Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 27th, 2011 at 9:51 am
TriMet has just announced that they'll discontinue the audible warning system they've been testing in an effort to improve safety of people biking and walking near buses.
In a statement, TriMet said they stopped the test, "because the announcement didn't activate at the appropriate time—either too soon or too late in the turn—but did activate at other times, such as when the bus was making a lane change."
The pilot program was launched back in March following a high profile collision of a bus and people walking in a crosswalk (in April 2010) that led to multiple fatalities.
A left-turning bus also ran over a man on a bike on the transit mall downtown last year.
The audible warning, "Pedestrians, bus is turning" was in both English and Spanish. TriMet says because it was triggered by a full rotation of the steering weel, the announcement came too late into the turn. When they dialed the announcement in to trigger at a half-rotation of the wheel, it came too early and also mistakenly triggered during lane changes.
Here's more from TriMet:
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"... it was determined that the technology has not advanced enough to make it an effective tool to help alert pedestrians and people riding bikes that a bus is turning.
The system was not intended to change TriMet's legal and professional obligation to operate safely, be alert and scan the intersection before turning.
As the technology advances in this area, TriMet would be interested in testing an audible system in the future."
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