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SEATING DESIGN testing and implementation



A comfortable ride for passengers


By Deanna McGough

Ergonomic seating design


By Jeff Krueger and Deanna McGough

Advances in ADA seating By Deanna McGough




D E S I G N I N G ,




WORLD-CLASS SEATING SOLUTIONS Our Mission To exceed our customers’ expectations in service, quality, delivery and value. Our Brand Promise USSC delivers the best combination of comfort, safety and reliability (life cycle value) available in the market today. Our Purpose Innovative survivability / safety solutions for extreme duty, niche transportation markets Our Vision USSC goal is to continue to be the most recognized brand in the extreme duty, niche transportation markets. VIEW ALL SEATING PRODUCTS & OPTIONS USSC designs and engineers world-class seating for many types of vehicles. As a leader in our industry, we continue to develop the most durable and ergonomically designed seats to reduce day-to-day driver fatigue and stress. USSC is a privately held company with 12 locations throughout the world. USSC is focused on providing safety and survivability solutions to the commercial and military transportation markets. The Group consists of different companies broken into 3 segments – seating, fire suppression, and services. USSC is a privately held holding company with manufacturing locations in United States, Poland and China, headquartered in Exton Pennsylvania, USA. It has 4 operating subsidiaries in North America and 1 in Europe that produce seating and fire suppression products. For more information please CONTACT US or call 610.265.3610. | BUSRIDE



A comfortable ride for passengers By Deanna McGough

According to APTA, over 35 million people use public transportation each day. With the increasing amount of people using public transportation every year, comfort and durability are key features that seating manufacturers must provide to customers. What makes a seat comfortable? The seats should allow your body to be comfortable and not confined. The best passenger seating incorporates the most advanced materials and technology to allow the passenger’s body room, while also being durable, long lasting and safe. With industry leading hip to knee spacing, and extra width, manufacturers must strive to fit as many body types as possible. USSC’s passenger seating is designed and manufactured by 4ONE, a joint venture with Freedman Seating in Chicago, IL. 4ONE passenger seating provides passengers with comfortable options for buses, subways and light-rail systems. The main focus in the design of passenger seating is comfort, durability, cost-effectiveness and maintainability. The goal of 4ONE passenger seating is to provide customers the best transit experience available with affordable, comfortable and easily-maintainable seats. Ergonomics Ergonomics is the science of designing products to fit the way we use our bodies. The aim of ergonomics is to maintain a good posture while sitting. Sitting is a position that adds stress to the structure of the spine. To avoid developing back problems, the best seats are ergonomically designed with waterfall front edged contoured cushions. This design helps supports the lower back and brings good posture to the body. Space Passengers must be able to board the bus conveniently. For this to happen there needs to be extra space throughout the bus. Seat contouring provides more space and hip-to-knee room for passengers. This additional feature adds leg room and ease of entering and exiting the bus. The space-saving design is also ergonomically efficient. Seating must not leave passengers feeling confined while sitting, loading or walking through the bus. With this design, a bus can maximize its seating capacity and passengers are still able to sit comfortably. Aesthetics Aesthetics are very important when it comes to a passenger’s experience on public transportation. For a passenger to feel comfortable the design and artwork of our engineers is very important. Seating



Grab rails and antimicrobial upholstery help improve passenger safety.

must facilitate a clean atmosphere with inserts and back shells made of materials that are difficult to vandalize, cut or graffiti. 4ONE inserts are full of vibrant colors that improve the overall aesthetics of the bus, as well. Safety The grab rails and antimicrobial upholstery on the seats help improve passenger safety. The antimicrobial technology targets bacteria on the protected surface of the upholstery for the life of the furniture. This technology is also environmentally friendly, leaving the passenger feeling comfortable knowing they are protected. ADA It’s important to focus on improving the experience of transit passengers with disabilities. The ADA-compliant Q’POD seating securement device, for example, is popular with the North American ADA community for a reason. It is fully integrated securement system that provides a complete ADA system. Components like stabilizing bumpers, scooter rings and integrated shoulder straps ensure that passengers are riding in superior comfort with maximum safety. Deanna McGough serves as marketing specialist for USSC, Exton, PA. USSC’s passenger seating is designed and manufactured by 4ONE, a joint venture with Freedman Seating. 4ONE designs and engineers world-class passenger seats and integrated wheelchair restraint systems for heavy-duty transit vehicles. Visit for more info.

To avoid developing back problems, the best seats are ergonomically designed with waterfall front edged contoured cushions.


