Stress and strain of short haul bus drivers: psychophysiology as a design oriented method for analysis

  • Published: Ergonomics Vol 41, 1998
  • Authors: M. Gobel, J. Springer, and J. Scherff
  • Date Added: 05 Mar 2013
  • Last Update: 05 Mar 2013
  • Format: pdf


To design a new driver work space that meets the specific ergonomic requirements of the driver in order to minimise their workload.


Task analysis using video cameras was used to review the different actions and of the drivers as well as the vehicle and traffic situation outside of the cab. Strain analysis was also undertaken for these tasks to assess their physiological impact on the drivers.

Key Findings:

  • Bus driver’s jobs can be characterised by highly frequent and often simultaneous task execution, performed with a constrained body posture alongside exposure to vibration and noise.

  • Psychological stress is also caused by the responsibility for security and schedule.

  • The resulting health impairments, intensified by problems of shiftwork, lead to a high percentage of absence and a low retirement age.

  • For example, German drivers are typically rejected following legal health tests with a mean age of 50.1 years, after less than 20 years of driving.

  • Only 5 per cent of drivers are allowed to continue to the usual retirement age of 63 years.

  • Empirical findings suggest that the traffic situation, the work schedule and the driver workplace in conjunction with the high demands for reliability have to be considered altogether as relevant factors contributing to the health status of the drivers.

  • The research concluded that the application of psychophysiological methods as a scientific basis for the design process enabled the identification of important facts that would not be obtained from questionnaires alone.


Bus/Coach driver stress, Task and stress analysis.


A good study to show some of the stresses which bus and coach drivers are exposed to and gives an indication of the impact that this can have on their careers.