Criteria and Procedures for Assessing Occupied Volume Integrity
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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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