Exploring the effects of vehicular and operational characteristics on bus roadworthiness: an application of the multilevel modeling approach

Jianrong Qiu, David B. Logan, Jennifer Oxley, Christopher Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper examines the effects of vehicular and operational characteristics on bus roadworthiness. The analysis was based on annual bus inspection data in Victoria, Australia, between 2014 and 2017, consisting of 17,630 inspections of 6,447 vehicles run by 252 operators. A multilevel modeling approach was employed to account for the hierarchical data structure where inspections are nested within vehicles and vehicles within operators. The results offered insights into the effects on bus roadworthiness of characteristics attributable to inspections, vehicles, and operators. The probability of failing an inspection was found to be positively associated with vehicle age and odometer reading. Vehicle make played an important role in roadworthiness outcome, with the performance of different makes varying significantly. Small operators carried the highest risk of failure and large operators the lowest, irrespective of the location of operation. The multilevel analysis revealed that 28.9% of the variation in inspection outcomes occurred across operators and 5.2% across vehicles, which verified the presence of the hierarchical structure. The findings from this study provide safety regulators with solid research evidence to formulate policies aimed at enhancing bus roadworthiness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-822
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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