Published on : Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that full pilot programs for two new MTA technologies aimed at improving customer and passenger safety – a pedestrian turn warning system and a collision avoidance system – will launch later this year. Based on the successful completion of the pilot programs, the technologies will roll out on a city-wide basis in the fourth quarter of 2016, and be installed on up to 1,600 buses beginning in mid-2018.
The launch of the pilot programs follows the completion of field tests for the new safety systems, during which the MTA identified key enhancements. The Authority is currently working with manufacturers to implement those enhancements in time for the full launch of the pilot program.
“Increasing safety is a critically important part of our drive to enhance, renew and improve the MTA,” Governor Cuomo said. “These upgrades will leverage new technology to make our streets safer, protect pedestrians and motorists, and build a stronger mass transit system.”
“The MTA is working constantly and breaking new ground to make our bus operations as safe as possible for riders, pedestrians and the rest of the community. Just this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, New York State, city and federal transit officials, transport labor leaders and representatives from North America’s major public bus systems, all gathered at an MTA-organized Bus Safety Symposium to develop best practices for operating buses safely in our ever more congested environment,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said. “It’s the latest step in our consistent effort to develop the technological advancements or regulatory reforms to maximize bus/pedestrian safety through expert collaboration and professional input.”
Pedestrian Turn Warning System
The pedestrian warning system is automatically triggered when the bus makes a right or a left hand turn, activating an external audio warning that alerts pedestrians and bicyclists that the bus is turning. External speakers are installed in an area that does not block the bus operator’s view, and the speaker volume takes into consideration the ambient sound level in the vicinity of the bus.
During the field test of the pedestrian turn warning system, the technology was installed on four buses, two operating in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and a fourth in Queens. After the test, the MTA asked for a series of improvements to the system, asking that the audio warning sound activate only on the ‘turn side’ of the bus to avoid confusion. This modification will be in place for the winter launch.
In addition, the MTA is working with the manufacturer to develop a visual alert system that will be automatically triggered to display a visual warning to help warn customers that the bus is making a turn. This modification will be added by 2017.
The full pilot of the system will involve 200 buses. The first 40 will be in operation by the end of 2016, with the remainder rolling out during 2017. The pilot will include bus routes in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn (Q32, Q17, Q41, B36, B17 and B6).
Collision Avoidance System
The collision avoidance technology involves a smart sensor-based camera system that alerts the bus operator to the presence of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians on the front and sides of the bus with visible and audible warnings.
The pilot program for the collision avoidance system involved two buses operating in Brooklyn. After testing, the MTA recommended a series of improvements to enhance the collision avoidance system. As a result of feedback from the field test, the vendor is developing vision sensors that are capable of handling the rigors of the bus wash cycle at the depots. The MTA is currently working with the vendor to implement these improvements, which will be in place in time for a launch this winter.
The full pilot for the collision avoidance system will involve 100 buses. The first 20 buses will be in operation by the end of 2016, and the remainder of the buses hitting the streets during 2017. The pilot program will include bus routes in Brooklyn and Manhattan (B46, B38 and M42).
With nearly 8.7 million travelers per day, these upgrades are part of a robust plan to fully transform the MTA into an innovative, state-of-the-art transportation system designed to meet the challenges and demands of 21st century travel.
This year, the state dedicated $8.3 billion in funding to the MTA’s $27 billion Capital Plan – the largest and most ambitious spending plan in history. This investment, when combined with existing efforts, will add more than 3,100 buses and 1,400 subway cars to the system, add four new Metro-North stations in underserved areas of the Bronx, add a third track to the LIRR’s main line, extend the Second Avenue Subway to East Harlem, bring Metro-North service to Penn Station and continue building the East Side Access project so that LIRR riders will be able to travel into Grand Central Terminal.