Ergonomic seating design Jeff Krueger and Deanna McGough

The most significant challenge in the design of operator seats is to arrive at a safe and comfortable solution that is ergonomic for all operators while being extremely durable for this heavy-duty market. Seating manufacturers like USSC Group test and manufacture thousands of seats for extremeduty use based on core engineering principles. Whereas some people may think a seat is a seat, and focus on its exterior look and trim, seat design is far more than meets the eye. Most seats can be broken down into four primary areas, each of which requires detailed engineering principles to maximize overall performance. Seat structure The seat builds from the steel structure that is engineered first and foremost to meet structural requirements. There are multiple test requirements, including many Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The more challenging FMVSS requirements require seats with seat belts attached to meet a load requirement, with loading at key points equaling 8,000 pounds without failure. This simulates the performance of the seat in a crash situation. The structure must meet other standards including multiple American Public Transportation Association specifications for a 12-year life cycle. Tests are conducted on computer models, using such tools as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and solid modeling, that ensure performance prior to production tooling. Seat mechanisms and suspension The mechanisms, such as air suspension, seat track, recline gears, lumbar and bolster adjustment, and seat tilt, pair to the seat structure. Designed with the operator in mind, these mechanisms ensure maximum comfort and adjustability for the complete range of body types. It is critical that these points of adjustment allow for ease of use, structural integrity and overall adjustability for all users in order to manage muscle fatigue during long shifts. As with the seat structure, all the mechanisms must meet specific standards. Above and beyond these specifications, the suspension plays an important role in driver comfort and overall health. The seat suspension is designed to remove the energy transmitted from the road into the bus floor, where the seat is bolted, before it reaches the operator. Tests show the true performance of the suspension and overall seat, with the international standard of ISO 2631 being one of the best. In this particular requirement, the energy is measured at the base of the seat and again at the top of the seat cushion as the seat is tested on a vibration table using actual road profile data. The energy levels are then compared to a graphical requirement in order to ensure the energy level at the seat is acceptable for a typical eight-hour shift. Along with this testing, multiple tests focus on durability and functionality, including seat lift and hold capacity. While it may seem extreme to design the suspension to lift and hold 500 pounds of dead weight, this is important in providing full use for all operators while giving maximum structure durability.

Pressure mapping equipment shows key pressure metrics to ensure maximum comfort.

Seat foam Seat foam focuses on comfort, aesthetics and durability. The seat foam must provide the appropriate amount of flexibility, shape and support without atrophy over its period of use. Seat comfort is designed using computer aided design (CAD) models with ergonomic criteria to ensure proper fit and function. The bus operator seat typically focuses on fit for a wide range of drivers. Comfort for each person is achieved through objective data using pressure mapping equipment that shows key pressure metrics to ensure maximum comfort. When it comes to materials, the OEM has multiple options. Polyurethane (PU) is the most common. Along with selecting the best foam material, it is just as critical to specify the appropriate cushion firmness to maximize comfort and durability. Upholstery Lastly, the best cover material and fabric design incorporates upholstery with tremendous durability and strong design focus. USSC uses military grade fabrics and incorporates a triple stitch design for all critical seams of visual interest while increasing the overall strength of the seat cover. Testing Most component manufacturers conduct their own product testing in conjunction with NHSTA test labs. They will typically test to a maximum weight, following federally-mandated safety standards, as well as their own quality criteria and standards to exceed the government requirements. USSC puts a seat through a series of 40 separate tests for safety, fit and comfort, taking several months to complete, before the seat qualifies for production. Director of Engineering & Quality Jeff Krueger and HR/Marketing Specialist Deanna McGough work for USSC, Exton, PA. Visit USSC online at Get the full story in USSC’s eBook on | BUSRIDE



Advances in

ADA seating By Deanna McGough

2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This legislation was enacted to prohibit discrimination and ensure equal access opportunities to public facilities and services for individuals with disabilities. USSC and Freedman Seating are working in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to recognize the critical role public transportation plays in providing opportunities for individuals around the world with disabilities. The transportation industry strives to provide freedom and independence for millions of Americans, and makes special accommodations for those with disabilities. Since the passage of the ADA in 1990, the number of Americans with disabilities riding public transportation has tripled. This growth continues to drive the need for innovative solutions that improve their accessibility to public transit. Under the ADA, transit vehicles are required to have priority seating for the disabled and one forward-facing area for securement of a mobility device. Accessible seating options for ADA individuals have also increased greatly. 4ONE, a joint venture between USSC and Freedman Seating, focuses on providing safety and survivability solutions for passenger seating that go beyond basic compliance. 4ONE provides ADA solutions that also focus on safety, comfort and securement. 4ONE offers two of the most popular ADA systems, the patented VPRO II - PRS (Passive Restraint System) and the Q’POD, the first fully-integrated standalone ADA module. Continuous improvement and stakeholder engagement is important to fulfilling the purposes of ADA. For example, the adjustable shoulder belt for the Q’POD is designed with input from transit properties and customers in the ADA community. 4ONE has produced more than 7,000 Q’PODs for the transit industry, enhancing the safety and comfort of ADA passengers throughout the country. The newly redesigned Q’POD has an automotive-quality heightadjustable shoulder belt. The new seatbelt’s sliding mechanisms operate just like those in most cars and give the wheelchair occupant several inches of vertical adjustment, which provides greater comfort and increased safety for passengers of varying heights and wheelchair styles. 4ONE also added the option to store the rear restraint hooks on the top of the barrier which simplifies the securement process for bus operators. Q’POD occupant lap belts can now be conveniently attached to receptacles on the barrier and flip seat, for a seamless and faster securing/detaching process. 4ONE offers the Q’POD with its ultra slim Bantam flip seats, Gemini slim flip and newly redesigned Aries slim flip, along with its traditional line of flip seats. 6


The Q’POD is the first fully integrated standalone ADA restraint module.

In the 25 years since the passage of the ADA, mobility and accessibility in the transportation industry continues to grow. As communities across North America move toward mass transportation in record numbers, USSC and Freedman Seating Company look forward to making the ADA passenger experience safer and more comfortable. Deanna McGough serves as marketing specialist for USSC, Exton, PA. Visit

Seating design, testing and implementation  

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