able to demonstrate the ability to support this load, but may still

    prove to be equivalently crashworthy. Based on analyses

    performed on conventional and alternatively-designed

    passenger equipment, three options have been developed to

    demonstrate the OVI of alternatively-designed equipment.

    These options consist of three load magnitudes placed along

    the collision load path with a corresponding pass/fail criterion

    for each load. OVI may be demonstrated by sustaining an

    800,000 pound load with no permanent deformation, a

    1,000,000 pound load with limited permanent deformation, or a

    1,200,000 pound load without exceeding the crippling load of

    the occupied volume.

    This paper discusses the pass/fail criteria associated with each

    option, the analysis and test procedures used in applying each

    option, and the technical basis used in developing the Criteria

    and Procedures for OVI evaluation. By applying such

    techniques, the results of evaluations of alternatively-designed

    equipment can be compared with the Criteria values for

    compliant designs. In this manner, the crashworthiness

    performance of alternatively-designed equipment can be

    assessed relative to the performance of compliant designs. A

    companion paper to this one discusses the development of the

    train-level Criteria and Procedures.

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