American Seating

American Seating

Safety upgrades and technological advancements are central to the next generation of transportation seating. The newest product offerings focus on two-point and three-point seat belt options, electronic amenity conveniences and injury-preventive designs.

American Seating

The newest offerings from Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company American Seating include the Premier, Vision and InSight seats, as well as a Web-based vehicle configurator program to help customers design a custom interior and simplify the decision-making process.

The Premier, a motorcoach product created in partnership with IMMI's Safeguard division, incorporates SmartFrame technology and three-point seat belts to help contain belted and unbelted passengers in frontal collisions. Its incorporated latch system also enables children's car seats or booster seats to be conveniently attached.

"Should there be a frontal crash, the passenger who doesn't have a seat belt would be protected by having the seat in front provide the protection that they would need," says Gary Thompson, marketing manager. "The dual frame allows the back of the seat to stay upright in the event of a crash, so that the passenger would stay in the compartment that they're in."

The company's newest seat for city service bus and rail, the Vision, features an ergonomic slim design, stainless steel construction and increased comfort upgrades, as well as the largest personal sitting space at a width of 18 inches. "It's a modular design, which provides easier maintenance for care, cleaning and part replacement," Thompson says. "Being of a stainless steel construction, it provides superior durability and vandalism resistance."

The InSight seat, one of American Seating's best-selling models, has been continually updated and enhanced with an expanded color palette, additional styling options and an added fabric back-panel that creates an improved overall appearance for the seat, according to Thompson. The InSight seat was also utilized in the Metro Vancouver SkyTrain, which provided transportation for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

In addition, American Seating has also launched a detailed Web-based seat configurator for the InSight. Customizable options include seat modules, back panels, colors and fabrics, says Brian Chan, marketing communications specialist. "You'll be able to see how our seats look inside of a bus before you place an order," he explains. The company plans to launch a similar Web-based seat configurator for the Vision seat by the end of spring.


Designed in partnership with Q'Straint, the 4ONE LLC-manufactured Q'POD is a fully integrated wheelchair restraint system created for mass transit vehicles and low floor buses. The Exton, Pa.-based company, a joint-venture of USSC Group Inc. and Freedman Seating Co., introduced the system over a year ago as a securement station for a wide variety of mobility devices and scooters.

"We're still the only company that offers Q'POD," says Ted Dowling, 4One's director of commercial sales and business development. "It's very successful."

The Q'POD features a three-point system to reduce potential tripping accidents, as well as an integrated shoulder belt and a bumper guard to help prevent wheelchair tip-overs. The electrical delay system and simplified design provide for quicker securement times, better positioning and reduced vehicle dwell time. Also, the Q'POD's flip seat is designed to accommodate larger-sized wheelchairs with a variety of seating and fabric customization options.

According to Dowling, 4One LLC also plans to launch a new seat intended for the mass transit market that meets and exceeds OEM requirements for weight reduction at the 2011 APTA Conference in New Orleans. The seat will address the demand for a lighter weight seat but still have the longevity of a seat that is built for the North American market, Dowling says. "When we talk about designing a new seat or taking weight out of a seat, there is a lot more that has to be taken into consideration than just taking steel out here or cutting plastic."




Freedman Seating Co.

Chicago-based Freedman Seating Co. is expanding its collection of three-point seats to include a wider variety of market segments, including paratransit, demand response and shuttles. The three-point belts are also a key feature in the new Corporate Collection, which is a higher-end seat designed for executive shuttles, limousine buses and charter buses.

"In conjunction with Amaya-Astron, we're also adding the Torino G seat and the new A2Ten," says Dan Cohen, vice president of sales and marketing at Freedman Seating Co.

The two seats feature integrated three-point seat belts as well for motorcoach applications. The shoulder belt on the Torino G adjusts to the passenger's height automatically, while the A2Ten features an adjustable headrest and an integrated seat belt that comes out of the back.

Cohen adds that the company has begun offering many of its seats with two-point and three-point belt options, something that has been a big seller for the company recently. "People who never thought they would be getting them are now changing their minds," he says. "The evidence shows that nothing keeps you in the bus better than being belted in. It prevents ejection from the coach and the benefits far outweigh the costs."

In an effort to participate in "green" practices, Freedman's Sustainable Seating Solutions (S3) department has been offering "Bio-Cushions" for seats, which are created using vegetable oil, as well as fabrics made with 100 percent recycled yarns. In addition, Freedman's S3 also released a new line of biodegradable cleaners made with renewable organic ingredients. The cleansers are available in two strengths and have been certified by The Carpet and Rug Institute's Seal of Approval program. 



Kustom Seating Unlimited Inc.

In response to the FRA's approval of the APTA SS-C&S-016-99, Rev. 2 standard for railcars, Kustom Seating Unlimited Inc. (KSU), based in Bellwood, Ill., updated and tested its current product line to meet the new requirements, with designs focusing on head, neck and knee injury prevention.

