Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


First Advisor

Dr. Cody Stolle

Second Advisor

Dr. Ronald Faller

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Schmidt-Rasmussen

Date of this Version

Spring 4-28-2020


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Under the Supervision of Professor Cody Stolle. Lincoln, Nebraska: April 28, 2020

Copyright 2020 Kellon Ronspies


The Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) requires full-scale crash testing of roadside features using worst practical impact conditions. Vehicle selection for full-scale crash testing is intended to be representative of the contemporary passenger vehicle fleet. Researchers at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) investigated attributes of passenger vehicle sales to determine if the vehicle selection criteria shown in MASH should be revised to accommodate changes in the vehicle fleet. A methodology was considered to affordably re-analyze the vehicle fleet when necessary to ensure MASH vehicle selection criteria are reflective of vehicles currently on roadways.

Representative vehicles were documented using sales data, and registration and crash data were observed to validate sales data use. Findings suggest compact utility vehicles (CUVs), small cars, mid-size cars, and pickup trucks comprise the most common vehicles on U.S. roadways. New vehicle sales data indicated that the 5th and 95th percentile weights were approximately 2,800 lb and 5,850 lb, respectively. A suite of 4-door, gas-powered, base trim level car options was identified which was consistent with the targeted small car weight, and the Hyundai Elantra was recommended as the MASH small passenger vehicle. Relatively few pickup truck options were identified at the 95th percentile weight. Therefore, the 92.5 percentile weight of 5,400 lb was recommended for the large passenger vehicle. A four-wheel drive (4WD), ½-ton suspension, crew cab pickup truck was identified as the target vehicle class, and the Ram 1500 was recommended as the MASH large passenger vehicle.

Potential intermediate passenger vehicles were also explored, and four vehicle classes (two mid-size sedans and two CUV classes) were identified as potential passenger vehicle candidates. CUVs have never been used in crash testing, and implementation of a CUV crash testing program or ISPE is imperative to begin to evaluation CUV impact behavior with different roadside hardware (guardrails, concrete barriers, cable barriers, etc.). Additionally, a crash test program should be implemented immediately to begin testing of the recommended MASH small and large passenger vehicles. Updated MASH passenger vehicle properties and a method for continually updating vehicle selection criteria are herein recommended.

Advisor: Cody Stolle