Reference #: Date: May 24, 2023

Using RFID to Quantify School Bus Evacuation Training Times


Public schools in the United States are mandated by State legislatures to conduct periodic school bus evacuation training for the benefit of students. The approach to this training varies widely among school systems and there is rarely documentation describing the manner of testing. Typically, there is only a record that the training itself was conducted. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is becoming more prevalent in many applications related to the safe transport of children on school buses. The purpose of this study was to explore the use of RFID to measure evacuation times compared to video and/or stopwatch measurements, for thirty-four passengers on a Type “D” school bus. The results obtained over three evacuation scenarios (front door only; rear door only; both doors simultaneously) revealed no statistically significant difference between those times recorded by RFID and those observed by video analysis for all trials. Based on these findings, RFID has the potential to provide a fast, cheap, non-invasive way to record school bus evacuation times, eliminating lengthy video analysis. Elimination of stopwatch and/or videotape analysis could lead to numerous schools uploading evacuation training times into a central repository, building a reliable source for benchmarking and potential design changes for emergency exit systems. 

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