TriMet’s demonstration of pedestrian warning systems ends October 3

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Results from the seven-month test will provide direction to FTA, transit industry on devices aimed to increase pedestrian safety

On Friday, Oct. 3, TriMet will end its seven-month on-street demonstration of warning systems that alerted pedestrians and bicyclists when a bus was turning. We received a $400,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to test multiple warning devices. The demonstration will help determine whether the latest generation of on-board devices is effective in increasing pedestrian awareness around buses at a time when “distracted walking” has become a serious safety concern.

Final analysis due in spring

TriMet staff and project partner AEM Corporation have spent the last few weeks surveying and interviewing bus operators, pedestrians and riders. AEM will now compile all the information from the test and the feedback into an overall assessment due to the FTA next spring. The analysis will help the FTA and the transit industry consider whether to equip buses with audible warning devices. We will also be reviewing the final assessment to determine if TriMet will use any of the warning systems on buses in the future.

Background

TriMet began testing three on-board warning devices in March. The following devices were installed on 15 buses each (for a total of 45 buses) that ran on five routes:

  • Protran Technology Safe Turn Alert™: Combines both an audible and visible warning. When the steering wheel is turned a minimum of 45 degrees, an audible alert outside the bus declares “pedestrians, bus is turning” and LED strobe lights on the side of the bus flash. The volume automatically adjusts based on the ambient noise level.
  • Clever Devices Turn Warning System: Uses a sensor inside the steering column. When the operator turns the steering wheel at least 45 degrees, an audible alert, “caution, bus is turning” sounds outside the bus in the direction of the turn. Sound levels can be automatically adjusted for day or night, or quiet zones.
  • DINEX™ STAR LED headlight with Pedestrian Crossing Alert: Uses an intelligent system that calculates the bus’s speed and steering wheel angle. Initially the test began with just the dynamic headlight in use that automatically turns on additional super bright LED lights inside the headlight pointed in the direction of travel. A short time into the demonstration, we were able to activate the audible crossing alert – a beeping sound – that activated when a turn signal was engaged.