Bus Driver Security Barrier Design--The Challenges and Solutions

As recent operator assaults brutally demonstrate, current North American driver security barriers fail to provide protection against assaults of any form. The problems stem from bus designs that, in maximizing passenger seating, have created a conflict between front door Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access and the space required for barriers that do not have to degrade safety to ensure security. Risks to safety come in the form of reflections and refractions off of barriers and obstructions by barriers seriously impairing vision. Risks to security include barriers with significant cut-outs for vision, which are ineffective at protecting bus operators from attack by all but the smallest of passengers. Additional problems arise from cutting off air conditioning (AC) flow (measurements of non-AC buses, in service in Seattle, showed summertime temperatures as high as 130° F due to huge windows and solar loading), a serious hazard to operators, passengers, and others near the vehicles. Reach confinement and communications problems round out the design shortfalls in current options for barrier systems. The public transportation industry needs to explore these issues and develop practical solutions for the increasing numbers of operators being assaulted while on duty. The objectives of this research are: (1) To explore the common bus barrier models used in current fleets, the best practices as well as challenges for retrofits of security barriers, and the needed design elements like heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) considerations such as air filtering, sterilization and flow control. (2) To examine currently available barrier designs and their performance in terms of preventing assaults, vision impacts, etc. (3) To explore best practices for upcoming bus models designed to accommodate driver health, safety, and security needs. This should include designs utilized in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Internationally. (4) To discuss and review the TRACS report and the recommendations from this report. (5) To provide a prototype for demonstration at American Public Transportation Association (APTA) conferences, if possible, through partnering with a manufacturer, agency, and/or other funding source. Production of a prototype could also be a follow-on project in conjunction with the current project G-17, which is examining the driver’s workstation.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project C-25

  • 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:

    Parker, Stephan

  • Start Date: 20200602
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01741745
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project C-25
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 1 2020 3:04PM