Bus Accident

Modeling and Analysis

Foxboro Stadium, Boston, MA

Background: A bus used to transport patrons who were utilizing parking facilities at Foxboro Stadium to attend a local golf tournament was struck by a large gate. The gate was unintentionally left unlatched and suddenly swung into the path of the moving bus during a wind gust, penetrating the front of the bus interior, injuring numerous passengers and destroying the bus.

What We Did: To reconstruct the accident, the bus speed was analyzed and developed from on-board data acquisition systems in place on the bus and bus passenger eyewitness testimony. The aerodynamic properties of the gate and local weather data were used to compute the rate at which the gate swung into the path of the bus. Finally, a 1/24th scale model, shown in the photos at right, was built to use as a demonstrative aid for Jurors. Calculations showed that given the standard perception/reaction time used in accident reconstruction, the bus driver could not have reacted in time to avoid colliding with the gate.

Bus approaching gate.

Bus at gate, impact shown in red.

Bus rest position shown in red.

Finished model overview.