In an experiment to reduce lethal crashes involving pedestrians, Washington state transit agencies have equipped 38 buses with dashboard alarms that flash when people are walking in the driver’s blind spots. This measure was taken to reduce the averaged 24 bus-pedestrian crashes a year over the last decade.
Window frames and mirrors can hide as many as a dozen people as a bus turns left through a crosswalk. The risks are compounded by distracted pedestrians in the streets, as well as traffic stress on bus drivers, who fall behind schedule and angle for passages.
Thanks to this experimental system, when a bus is within three seconds of possibly hitting someone, a yellow human-shaped icon will flash on the left, center or right dashboard. At one second, the icon turns red, and an alarm sounds. Other dashboard displays flash when a bus exceeds speed limits by 5 mph, or follows a vehicle too closely. The Mobileye technology costs $3,500 per vehicle during the pilot project, including cameras outside the bus to detect people and distances.
Five months of data will then be analyzed by University of Washington professor Yinhai Wang, who said Minnesota is working on a similar test. California and Ohio are also considering these systems, said Jerry Spears, the insurance pool’s deputy director.
Worldwide, some 600,000 cyclists and pedestrians are killed by large vehicles yearly.
Source: The Seattle Times