The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced that beginning in the fall of 2015, buses in New York City will be equipped with “collision avoidance devices”, which will alert bus drivers to the location of pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicles which are in the operator’s blind spots. The system will utilize radar and sensors with speakers mounted on the exteriors of the buses, and will sound warnings to pedestrians and others as the bus is turning, to stay clear of the direct area.
Transit authorities in Los Angeles, Baltimore and Portland have either adopted the program or tested it, with the two main providers being ProTran from Newtown, New Jersey, and Clever Devices, with headquarters located in Long Island. In 2010, the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority installed the devices on 400 buses after averaging six pedestrian deaths a year. Since 2010, there have apparently been no pedestrian fatalities reported in Cleveland.
Ironically, the bus collision rate in NYC has dropped significantly (46%) from 92 collisions per million miles travelled in 1988, to 50 per million miles travelled in 2014. Nonetheless, there were 55 pedestrians and 7 bicyclists killed in bus collisions (including buses operated by private companies) in the City since 2010. Further, 131 pedestrians died in all types of traffic accidents in NYC in 2014, which is the lowest number of fatalities reported since 1910 (when record keeping of fatalities began), but still an unacceptably high number.