The MTA To Install “Collision Avoidance Devices” on NYC Buses


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.

The MTA has not yet announced how many buses will be equipped with the collision avoidance technology in its fleet. The New York City Transportation Department has indicated that the collision avoidance program is part of its “Vision Zero” initiative to make the streets of New York City safer. Recently, another Vision Zero initiative reduced the mandatory speed limit on NYC streets from 30 mph to 25 mph (after more than fifty years at 30 m.p.h.) in another effort to reduce traffic accidents in the City and improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Some are not convinced that the collision avoidance program will be effective, such as Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign, a subway and bus riders’ advocacy group, who stated: “Does this actually work? I’m not from Cleveland. You’ll have to show me.” Certainly, the collision avoidance program could only help, particularly with the large volume of pedestrians who are focused on their mobile devices or listening to music as they enter intersections, seemingly oblivious to traffic around them, as well as bus drivers who often attempt to beat yellow lights or approach intersections at excessive rates of speed considering the number of pedestrians, bicyclists and cars in the area.

If you, a friend or relative are injured in a bus accident, subway accident, car crash, or due to a defective product or dangerous medication, contact the experienced lawyers at the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail. We will fight the insurance companies and their defense counsel to maximize your compensation for your physical and psychological injuries, lost earnings and future earning potential, past and future medical and hospital expenses, and loss of enjoyment of life.