The Federal Transit Authority is in charge of, among other things, determining the maximum capacity for busses in the American public transportation system. The number of passengers that can safely ride in each bus is calculated using an average weight per person. Today, the FTA estimates each rider weighs 150 pounds, but they are looking into raising that number to 175 pounds.
A survey completed in 1960-1962 found the average American weighed 150 pounds. Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the person sitting next to you on the trolley or bus weighs an average of 194.7 and 164.7 for men and women respectively. Obviously, it is time for the FTAs standards to change.
To accommodate increased cargo weight, bus manufactures like Daimler AG and Volvo will either need to redesign busses to carry more or regulations will change and fewer passengers will be riding in each bus.
Image: Frederick Dennstedt/Flickr
The Federal Aviation Administration already uses a more realistic average weight of 190 pounds during the summer and 195 pounds during the winter. 190 is more realistic than 150 but an increase of only 5 pounds during the winter may be a little modest.
Part of the reason the FTA is interested in increasing the standards is the demand for public transportation is up. Americans are looking for ways to make their commute cheaper, and for many, that means taking the bus. Maybe they should be biking.