Volpe Center Highlights
Promote public health and safety by working toward the elimination of transportation-related deaths, injuries, and property damage.
Presentation of Paper on Vehicle Crash Avoidance Research (NHTSA)
As part of its ongoing support to NHTSA's Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) collision avoidance program, the Volpe Center Accident Prevention Division is defining and analyzing various types of vehicular crashes and crash circumstances in order to identify promising crash avoidance opportunities. As a result of this research, investigations were completed on eight major categories of crash types. The results of these studies were summarized in a paper, entitled "Analysis of Target Crashes and ITS/Countermeasure Actions," by Messrs. Wassim Najm, Mark Mironer and Ms. Lynn Fraser. The paper, which was presented during the driver behavior and safety session of the ITS America Fifth Annual Meeting, on March 15, presented results integrating the causes of crashes and techniques to model different types of crashes.
Presentation of Research Paper on Vehicle Crashworthiness Engineering (NHTSA)
Ms. Alexandra Carrera, of the Volpe Center's Vehicle Crashworthiness Division, recently presented a paper entitled "Lumped Parameter Modeling of Frontal Offset Impacts" at the 1995 SAE International Congress and Exposition, held in Detroit, MI. Ms. Carrera had the opportunity to become familiar with current research on automotive safety in offset impacts and to share information on government research with international experts. The SAE Congress provided a forum for technical information-exchange of professionals working in the automotive engineering community.
Industry Application of Center-Developed Rail Measurement System (FRA)
The Gauge Restraint Measurement System (GRMS) provides a means of rapidly identifying weak track locations that could cause derailments due to a widening of the gauge--a term used to identify the prescribed separation between track rails. Since its development by the Volpe Center in the mid-1980s, the success of GRMS has attracted the interest of private industry. Recently, Mr. Gary Carr, of the Center's Structures and Dynamics Division, provided technical direction and assistance for testing GRMS on the CSX Railroad over a distance of 200 miles from Raleigh, NC, to Columbia, SC. The GRMS is being used to determine compliance with an alternate specification for evaluating the performance of railroad ties and fasteners. A waiver granted to CSX Transportation in 1993 replaced parts of the current FRA Track Safety Standards with the alternate specification for a specific 500-mile section of CSX track. The waiver requires performance of GRMS surveys over the entire territory and maintenance prescribed by the GRMS evaluation.
Interest in Airport Surface Movement System (FAA)
The Volpe Center-developed Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS), which is an automated radar safety logic system which issues "conflict alerts" to air traffic controllers, has attracted positive international interest. AMASS, which has been installed at the international airports in Boston and San Francisco, was recently demonstrated by the Center and FAA at Boston's Logan Airport. The demonstration, which included the newly commissioned Aircraft Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE) radar, was given to Europe's Aviation Commission of General VII Transports, as well as other official guests. Dense fog during the demonstration provided an added opportunity to witness the AMASS-ASDE capability to identify and track aircraft and surface vehicles under adverse visibility conditions. AMASS is planned for deployment at 35 more major airports by the year 2000. In a related event, AMASS was also demonstrated at the Naval Air Warfare Center at Patuxent River, MD, as the Department of Defense also recognizes the potential for AMASS to enhance airport surface traffic safety.
Training Video on Structural Integrity of Aging Aircraft Frames (FAA)
Dramatic aviation accidents in recent history have focused attention on the critical importance of structural integrity of aging aircraft frames. The final version of the "Damage Tolerance Video" was recently completed ahead of schedule and submitted to the FAA's Technical Center. The video, which was prepared primarily for aviation maintenance technicians, was finalized after a thorough review of its content and all the comments received from reviewers. The emphasis on improved training in aircraft maintenance is one of the recommendations of a recent government/industry summit on airline safety.
Installation of Special Aeromedical Certification System Feature (FAA)
Efficient and thorough verification and processing of medical information for pilots and other key aviation participants is an important part of ensuring aviation safety. As part of its ongoing support to the FAA in this regard, the Volpe Center recently installed the Special Issuance (SI) system and will provide training to Aeromedical Certification Division (AMCD) staff in Oklahoma City, OK. The SI is a multi-user, windows-based application developed by the Volpe Center for AMCD. SI is an integral part of the certification process used by applicants who ordinarily would be denied medical certification, without a "special issuance." The SI has been integrated within the larger Aeromedical Certification Subsystem for use by the SI staff within the AMCD.