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Traveling During the Holiday Season? Standards Will Help Keep You Safe and Warm


New York, Dec 05, 2012

The holiday season is one of the busiest travel times of the year, with the number of total long-distance trips increasing by more than 20% in the days around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Unfortunately, the heavy snowfall, slush, and icy roads that affect much of the U.S. during the holidays also increase the risks associated with most popular methods of travel. Thankfully, voluntary consensus standards and conformance help make sure that your journey is as safe and efficient as possible, whatever your method of transportation.

For holiday travelers who decide to take their journey by car, ASTM International, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member and audited designator, has developed a standard, ASTM F1572, Standard Test Methods for Tire Performance Testing on Snow and Ice Surfaces, that sets down test methods for evaluating the performance of car and light truck tires on surfaces covered with snow and ice. The standard allows for variable test results with different vehicles and does not cover the performance of the vehicle itself.

In recent years, passenger train travel has been on the rise, with Amtrak – the U.S. government-subsidized passenger rail provider – carrying a record 31.2 million passengers between October 2011 and September 2012, an increase of 3.5% from the year before. But while icy roads don’t pose a problem for rail service, passenger trains can still be affected by adverse weather. IEC 62498-1 Ed. 1.0 b:2010, Railway applications - Environmental conditions for equipment - Part 1: Equipment on board rolling stock, a standard from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), sets down guidelines for the use of electrical, electromechanical, and electronic equipment on board trains for different environmental conditions, including snow, hail, ice, and rain. The standard was developed by IEC Technical Committee (TC) 9, Electrical equipment and systems for railways; the U.S. National Committee- (USNC) approved U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to IEC TC 9 is IEEE, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

If train travel is too slow for you, flying is always an option. A standard developed by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) TC 20, Aircraft and space vehicles, can help ensure that icy conditions don’t prevent planes from taking off safely. The standard, ISO 11075:2007, Aircraft - De-icing/anti-icing fluids, outlines the requirements for fluids used to prevent or remove frost, ice, and snow on the exterior portions of commercial and civil transport planes. The ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG administrator to ISO TC 20 is SAE International, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Even less common holiday travel options benefit from voluntary consensus standards, including funiculars, a type of inclined railway that allow passengers to travel up and down hills, cliffs, and other obstacles. There are currently only a small number of funiculars operating in the U.S., among them the Monongahela Incline in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque, Iowa, and the newly built Strand Beach Funicular in Dana Point, California. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has developed an American National Standard (ANS), ANSI B77.2-2004, Funiculars - Safety Requirements, intended to ensure the safety of people who use funiculars to move about. The standard provides guidelines for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of single or multi-carrier funiculars that run on a fixed guideway.

Whatever form of transit you choose to get you where you’re going this holiday season, standards help minimize the dangers posed by winter weather, making your trip as safe as possible.

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