A team of researchers in Canada have discovered how standing subway and bus riders can avoid toppling over with every start and stop of the vehicle.
Researchers at Simon Fraser University's Injury Prevention and Mobility Laboratory suggested that riders should position themselves sideways to the vehicle's line of movement with a shoulder-wide stance and holding a handrail at shoulder height.
"At first glance, it makes sense that this is the most efficient and effective way to ride the bus," the Globe and Mail quoted Stephen Robinovitch, director of the SFU lab, as saying.
The research follows several studies from around the world that say more than 50 percent of non-collision injuries in bus and subway passengers happen to people who are standing.
Dr. Robinovitch said the potential for injury is a "major public health concern" given the increasing role of public transit in cities across Canada.
"People fall everywhere, especially on buses. And for seniors, in particular, we want to understand why people fall on the bus and how to stop this from happening," he stated.
The new study looks at the ergonomic designs of buses and subways - including handrail locations - and their impact on passengers' balance.
The team of biomedical engineering researchers began their study by measuring the start and stop accelerations of buses and SkyTrains - Vancouver's rapid transit system.
The researchers also recorded study participants' body movements using high-tech sensor technology as the vehicles started and stopped.
The team then built an experimental machine to simulate transit vehicles' start and stop movements.
Dr. Robinovitch said he hopes that the team's research will contribute to safer designs of buses and subways.