Testing Procedures

A Full Test currently consists of the following tests: 

1.       Maintainability
    1.1.    Accessibility of Components and Subsystems
    1.2.    Servicing, Preventive Maintenance, and Repair and Maintenance During Testing
    1.3.    Replacement and/or repair of Selected Subsystems
2.       Reliability – Documentation of Breakdown and Repair Times During Testing
3.       Safety – Double Lane Change (Obstacle Avoidance Test)
4.       Performance – Acceleration, Gradeability, Top Speed, and (effective January 1, 2010) Braking Performance
5.       Structural Integrity
    5.1.    Structural Strength and Distortion Tests – Structural Shakedown Test
    5.2.    Structural Strength and Distortion Tests – Structural Distortion Test
    5.3.    Structural Strength and Distortion Tests – Static Towing Test
    5.4.    Structural Strength and Distortion Tests – Dynamic Towing Test
    5.5.    Structural Strength and Distortion Tests – Jacking Test
    5.6.    Structural Strength and Distortion Tests – Hoisting Test
    5.7.    Structural Durability Test
6.       Fuel Economy Test – A Fuel Consumption Test Using an Appropriate Driving Cycle
7.       Noise
    7.1.    Interior Noise Tests
    7.2.    Exterior Noise Tests
8.       Emissions (effective January 1, 2010)

Most of the test procedures are the same regardless of the bus being tested.  The main difference is that the number of miles driven by the test bus on the durability test track during the Structural Durability test (5.7) increases as the service life category increases.  This also leads to an increase in the number of “other” miles driven, since the bus is at the facility for a longer period of time and makes more trips between the Altoona Bus Testing Center and the Test Track Facility.  An overview of the test procedures is provided on the Bus Testing Center website.

The detailed overview of the test procedures for testing new model buses under the FTA Bus Testing Program are established by PTI as the operator of the facility and approved by FTA.  These procedures may be viewed and downloaded by following the applicable links below:

Bus models that have been tested previously at the Bus Testing Center and are subsequently produced with major changes may be eligible for Partial Testing procedures.  In partial testing, only those tests that might reasonably be expected to obtain significantly different data need to be repeated.  In such cases, FTA grantees must certify that they have received both the partial test report for the variant they are acquiring with FTA funding, and that they have received the full test report on which the partial test report was based.