rendering of new MTA wi-fi enabled bus

NYC's new Wi-Fi-enabled buses lack collision avoidance tech

The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority has introduced its new fleet of buses, which will be equipped with USB charging ports and free Wi-Fi. Digital information screens will also be installed in 200 buses this year, which will give customers up to date information on upcoming stops, available transfers, weather and other information.

Seventy-five of the buses will be rolled out this summer and more than 2,000 will hit the streets over the next five years, replacing some 40 percent of the city’s fleet.

These updated buses, however, do not include any technology to prevent collisions with pedestrians and or other vehicles, according to an AP report.

Late last year, the MTA conducted a 60-day test of two systems to lower the number of bus-related accidents: a turn warning system and a collision avoidance system.

The turn warning system, developed by Clearer Devices, places speakers on the bus, and a warning sounds when the bus is about to make a turn. The volume of the speakers is high enough to be heard over the ambient city noise. The second system, developed by Mobileye, uses multiple sensors around the bus to detect vehicles and pedestrians and alert the driver.

Those pilots were expanded earlier this year to 60 buses, with the goal of testing the systems on up to 300 buses this year. The MTA said that it would cost $20 million to implement the warning system and $57 million for the collision avoidance system on the entire fleet, AP said.

“Testing these systems is part of our ongoing commitment to improving the safety of our customers, pedestrians and bicyclists,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz told AP. “These tests will take this commercially available technology and hopefully show that we can put it to practical use on a larger scale under New York City operating conditions.”

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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