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Title: A safety transport framework for hired coaches for school transport
Author: Ramachandran, Manoharan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 5314
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2019
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Safety in school transport is a critical issue which involves children who are the most vulnerable users of it. On an average 973 trips are made per person in a year, out of which 105 are on school runs. In the United Kingdom (UK) alone, 1218 children were injured in 381 coach crashes between 2005 and 2016. Driver errors or technical faults in vehicles were the most commonly reported contributory factors for coach accidents. Coaches are considered as the safest mode of transport for children, but coach accidents result in a high number of fatalities per accident as coaches carry more children compared to any other means of school transport. There are more than 24000 schools in England alone and each school makes at least two field trips per year, which is equivalent to 48000+ trips. Schools in the UK rely on coach operators to provide vehicles for short and long school trips. In the UK there are strict regulations on operator's compliance with the government safety regulations. In last year alone, 78 coach operators' licenses have been revoked without public inquiries in the UK due to operator's non-compliance. Though the government has strict safety regulations, accidents are still happening. Most of the existing literature has focused on economical and shortest routes to transport children, but they do not consider the safety aspects of the coach operators, coaches and the drivers in terms of compliance with the government safety regulations. Proper selection of coach operator, coach and driver can considerably mitigate safety risks for school transport. Only limited studies have examined safety of children travelling by coaches in the UK. This research involves a thorough analysis of the existing literature, national accident statistics, government policies, and traffic commissioner's report. Two surveys were conducted with stakeholders (parents, school headmasters, coach operators, coach drivers, council transport officers and road safety analysts) to identify safety-related issues and the requirements of stakeholders in coach-based school transport in the UK. The analysis of the outcome shows that there are significant safety issues exist and there is a requirement for a safety transport framework to support users of hired private coaches in the UK to transport schoolchildren. A novel safety transport framework for hired coaches is proposed to address the identified safety issues. The framework validates coach operators, their coaches and drives using safety scores, based on their track record. This information can be shared with the school headmasters and parents before booking coaches. The framework also provides recommendations to coach operators to improve their fleet safety. The framework is prototyped, and both the framework and the prototype were evaluated within the UK. The evaluation shows that the framework has achieved its intended objectives and received positive feedback from the stakeholders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available