School Bus Safety Project

school bus safety

Satisfied Clients



Transports Québec
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Project title: Human Presence Detection System for School Buses

File: R010.1

From 1978 through 1989, Quebéc recorded 122 deaths, 501 severe injuries, and 4394 minor injuries due to accidents involving school buses, a rate more than twice as high as in the United States. Among the measures proposed to improve this situation, two direct solutions stood out: modifying vehicles to reduce blind spots, at an estimated cost of $400 million, and installing human presence detectors (HPD's).

The goal of this project is to evaluate the state of the art in human presence detectors as well as the different approaches to processing the data from HPD's. Emphasis is placed on systems with the greatest potential for real-time processing, that is, the most rapid and most reliable systems. Their capacity for withstanding the harsh environment in which our school buses operate is also evaluated.

The study comprises several phases: a survey of the literature on the subject and a critical evaluation of HPD's, and of the various approaches to processing data from HPD's; a study of the concept of HPD's used in pupil transportation.

General information:
Modality:  Postsecondary

Beginning:  1994-06
Ending:  1996-10

Departmental funding:  $74 175
Total cost:  $74 175

Research report:  Systèmes de sécurité pour autobus scolaires

Final reports are available for loan from the Transports Québec Documentation Centre.


Results and recommandations:
Several systems were tested. Only three were retained. (1) The roll-over bar type articulated barrier located at the front of the bus provides effective but partial protection. (2) The ADMS system with a camera, infrared sensors and monitor would be efficient.

(3) The system of protective skirts with sensors from BBI technologies would offer the most protection because it prevents children from falling under the bus. The authors recommend a trial period under normal operating conditions.


Project supervisor
for Ministère des Transports du Québec:

Lehmann, Andrée
Service du transport terrestre des personnes
Direction du transport terrestre des personnes
35, rue de Port-Royal Est, 4e étage
Montréal (Québec) H3L 3T1
  Principal researcher:
Dubé, Yves
Département d'ingénierie
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
351, boulevard des Forges
Trois-Rivières (Québec) G9A 5H7



The Khanawaki Band Council has graciously donated their municipal garage, tools, staff and a brand-new school bus to facilitate our beta trials of the barrier. (See Band Council covering letter of results.)