Human Response to Longitudinal Perturbations of Standing Passengers on Public Transport During Regular Operation

Simon Krašna*, Arne Keller, Astrid Linder, Ary P Silvano, Jia-Cheng Xu, Robert Thomson, Corina Klug

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates the response of standing passengers on public transport who experience balance perturbations during non-collision incidents. The objective of the study was to analyse the effects of the perturbation characteristics on the initial responses of the passengers and their ability to maintain their balance. Sled tests were conducted on healthy volunteers aged 33.8 ± 9.2 years (13 males, 11 females) standing on a moving platform, facilitating measurements of the initial muscle activity and stepping response of the volunteers. The volunteers were exposed to five different perturbation profiles representing typical braking and accelerating manoeuvres of a public transport bus in the forward and backward direction. The sequence of muscle activations in lower-extremity muscles was consistent for the perturbation pulses applied. For the three acceleration pulses combining two magnitudes for acceleration (1.5 and 3.0 m/s2) and jerk (5.6 and 11.3 m/s3), the shortest muscle onset and stepping times for the passengers to recover their balance were observed with the higher jerk value, while the profile with the higher acceleration magnitude and longer duration induced more recovery steps and a higher rate of safety-harness deployment. The tendency for a shorter response time was observed for the female volunteers. For the two braking pulses (1.0 and 2.5 m/s2), only the lower magnitude pulse allowed balance recovery without compensatory stepping. The results obtained provide a reference dataset for human body modelling, the development of virtual test protocols, and operational limits for improving the safety of public transportation vehicles and users.

Original languageEnglish
Article number680883
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2021


  • balance recovery
  • non-collision incidents
  • public transport
  • standing passengers
  • volunteer tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Histology

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology
  • Mobility & Production


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