CONTRACTS totalling $850000 have been awarded to Massachusetts firm TIAX to develop commuter train seat and table designs which will help to reduce injuries in the event of a collision.

TIAX is to design and test an energy-absorbing table to reduce the risk of head, chest, abdomen and leg injuries, and allow passengers to evacuate more easily. Three-person seat designs will ’compartmentalise’ passengers and ensure that seats remain attached to the floor upon impact.

’If there is a way to make seats safer we will find it’, said Dr Ashhok Kaveeshwar of the USDoT’s Research & Innovative Technology Administration, which is providing funding through its Volpe Center.