The majority of fatalities that occur from light rail vehicle (LRV) operations are occupants of automobiles that are struck by the LRVs. Recent developments of crashworthiness standards for LRVs by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Rail Transit Vehicle Standards Committee included consideration of a wide variety of crash scenarios including collisions between LRVs and street running automobiles. The requirements included in the standard are primarily to create an enclosed front end geometry where the struck vehicle will not be entrapped or overridden. A smooth enclosed front end profile is a primary requirement for improving the compatibility of LRVs colliding with automobiles. More recently, a study has been initiated by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to develop LRV front end features that further improve the crash compatibility with automobiles. The approach depends on results from computer simulation modeling of vehicle collisions across a wide variety of LRV bumper designs, some with and some without energy absorbers. Results of the study and the design of the energy absorbing bumper system are presented.

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