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Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Feasibility Study for Highway Hazardous Materials Bulk Package Accident Performance Data Collection. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22649.
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7 S e c t i o n 1 Hazardous materials are used as commodity chemicals in numerous manufacturing applications, specialty chemicals for pharmaceutical production and water purification, and in myriad other applications such as powering motor vehi- cles, heating homes and businesses, and cooking. Hazardous materials are transported from points of production to points of consumption via all modes, including pipelines, railways, waterways, and even, in small amounts, via airways. Nonethe- less, no mode handles more hazardous materials ship ments in the United States than trucks traveling on roads and highways. Not only do trucks transport more hazardous material ship- ments than any other mode, the highway system has a greater percentage of its network in close proximity to people than any other mode. This exposure includes drivers and pas- sengers in other vehicles sharing roadways, pedestrians walk- ing adjacent to roads, and individuals in homes and businesses located along the roadside. In the event of an incident involving a motor vehicle carrying hazardous materials, there is a sub- stantial likelihood that people, the environment, and property will be impacted if there is a release. In recognition of the potential hazard, U.S. DOT has devel- oped extensive regulations governing the safe transport of these materials. Among these regulations are detailed specifi- cations for the type and design of bulk packages used to trans- port hazardous materials. These specifications apply to a range of different portable tanks, cargo tank trailers, and cargo tank motor vehicles. Tank specifications and designs are intended to be commensurate with the hazards posed by the various products transported, with more damage-resistant designs required for more hazardous products. These regulations and specifications result in a generally safe record of highway transport. Nevertheless, when accidents occur, questions may arise regarding the adequacy of the current safety designs or regarding how designs can be improved. Furthermore, pri- vate and public sector organizations may be interested in the risk associated with highway shipment of hazardous materi- als so that they can improve their risk analysis and manage- ment efforts including hazardous materials routing decisions, choice of package design, or general understanding of the risk associated with various business activities. Package design elements have a substantial effect on the probability and quantity of release if a vehicle transporting hazardous materials is involved in an accident. This is implicit in the regulatory differences in package specifications required for different types of hazardous materials. Yet, in spite of the need to understand the relationship between a hazardous materials bulk package’s safety design features and its per- formance in accidents, quantitative understanding of these relationships is surprisingly poor. This is mainly due to insuf- ficient reliable data on the number of hazardous materials bulk packages involved in accidents, the design specifications of the packages involved in these accidents, the nature and severity of the damages the packages incurred, and the frequency and severity of releases. Although a variety of highway safety and accident data are collected by private companies, various gov- ernment agencies, and other organizations, these data do not provide a satisfactory basis for the type of analysis described above. The overarching goal of this study was to address these data gaps by determining the type of data needed, investigating the type of data already being recorded, and identifying any new data and data collection systems that would be required to satisfactorily address the problem. Specifically, this study presents an approach to the devel- opment and implementation of an accident-reporting data- base system to collect information on the nature and extent of damage to U.S. DOT-specified hazardous materials bulk packages damaged in accidents as well as the characteristics of the accidents. The objectives of this study were to (1) deter- mine what data are needed to develop a satisfactory database, (2) develop methodologies for systematic collection of the necessary performance data, (3) identify methodologies to analyze cargo tank performance using these data, and (4) iden- tify and evaluate the institutional barriers to development of such a database and approaches to overcoming them. Introduction

Next: Section 2 - Information Needed to Assess Bulk Package Accident Performance »
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 Feasibility Study for Highway Hazardous Materials Bulk Package Accident Performance Data Collection
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TRB’s Hazardous Materials Cooperative Research Program (HMCRP) Report 10: Feasibility Study for Highway Hazardous Materials Bulk Package Accident Performance Data Collection explores methods to collect and analyze performance data for U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-specified hazardous materials bulk packages such as portable tanks and cargo tank motor vehicles.

The report also identifies and evaluates institutional challenges to data collection, and makes suggestions for overcoming these challenges.

In addition, the report offers a methodical approach for developing and implementing a reporting database system to collect and characterize information about damage to U.S. DOT-specified hazardous materials bulk packages involved in accidents, regardless of whether the damage resulted in a leak of contents.

Appendices A through G have been published on a CD-ROM, which is bound into this report. Appendix titles are the following:

• Appendix A: Survey Development and Questions

• Appendix B: Conditional Probability of Release as a Function of Data Refinement

• Appendix C: Differences Between Highway and Rail Hazardous Material Transportation Affecting Development of a Bulk Package Accident Performance Database

• Appendix D: Option Evaluation Tool

• Appendix E: Pilot Study Data Collection Tool

• Appendix F: Links to Newspaper Articles

• Appendix G: An Example of Bulk Package Performance Analysis Using Multivariate Regression

The CD-ROM is also available for download from TRB’s website as an ISO image. Links to the ISO image and instructions for burning a CD-ROM from an ISO image are provided below.

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CD-ROM Disclaimer - This software is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.

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