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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Safety Study Regarding Double-Decker Motorcoaches with Rear Luggage Compartment (FAST Act - Section 5510)


To perform a safety study of the impacts of a rear luggage compartment attached to a double-decker motorcoach on vehicle operations, fire suppression, tire loads, and roadway pavement.


Section 5510 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, 2015 (Public Law 114-94) mandates the Secretary of Transportation to perform this particular safety study. FMCSA will conduct a study “regarding the safety operations, fire suppression capability, tire loads, and pavement impacts of operating a double-decker motorcoach equipped with a device designed by the motorcoach manufacturer to attach to the rear of the motorcoach for use in transporting passenger baggage.” In conducting the study, FMCSA will consult with State transportation safety and law enforcement officials.


This safety study included six tasks, as follows:
  1. Draft a work plan.
  2. Perform a literature review review of prior safety studies done on such vehicles operating in the United States or Europe or justifying an authorization to operate such vehicles in a State of the United States or a country in Europe. This includes any historical data on incidents, accidents, or fires involving such vehicles.
  3. Perform an engineering analysis to determine if such vehicles comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment;” FMVSS 111, “Rearview Mirrors;” FMVSS 119, “New Pneumatic Tires for Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars;” FMVSS 120, “Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars;” FMVSS 121, “Air Brake Systems;” Society of Automotive Engineers J695, “Turning Ability and Off-Tracking;” Federal Bridge Formula, Federal weight limits, and applicable industry fire safety standards of the American Public Transportation Association, National Fire Protection Association, etc.
  4. Prepare a research plan in order to design field tests to gather data, which are neither practical nor cost-effective to determine from the engineering analysis.
  5. Implement the research plan at the test track and other facilities at the Transportation Research Center, East Liberty, OH, after it has been subjected to a peer-review.
  6. Compile a final report based on the results of the literature review, engineering analysis, and implementation of the research plan.


Report to Congress


July 2016: Project kick-off meeting.
August 2016: Work plan accepted; literature review and analysis completed.
August 2016: Consultation with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) completed.
October 2016: Engineering analysis due.
December 2016: Research plan peer-reviewed.
March 2017: Implementation of research plan.
June 2017: Final report and briefing to FMCSA senior management.


FY 2016: $293,348

Current Status:

Final report is published and available at

Project Manager:

For more information, contact Quon Kwan of the Technology Division at (202) 385-2389 or


Battelle Memorial Institute