KSU's Walkover, Genesis, Suburban and Xilonen seats meet the requirements outlined in the Rev. 2 level with many thousands of passenger placements ordered by a variety of transit authorities to date, says Gene Germaine, director of business development at KSU. "We are the only seating manufacturer in the United States to currently meet these requirements and have products in the marketplace conforming to this FRA/APTA standard."

The Walkover and Suburban, part of the Commuter product line, are ergonomically designed with a two-passenger configuration to provide comfort for longer distance travelers. Both styles feature an optimal seating pitch and allow for compartmentalization. The Genesis and Xilonen are part of the Specialty product line and include secure, quick-release cushion fastening and formed, recessed shrouds. The Genesis features fully upholstered, ergonomic, and comfortable individual passenger positions as well a non-obtrusive, lever-activated back recline. The Xilonen features an ergonomic design with multiple recline positions as well as an easily rotatable upper portion.

Currently, Chicago's METRA rail line utilizes the Walkover, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority rail line uses the Suburban, California's CalTrain rail line uses the Genesis and Amtrak's national rail lines use the Xilonen. KSU also is currently in the process of developing and testing new seating systems for 2011 that meet the new requirement.

"Weight reduction is a significant factor in all of our designs," Germaine says. "Kustom Seating Unlimited has developed seating systems to meet this intention so as to not only alleviate potential crash severities, but also to increase capacity."


Torino G

Torino G

USSC Group

Exton, Pa.-based company USSC Group has introduced two new driver's seats, the Evolution G2A and the Evolution G2E, with a design focus centered on accommodating a greater variety of body styles.

The G2A driver seat is an air lift seat designed for heavy-duty buses with a 650 pound lift capacity. Over 300 of the seats are currently out in the field, says Ted Dowling, director of commercial sales and business development. "The biggest feature with the Evolution G2A is the range of motion that the driver has with respect to the tilt pan. We've been taking a lot of ergonomics studies and incorporating them into the seat design." According to Dowling, the company's goal is to make the G2A fit into any OEM or bus manufacturer's cab area.

The Evolution G2E driver's seat is designed for cutaway-type vehicles, such as the Ford F550 chassis, with customization options that focus on convenience and personalization. The ergonomic design includes an adjustable headrest, easily adjustable back recline, and Dymetrol Active Suspension to help dampen road vibrations. According to Dowling, USSC Group performs independent testing that allows the company to certify seats to individual vehicle specifications.

In collaboration with Amaya-Astron, the company also released its Torino G seat, configured with a three-point seat belt for the motorcoach market. "It's fully FMVSS 207/210 compliant with a full reclining mechanism," Dowling says.

In addition, the company is offering recyclable fabric options for customers as part of its efforts to be environmentally friendly. "We also plan to have compost material put in one location and plan to have that start this spring," Dowling says.

Currently, weight reduction and maintenance-friendly design seem to be the biggest trends in seating, according to Dowling. "Customers want vehicles to be lighter, as well as easy integration of products in the vehicle," he says. "Some OEMs are pushing for creating products themselves instead of outsourcing, but we're always looking at ways to add more value to the vehicle."         


Daimler Buses Offers Three New Seats, Seat Belt Retrofit Options

Commercial bus and motorcoach company Daimler Buses North America launched a new line of seats for its Setra brand of motorcoaches. The company, which also includes the Sprinter and Orion brands, manufactures its Setra seats in its ISO14001-certified facility and sells them directly to operators.

"We have three seating versions for our motorcoaches: The Route, the Voyage and the Voyage Plus," says Patrick Scully, chief commercial officer. "The new generation of seats that are available on our new coaches come with two-point or three-point seat belts."

The Route seat is available on the S 407CC bus, while the premium Voyage and Voyage Plus models are only available on the S 417TC motorcoach.

Daimler also has a strategy for retrofitting any existing S 417 sets that are currently in the field with two-point or three-point seat belts. "We're one of the few manufacturers that can offer a seat belt retrofit on existing seats without having to replace the entire seat set," Scully says. "Anything by Setra that was made prior to 2010 can be retrofitted."

During the design process for its new seat line, Daimler focused on the entire ergonomics of the seat, defined weight, comfort and safety as well, Scully says. "The armrest and recline features have improved designs for passenger usage, the seatback handles have been optimized, but most importantly, the seat foam and fabrics have been designed to ensure maximum passenger comfort."

Other major areas of importance have been including additional safety and technical amenities such as power outlets and Wi-Fi capability within the passenger seating area, according to Scully.

"After a coach comes back from a trip, the mechanic and cleaning crew do not have to sit and try to return every seat back and foot rest to the normal position," Scully adds. "If you save 10 minutes a bus, multiplied by many buses every day, multiplied by 365 days, it adds up to a a very significant labor savings on an annual basis."

With regard to future trends, Scully expects safety to continue to be a focus as well as options for electronic amenities.