NYC tests two systems to keep city buses out of accidents

NYC tests two systems to keep city buses out of accidents

New York City is hoping technology can make city buses safer for the pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers who share the crowded streets.

The NYC transit system has started a 60-day test of both turn warning and collision avoidance systems for city buses. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the pedestrian warning system sounds an external audio warning when a bus is making a left or right turn.  The collision-avoidance system uses smart sensors to detect imminent risks of forward and side collisions and both visual and auditory warnings to help avert them. The systems will be tested on six city buses that operate in three boroughs.

Clever Devices, a transportation technology company based in New York, developed the turn warning system. Speakers are outfitted in an area that does not block the bus operator’s view, and the volume of the speakers is high enough that ambient city noise does to block it out. The cost of using the technology fleet-wide is estimated at $20 million.

The second system, developed by Mobileye, places multiple sensors around the bus to detect vehicles and pedestrians in front and on the sides of the bus. The system, which includes a driver interface, alerts bus operators without the need for their input and continually measures the distance and speed of the bus and the objects around it, while it’s moving. When an accident is imminent, visual and audible alerts warn the driver to make necessary adjustments in time to avoid a collision. The cost of fully deploying that technology is estimated at $57 million.

After the 60-day period, the systems will be studied and refined based on the results. If determined to be successful, one or both system will be given a full test involving at least 100 buses next year.  The pilot is part of the MTA’s ongoing commitment to improving safety in coordination with New York City’s Vision Zero plan.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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