Evaluation of Transit Vehicle Brake Inspection Through Ultrasonic Emissions Analysis

Despite advances in transit vehicle safety technology, vehicle brakes remain a common cause of accidents, injuries, roadcalls, and mechanical breakdowns. In the United States there are over 480,000 truck and bus crashes annually with almost 30% of them involving brake failure as a factor. The goal of this project is to develop and refine a new approach for improving transit safety based on detecting problems with transit vehicle brakes by analyzing ultrasonic sounds emitted by braking. This project will explore the use of ultrasonic-based brake monitoring systems consist of non-invasive automated sensors placed roadside near exits of transit vehicle facilities that provide daily analysis of brakes for every vehicle and issues alerts if problems are detected. The primary objectives of this project are to quantify benefits in increased transit safety and operating efficiencies from advanced warning of brake problems. The ultrasonic-based system issues immediate alerts if critical safety conditions are detected; the bus can be stopped immediately after leaving the maintenance facility. The project team will work with Blacksburg Transit and Potomac Rappahannock Regional Transit agencies to implement the system on over 200 buses during the project, advancing the ultrasonic-based brake monitor from a prototype to a market-ready product.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $99478
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project J-04, IDEA 94

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Fitzpatrick, Velvet

  • Performing Organizations:


  • Principal Investigators:

    Hearing, Brian

  • Start Date: 20190530
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01707743
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project J-04, IDEA 94
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 10 2019 3:16PM