National Academies Press: OpenBook

Assessing and Mitigating Electrical Fires on Transit Vehicles (2021)

Chapter: Chapter 1 Review of Existing Data and Information

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 Review of Existing Data and Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Assessing and Mitigating Electrical Fires on Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26288.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 Review of Existing Data and Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Assessing and Mitigating Electrical Fires on Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26288.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 Review of Existing Data and Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Assessing and Mitigating Electrical Fires on Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26288.
×
Page 6
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 Review of Existing Data and Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Assessing and Mitigating Electrical Fires on Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26288.
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4 Chapter 1 – Review of Existing Data and Information Document Review The purpose of this research project was to move the body of knowledge on electrical transit vehicle fires forward while avoiding duplication of existing work. To understand the current consensus and publications on causes and mitigations of electrical fires, the research team performed an exhaustive review of the available literature on the subject. Ensuring that we capture all relevant existing documents was of primary concern. The team reached out to industry resources both in North America and internationally to catalog and categorize more than 140 documents related to the prevention, mitigation, and reporting of transit vehicle fires. The literature search included not only forensic fire investigations, but also recommended practices, research papers, standards, regulations, transit agency feedback, and others. The documents came from a variety of stakeholders such as industry organizations, federal agencies, standards organizations, and international regulatory bodies. The primary takeaway from this exercise was that no single repository of documents exists. In addition to reviewing the documents, the research team created a database to categorize and organize the data across various functional categories. Figure 1- Document Count by Source The review, analysis, and cataloging process included the development of a database, or reference table that defined the applicability of documents to mode of transit, as well as many other categories and functional areas relevant to fire risks. The entire reference table is included in Appendix A. This database allowed for efficient identification of areas covered in existing documents, and critical areas not covered which could be subject for additional research. It is important to note that the document analysis focused on the TCRP C-23 project goals, namely fire data and trends (causes of ignition, items first ignited, and contributing factors). To this end, the documents were categorized on multiple areas as

5 described in the table below. Additional fields were used to sort data specific to a functional or sub- functional category to better define updates to or requirements for additional products. Table 1- Document Database Fields Field Name Description Sample Values Document Title The commonly known title of the document including the name or abbreviation of the organization that published the document and its identifying number. Document Development Agency Type (SOURCE) The type of organization (Federal or State Agency, SDO or SSOA) that promulgated or published the standard and the name/abbreviation of the issuing entity. Government Agency, Standards Organization, Industry Trade Association, etc. Document Description Information taken from the documents' abstract, scope, or objective to summarize what the document addresses, establishes or governs and its applicability to design, construction, manufacturing, operations, maintenance, systems, or facilities. Document Publish Date The release date referenced on the document. Mode Includes transit modes and other modes referenced in the document in which documents may exist that could be beneficial for transit applications. Rail, Bus, Truck, Motorcoach, etc. Document Category Hierarchical rank of category type. Standards, Regulations, Recommended Practices, Research, etc. Document Functional Category This sub-category is intended to categorize documents as outlined in MAP-21 or FAST requirements. Operations, SGR, Vehicle, Fire Safety, etc. Sub-Functional Category Identifies the functional system addressed in the document Electrical, training, fire safety, evacuation, etc. Link A link to the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address of the individual document or to the Website from which the document can be downloaded.

6 Overview of Literature Search The literature review comprised a mix of recommended practices, regulations, standards, and research papers. Figure 2 provides a summary of the number of documents reviewed for each general category. Each category was further analyzed to identify the mode(s) of transit or vehicle type discussed within each document. While some documents discussed vehicles not related to transit (i.e. highway trucks, intercity buses, school buses), the documents did contain areas relevant to vehicle fire mitigation. Figure 3 shows the breakdown of vehicles/modes that were included within the literature research. Figure 3- Vehicles Covered by Literature Search Figure 2- Summary of Document Categories

7 As an example, we looked at documents categorized as Research Papers. The topics covered by each of these research papers are shown in Figure 4. Although the subject matter varied significantly, the database allowed quick sorting to assist in focusing further research. Each of the subject areas were then further explored to see if it impacted bus, rail, or other mode of transit. This process was repeated within each document category and for each topic area (functional sub-section). Since transit vehicle fires are a global concern, relevant practices, performance data, research findings, and other information related to the assessment and mitigation of electrical fires from international sources were queried and reviewed. The research team’s literature review found limited information from transit systems concerning fires that have occurred on buses and rail cars. To fill this need the team elected to send out a request for information to transit systems with the intent of building transit bus and rail car data bases for the project. The team developed questionnaires to capture the key data requirements, while being minimally time consuming for the responding agency. There were two different questionnaires, one covering transit buses, and one for rail cars. The key components of the questionnaires were: • Input regarding existing and suggested standards, recommended practices and other guidance that will benefit the industry. • Report from actual fire experience. • Information regarding any practices that may have been implemented and shown success at preventing or mitigating fires. • Suggestions for further research. Figure 4- Primary Topic Area for Documents in Category "Research Papers"

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Transit vehicle fires have safety implications for passengers and employees as well as liability implications for manufacturers, suppliers, and operators. Many of the electrical/arcing fire events experienced in the transit industry have led to a total loss of the vehicle and/or serious smoke incidents.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's pre-publication draft of TCRP Research Report 229: Assessing and Mitigating Electrical Fires on Transit Vehicles provides transit systems with information and techniques to avoid the interruption of revenue service, passenger injuries, and expenditures of operating and capital funds that occur as the result of fires on transit buses and rail vehicles.

Supplemental to the report is a Presentation describing details of the project.

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