Bus accidents in wintertime

Mats Wiklund
Gudrun Öberg

Buses in Sweden have a low accident risk. However, statistics from 1996 - 2002 indicate that the number of bus accidents in Sweden with personal injuries have been increasing by 4% yearly. Buses also have a higher percentage of accidents that occur on ice/snow covered roads than other vehicles. In Sweden passenger cars must be equipped with winter tyres during the winter period. There is no such regulation for heavy vehicles, and many buses are using summer tyres all around the year. The present project had the purpose of looking at the bus-winter problem in more detail, with the main focus on tyres. Four different studies were carried out: tyre tests, focus group discussions, driving simulator tests and an accident study. Here is given a short summary concerning methods and conclusions of each sub project.

Tyre tests on smooth ice did not show any significant difference between summer tyres and non-studded winter tyres, while studded tyres exhibits a better ice grip than non-studded tyres. Nor did driving simulator tests with driving on ice covered road under the influence of heavy wind from the side show a difference between summer tyres and non-studded winter tyres. Also in these tests studded tyres were superior to non-studded. Accident statistics indicate that buses with summer tyres on the steering axle and winter tyres on the drive axle have the lowest estimated accident risk, which is in accordance with the results in a previous study. The results are however not statistically significant due the low number of accidents. Three focus groups were carried out and the importance of the tyres for traffic safety during winter was discussed. It is however hard from the gathered discussion material to estimate just how important the tyres really are. The results do not warrant a winter tyre regulation for heavy vehicles, and a restriction of the use of studded tyres for buses would probably have negative consequences on traffic safety.



The 6st Humanist Conference

The 6th HUMANIST Conference will take place 13-14 June 2018 in the Hague, The Netherlands. The scope of the conference covers a wide range of topics on Human Factors in Transport. Tania Willstrand and Alexander Eriksson will present their research results.



VTI will develop simulators for ambulance staff

VTI has initiated a pilot study for paramedics with the Centre for Teaching & Research in Disaster Medicine and Traumatology and Linköping University. The aim is to give ambulance staff the opportunity to practice critical medical tasks in a moving vehicle in...


Unique electrified road opens in Sweden

The world’s first electrified road recharging the batteries of cars and trucks while driving opened in Sweden. The Swedish Minister for Infrastructure, Tomas Eneroth, was at the formal inauguration of the electrified road on April 11, 2018. VTI is one of 22...


Swedish road safety spreads internationally

Sweden is a leading country in terms of road safety, and the research conducted by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) has contributed to increased safety. VTI’s remit includes disseminating research results and keeping up to date...


A greater understanding of cyclists' behaviour

Cyclists are often accused of not following traffic rules and being hooligans on the road. New research shows that there is no support for this perception. "Our observations reveal no such general anarchy" says Sonja Forward, researcher at VTI.


New technology for road surface measurement tested

VTI has tested a new scanning-laser technology for road surface measurement. The tests show the new technology for comprehensive transverse-profile measurement provides dependable values in measuring transverse profile and rut depth.


Ulf Sandberg has been presented with the TTI Lifetime Achievement Award 2018

VTI’s Senior Research Leader Ulf Sandberg has been presented with the TTI Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 for his work on research into tyres and road surface.