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Human size variation in design of Australian transport systems

Human size variation

Anthropometry is the measurement of human body size, such as stature, waist circumference and hip breadth. It is used in design to assess the functionality, usability, and safety of transport systems for a given range of user sizes.

This project will provide a comprehensive review of the currently available Australian anthropometric data and its applicability to the Australian Transport industry. It will use statistical techniques to construct a dedicated Australian dataset by reweighting existing anthropometric data.


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Project background

In the use of anthropometry to inform the design of systems such as rolling stock, seating, control layouts, and customer interfaces, it has been found that anthropometric data are typically country specific due to differences in factors such as age profile, ethnicity, and nutrition of the general population. Currently, Australia has no civilian anthropometric data of usable size, despite several attempts over the years to conduct a full anthropometric survey.

There is no standard set of anthropometric data used in the rail industry as no up-to-date data currently exists for the Australian civilian population. Often commercially available datasets are used, yet there is no apparent validation of their suitability for the Australian population. This potentially creates design inefficiencies, risk to manufacturers and cost implications as well as having the potential for compromising safety.

Project objectives

  • Conduct an extensive review and consultations of available current data and applicability to the Australian transport industry.
  • Construct a new/updated anthropometric dataset from the identified data.
  • Augment the dataset for relevant transport industry applications (e.g. reach envelope requirements, that being the furthest points a user can reach given their body size and posture).
  • Develop guidance and final dataset documentation, including relevant standards incorporation review and recommendations.

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