April 6, 2018
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GCRTA Tests Pedestrian Awareness Technology

Enhanced awareness of pedestrians by bus operators, with a goal of avoiding accidents, is the purpose behind updated bus safety technology being tested by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) through a partnership with Battelle Memorial Institute.

RTA Director of Safety Richard Czeck explained that the six-month project to prevent bus-pedestrian collisions, underway at three downtown intersections, brings together 24 buses retrofitted with so-called “connected” features with technology installed on light posts in the target areas. The test period of the Enhanced Transit Safety Retrofit Package (E-TRP) system, funded through a $2.7 million FTA grant, began with data collection before going live.

The E-TRP program incorporates vehicle-to-vehicle technology, which warns buses when another vehicle is driving up along the left side of a bus and turning right in front of it, with vehicle-to-infrastructure technology to help prevent collisions with pedestrians in or near intersections and crosswalks. The connected buses collect data to evaluate system performance, safety impacts and lessons learned.

“As an equipped bus approaches, it can detect either cautions or warnings of pedestrians in crosswalks or about to proceed,” Czeck said.

This screen capture shows how RTA and Battelle’s safety technology works: the presence of a pedestrian in the crosswalk, right, shows up on a screen in the driver’s compartment, left.
He noted that Battelle reached out to RTA about hosting the test because the institute’s headquarters is in Columbus, two and a half hours from Cleveland, and RTA is the largest public transit system in Ohio. The training takes about 20 minutes, he said.

“RTA based its decisions on where to run the tests on which bus routes and intersections would be most appropriate for everyone involved,” he said. “The goal was to look at how the technology works in different types of intersections, such as those with signals, those with stop signs and mid-block intersections.” Both regular buses and smaller trolley-replica vehicles that operate on free circulator routes are being included in the test.
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